WE ARE LOCAL News in Prince William, Virginia



Woodbridge Local

Marriage isn’t a give-and-take. It’s a give-and-give.

Marriage should be serious fun.

That’s the premise behind a series of classes called ‘Married People,’ hosted by Chapel Springs Church in Bristow.

The classes are hosted on Wednesday nights at 7:30 p.m., and are open to all married couples.

Pastor Josh and Leah Wesley both work in the ministry at Chapel Springs, and recently hosted one of the ‘Married People’ classes.

The Wesleys have been married for 15 years, after meeting through a mutual friend in ministry.

“We really became best friends and got to the point where, ‘I just don’t want to live life without you. I don’t want to experience anything about life without you by my side’ and that was it,” said Leah Wesley.

According to Pastor Josh Wesley, the classes are for all married couples who want to make their marriage better.

“We’re trying to help people – not just from the slant of ‘come fix your broken marriage’ – but also we’re being proactive in helping people continue to nurture healthy marriages. Marriage gets a lot of flack for being the ‘ball and chain.’ We really believe that marriage opens and unlocks a lot of opportunities…we’re helping people develop their relationships,” said Pastor Josh Wesley.

Here’s some advice from the Wesleys about marriage.

1. Stop comparing your marriage to other people’s marriages. The way that you have fun and enjoy your lives together is unique.

2. Develop the ability to give.

“Marriage is not a give-and-take. It’s a give-and-give. And when we both are giving equally, everybody’s being blessed,” said Pastor Josh Wesley.

3. Make the decision to put your spouse first every day, and value them.

4. Developing your imagination and creativity, and explore new ways to have fun.

“In marriage we kind of tend to get very hum drum. We tend to do the same thing over and over again. We go to work – we have responsibilities. And we forget to be creative and to spark that love and enjoyment with one another,” said Leah Wesley.

5. Know that marriage requires a lot of hard work.

6. Your marriage needs to be above all relationships, including the relationship with your children and parents.

Chapel Springs Church, with locations in Bristow and Stafford, is committed to offering marriage enrichment opportunities and helping people heal fractured marriages. Next Wednesday, July 29, concludes the “Married People” series with a session at 7:30 pm in the Bristow auditorium. All married couples are welcome to attend.

Free marriage resources.


Mob assault outside Woodbridge workplace investigated

Prince William police were called to an assault by mob in Woodbridge, on the evening of July 19.  

According to Prince William police, the victim – a 27-year old Woodbridge man – told officers he was leaving his workplace on Prince William Parkway, when he was assaulted by four men.

Prince William police stated that one of the men had been involved in a previous incident with the victim.

During the incident, the victim was able to detain one of the men – 42-year old Woodbridge man Alonzo Kindred. The three other individuals fled the scene on foot, stated Prince William police.

The victim was transported to a local medical facility to receive treatment on injuries to his face he sustained from the assault, said Prince William police.

Following an investigation, Prince William police were able to identify two of the three at-large suspects – 38-year old Willie Gilliam and 21-year old Daniel Gilliam.

Kindred has been charged with assault by mob, and the Gilliam’s are wanted for assault by mob.

Willie Gilliam is described as a black male, 5’10’ and 150 pounds with a thin build, black hair and brown eyes. Daniel Gilliam is described as a black male, 5’11” with a medium build, black hair and brown eyes, stated Prince William police.

Woodbridge man goes missing from Lowe’s


Prince William police have confirmed that Rowe has been located and is safe.

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Prince William police are looking for Jaja Rowe – a missing, endangered Woodbridge man.

According to Prince William police, Rowe was last seen on foot at the Lowe’s location on Smoketown Plaza in Woodbridge at 3 p.m. yesterday.

Rowe is described as a black male, 42 years old, 6’8”, 340 pounds with brown dreadlocks and hazel eyes, stated Prince William police.

He was last seen wearing a green and brown shirt, and a colored scarf on his head, said Prince William police.

Man robbed, assaulted, near Best Western hotel in Woodbridge

On the evening of July 14, Prince William police responded to the Sentara Medical Center on Opitz Boulevard in Woodbridge to investigate a robbery.

According to Prince William police, the victim – a 32-year old Woodbridge man – told officers that he had arranged to buy marijuana that night from two acquaintances behind the Best Western hotel on Potomac Mills road, near the area of the homeless camps.

During the meeting, the victim was hit in the face several times by the two individuals and his money was taken, stated Prince William police.

The individuals fled the scene in a gold Toyota Camry, said Prince William police.

The victim went to the Sentara Medical Center to be treated for his injuries, said Prince William police.

One suspect is known under the name “Fatz” and is described as 5’11” and 200 pounds. He was last seen wearing a white t-shirt and glasses, said Prince William police.

The second suspect is known as “Whop” and was last seen wearing black leather pants with a black and white t-shirt, stated Prince William police.

Proposed towing fees higher in Prince William

Two truck companies could soon be allowed to charge you more to tow your car in Prince William County.

Here’s a breakdown the of newly proposed fees:

Proposed fee Current fee  
$135 $125 For vehicles with gross weight of 10,001 pounds
$250 $175 For vehicles with gross weight between 10,001 and 26,001 pounds
$475 $300 For vehicles with gross weight of 26,001 or more pounds

Tow companies would also be allowed to charge drivers an additional $25 if their car is towed between 7 p.m. and 8 a.m. weekdays, on weekends, or holidays, according to the proposal.

Tow companies are not allowed to charge storage or impound fees for the first 24 hours. Companies may then charge $50 per each 24 hours thereafter. 

If the driver of a tow truck offers to release a vehicle before it is towed away, the owner of the car will have the option of paying a release fee up to $50 to have the vehicle released from the tow truck, according to the proposal.

A towing advisory board comprised of various towing companies and the Prince William County Police Department review towing fee on an annual basis.

The public hearing on the matter is set for 2 p.m. Aug. 4 at the Prince William County Government Center. The new fees must be approved by the Prince William County Board of Supervisors.

20 orgs win Prince William County arts grants

A total of $193,000 was provided to arts groups in Prince William County. 

The grant money is built into the annual county budget, and is awarded on the recommendation of the Prince William Arts Council County Parks and Recreation Department.

Each organization submitted a grant application. About $270,000 was requested, or about 140% of the total funds available. 

Brentsville District Supervisor Jeanine Lawson questioned whether or not some of the grant benefactors located in Manasssas were being funded by similar grants awarded by that city.

“I don’t have anything against these. I just want to know they’re carrying the weight themselves,” said Lawson.

Prince William County Parks and Recreation Director Debbie Andrew said Manassas does not offer the same type of arts grant as Prince William. She also told Lawson applicants must prove their arts programs regularly serve residents of Prince William County.

And the grant winners are: 

Applicant  Amount awarded
Center for the Arts $50,000
Manassas Ballet $60,000
Youth Orchestras $19,413
Woodbridge Flute $776
Cabin Branch Quilters $3,137
Old Bridge Chamber Orchestra $2,964
Castaways Repertory Theatre $2,301
Prince William Arts Society $886
Manassas Symphony  $10,695
Manassas Chorale $13,453
Woodbridge Dance $3,839
Celebration Singers $2,382
Prince William Little Theatre $5,250
Asaph Dance $5,522
New Dominion Choraliers  $3,618
Bull Run Cloggers $1,382
Woodbridge Music Club $1,211
Woodbridge Comm. Choir  $1,981
Gainesville Ballet $780
Shenandoah Sound $3,410


Woodbridge man pleads guilty to child pornography charges

Fifty-five year old Woodbridge man Jon McClellan pled guilty yesterday for receiving child pornography.

According to a U.S. Department of Justice release, McClellan used a file sharing program to receive and store child pornography images and videos, including videos of children between 5 and 12 years old that were being sexually abused.

Court documents stated that McClellan had more than 1,500 images and 1,800 videos of sexually exploited children.

More from a release:

McClellan faces a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison and a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison when he is sentenced on Oct. 2, 2015. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

Woodbridge man arrested for strangulation, domestic assault

On the evening of July 13, Prince William police responded to a call on Piccolo Lane in Woodbridge to investigate an assault.

According to Prince William police, the victim – a 20-year old Woodbridge woman – told officer that she and 24-year old Woodbridge man Roberto Estrada-Mata were involved in a verbal fight that escalated.

During the incident, Estrada-Mata put his hands around the victim’s neck and choked her, said Prince William police.

The victim was successful in breaking away from Estrada-Mata, and then he struck her several times, stated Prince William police.

When the victim contacted police, Estrada-Mata left the residence.

The victim had minor injuries, said Prince William police.

Estrada-Mata has been charged with strangulation and domestic assault and battery and is being held without bond, said Prince William police.

Tractor trailer, vehicle, in serious crash on Route 1 in Woodbridge

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New information from the Prince William police has been released on yesterday’s accident.

According to Prince William police, both drivers were injured. The driver in the red Honda is currently in critical condition at a local medical facility and the driver of the tractor trailer was treated for minor injuries, said Prince William police. 

More from Prince William police:

The tractor trailer was stopped at the intersection of Jefferson Davis Hwy at Mount Pleasant Dr. The Honda, straddling both lanes hit the back of the tractor trailer. Speed and alcohol appear to be factors. The investigation is continuing. The driver of the Honda is a 34 year old man from Alexandria, VA and the driver of the truck is a 48 year old man from Woodbridge, VA.

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There was a serious crash this afternoon in Woodbridge, involving a car and a tractor trailer.

According to Prince William police, the crash took place on Jefferson Davis Highway (Route 1) near Mount Pleasant Drive. A source told Potomac Local the accident took place in the northbound lanes.

One individual was seriously injured and was flown to a local medical facility, stated Prince William police.

Officers were on the scene to close the road at East Longview Drive. The roadway is now reopened for traffic, stated Prince William police.

The cause of the crash is still being investigated.

MOM’s Organic Market opening Sept. 11


Mom’s Organic Market will open today in Woodbridge.


Koetz stated that the opening has been pushed back to September.

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MOM’s Organic Market is opening a new location in Woodbridge at the end of August. 

According to MOM’s spokesman Christine Koetz, the 12,000 square foot store will be opening on Smoketown Road in the Prince William Square Shopping Center.

MOM’s is a regional chain of organic grocery stores, with 12 locations in the Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Philadelphia area, according to their website. They got their start in 1987.

MOM’s central office is located in Rockville, Maryland, said Koetz.

According to their website, MOM’s has a preference in their selection focusing on organic foods or non-GMO (genetically modified organism) foods. They do not sell any products with artificial colors, preservatives, sweeteners, hydrogenated oils, antibiotics or growth hormones, bleached flour, sulfates, or nitrates.


Woodbridge window climber charged

In the afternoon on July 7, Prince William police responded to a call on Wetherburn Court in Woodbridge to investigate a domestic incident.

According to Prince William police, the victim – a 30-year old woman – told officers that she and 32-year old Emmanuel Mensah were involved in a verbal altercation in front of her home. After the argument the victim returned to her home, and Mensah entered without permission through a kitchen window, stated Prince William police.

The victim attempted to flee the home through the front door, and Mensah then forced the door closed, striking her in the arm, said Prince William police.

Mensah left the home before officers arrived, but turned himself in to Prince William police.

He is currently being charged with burglary and domestic assault and battery, said Prince William police.

Fire crews called to Woodbridge home

A fire broke out at a home near Veterans Memorial Park in Woodbridge on Saturday night. 

Here are the latest details from OWL Volunteer Fire Department: 

Occoquan-Woodbridge-Lorton Volunteer Firefighters responded to the report of a house fire at 1265 Everett Ave in Woodbridge.  Crews arrived within minutes and reported heavy smoke and fire coming from the basement.  

Crews entered through the front door and attacked flames in the basement. In addition to the basement, intense heat and smoke caused damage to the first floor. The blaze was under control within minutes and is under investigation by the Prince William County Fire Marshal’s Office.

American Red Cross was called for four adults, one dog. There were no reported injuries. Fire and Rescue units from OWL VFD, Dale City VFD, PWCDF&R, Fairfax, Quantico and PWCPD responded to the incident.

Metro Transit Police employee charged with soliciting a 16-year old girl

On July 9, Prince William police finished a Special Victims Bureau investigation involving solicitation of a child, after searching a home on Wigglesworth Way in Woodbridge.

According to Prince William police, the investigation showed that in May and June 2015, 34-year old Woodbridge man David Davis was using a cell phone app called ‘TangoMe’ to speak with the victim – a 16-year old girl from Pennsylvania.

During the conversations, Davis exposed himself and asked for inappropriate photos of the victim, said Prince William police.

The incident was first reported to the Metro Transit Police Department (MTPD) – where Davis is an employee. The MTPD launched an investigation of their own, before notifying the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and handing the case off to Prince William police.

Davis is in custody and is being charged with indecent liberties with a child, and use of a communications device to solicit offense involving children, said Prince William police.

Principi goes to Trader Joe’s HQ in California to petition for Woodbridge location

Woodbridge district Supervisor Frank Principi is going to the Trader Joe’s headquarters in California.

Principi is going to their headquarters to petition for a Trader Joe’s location in Woodbridge at his own expense, following consistent feedback from residents.

In a survey he sent to Woodbridge residents, 85 percent of respondents said that they typically spend $100 or more when visiting Trader Joe’s, according to a release.

The “Bring Trader Joe’s to Woodbridge” Facebook page is very active, with more than 1,900 ‘likes’.  

Currently, the two closest locations are in Springfield and Centerville, which means that the money spent by area residents at these sites is leaving Prince William.

According to Principi, he hopes to get a meeting with one of the Trader Joe’s officials, and is willing to wear the company’s trademark Hawaiian shirt to do so.

“If it will help me get the meeting – definitely,” Principi stated in a release.

Residents in Woodbridge have not been shy in expressing their desire to have a Trader Joe’s location in their area.

“Trader Joe’s has unique items that are not available at other stores…They have reasonable prices and their selection of foods tend to have much healthier choices. The food is high quality and tasty and the personnel that work there are some of the friendliest and most helpful of any store, grocery or other,” said Woodbridge resident Harry Winnik in a release.

“We love Trader Joe’s, and right now it’s a once a month treat, only because it’s not close enough for us to go more often…We would shop twice a week if it was closer,” said Lake Ridge resident Erika Estrella in a release.

Principi stated that he would like to collect a signature with 2,000 signatures before he leaves for Trader Joe’s headquarters.

Principi formerly attended school and lived in California.

Woodbridge workforce center set to open in January

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A new workforce development center is set to open in Woodbridge in January.

First, the specifics from Northern Virginia Community College Woodbridge Campus spokeswoman Charlene Wilkins:

On January 2016, the Regional Center for Workforce Education and Training (RCWET) will open on the NOVA Woodbridge Campus offering a convenient, local solution for highly specialized continuing professional education.

The RCWET is a 55,000 square-foot state-of-the-art building that will be the epicenter of high-quality training and education delivery, creating a workforce to meet the technological demands of Northern Virginia businesses, government and military communities.
Training programs provided will include:

· Cybersecurity
· Healthcare
· IT
· Program Management

These programs will allow area employers and their incumbent workers the ability to expand their professional expertise and stay in step with the ever-changing advancements in today’s business environment. The Regional Center will also include a Certified Testing Center and 7,500 square-foot Conference Center designed to host a range of events from industrial-type training, exhibits and trade shows, to formal gatherings and special events.

The Prince William County Board of Supervisors committed $1 million to the project, and that caught the attention of Virginia lawmakers in Richmond who opted to fund the remainder of the $27 million project.

Woodbridge Campus Provost Dr. Sam Hill said the center’s ability to hold events would make it attractive to several organizations in the region.
“Prince William now has a center to hold events on the eastern side of the county,” said Hill.

Many events for Prince William County are held at the Continental Events Center in Manassas City, and at the Hylton Performing Arts Center just outside the city where Hill made his presentation about the new workforce development center.

Strangulation, burglaries and shooting this weekend in Woodbridge

The police were very busy this past holiday weekend, with several calls in Woodbridge.

July 3

Early in the morning on July 3, Prince William police responded to a call for shots fired at a home on Port Hope Point in Triangle.

According to Prince William police, the homeowner stated that shots were fired into the dining room in the home.

No one was injured, and no other homes were hit.

Officers and a K-9 unit checked the area, and several shell casings were found, said Prince William police.


Prince William police were called to one incident in the evening of July 3 for a robbery call at a home on Touchstone Circle in Woodbridge.

According to Prince William police, the victim – a 42-year old Woodbridge man – told police he had plans to meet with a stranger from Craigslist in the area to sell him a cell phone.

During the incident, the individual took the phone from the victim and fled on foot. The victim attempted to chase the individual, who then pointed an unknown object toward him, said Prince William police.

No one was injured.

The individual is described as a black male, between 17 and 20, 5’3” and 140 pounds with a thin build, dark complexion and short black hair, stated Prince William police.

July 5

Early in the morning on July 5, Prince William police responded to a call at a home on Esquarre Court in Woodbridge for an assault.

According to Prince William police, the victim – a 32-year old Woodbridge woman – was asleep in her bedroom when 42-year old Clayton Holly, a known acquaintance, began to choke her.

The victim was able to activate a home alarm, which caused Holly to leave temporarily, before he returned and attempted to choke the victim again, said Prince William police.

Holly took the victim’s cell phone and fled before police arrived.

Minor injuries were reported.

Holly – described as a black male, 5’8” and 185 pounds with black hair and brown eyes – is wanted for strangulation, grand larceny and preventing the summoning of law enforcement.


Around 10 a.m. on July 5, Prince William police were called to a home on Cronin Drive in Woodbridge for a burglary.

The homeowner reported that the robbery took place between 11 p.m. July 4 and 10 a.m. July 5, said Prince William police.

Officers determined that entry into the home was made through a bedroom window, by pushing out an air conditioning unit, according to Prince William police.

No property was reported missing.


Later in the evening on July 5, Prince William police received another burglary call for a home on Dunleigh Court in Woodbridge.

The homeowner said that the burglary took place between 8 a.m. on July 3 and 6 p.m. on July 5, said Prince William police.

According to Prince William police, officers found that entry was made using a rear sliding glass door that was shattered.

Two gaming consoles and several TVs were reported missing.


Four displaced by house fire in Woodbridge

Late in the eveningPWC Fire and Rescue on July 5, Prince William fire and rescue were called to a single family home for a fire on Nassau Drive in Woodbridge.

According to Prince William fire and rescue, there was fire seen on the back deck that had reached the attic.

Firefighters were able to extinguish the fire.

Prince William fire and rescue stated that three adults and one child was home at the time of the fire. The family was alerted about the fire by a neighbor knocking on their door to tell them, said Prince William fire and rescue.

The four individuals were able to safely evacuate. The Red Cross was on scene to assist the family displaced by the fire.

No one was injured.

A Building Inspector has declared the home uninhabitable, and has stated the damagers are worth $187,000.

The fire is currently being investigated by the Fire Marshal’s Office, said Prince William fire and rescue.

Ali Krieger fans gather in Woodbridge to watch Team USA win

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When the U.S. Women’s National Team took home the 5-2 win over Japan last night, fans gathered in Woodbridge to cheer them on.

Especially fans of Ali Krieger, the 30-year-old defensive player from Dumfries. Hometown hero Krieger attended C.D. Hylton High School for one year and later graduated from Forest Park High School. She played for Prince William Soccer Incorporated (PWSI).

Fans gathered to watch the championship game at Glory Days Grill in Woodbridge. Mike Yeatts at PWSI sent these photos to Potomac Local.

Why it got so foggy on the 4th of July

Did it get foggy on Saturday night or what?

After Independence Day revelers enjoyed their fireworks shows, a thick cloud of haze rolled into our region.

Many at the Potomac Nationals game in Woodbridge posted photos to social media showing the eerie fog.


When farm team for the Washington Nationals set off their fireworks after the game Saturday night, many stated they couldn’t see them because the fog was so dense.

Brian Lasorsa, of the National Weather Service Baltimore/Washington office in Sterling, said they knew the fog was coming when forecasters updated thier short-term forecast about 7 p.m. Saturday. Lasorsa said smoke from fireworks could have played a role in why the fog was so dense.

After the fireworks shows ended, a breeze blew most of the smoke south of Washington, D.C., where many gather on the National Mall to watch one of the region’s largest firework shows. Fog at Ronald Regan National Airpot reduced visibility to about two to three miles, said Lasorsa.

On a clear day, it’s possible to see about 10 miles in any direction, he added.

The fog — and firework smoke – hung around due to inversion, said Lasorsa. That’s when air temperatures at the surface are cooler than they are aloft. So, instead of rising and blowing away, the smoke hung around.

It’s possible that smoke particles could have been a contributing factor of creating more fog across the region.

The fog cleared out of the area Sunday morning.

Woodbridge man shot, killed in Alexandria

A Woodbridge man was killed during a shooting in Alexandria last night.

Alexandria police were called to N. Fayette Street in Alexandria to investigate.

According to Alexandria police, the victim – 22-year old Shakkan Elliot-Tibbs – was found by officers, suffering from a gunshot.

Elliot-Tibbs was transported to a hospital where he later died of his injuries, said Alexandria police.

The investigation is still ongoing.

This is the first homicide in Alexandria this year, said Alexandria police.

Woodbridge woman charged with child neglect, reckless driving

On the morning of June 29, Prince William police responded to a call for child neglect that took place at the A.J. Ferlazzo building in Woodbridge.

According to Prince William police, the caller stated that they met with 29-year old Woodbridge woman Shaquann Wilson in front of the building for a child custody exchange.

When the caller attempted to secure the 6-year old child in the backseat of Wilson’s car, Wilson drove away, said Prince William police.

Both the caller and a witness stated that the child was not secured in the seat and Wilson’s vehicle door was open when she pulled away, stated Prince William police.

Wilson turned herself into the police after officers made contact with her.

No one was injured.

Wilson is being charged with felony child neglect and reckless driving and is being held on a $2,000 bond.

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