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Update on Forestdale shooting: Suspect identified as Mohammad Shedil

From Prince William police: 

*INCIDENT: Shooting | Woodbridge;
Detectives are investigating a shooting which occurred in the 3500 block of Forestdale Ave sometime earlier this morning or late last night. Two male victims arrived at two different area hospitals with gun shot wounds to the body. The investigation is continuing. At this point, there does not appear to be a public threat. More information will be released when available.

Updated

Shooting Investigation – On December 9 at 10:54PM, officers responded to the 3500 block of Forestdale Ave in Woodbridge (22193) to investigate a third party report of a shooting. Initial responding officers were unable to locate any of the parties involved. While investigating, officers received notification from Prince George’s County Police that a victim, identified as a 21-year-old man of Manassas, was being treated at an area hospital in Maryland for a gunshot wound. An additional notification was received informing investigators that a second man, identified as a 21-year-old man of Dumfries, was also being treated at a Northern Virginia hospital with a gunshot wound. Both men were eventually connected to the same incident reported on Forestdale Ave. Detectives from the Violent Crimes Bureau are currently following up on leads into a possible suspect. At this time, there is no public threat and this incident does not appear to be random. More information will be released when available. The investigation continues.

Updated Sunday, December 11, 2016

Malicious Wounding *SUSPECT IDENTIFIED – On December 10, detectives from the Violent Crimes Bureau identified the suspect involved in the shooting which occurred in the 3500 block of Forestdale Ave in Woodbridge on December 9. Following the investigation, detectives obtained warrants for the arrest of the suspect, Mohammad Ekram SHERDIL. Attempts to locate the accused have been unsuccessful.

                Wanted: [Photo from November 2016]

                Mohammad Ekram SHERDIL, 22, of the 3500 block of Forestdale Ave in Woodbridge

                Described as a white male, 5’11”, 155lbs with black hair and brown eyes

                Wanted for 2 counts of malicious wounding

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of this individual is asked to contact Prince William Crime Solvers anonymously by calling 703-670-3700 or 1-866-411-TIPS, texting “PWC” plus your tip to 274637, or by submitting a WebTip.

News
Suspicious man offers candy to girl outside elementary school

from Prince William police: 

Suspicious Person Incident – On December 8 at 10:15AM, officers responded to the area of Ketterman Dr and Kerrydale Rd near Kerrydale Elementary School in [Dale City] (22193) to investigate a suspicious person call. The victim, a 10-year-old girl, reported to police that she was walking home from the school on December 7 around 4:00PM when she was approached by an unknown man driving a small, red sedan. During the encounter, the man asked the girl, “Do you want to come in my car. I have candy.” The victim ran home and notified family members who disclosed the incident to school staff the following day. The suspect never exited the vehicle and did not approach the victim. The investigation continues.   

    Suspect Description:

    White male with a medium build; dark, curly hair and full beard– No further description provided


Manassas office vacancy rates fall below 5-year average

 

FY 2016 3rd Quarter Commercial Report

Office Market

Office vacancy rates across the region remain high, but Manassas has fallen to a low of 7.5 percent. This is significantly below the 5-year average of 10.6 percent. Rental rates fell during the quarter to $18.80 but are expected to rebound; the average over the last five years has been $19.68.

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Retail Market

The retail market remains strong as development and relocation interest grows from prospective developers and businesses. At the close of the 3rd quarter, rates hit a 2016 high of $22.80 while vacancy was just over 5 percent.

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Industrial/Flex Market

The 4.5 percent vacancy rate in the City is consistent with neighboring communities. With average rental rates of $9.38, and new product entering the market, the City will be at a competitive advantage-offering new, Class A Flex space at a lower price than others.

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The Economic Development Office maintains an inventory of available commercial space which can be found on the City webpage at www.manassasva.gov/ED or call 703-257-8881.

News
Store inside B-Thrifty robbed at knife point

From Prince William police: 

Armed Robbery – On December 6 at 1:36PM, officers responded to Ventura Gold which is inside of the B Thrifty store located at 13412 Jefferson Davis Hwy in Woodbridge (22191) to investigate a robbery. An employee reported to police that two unknown men approached the counter displaying a knife. The men took an undisclosed amount of money before fleeing the business. No injuries were reported. Officers searched the area for the suspects who were not located. The investigation continues.

Suspect Descriptions:

Black male, between 20 & 28 years of age, with brown eyes No further description provided

Last seen wearing all black clothing

Black male, between 20 & 28 years of age, 5’10”, 180lbs with brown eyes

Last seen wearing a tan hoodie

News
Suspect in Featherstone 7-Eleven robbery arrested

From Prince William police: 

Armed Robbery *ARRESTS – On December 6, detectives from the Robbery Unit identified the suspect involved in a robbery which occurred in the 7-Eleven parking lot located at 1701 Featherstone Rd in Woodbridge on December 4. Following the investigation, detectives obtained warrants for the arrest of the suspect, identified as Anthony RYANS. A search warrant was subsequently executed at his residence and the accused was arrested without incident.

Arrested on December 6:

Anthony RYANS, 28, of 14919 Enterprise Ln in Woodbridge

Charged with robbery and use of a firearm in commission of a felony

Court Date: January 26, 2017 | Bond: Held WITHOUT Bond

Armed Robbery [Previously Released] On December 4 at 8:40PM, officers responded to the parking lot of the 7-Eleven located at 1701 Featherstone Rd in Woodbridge (22191) to investigate a robbery. The victim, a 31-year-old woman of Woodbridge, reported to police that she was sitting in her car in front of the business when she was approached by an unknown man. During the encounter, the suspect brandished a handgun and took an undisclosed amount of money and car keys from the victim before fleeing the area on foot. No injuries were reported. A police K-9 was used to search for the suspect who was no located. The car keys were recovered a short time later. No injuries were reported. The investigation continues.

News
Dumfries Town Council missing meeting minutes violates open government law

DUMFRIES, Va. — The Town of Dumfries has not made available minutes of its regular Town Council meetings.

Minutes from Town Council meetings between June 7 and November 15 have not been transcribed, according to Dumfries Town Clerk Dawn Hobgood. Virginia open records law mandates such minutes must be made available to the public. 

“Even draft versions of minutes are a public document under FOIA law,” said said Virginia Coalition for Open Government Director Meghan Rhyne. “The localities are required to keep minutes, and then retain them indefinitely.”

Hobgood suggested Potomac Local view video of the meetings on the town’s website if such video was made available. But that’s not always an option as, for example, there was no audio or video recording of the town’s November 15 meeting due to technical difficulties, Hobgood added.

Potomac Local used the Freedom of Information Act to order records of all Town Council meetings between the dates above. 

The lack of minutes comes after a new Town Council took office on July 1 following a May election that shook up the public body. Newcomers Melva Willis and former town police officer Brian Fields unseated the long-serving Vice Mayor Willie Toney, and the one-term Helen Reynolds.

That same month, Town Manager Daniel Taber resigned after serving five years in the role, and as temporary police chief before that. The town has yet to replace Taber, and Mayor Jerry Foreman has been pulling double duties as acting town manager.

State law does not require local governments to post minutes to a public website, but they are required to keep them and to make them available to the public. It’s a different story for state agencies. 

“Unlike local governments, state agencies must keep and post meeting minutes to the web, she added.”

The Virginia FOIA Advisory Council this past summer discussed changing the requirement but decided to leave the rule as is, Rhyne added.

The only meeting minutes posted to the Dumfries Town website in 2015 were recorded on Jan. 6, and Jan. 20. No minutes from 2016 have been posted on the town website.

When it comes to the other towns in Prince William County, there were three instances of Haymarket Town Council meeting minutes that did not appear on the town’s website but were made available to the public. When requested by Potomac Local, Town Manager Kimberly Murray sent meeting minutes between June 7 and November 15 via email. She also included this statement as to why the minutes did not appear online.

“We have realized a glitch with our software and the minutes are showing up for some who access the website and not for others. We are working on making the correction.”

The Town of Quantico does not post meeting minutes to its town website, but copies of the requested minutes were sent to Potomac Local by the town clerk and town attorney.

The Occoquan Town Council has posted the majority of its meeting minutes for 2016 to its website. The minutes for the first two meetings in November are available to the public, and copies were sent to Potomac Local.

Keeping and posting meeting minutes isn’t just something that only local government workers and reporters care about, said Rhyne.

“I think this is something — open government — that the public cares very much about or organizations like ours wouldn’t exist,” said Rhyne.


Earn a Degree or Certificate in Less time with NOVA Weekend College @ the Woodbridge Campus

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Beginning in the spring 2017 semester, Northern Virginia Community College students can finish a semester’s worth of classes in only 14 weeks through the NOVA Weekend College @ the Woodbridge Campus.

NOVA Weekend College @ The Woodbridge Campus enables students to take an entire semester of classes in only two days. Adult learners who are busy balancing full-time jobs and family responsibilities can enroll in a 12-credit schedule of Friday and Saturday morning classes, with an option of selecting from a wide variety of classes needed to earn a degree or certification.

This new, innovative approach to accommodate those with busy schedules offers flexible, hybrid (half classroom & half online) courses that meet at 9 a.m. and/or 11 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, with classes ending at 12:30 p.m. The rest of the work and class interaction is done at home using the internet.

“NOVA Weekend College @ the Woodbridge Campus offers a flexible schedule for busy working adults to take a full course load in only two mornings per week,” said Provost of the Woodbridge Campus, Dr. Sam Hill. “This new initiative provides an amazing opportunity for busy people in our region to earn a degree or certificate at a much faster pace, to advance and to become an expert in their chosen profession.”

Visit NVCC.EDU/WOODBRIDGEWEEKEND for more information. Online registration is open 24 hours a day at www.nvcc.edu/startstrong.

News
These new faces will help raise money for the Prince William Public Library

From the Prince William Library Foundation: 

The Board of Directors of the Prince William Public Library System Foundation is happy to welcome new board members Bethanne Kim, Marlo Watson, D’Andrea Wooten, Caroline Shaaber, Bennie Herron and Greg Wright. Bethanne, Marlo, D’Andrea, Caroline, Bennie, and Greg will support the board’s efforts in raising funds for the library’s special programs and events.

Bethanne Kim is a self-published author of seven books under the pen name Liz Long. She is a blogger and brings to the position fundraising experience, community experience as a Cub master for her two sons Cub Scout pack. Her passion for libraries is a result of living 30-45 minutes from a library growing up. She feels strongly about having libraries with physical and program resources that invite kids and teens into the library so that it becomes a natural part of their lives and routines. She is a strong advocate for the new Haymarket Gainesville Community Library.

Marlo Watson is presently the President and Chief Engagement Officer of the Marlo Company, Inc., a talent and community development firm. She received her Master’s in Public Administration from Central Michigan University and has a Graduate Certificate in Human Resource Management from Keller Graduate School of Management. Marlo brings to the Board more than 20 years of people and community development experience. She is very passionate about community and it is reflected in her service: Committee of 100 Secretary 2014-2015, graduate of Leadership Prince William 2015 and was awarded (one of five) Prince William County’s most influential women for 2016 and runner-up for 2015.

D’Andrea Wooten is currently on the Hylton Performing Arts Center Executive Board and the Tackett’s Mill/Clearbrook Foundation. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Santa Clara University. She has prior fiduciary responsibility for the operations of the Pohick Episcopal Church. She volunteers as the co-chair for the Education Commission at the Pohick Episcopal Church. She also volunteers with the Woodbridge Rotary Club and as Superintendent of Sunday Schools at Pohick Episcopal Church.

Caroline–Louise Shaaber is presently the Arts Recreation Specialist for Prince William County. She is the liaison between the County and the Prince William Arts Council. She has both an Interior Design and Architectural Drafting degree and various certifications in the Education field. She is the owner of Vision Finders, her design consulting company, and previously owned an Educational Franchise teaching young children language classes and camps; computer skills and STEM related camps. Raised in Europe, Caroline speaks five languages fluently. She has experience as a volunteer for numerous organizations in local and military communities. She is a member of Lake Ridge Rotary and a mother of two children.

Bennie Herron is presently an author and poet, and brings to the position a Master’s degree in Psychology from San Diego State University and a Master’s of Fine Arts degree in creative writing with an emphasis in contemporary poetry from National University. He participates in the poetry scene locally and regionally. His love for quality education allows him to be a part of the solution by raising funds for the Foundation’s special projects in the community.

Greg Wright is presently the Surgical Technology Program Director and a Health and Medical Science teacher at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, VA. He has served on the Virginia Department of Education Curriculum Writing Committee for Career and Technical Education. Greg graduated from the University of Montana with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Education. His prior work experience has been in the medical field and education. He lives in Dumfries, VA.

The six new members join a 21-member board that participates in the Foundation’s fundraising efforts.

News
Updated: Police arrest suspect in massage assault case

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WOODBRIDGE, Va. — A man at a massage parlor asked a woman for a hug and then later assaulted her when he didn’t get one, police said.

Abduction | Assault & Battery – On December 4th at 3:06PM, officers responded to ZY Massage located at 2578 Dynasty Loop in Woodbridge (22193) to investigate an assault. The victim, later identified as a 44 year-old-woman of Woodbridge, reported to police that at approximately 10:00AM that day, an unknown man entered the business and asked to use the restroom.

While the subject was exiting the business, he requested a hug from the victim which was declined. The subject then left the store but returned after a short period of time.

When the subject reentered the business, he locked the door with the victim inside, preventing her from leaving.  A struggled ensued between the two and the subject assaulted the victim, causing minor injuries. The victim was able to break free from the subject and ran from the business.

The subject also exited the business and was last seen on foot walking towards Telegraph Rd. The investigation continues and more information will be released once it is made available. Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call police at 703-792-6500.

The suspect is described as a Black male, 23-27 years of age, 6’0’’, and 180lbs. He also has dark hair with a dark colored unshaven beard and mustache. He was last seen wearing blue jeans with a skull on the back right pocket, a black shirt with “Blackwatch” written on the front, a gray New York Yankees hat, and dark colored shoes.

Updated 

Prince William police named the suspect shown in these photos, wanted in connection to this reported abduction. 

From police: 

Abduction | Assault & Battery *SUSPECT IDENTIFIED – On December 5, detectives from the Intel Unit received a tip from a citizen which helped identify the suspect involved in an abduction and assault which occurred at the ZY Massage located at 2578 Dynasty Loop in Woodbridge on December 4. Following the investigation, detectives obtained warrants for the arrested of the suspect, identified as Clarence Olutayo OLOWU. Attempts to locate the accused have been unsuccessful. Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of OLOWU is asked to contact Prince William Crime Solvers anonymously by calling 703-670-3700 or 1-866-411-TIPS, texting “PWC” plus your tip to 274637, submitting a WebTip, or by using the app for Android or iPhone.

Wanted: [Photo from November 2016]

                Clarence Olutayo OLOWU, 32, of the 6200 block of Alistair Dr in Manassas

Described as a black male, 6’00”, 190lbs, brown eyes, black hair, and a full beard

                Wanted for abduction and assault & battery

Updated 4 p.m. 

From police: Abduction | Assault & Battery *ARREST – On December 6, members of the U.S. Marshals’ Fugitive Task Force and officers from the Prince William County Police Warrant Unit located and arrested Clarence Olutayo OLOWU this afternoon without incident.  The accused was wanted for an abduction and assault which occurred at the ZY Massage located at 2578 Dynasty Loop in Woodbridge on December 4. The accused was located at a residence located in Woodbridge.

 

News
Woman charged in Food Lion murder found in Maryland

From police: 

Murder Investigation *ARREST – On December 2, members of the U.S. Marshal led Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force arrested the suspect involved in the murder of Cordrey Douglas Jackson which occurred at the Food Lion located at 6306 Hoadly Rd in [near Dale City] on November 29. The suspect, Roberta Edlina BRANDON, was located at a residence on Addison Rd in Capitol Heights, Maryland where she was arrested without incident. The accused will remain in custody in Maryland until extradited back to Virginia.

Arrested on December 2: [No photo available]

Roberta Edlina BRANDON, 23, of the 2800 block of Bixley Hill Ct in Woodbridge

Charged with murder and use of a firearm in commission of a felony

                Court Date: Pending | Status: Awaiting Extradition

News
Two face murder charges in Jose Garcia Flores death

From police: 

Murder Investigation *ARRESTS – On December 1, detectives from the Homicide Unit identified the suspects involved in the murder of Jose Moises GARCIA FLORES which occurred in the  on October 8. The preliminary investigation into the incident alleged that the suspects, identified as Robert Ellis ROBINSON and Terrell Lejuan HARRIS, attempted to rob the victim. During the encounter, the victim was shot and killed. The victim and the suspects were not known to one another. Following the investigation, detectives obtained warrants for ROBINSON and HARRIS. Both suspects were previously in custody at the Adult Detention Center on unrelated charges.

Arrested on December 1:

Robert Ellis ROBINSON, 47, of 1055 Gardenview Lp, Apt 204, in Woodbridge

Terrell Lejuan HARRIS, 21, of 1312 Bayside Ave #12 in Woodbridge [No Photo Available]

Both were charged with murder and use of a firearm in commission of a felony

Court Date: January 23, 2017 | Bond: Held WITHOUT Bond

News
Updated: Suspect, victim named in Food Lion shooting

DALE CITY, Va. — One man was shot outside a Food Lion at the intersection of Dale Boulevard and Hoadly Road.

More from police

Officers are currently on scene investigating a shooting which occurred at the Food Lion shopping center located in the 6300 block of Hoadly Rd near Dale Blvd. The victim, an adult woman man, was reportedly shot and transported to an area hospital with life-threatening injuries. Residents can expect a heavy police presence in the area as the investigation continues. The scene is contained and secured by police. More information will be released when available.

foodlionshooting

Reader photo: Ryan St. Louis

Updated 

From police: 

Homicide Investigation – On November 29 at 7:29PM, officers responded to the Food Lion located at 6306 Hoadly Rd in Manassas (20112) to investigate a shooting. When officers arrived, they located an adult male suffering from gunshot wounds to the body. The victim was transported to an area hospital where he died as a result of his injuries a short time later. The victim will be transported to the Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy. The identity of the victim will be released once confirmed and their next-of-kin have been notified. The investigation continues. More information will be released when available.

This is Prince William County’s 22nd homicide this year. This latest incident comes less than a week after a man was stabbed to death outside a shopping center near Manassas.

Updated 12:20 p.m. Wednesday, November 30

Police have named the suspect in the shooting who remains on the loose, and the victim who died last night at an area hospital.

Wanted: [Photo January 2015]

                Roberta Edlina BRANDON, 23, of the 2800 block of Bixley Hill Ct in Woodbridge

                Described as a black female, 5’10”, 154lbs, black hair, and brown eyes

Wanted for murder and use of a firearm in commission of a felony

Identified:

The victim was identified as Cordrey Douglas JACKSON, 24, of Dumfries

Updated 

Police on December 2 told us they arrested Brandon.

Traffic
Old Bridge Road crash snarls traffic in Lake Ridge, on Route 123

 

At least one crash on Old Bridge Road near the intersection of Tanyard Hill Road, prior to Clipper Drive, snarled traffic in eastern Prince William County.

Police and fire and rescue crews were working the crash scene about 6:30 p.m. 

Traffic on westbound Old Bridge Road was backed up for about two miles, from the crash scene to Route 123. Traffic headed south on Route 123 toward Interstate 95 was backed up 10 miles, from Old Bridge Road, across the Route 123 bridge into Fairfax County. 

We’re working to get info from Prince William police about the crash. 


How a love for animals and a vet degree spawned a career as a Prince William County Police officer

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This is the fourth of six stories in our series that will examine the unique assignments within the Prince William County Police Department.

When Assistant Chief Dawn Harman was growing up in Prince William County, she imagined a very different career path. Harman majored in veterinary science in college and was once with the Animal Control Unit of the Prince William County Police Department. Now Harman’s days are filled with duties that help keep the Prince William County Police Department a well-oiled machine.

All in a Day

Harman’s day may start with a series of meetings or just a clearing of ongoing matters on the desk in her office. She may also be called to Roll Call to speak on issues affecting the department.

Currently, this means fielding concerns about the heightened dangers of police work.

“People never call us when they are having their best day,” explained Harman. “The only difference between a cop and someone else is they [the perpetrators] have made a bad decision or had something bad happen to them.”

Harman wants those that are considering law enforcement as a career to know that public perception is hyped by media.

“People have always been fascinated with law enforcement,” she said, noting that officers are scrutinized every day by people with cell phone cameras, written about on blogs, and featured on social media. It is important to keep a sense of balance, remembering that the people they serve are no different than they are.

Up in the Ranks

From hiring to patrol to promotion, there is a sense of dedication, thoroughness, and fraternity, Harman said. While some also call the career a passion or a calling, Harman noted, “I think this is like any other job. You need skills.” Academy for new recruits is held in January and July. Harman said that through that process you can see who has skills and who will make the cut.

Also needed is the ability to take on opportunity. There are always job openings in different units, leading to some great opportunities. Harman knows this firsthand. Starting as an animal control officer, she moved up through different positions and ranks while juggling family and career, working in crime prevention and as Western District Commander while with the department.

Meeting the challenges of the job can definitely mean promotion. Others pay attention to rank, and Harman can remember considering it a big deal. Promotions are completely elective and based on consideration of skills as well.

“We try to balance everything the best we can,” Harman said about the promotion process, noting that they work with several different evaluation styles adjusting for issues, such as test anxiety.

When asked about rank, Harman called sergeant the toughest. The sergeant is no longer just ‘one of the troops,’ and a friendly detachment becomes necessary.

“It’s not the same relationship. You have to hold people accountable now,” she said. “You have to be straight forward. Some people aren’t comfortable with it.”

Sacrifice, Communication

There are sacrifices, too. Officers work set shifts, but family events and holidays may be missed because there’s a need in the department. Many people forgo certain positions or promotions because of the demands of both family and career. Harman shared that, while she has a great support system, she chose not to work in Criminal Investigations so she was not on call in the evenings.

“Challenges had to coincide with where I was with my family at the time,” she said.

Communication was big on Harman’s list of skills for which the department seeks. Good listening skills and the ability to ask constructive questions are important. The goal is to serve the community well. A successful encounter with the public includes the feeling that everyone is treated as a human being.

“You absolutely have to be an effective communicator, or you’re part of the problem,” she said.
Harman pointed out that some people want to be in Law Enforcement for power. “We
don’t want that.”

In the Community

Harman said that the people of Prince William County are very supportive of their police department, some even bringing food to officers earlier in the year after a fatal shooting of an officer.

“It’s a little morale boost,” she said.

This positive relationship may be directly related to the professional attitude that is widespread through the Prince William County Police Department, including by Harman, who has found the career to be very rewarding.

“I’d encourage people to go into the profession.”

For more information on career opportunities with the Prince William County Police Department, visit  www.joinpwcpd.org

Read more from our series

Prince William County Police detectives chosen to work for a higher cause

Prince William on patrol: ‘This Job is About Integrity’

Prince William County Police Digital Forensics team puts heart, soul, and mind into solving cases

 

News
The Force is strong with Boy Scout Troop 501: ‘Star Wars Days’ returning to Gar-Field High School

Submitted by Justin Youtz, of Boy Scout Troop 501 in Woodbridge: 

Friends of Boy Scout Troop 501 is hosting Star Wars Days on December 3 and 4, 2016, at Gar-Field High School, 14000 Smoketown Road in Woodbridge.

Star Wars Days is a family friendly, fan convention for all things Star Wars, science fiction, comics, anime, cosplay, scouting, art and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math).

Boy Scout Troop 501 was named after the 501st Legion in the Star Wars universe. Scouts in Troop 501 are huge Star Wars and science fiction fans, as well as, being students interested in STEM subjects.

A fan convention is a perfect way to celebrate all of these areas, in addition to being the annual fundraiser for Troop 501. Boy Scouts from Troop 501, along with their families, are responsible for locating vendors, promoting the event and working as staff at the convention.

Any profit from the event is shared with scouts to fund their scouting trips and training materials, community service projects, equipment, and uniforms.

It is the second year for the Star Wars Days event. Fans of every age are expected to attend, including members of the 501st Legion (a local Star Wars cosplay group).

Vendors are from Virginia, Washington, D.C., Maryland, and other states, and they will offer unique and fan items. New this year at the event are food trucks, including “Stay Cheesy,” a gourmet grilled cheese sandwich maker.

Winners of the Star Wars costume contest (adult and child) will receive cash prizes. There is a children’s area with theme craft items, artists will lead drawing activities, STEM area including 3D printers, demonstrations – from light saber fighting to rocket launches – and panel discussions. Boys Scouts may also sign up for specific merit badge classes and Cub Scouts can complete some advancement activities.

Advance tickets are available online at starwarsdays.com; click on the button at the top left of the page to pay by credit card. Advance tickets are $7 for Saturday or Sunday, or $12 for both days (plus service fee). Children age four and under are free. Tickets are $10 at the door. One-of-a-kind Star Wars Days t-shirts show posters and patches are also available for purchase.

Traffic
Traffic fixes for Old Bridge Road examined

LAKE RIDGE, Va. — Drivers at Old Bridge and Minnieville roads will soon get some relief ahead of the opening of a new grocery store.

The left turn lanes at the intersection that carry drivers from Old Bridge Road to Minnieville Road will be extended 100 feet toward Clipper Drive. The improvements, to be paid for by the developer of a new Lidl grocery store to be built nearby, will allow between eight and 10 more cars to queue in the lanes. That’s in addition to the queue that already exists during the peak weekday evening rush hour times.

Right now, left-turning traffic backs up and out into Old Bridge Road. The lane extension comes after county transportation crews doubled the number of left turn lanes here from one to two.

Drivers at Old Bridge Road and Prince William Parkway will also see the addition of a new sign urging drivers to take a shorter route to Interstate 95. Drivers headed east on the Parkway at Old Bridge Road will soon see a sign that states “To I-95” directing them to veer to the right to remain on the wider, faster Prince William Parkway and not to stay straight on Old Bridge Road.

These two fixes were some of 50 ideas on how to improve transportation along major commuter thoroughfare Old Bridge Road, discussed at Occoquan District Supervisor Ruth Anderson’s Old Bridge Road Think Tank that met over the course of four meetings, with nearly 50 residents in attendance.

“We have to step out and start somewhere to make a difference to fix transportation issues in the district,” said Anderson, as she thanked Think Tank participants for participating in the ongoing effort.

Other traffic improvement ideas are borne out of the meetings include:

Add “Don’t Block the Box” sign at Route 123 and Old Bridge Road 

Traffic at this intersection (better known as a mixing bowl) is marred with drivers exiting Interstate 95 and entering Route 123, mixing with drivers existing drivers on Route 123 headed toward Fairfax County, or those turning left onto Old Bridge Road.

The area is a nightmare for drivers in afternoons, and it can be hairy for commuters during morning hours, too. Drivers exiting I-95 quickly jet across five lanes of traffic, to include two signal lights, to turn left on Old Bridge Road

A “don’t block the box” sign could potentially improve traffic flow at the intersection, said Prince William County Transportation Director Rick Canizales.

But signs can’t fix everything.

“It really comes down to how much [police] enforcement you have at the intersection,” he added.

 Old Bridge Road and Oakwood Drive

The extension of a left turn lane from Old Bridge Road to Oakwood Drive is being studied. While transportation planners aren’t completely sold on the idea of extending the lane because they don’t know how much more queuing spaces would be gained, they say an extension could resolve a backup on Old Bridge Road during the evening hours.

Expanding or widening left turn lanes at Old Bridge Road and Westridge Drive

Just like the proposed project at Oakwood Drive, officials are not clear on how much more queueing space would be gained if the lanes were expanded. The project could resolve a backup that affects drivers at all times of the day.

Occoquan and Old Bridge roads

The majority of traffic complaint calls to Supervisor Anderson’s office are about the backup at a signal light at Occoquan and Old Bridge roads, said Alex Stanley, and aide to Anderson.

Drivers say they don’t appreciate the extended length of time they must wait at a signal light to turn onto Old Bridge Road. Becuase of the way the signal light is timed, drivers on the wider Old Bridge Road enjoy a longer green light at this intersection. The aim is to move more cars on Old Bridge Road, said Virginia Department of Transportation Land Use Director Richard Burke.

Transportation planners are examining what it would cost to add a “right turn on red” lane at this intersection, as well as straighten Occoquan Road, which is curved throughout its intersection with Old Bridge Road.

Utility poles located along Occoquan Road east of Old Bridge Road, as well as steep terrain, would increase the cost of the project, Canizales said.

News
Scott C. Dayton, 42, of Woodbridge killed in Syria blast

From the Department of Defense: 

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a sailor who was supporting Operation Inherent Resolve.

Senior Chief Petty Officer Scott C. Dayton, 42, of Woodbridge, Virginia, died Nov. 24 in northern Syria, of wounds sustained in an improvised explosive device blast.

He was assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit Two, which is based in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Dayton obtained the following qualifications during his military career: Enlisted Explosive Ordnance Disposal Warfare Specialist and Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist.

Dayton entered the U.S. Navy on Feb. 17, 1993 and during his service received 19 awards, which included: Bronze Star, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, seven Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, Combat Action Ribbon, Navy Unit Commendation, Navy “E” Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, two Iraq Campaign Medals, and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.

Traffic
This island on Prince William Parkway is now missing. That’s a good thing for drivers.

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — A multi-phase effort to widen Prince William Parkway in Woodbridge is complete. 

The Prince William County Department of Transportation this month finished work on removing an island in the eastbound lanes of Prince William Parkway and Minnieville Road in Woodbridge. With the island gone, drivers headed toward I-95 can make use of all three lanes of the eastbound parkway, which was widened between Minniville and Old Bridge roads last fall.

From Prince William County Transportation Director Rick Canizales:

The Prince William Department of Transportation is happy to have completed the final phase of the Prince William Parkway widening from Old Bridge Road to Minnieville Road.  This final phase allows for the all three lanes of the Parkway to continue through the Minnieville intersection, allowing for a free flow movement of all three lanes through the intersection and increasing capacity by 30%.  The project eliminated a bottleneck and a through-lane that turned into a right-turn lane at Minnieville.  The intersection on the new leg now consists of two left-turn lanes, three through-lanes and a right-turn lane.

This was the third and final phase of widening Prince William Parkway in eastern Prince William County.

Last fall, county leaders celebrated a $15 million project that saw the widening of the parkway between Minnieville and Old Bridge roads. In August 2011, transportation celebrated the completion of a $10.4 million project to widen the portion of the parkway between Hoadly and Old Bridge roads. 

Prince William Parkway is six lanes between Route is now six lanes between Interstate 95 and Hoadly Road.

Traffic
Crash victim flown to hospital; Route 1 backed-up for 7 miles

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — One person was flown to a hospital after a crash on Route 1.

Police closed a portion of the major thoroughfare about 4:30 p.m. after a crash was reported at 13709 Jefferson Davis Highway, in front of a Midas automotive center.

One person that had been reported trapped inside of the cars involved was rescued and was flown to a hospital. We don’t yet know the extent of the victim’s injuries.

Southbound traffic on Route 1 is snarled for seven miles, from the crash point back to Lorton Road in Fairfax County.

This crash follows another wreck in Prince William County today where one person was flown to a hospital.

We’ll post more information as we get it.

Update 5:12 p.m. 

The victim suffered injuries that do not appear to be life-threatening, stated Prince William police spokesman Nathan Probus.

Traffic
Woman struck, killed on Springwoods Drive in Lake Ridge

From police: 

Fatal Crash Investigation – On November 21 at 11:32PM, investigators from the Crash Investigation Unit responded to the area of Springwoods Dr and Glenridge Rd in Woodbridge (22192) to investigate a crash involving a pedestrian. The investigation revealed that the driver of a 2005 GMC Envoy was traveling northbound on Springwoods Dr approaching Glenridge Rd when the vehicle collided with a pedestrian attempting to cross Springwoods Dr. The pedestrian was transported to an area hospital where she died as a result of her injuries a short time later. The other driver remained on scene and was not injured. Speed, alcohol use and drug use do not appear factors for the driver involved in the crash. The pedestrian will be transported to the Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy. No charges are pending at this time. The investigation continues.

                Identified:

                The pedestrian was identified as Tabitha Lynn HACKLEY, 35, of Woodbridge

                The driver of the 2005 GMC Envoy was identified as a 22-year-old man of Woodbridge

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