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Woodbridge Local

News
‘At some point during the encounter, the suspect pulled up the victim’s shirt and attempted to unbutton her pants’

From police: 

Attempted Aggravated Sexual Battery – On October 8 at 5:49PM, officers responded to the Todos Supermarket located at 13950 Jefferson Davis Hwy in Woodbridge (22191) to investigate a sexual assault. The investigation revealed that the victim, an 8-year-old girl of Woodbridge, was sitting in a chair in the store while a parent was completing a transaction nearby when an unknown male sat down next to her. At some point during the encounter, the suspect pulled up the victim’s shirt and attempted to unbutton her pants. The victim screamed and ran to the parent as the suspect fled the store on foot. Upon further investigation, officers identified the suspect as Ricardo RODRIGUEZ and located him a short time later. Following the investigation, the accused was arrested without incident. No injuries were reported.

Arrested on October 9:

Ricardo RODRIGUEZ, 32, of no fixed address

Charged with attempted aggravated sexual battery

Court Date: Pending | Bond: Held WITHOUT Bond

News
Dale City deck fire extinguished with garden hose

From County of Prince William Department of Fire & Rescue:

On Saturday, October 7th at 6:48 p.m., fire and rescue crews were dispatched to a structure fire in a single family home located in the 5600 block of Roundtree Drive in Dale City.

Upon arrival, fire and rescue units discovered a deck fire that had been extinguished. Firefighters were informed that a neighbor observed a fire on the homeowner’s deck; they immediately called 911 and began extinguishing the fire with a garden hose. (more…)

Traffic
Service Authority to begin lining sewer mains along Telegraph Road

From Prince William County Service Authority:

The Prince William County Service Authority has begun performing important rehabilitation work on the sanitary sewer system in easements near the Potomac Festival shopping center and Telegraph Road in Woodbridge.

The work is expected to take approximately 6 weeks to complete. Because this rehabilitation work is “trenchless,” there will be virtually no impact on traffic. (more…)

News
Prince William Board approves new targeted industries study

WOODBRIDGE — New high-paying jobs in Woodbridge appear to far and few between.

“I don’t think we’ve announced new jobs, at least since I’ve been a supervisor,” said Prince William County Woodbridge District Supervisor Frank Principi, who’s been in office since 2008.

His comments come on the heels of an approval of a new $125,000 study that will help economic development officials in his county determine what types of businesses should be pursued, and ultimately lured to the county.

County leaders have an ambitious goal of increasing the amount of commercial tax revenue it collects to 35 percent, up from 14 percent currently.

The targeted industry study would identify new business objectives the county is not focused on, said Prince William County Economic Development Director Jeffery Kaczmarek.

The majority of small federal contractors have offices in eastern Prince William County, while larger corporations have invested in space at the county’s Innovation Park just outside Manassas.

“I agree with you wholeheartedly with you, Mr. Principi,” said Potomac District Supervisor Maureen Caddigan. “I have not seen the benefit for the eastern end of the county.”

Kaczmarek assured Gainesville District Supervisor Peter Candland that this new study would have a geographical component that would help identify which target industries would do well in individual portions of the county.

Right now, the county targets life sciences and biotechnology, information technology, federal agencies and corporate facilities, and specialized logistics and supply chain industries.

News
Prince William culinary tour owners present travel adventures online

From an email: 

Northern Virginia owners, George and Linda Meyers, of Cook in Tuscany, Cook in Mexico and Cook in Cuba debuted ‘Cook, Eat, Play, Travel’, their online, video diary of their worldwide travels and journeys.  They are always asked about life “outside” of their culinary tours in Tuscany, Mexico and Cuba, so they started documenting their adventures.  Named one of the top 15 Foodie Destinations by USA Today, the Meyers created Cook, Eat, Play, Travel to allow people around the world to experience some of their culinary travel adventures online. To view or learn more, go to www.cookeatplaytravel.com

“We’re fifty-somethings enjoying our second chapter in life, traveling, cooking, playing and enjoying every minute,” said Linda Meyers, co-founder of Cook, Eat, Play, Travel, and Cook in Tuscany, Mexico and Cuba. “Instead of buying things, we started buying experiences…and in the process, opened three different cooking schools in three different countries; now people can follow our adventures around the world,” said Meyers.

Retired United States Air Force pilot, George Meyers and his wife, Linda, retired Prince William County, Va. school teacher are natives of New Orleans and high school sweethearts. The Meyers’ shared a long-time passion for good food. The Meyers personally take guests on all tours, creating an immersive experience in Tuscan, Mexican and Cuban cuisine and culture. The week-long package tours are all-inclusive of hotels and food, not including air fare. Cook in Tuscany has expanded its class space, and now offers two classes during Cook in Tuscany travel weeks. Review the schedule at www.cookintuscany.com.

News
‘Virginia’s and America’s much-too-lax firearms environment’

Stephen Paddock’s Las Vegas assault rifle killing spree has again highlighted the dangers of Virginia’s and America’s much-too-lax firearms environment.  Virginians know the dangers of high-powered weapons having experienced snipers Malvo and Muhammad and the Virginia Tech massacre.  Some of us have been steadily, but unsuccessfully, trying to pass reasonable firearms violence prevention laws in Virginia for years.

For example, after Jared Loughner’s 2011 attack on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, I cosponsored legislation to prohibit the sale of firearm ammunition magazines that hold more than 20 bullets.  The legislature has rejected the bill every year since.

In 2015, a Fairfax attorney told me about a client he defended in a mental commitment proceeding in which his client was found to be a danger to himself or others.  Virginia law prohibits these people from obtaining a concealed weapon permit or possessing a firearm, but the law does not prohibit the possession of ammunition.  I tried to prohibit mentally-incapacitated people from purchasing or possessing ammunition, but the legislature struck it down. (more…)

News
Voters in Prince William and Stafford’s 2nd District won’t hear from Makee at public forums

Democrat Jennifer Carroll Foy rang the bell of the area press corps on Thursday when her campaign sent out a press release notifying us her Republican opponent Mike Makee will not attend a series of candidate forums.

Both Carroll Foy and Makee are running for the House District 2 seat in eastern Prince William County, and northern Stafford County.

Here are the dates, times, and locations of the upcoming voter forums, with one starting tonight at 7:30.

What: 2017 Prince William Delegate Forum
Hosted by: Prince William County NAACP, League of Women Voters – Prince William Area, and Prince William Committee of 100
When: Friday, October 6th, 7:30 PM
Where: George M. Hampton Middle School, 14800 Darbydale Ave, Woodbridge, VA 22193

 

What: 2017 Stafford County NAACP Candidate Forum
When: Tuesday, October 10th, 7:30 PM
Where: Board of Supervisors Chambers, Stafford County Government Center, 1300 Courthouse Road, Stafford, Virginia

From Caroll Foy’s press release:

“Jennifer Carroll Foy is the clear choice for voters in eastern Prince William and northern Stafford Counties. She will fight to expand Medicaid, protect funding for Planned Parenthood, reduce class size and increase teacher pay, and find solutions to our broken transportation system,” said Teddy Smyth, Carroll Foy’s campaign manager. “But voters won’t get to see the full choice at these forums. Perhaps Mike Makee doesn’t want to answer questions about heartless Republican policies that deny thousands of people healthcare here in the Second District and that put politicians between women and their doctors. Also, why did Mike Makee donate to Donald Trump’s campaign? Mike Makee’s agenda is simply too extreme for the people of the Second District.”

Makee’s campaign sent us this statement in response to the press release:

“Mike and volunteers have been knocking thousands of doors a week for the past two months, and he will continue to reach out and talk to voters every day. Unfortunately, Mike has prior commitments on the dates of the forums including his United States Naval Academy Class of 1992 Reunion. Mike is proud of his service to the country and our area and looks forward to continuing to deliver his positive message to the voters of the 2nd District.”

Carroll Foy has always been the Democratic nominee for the seat this election cycle. However, before Makee, Republican Laquan Austion was the GOP nominee but stepped down from the race earlier after he was found to input false information about his educational background to this website, and questions arose about past financial dealings.

Makee stepped up to run shortly after that.

The 2nd District is a swing district. In 2015, Mark Dudenhefer inched out a victory over Joshua Cole with 50% to 49% of the vote, respectively.

Two years before that, Democrat Micheal Futrell inched out Dudenhefer with 50% to 49% of the vote.

In January 2017, Dudenhefer broke the news exclusively to Potomac Local that he would not seek another term in Richmond. He’s now running to claim his seat on the Stafford County Board of Supervisors, which he held from 2005 to 2011 when he was first elected to the 2nd District House seat.

The district is split between left-leaning eastern Prince William County and Republican-heavy Stafford County.

Manassas Delegate Jackson Miller will also be absent from tonight’s campaign forum at Hampton Middle School.

Voters will head to the polls Nov. 7.



SNVMC President Kathie Johnson on how Potomac Hospital, now Sentara, is ‘45 years new’

 

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Sentara Susan Bahorich sat down for an interview with Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center President Kathie Johnson.

Not only did Kathie celebrate her one year anniversary this summer, but Sentara is also preparing for our 45th hospital anniversary this fall, and she spoke frankly on several different topics and is very engaging and informative.

SB: You’ve been at the helm just over a year now. How has your first year gone?

KJ: It’s been absolutely wonderful. Very exciting- there are terrific people here to help with things and we’ve achieved a lot in one very short year.

SB: You’ve accomplished a lot in one year. What’s next?

KJ: Our vision is to be the healthcare provider of choice in our market, which is Northern Virginia. And what we’ve done is work with our community to identify services they would like us to bring to the community. Our goal is that people should not have to travel for healthcare, they should be able to get what they need right here. And, that’s actually what our #MySentara is all about – this is our hospital, we own it, we love it, we want it to be the best that it is and it’s also our community’s hospital, so we want to be here for the community and whatever they need.  

SB: What does that look like for the hospital and patients?

KJ: We have renovation projects going everywhere to support our ability to deliver the best and highest quality care to our patients. We’re also recruiting new providers to this market and bringing in new programs, so it’s very exciting. We’ve done a whole lot in a pretty short time.

SB: This year we’re celebrating our 45th Anniversary- not only remembering our past but looking to the future.

KJ: When you look to the future what we’re going to see is more services more acute services more preventative services, more outreach to our community. Our mission is to improve healthcare every day so we’re not just here when people get ill, we’re here to keep people well and work with our community to do that. We have a lot of partners in the community to help us there and that’s just a lot of strength that we can build on to be successful.

SB: Already there are a lot of people who have shared their love of Potomac, but there’s a lot of strength in Sentara and what we’ve been able to build and craft here.

KJ: Certainly, there are a lot of people who love Potomac. There are a lot of people who remember Potomac and when it started and have been here for many years and have dedicated a lot of services and a lot of heart and a lot of commitment to the hospital and to our patients, but the future is coming. Healthcare is changing. It’s growing, there are new therapies, there are new ways to stay healthy, there are new cures and we want to be at the forefront of bringing all of that to our community.

SB: As a not for profit hospital, what does that mean for our patients?

KJ: By not for profit, it means that any money that we receive, that doesn’t go for expenses, is invested back into the hospital so that we can continue providing services to our patients. We provide a lot of care that we do not receive payment for which is part of our mission is to reach out and do that for the community. We are very proud that we are able to do that and support other not for profit partners in the community in providing that care. So, not for profit means there are no shareholders or anything like that. It means that any money that we are able to keep, after all of our expenses, were able to give back to our patients and community.

SB: And, that means that no patient is ever turned away. 

(more…)

News
‘Shame, shame, shame’: Effort to rename highway fails

WOODBRIDGE — An effort to rename Route 1 — Jefferson Davis Highway — in Prince William County failed to gain the support of multiple elected leaders, Tuesday night.

Woodbridge District Supervisor Frank Principi wanted to change the moniker of the highway, named after Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

The Democrat said the highway’s name represents “bigotry and oppression.”

“My intention is not to ignore or to erase history…These names are haunting, and they serve as a reminder of a time of great pain, suffering, and great loss,” said Principi.

His motion failed to gain a second, and that drew the ire of many who came to speak to the Board of Supervisors in favor of the name change. (more…)

News
Donations now accepted ahead of Habitat for Humanity Re-Store opening

WOODBRIDGE — A new Habitat for Humanity Re-Store — the first in Woodbridge — is now accepting donations.

Located off of Prince William Parkway, this is the second Habitat for Humanity store in the Prince William County region. The first opened last year on Hastings Drive in Manassas. 

Both stores were once Food Lion grocery stores. 

While we don’t yet know on which date the new store will open, Habitat for Humanity Prince William County Director Traci DeGroat tell us “We hope to have more news about our Certificate of Occupancy in a couple days and then we can decide on a store opening date.”

From a press release: 

The Habitat for Humanity ReStore – Woodbridge location has received the necessary permits to allow it to stock the store for opening. Unlike other stores that buy merchandise to sell, the ReStore relies on donations of inventory from businesses, homeowners and renters.

The ReStore accepts donations of new and gently used household items and building materials such as furniture, appliances, cabinetry, windows, hardware, lumber, tools, flooring, lighting, home décor and more. All donations are tax-deductible as the ReStore is operated by Habitat for Humanity Prince William County, a 501(c)3 charity. The donated items are sold to the general public at 40% – 90% off retail prices. Funds raised from the sale of merchandise at the ReStore help Habitat for Humanity build and repair homes in partnership with families who need safe and affordable housing.

(more…)

News
Who remembers the Potomac Mills of the 1990s?

These memories are posted to the Potomac Mills mall Facebook page and capture scenes of the mall in the 1990s. 

In 1996, the mall was Virginia’s largest tourist attraction. 

When Potomac Mills opened in 1985, it was home to the first IKEA store in the U.S.

It’s still located at 2700 Potomac Mills Circle in Woodbridge.

 

News
15-year-old shooting death: ‘what happened is not as you read in the news’

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WOODBRIDGE — Ruben Urbina, 15, was shot and killed by a Prince William County police officer Sept. 15.

After receiving a 911 call from a male who said they no longer wanted to live, had a bomb strapped to his chest, threatening to hurt others, police stated that they shot Urbina as he wielded a three-foot-long crowbar at them and ignored commands to drop the weapon.

Prince William County Commonwealth Attorney Paul Ebert called the shooting “justified.”

Urbina’s family, friends, a school teacher, and former pastor gathered outside the Prince William County Government Center Tuesday night to mourn his death,

His brother, Oscar, said this:

“We don’t agree with the story as reported in the news… what happened is not as you read in the news. The fact and truth of what happened will be uncovered.”

The family did not take any questions from the line of reporters who showed up to cover the vigil. No one wanted to talk about the events that led up to the shooting death of the 15-year-old.

Ruben attended school at Pace West in Prince William County. His brother, Oscar, said school officials placed his brother at PACE West because Ruben needed a school with fewer students to excel in his studies. (more…)

Traffic
‘Route 3 westbound at Exit 130B in Fredericksburg will be closed for several hours’

Headed to Fredericksburg overnight Thursday? 

From a press release: 

The Interstate 95 southbound exit ramp to Route 3 westbound at Exit 130B in Fredericksburg will be closed for several hours early Thursday morning to allow crews to remove overhead signs.

The ramp will be closed from midnight to 3 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 5.

I-95 southbound traffic seeking to access Route 3 westbound will be detoured to Exit 130A to Route 3 eastbound, then directed to make a U-turn at Gateway Boulevard to Route 3 westbound. The ramp will reopen at 3 a.m. Thursday.

A single lane will remain closed on the exit ramp through 4:30 a.m. Thursday.

Message boards and additional signs will notify motorists of the detour and guide them along the alternate route.

Overhead signs are being removed as part of the ongoing I-95 Safety Improvements Project at Route 3. Additional lane closures are scheduled this week at the following dates and times:

Additional Lane Closures:

 

  • Route 3 Westbound: Wednesday – Friday, 10 p.m. ?? 9 a.m.

   10 p.m. – one lane closed

   Midnight –7 a.m. – two lanes closed

   7 a.m. – 9 a.m. – one lane closed Thursday and Friday morning

Construction is underway to improve safety at the Exit 130 (Route 3) interchange in Fredericksburg.                                                          

This project will enhance safety by reducing vehicle merging and weaving that can lead to crashes, injuries and congestion on Route 3 and I-95.  These improvements are designed to lower the crash risk by eliminating conflict points where vehicles currently merge.

News
2-million gallon water tank near Potomac Mills is getting a face lift

WOODBRIDGE — The Prince William County Service Authority has 23 water tanks in its system. 

This month, it is rehabilitating a tank built in 1999 near Potomac Mills mall on Shoppers Best Way in Woodbridge.

Our Q and A with the Service Authority: 

What is the cost? 

The range to recondition/ rehab the tanks is estimated cost $500,000 to $1.4 million per tank. The Potomac Mills will have an estimated cost of $1.1 million to rehabilitate.

Why is the work being done? 

We believe it will pay dividends in the long run in the form of better water quality and will extend the useful life of the tank. Each rehab includes a washout, any needed metal repairs or upgrades to enhance safety, painting of the exterior and the interior of the tank and a visual inspection and disinfection of the structure prior to putting it back in service. The interior washout also helps the removal any mud, silt and other debris inside the tank to enhance water quality.

Is there a rehab schedule for PWCSA tanks? What is the schedule interval? (more…)

News
Firearm brandished after argument outside Cheesecake Factory

From police: 

Brandishing of a Firearm – On September 25 at 4:20PM, officers responded to the Cheesecake Factory located at 2708 Potomac Mills Cir in Woodbridge (22193) to investigate a brandishing. The investigation revealed that an unknown male was involved in a verbal altercation with a restaurant employee.

The male went outside and was followed by another restaurant employee. During the encounter outside, a vehicle approached the employee and a passenger brandished a firearm at him. The male eventually got into the vehicle and fled the area. No injuries were reported. There is no suspect description available at this time.

News
Vote for these guys, says Prince William Chamber

The Prince William Chamber of Commerce Political Action Committee made its endorsements in this year’s local House of Delegates races.  

Voters will head to the polls Nov. 7.

From a press release:

The Prince William Chamber Political Action Committee, the political arm of the Prince William Chamber of Commerce, announced its endorsements of candidates for the Virginia General Assembly:

31st House District – Scott Lingamfelter

40th House District – Tim Hugo

50th House District – Jackson Miller

51st House District – Richard Anderson

52nd House District – Luke Torian

87th House District – John Bell

Candidate endorsements were determined through a questionnaire and interview process along with an evaluation and comparative analysis of the policy platforms and records of each individual as they related to that of the region’s business community.

“The Chamber PAC is proud to support the above list of candidates. These endorsements were earned through demonstrated leadership and responsiveness to those issues of importance to the Chamber and its member businesses,” said Brian Gordon, Vice President of Government Affairs for the Apartment and Office Building Association (AOBA) of Metropolitan Washington, and the Chairman of the Prince William Chamber PAC. “Their collective record of advocacy and action in the legislative arena has served to bolster the local economy and we look forward to continuing to work side by side with these leaders in Richmond toward our shared objective of improving the local business climate.”  (more…)

News
Dale City Elementary School ready to celebrate 50 years

DALE CITY — Dale City Elementary School was the first public school in Dale City.

It opened in 1967, and parents, teachers, students, and staff on Oct. 20 will mark the school’s 50th anniversary.

Patricia Shomo, an ESOL teacher at the elementary school, told us:

“We’ve got we have a lot of things planned. In fact, during the day they’re going to be two different celebrations. During the day, is going to be for the parents and the children and the current students.

We’re setting up a very large timeline. That timeline is going to have Dale City events and everything important that has happened to Dale City. Pictures of the kids. I found some pictures from 1967. A lot of the old retired teachers have brought a lot of things a lot of pictures, and so I’ve been busy scanning those and making collages and things like that…it’s going to be a large timeline integrating daily events with world events and pop culture.

We have a gentleman bringing one of the first personal computers so the kids can play on that. We have a gentleman from the Virginia Telephone Museum…and he’s going to bring television, telephone, record player. Everything entertainment from 1967 and you had a demonstration. And with his iPhone, he is going to demonstrate how all of that is now in this (pointing to her smartphone).”

Dale City Elementary School started with a small student population and blossomed in no time.

Principal Cindy Crowe-Miller:

“The school that actually opened in spring of 1967, in April, with 50 kids. By the time the next fall opened it was up to hundreds and hundreds…it was the first public school in Dale City area, and it grew exponentially.

But it was back then, and it still is now, truly a neighborhood school. We’re one of the smaller schools in Prince William with only two buses, so it’s generally a “walking” school.”

With a student population of 470, Dale City Elementary School is smaller than other nearby schools Bel Air and Neabsco Elementary schools that boast 700 or more students.”

Over the years, the demographics at the school have changed.

Crowe-Miller:

“…the school opened in 1967 and a lot of people were moving to Fort Belvoir, a lot of veterans came to this area were signed to Fort Belvoir, so they built all these smaller homes, and it was very much a more of a white middle-class community back then. So it’s changed through the years. But it’s there’s still a lot of the old sense of…the core community still is here.”

Today, about 75 percent of the school students receive free or reduced student lunches. Shomo, who has done much of the research and planning for the school’s 50th-anniversary celebration, is one of five English as Second Language teachers that work at the school.

Many of the parents of Dale City Elementary students don’t work regular nine to five jobs, but rather two to three jobs, at all hours of the day. That has made it nearly impossible for the school to recruit parent volunteers, or to maintain a Parent-Teacher Organization.

However, parents still play a role in the success of this school.

Crowe-Miller:

“We want the parents in the school no matter what. So now we schedule things during the day for them to come in and watch their children perform, or be part of the school. We don’t have nighttime events as much because it’s harder for them because they don’t have babysitters, they don’t have a lot of families around… our biggest challenge is having the parents feel really part of the school, and to invest in the child’s education in a way that we all we want.”

A time capsule that will include items from students and teachers to be opened at the school’s 100th anniversary event — to include an iPad with saved photos of the school, and instructions on how to operate it in case no one knows how to use an iPad in 50 years — will be buried during the celebration. A special 50th Anniversary Facebook page is being used to chronicle the anniversary events.

The event open to the public, to include area elected officials, will take place Oct. 20 from 5 to 7. Parents, teachers, and students will celebrate throughout the day before the evening event.

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