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Woodbridge Local

‘It was the murder of her younger brother which brought such intense grief into her life that she gained 170 pounds’

Aubrey Dewey had lost hope. And not just hope at being able to lose weight. She had lost hope in life.

When you ask her what she would tell her younger self now that she’s on the other side of her weight-loss surgery, her words are full of grace and empathy.

Aubrey’s strength and wisdom are apparent, and we see that this journey was about so much more than reclaiming her physical body; it was and continues to be, about re-establishing her sense of self-worth and self-love.

“I would first look at [my younger self] who is in so much pain and has lost all hope for anything better in life and tell her that she’s worth this effort [of weight-loss]. I would tell her that it’s okay to move forward. Healing doesn’t equal forgetting the one that was taken from you. I would tell her that freedom from a body that has become a prison feels better than she could ever begin to imagine. I would tell her that she absolutely can do this and that she’s going to see just how strong she really is.”

Aubrey gained this perspective through her work with the community at the Sentara Weight Loss Surgery Center at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center. The program became a safe space for Aubrey where she found the courage to face the intense pain that spurred her weight-gain.

Unlike many people who have life-long struggles with obesity, Aubrey spent most of her life at a normal weight. It was the murder of her younger brother which brought such intense grief into her life that she gained 170 pounds. At her peak before surgery, she weighed 340 pounds. For ten years, food was her haven, and her weight was a survival mechanism. (more…)

NOVA-Woodbridge campus to host Military Appreciation Day event

From Northern Virginia Community College:

The Woodbridge Campus of Northern Virginia Community College will host a Military Appreciation Day, in honor of those who have and are currently serving in the United States Armed Forces. With 15 percent of NOVA students classified as veterans or active duty personnel, NOVA’s Office of Military and Veterans Services (OMVS) has continuously assisted active duty service members, veterans and family members to achieve their education and career goals.

The event will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 8 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at NOVA-Woodbridge, 2645 College Drive, Woodbridge.

NOVA will honor guest speaker for the event, Rappahannock County resident Chilton “Chilly” Raiford for his service as a gunner on the USS Randolph in the Pacific Theatre of World War II. While serving his country, Raiford was severely wounded and survived two Kamikaze attacks and remained on the ship until the war ended. At 94, he shares his experiences with veterans and young people. (more…)

Caregivers strive to reduce bath-time challenges for seniors

When it comes to helping older adults remain in their homes, bathing can be a challenging issue. But Tessa Lamb of Home Instead Senior Care of Manassas and Herndon has found those concerns can be overcome with the right combination of compassion and experience.

Lamb has been working with seniors since 1996, as long as she’s been a licensed practical nurse. During that time, she realized there are identifiable, key issues that impact bath time. By recognizing and addressing these concerns, home care providers can help their clients age with greater hope and success.

Respecting privacy and independence

Over the years, Lamb has worked with seniors aged 65 up to “the beautiful young age” of 96 who wanted to age in place. That taught her the value of having a good relationship with her clients, she said.

“They all cherish their independence,” she said. “Getting into and out of a shower can be difficult as we age and become less flexible. Many times requiring the standby assistance of a home health aid can be very daunting.”

At the same time, privacy is a key concern for clients. “They have been taking care of themselves for over 60 or more years and now someone needs to help them shower,” she explained. “This can be both frustrating and embarrassing.”

Neither giving nor receiving this kind of care is easy. That’s why cultivating a positive relationship is crucial to protect the dignity of those receiving care, as well as to enhance the quality of life for both seniors and their families throughout the caregiving experience.

Recognizing changes in sensory perception

As people age, the acuteness of the senses decreases, and that can have ramifications for both the person who is bathing and the person who is helping with the process. For example, Lamb pointed out, the ears serve two purposes – hearing and maintaining balance – so the loss of sensitivity affects balance as well as hearing. That can have a significant impact when it comes to bath time.

“If your balance is off, you are not going to want to go onto a wet, slippery surface,” she said.

The same holds true when it comes to vision loss. “The bathroom is a major fall risk area, and thus a very scary place for seniors,” Lamb explained.

Other senses also come into play. When the sense of touch changes, it can result in decreased temperature sensitivity. That means it can be difficult to tell the difference between water that is cool or cold and water that is hot or warm.

When the sense of smell is lessened, seniors might not be able to smell the odor of their body when they have not taken a shower in several days or weeks. Understanding these changes in sensory perception and how they affect a person’s ability or willingness to bathe can help offset concerns a senior may have when it comes to bath time.

Accounting for fatigue or dementia

Another factor that can impact the bathing process is the fatigue that can accompany many of the medical conditions or illnesses that seniors may develop. Even medications can cause people to become tired easily.

Helping bathe clients with dementia and memory impairment requires particular care, Lamb said. “It is very, very important to establish a rapport, trust and a relationship with them before any major task can be performed,” she explained. “Consistency is also key because of the short-term memory loss.”

In Lamb’s experience, a little bit of empathy goes a long way when it comes to overcoming the challenges surrounding bath time. “I recommend that you show seniors love, kindness, patience, respect – and allow them time,” she said. “Give them choices.”

Perhaps a client isn’t up to a bath at a particular moment. That’s when a caregiver should offer alternatives, such as a sponge bath, a warm face cloth, a chair bath or even a bed bath. The bottom line is that there are many options. A good caregiver will understand and offer alternatives, while also respecting the client’s concerns.

“There is also the option of ‘just not today,’” Lamb said. “It is more important to establish a relationship and build trust first than try to obtain the goal of a bath.”

For more information on Home Instead Senior Care in Manassas and to sign up for their newsletter with other helpful articles, visit their website.

The cost to keep the lights on: Potomac Nationals stadium lease extended

MiLB still must decide if team stays in Prince William 

The Potomac Nationals are cleared to stay in Prince William County, through 2020, should the team choose.

The Board of Supervisors approved a new stadium agreement for the Minor-Leauge team’s current home at Richard G. Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge. Under the agreement, the team will pay 71% of the electric bill, and complete their current lease agreement which had been set to expire in December 2018.

The new deal gives the team two options to extend their stay at the stadium, in 2019 and again in 2020.

Other terms of the deal:

  • The team will use the stadium to play 70 regular games
  • Any non-baseball event must be approved by the county.
  • Prince William County maintains non-plying field areas like parking lot, fencing, concession areas, stands
  • The ball club is responsible for maintaining field and scoreboard
  • The county may use the scoreboard during festivals and non-baseball events if county pays club $20 per hour per employee to use it

“We are so appreciative of the action that the Board has taken, as it affirms the team’s ability to continue playing at Pfitzner Stadium. At the same time, it affords us the opportunity during this time to investigate other avenues that involve private financing for a new ballpark,” the team posted on its Facebook page.

The new agreement comes after negotiations between the team, county officials and JBG, Inc., owners of the Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center development in Woodbridge for a new baseball stadium at the town center failed this past summer.

The team has been playing at the 33-year-old Pfitzner Stadium with special permission from Minor League Baseball due to what the league considers to be poor standards at the stadium. Team owner Art Silber threatened to begin negotiations to leave the county and possibly sell the team if the stadium deal was not approved. (more…)

Four-way stop, forced right turn ideas for Davis Ford fix

Lori Viera bought her dream home just off Davis Ford Road two years ago.

She and her family pulled up roots from Springfield in Fairfax County and now call Prince William County their home.

But since she’s moved in, increasing traffic congestion on the two-lane road has become an unwanted neighbor.


Viera told us:

“Well, when we first moved in we did some test runs because a couple of the people that live in this area we know they said ‘well you might want to see about the traffic congestion in that area.’ So, we came out in the morning during rush hour and timed it. You know, we figured OK, the extra 15 minutes from where we were living back in Springfield, and it wasn’t that bad.”

As it does at the end of summer, she noticed traffic worsened a bit when school started. But it kept getting worse, she said, nearly doubling the amount of time she spent in delays. It’s particularly bad from 6;30 to 8:30 a.m., and 3 to 6 p.m. on weekdays.

Viera attended our Davis Ford and Yates Ford roads Traffic Think Tank held jointly with Prince William County Supervisor Ruth Anderson held to gain ideas on how to fix the two popular commuter routes that bridge Fairfax and Prince William counties, Her collaboration group came up with idea to place 4-way stop at the intersection of Old Yates Ford and Henderson roads in Fairfax County.

“It’s very very dangerous for people coming up that steep hill [on Henderson Road] to get into oncoming traffic [on Old Yates Ford Road] and oncoming traffic does not stop. So right now people take turns. If you’re nice to let somebody in but you don’t have to stop. So it creates a huge back up on all the way back on Henderson.”

Veira’s group also focused traffic on the four-lane portion of Yates Ford Road in Prince William that bottlenecks down to two lanes just before the intersection of Davis Ford. She recommends making one of the eastbound lanes on Yates Ford Road a must-turn lane, forcing drivers to make a right onto Davis Ford, and allowing drivers in the left lane to keep going on Yates Ford, to cross into Fairfax County.

Kline, Route 28 dominate discussion for Davis/Yates Ford fix

Residents gathered on Thursday, Oct. 19 to discuss traffic congestion in the Davis Ford and Yates Ford roads corridor.

Near the start of the discussion, hopes for a new bridge across the Occoquan River to link Prince William and Fairfax counties, to provide relief along the popular two-lane road commuter route that is Yates Ford Road, isn’t going to happen.

“I don’t’ see anything that would lead to adding a bridge at this particular point now or widen Yates Ford Road,” said Virginia State Sen. George Barker, who serves Fairfax and Prince William counties.

There once were plans for a bridge across the Occoquan to connect present-day Ridgefield Road near the Prince William County Government Center, but it was never built.

And when it comes to widening Yates Ford Road, there’s nothing the state can do to make that happen, said Delegate Bob Marshall. That would be the decision of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

“The widening of those roads are not in our comprehensive plan,” said Fairfax County Transportation Director Tom Biesiadny. “The community will not support that.” (more…)

Daycare centers cancels 32nd annual fall festival after swastika found

The fall festival that has taken place for the past 32 years at Early Years Academy is canceled.

Daycare academy founder Samia Harris told us she moved the outdoor festival inside after a swastika was found painted on the sign outside of her business on Spriggs Road near Dale City.

“Everybody is jittery. I’m jittery. The kids didn’t go out today. We have a fall festival on Friday we are bringing it in. Instead of just enjoying the beautiful field with the pumpkins and everything that we planned, it’s now canceled.

Here’s why in a statement from Prince William police:

“Vandalism – On October 21 at 6:05PM, officers responded to the Prince William Academy located at 13817 Spriggs Rd in Woodbridge (22193) to investigate a destruction of property. The investigation revealed that sometime between 6:00PM on October 20 and 6:00PM on October 21, an unknown person spray painted a swastika symbol on the sign to the school that faces the roadway.

Additional vandalisms were located on a neighboring sign and on property in the surrounding neighborhood including two stop signs, a fire hydrant, a mailbox and a vehicle. Some of the vandalism appeared random and illegible.

During a canvass, a witness reported seeing a group of possible juveniles in the area at the time of the vandalisms on the evening of October 20. No further information was provided.” 


‘I live on Signal Hill Road and there is a lot of traffic in the morning speeding down our small, residential road’

We’re getting answers to some of the questions that we didn’t have time to ask at our Davis Ford and Yates Ford roads Traffic Think Tank on Oct. 19.

Today’s question:

“People shortcut through other roads to get through some of the Yates Ford Road traffic. I live on Signal Hill Road and there is a lot of traffic in the morning speeding down our small, residential road. Is there anything that can be done to reduce this traffic and/or speeding?”

Prince William County Police Department Central District Commander Capt. James L. Carr replied:


“There are certain things that we do with our motorcycle traffic unit…yes we enforce all type of traffic calming measures like for example we put our speed indicator side out there and that will show people hey we’re out there looking at your traffic. And it also has a deterring effect.”Hey I better not go down this road because I know that the motorcycle guys are out there and I could get a ticket.”

What a speed indicator sign and how does it work?

“A speed indicator sign is, say for example the speed limit will just is 25 mph on a roadway. We set our speed indicator up to show the person coming through that area, it’ll flash with their speed is. If you’re at 25, it’ll show you’re at 25. Then it will give you a different indicator like a white flash if you’re going above the speed limit. This device will also flash red if you’re way above the speed limit and it will show you what your speed is.

Also this device records whether or not you take action based on the signals showing you that you’re speeding and we have seen, based on our data, that once an individual knows ‘hey…you’re driving above the speed limit,’ it shows us a percentage or reduction of their speed after the indicator shows that they’re speeding.”

The police need to know there is a speeding problem on your street.

“All we need is for the citizen to tell us hey at this particular time of the day especially on this day I see speeding whatever it is, and we go out there, and we enforce the traffic laws.”

Photo: Prince William County

Shootings into homes investigated in Dumfries, Woodbridge

From Prince Wiliam police: 

Shooting into a Residential Dwellings – On October 21 at 3:39PM, officers responded to the 2500 block of Sedgewick Pl in the Town of Dumfries (22026) to investigate a shots fired call. The investigation revealed that sometime between 5:00AM and 5:30AM, several shots were fired from behind the residences. Later that afternoon, several bullet holes were discovered on three townhomes. Officers searched the surrounding area and did not locate any shell casings. No injuries or other property damage were reported.

Shooting into a Residential Dwelling – On October 21 at 8:25AM, officers responded to the 4300 block of Eileen Ct in Woodbridge (22193) to investigate a destruction of property. The investigation revealed that sometime between 3:00AM and 5:00AM, several shots were fired which struck a vehicle and a residence in the above area. Several shell casings were recovered from the roadway. No injuries or other property damage were reported.

Virginia Railway Express apologizes after lengthy Friday commute

Commuters on Virginia Railway Express had to contend with long delays on Friday.

A portion of the track just south of Long Bridge across the Potomac River in Arlington caught fire, leaving passengers stranded for hours.

This morning, the transit agency issued an apology.

First, we would like to apologize to everyone affected by the service disruption last Friday evening due to the brush fires north of Crystal City. We know that some of our passengers got home some three to four hours late and understood this is a major inconvenience. As a follow-up, we would like to explain the timeline of events.

Once the fire was out, bridge inspectors were sent to make sure the bridge was stable enough to handle rail traffic, but they became stuck in traffic delays.

More from VRE: (more…)

‘Is there any way to remove some of the traffic lights on [Route 28] to make it more efficient?’

We’re taking some of the questions that we didn’t have time to address at the Davis Ford and Yates Ford Traffic Think Tank on Oct. 19, and we’re getting answers.

Today’s question:

“Is there any way to remove some of the traffic lights on [Route 28] to make it more efficient?”

Virginia Department of Transportation Prince William County Liason Richard “Dic” Burke said:


“Anytime you remove a traffic signal it would reduce delay. However, to replace you would either have to have some restriction of movement, either no left turn for the median or you’d have to build an interchange which would take up a lot of room, right-of-way, and cost a lot of funds. We are looking at with a county, with some of their stuff alternative intersection designs, some things that we’re looking at…not making a left at the signal but to go up and make maybe a U-turn in the middle, sort of like a “Michigan left.”

What’s a “Michigan left?”

Burke explains:

“I think well we call them now, here is “R-cuts.” So, you actually go past the intersection; you make a left and the median to come back to make a left.”

Davis Ford and Yates Ford roads Traffic Think Tank Survey

As we promised those who attended our Davis Ford and Yates Ford roads Traffic Think Tank, here is the survey where you can give us your opinions on traffic conditions on those roads. 

This week, we’ll post some of the questions and answers that we didn’t have time to address at Thursday night’s meeting, like this one

Updated: Man missing for two weeks and spotted at Potomac Mills has been found

From police: 

*UPDATE: Mr. Lowery was sighted at the Potomac Mills mall parking lot on October 20 around 11:48am. At the time, he was wearing a white t-shirt, black pants and carrying a black backpack with silver stripes on it. Mr. Lowery also has dragon tattoos on both forearms and frequents Game Stops, comic book and game type stores, dollar stores, as well as, utilizes the Omni-link and PRTC buses for transportation. Anyone with information on Mr. Lowery’s whereabouts is asked to call Prince William County police at 703-792-6500 or your local police department.

Police sent out this notice on Oct. 6.: 

MISSING ENDANGERED ADULT: The Prince William County Police Department is asking for the public’s help in locating a missing and endangered adult, Thomas Hendrick LOWERY. The investigation revealed that Thomas walked away from his residence located in the 15800 block Bobolink Dr in Woodbridge (22191) this morning around 9:30AM.Thomas left the residence voluntarily and may be in need of assistance which qualifies him as being endangered. Anyone with information on this person’s whereabouts is asked to call Prince William County police at 703-792-6500 or your local police department.

Thomas Hendrick LOWERY is described as an white male, 40 years of age, 5’08″, 140lbs with brown hair and brown eyes. Thomas was last seen wearing a grey jacket, blue jeans, tennis shoes, and a black back pack with silver stripes

Update 11 a.m. Monday, Oct. 23

Thomas Lowery has been located in the Manassas area and is safe, according to Prince William County police spokesman Jonathan Perok.

Davis Ford and Yates Ford roads: ‘I think you know traffic is a lot like water’

Thanks for coming to our Davis Ford and Yates Ford roads Think Tank.

We had more than 60 people come to Simmons Hall at Buckhall Volunteer Fire Station to exchange ideas, and to hear from public officials about improvements that could be made to Davis Ford and Yates Ford roads — a major commuter route between Fairfax and Prince William counties.

We’ve got a recap story in the works, but we wanted to answer a few of the submitted audience questions that we didn’t get a chance to address last night.

Over the coming days, we’ll post those questions and the responses from officials here on Potomac Local.

The first question:

“Should we take measures to encourage measures that tell drivers to use Prince Wiliam Parkway instead of Davis Ford and Yates Ford roads?”

Virginia Department of Transportation Prince William County Liason Richard “Dic” Burke said:


“A lot of speakers tonight talked about fixing the major corridors — Route 28, Route 123, Route 1– and that takes up a lot of money. I think you know traffic is a lot like water. Traffic is going to go the easiest route, so if you make the route better for these major roadways the traffic will go ahead and use it.”

But when it comes to improving the two-lane Davis Ford and Yates Ford roads, there’s limited room to do so without taking private property.

“I think the opportunity here is that you’ve got limited right-of-way, limited lanes with a lot of impacts. That’s the situation that you’re into right here.”

‘The last day to vote in-person absentee is Saturday, Nov. 4.’

From an email from Prince William County Government: 

People whose work times will exceed 11 hours between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Election Day, voters who have business or will be on vacation outside of the county on Election Day, and voters who have a disability or religious obligations don’t have to miss their opportunity to vote in this year’s General Election. They can vote by absentee ballot instead.

Those who would like to vote absentee by mail can request a ballot be mailed to them. Applications for mailed ballots can be found on the Office of Elections’ website. The application must be received by 5 p.m. on Oct. 31, and the ballot must be completed and returned by 7 p.m. on Election Day.

For those who would rather vote in person, absentee voting is available now at the Office of Elections, 9250 Lee Avenue in Manassas, and the Woodbridge Department of Motor Vehicles located at 2731 Caton Hill Road. Additional in-person absentee voting locations will open on Oct. 23, including:

— Dr. A.J. Ferlazzo Building, 15941 Donald Curtis Drive in Woodbridge

— McCoart Government Center, 1 County Complex Court in Woodbridge

— Haymarket-Gainesville Community Library, 14870 Lightner Road in Haymarket

— Brentsville Courthouse Historic Centre, 12229 Bristow Road in Bristow

The last day to vote in-person absentee is Saturday, Nov. 4.

Items on this year’s ballot include races for Governor, Lt. Governor and Attorney General for the state of Virginia and Virginia House of Delegates races.

Visit the Prince William County Office of Elections website at for a complete list of qualifications to vote absentee.

Two-alarm blaze breaks out at house off Prince William Parkway

Fire crews are battling a 2-alarm blaze at a home off Prince Wiliam Parkway. 

Here’s the official word from Prince William Fire and Rescue: 

Dispatch 5:56
6300 block Hemlock Ridge Ct.
no injuries reported
FD arrived on scene with an attached garage fully involved.
Fire was extending into the home.
Went to 2 alarms.
Still active operations at this time.
Single family dwelling.

The home was located nearest the newest Prince William County Fire Station 2g, which opened Sept. 30.

However, crews from Buckhall Fire Department on Yates Ford Road were first on the scene. 

More as we have it. 

Updated — More from Prince William fire and rescue: 

Damage is extensive. The cause is under investigation. The Red Cross was on the scene to assist the displaced family.


The home sustained extensive damage estimated at $500,000. The Building Official has posted the home unsafe.

The occupants were not home at the time of the fire; Red Cross is assisting the family, 2 adults and 4 children, displaced by the fire.

The fire is currently under investigation by the Fire Marshal’s Office.

Photos: Prince William fire and rescue 


Does a pop-up store tarnish your impression of an ‘upscale’ shopping center?

When Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center opened in Woodbridge, community leaders sold it as a destination retail center that would be the model of future developments in Prince William County.

With its mix of restaurants, upscale shops, Wegmans grocery store, and homes, Stonebridge was going to be unlike other shopping centers that had come before it.

Some establishments in the shopping center, like Travinia Italian Kitchen, Golfsmith, and the flash-in-the-pan Toby Keith’s I love This Bar and Grill, have come and gone.

Some new ones, like Bar Louie and Spirit Halloween, have opened in their place.

In the case of Spirit, the Halloween shop is a seasonal operation.

From Spirit Halloween’s website:

“Spirit stores open in late August through early November each year, stocked with everything you can imagine for Halloween including costumes, masks, wigs, indoor and outdoor décor items, animatronics, makeup, collectibles, props and in-depth accessories.”

So, here’s the question: Does having a seasonal pop-up store at an upscale destination, near an Apple Store, tarnish the image of the shopping center?

Or, is it better to have a store fill a space on a temporary basis rather than having it sit empty, with the lights turned off?

Your thoughts in the comments, please.

Police arrest man, 22, in connection with stabbing investigation

From Prince William County police:

Stabbing Investigation – On October 17 at 12:33a.m., officers responded to a hotel located in the 17100 block of Dumfries Rd in Dumfries (22025) to investigate a stabbing. The investigation revealed that the victims, a 21-year-old man and a 24-year-old man both of Midland, and two other male acquaintances were involved in a verbal altercation at the hotel, which escalated.

During the encounter, the accused stabbed both of the victims in the upper body with a knife. The parties eventually separated and police were contacted. When officers arrived, they detained the accused without incident. The victims were transported to a local area hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Following the investigation, the accused was arrested without incident.


A member of the Felmley family has been involved with the hospital from before it was even built — that’s more than 45 years of service!

When Martha Felmley was invited to an introductory meeting for the Potomac Hospital Auxiliary in the early 70’s, she had no idea it would ignite a passion that would consume nearly half of her life and be passed down through the generations.

“We had fundraisers to make money and went door to door to collect money. In the beginning, it was all about money to build the hospital” remembers the soon-to-be 90-year-old, smiling.

For Martha Felmley, that commitment grew as the hospital did. Over the years, in addition to volunteering, she served on the Hospital Board of Trustees and worked in community relations, her family always by her side. That’s why it’s no surprise the hospital became a family affair, with Felmley’s daughter and granddaughter both eventually working here!

For Felmley’s daughter, Martha Moore, the connections to the hospital started before she could drive. “I used to babysit Howard Greenhouse’s children!” she remembers, laughing.

Moore, now a Cardiac Systems Coordinator for Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center, started out babysitting the head of the hospital board’s children. It was about that same time she was a candy striper at the hospital, and from there, she was a weekend cashier in the gift shop. (more…)

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