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Potomac Mills expansion to force out commuters

Commuters on Tuesday were greeted with yellow cones and barriers as they tried to park at a crowded parking lot at Potomac Mills mall in Woodbridge. (File)

Update 5 p.m.
We now know a bit more about why Potomac Mills mall decided to drastically reduce the amount of commuter parking there.

In a statement issued by the mall, officials say an increased demand for employee and customer parking, as well as the anticipated addition of several new retailers and restaurants in the coming year has driven the need to reduce the number of parking spaces commuters use each weekday by 75 percent from when commuter parking there was at its peak. (more…)

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Principi will use phone for town hall

Woodbridge District Supervisor Frank J. Principi

It’s time to tell Woodbridge District Supervisor Frank J. Principi what’s on your mind.

The county supervisor on Wednesday on his Twitter account said he would hold a telephone town hall meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday January 25.

There is no word yet on how many people are expected to participate, or what number residents will dial to take part in the telephone conference.

According to Tele-Town Hall’s website, those who participate in Tele-Town Halls are able to pose questions and get answers from politicians while using their technology.

The firm says thousands of politicians nationwide use the Tele-Town Hall service.

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Helping parents with college, disabled students

Navigating the wilds of college applications can be tough.

That’s why a town hall meeting aimed at tackling the financial aid process will be held for parents and students Thursday January 20 at 7 p.m. at Freedom High School in Woodbridge. The event is free.

There will also be a meeting for students with disabilities who are transitioning from high school into college and post-school life.

The seminar will be held from 12:30 to 4 p.m. Saturday March 5, 2011 at the Edward L. Kelly Leadership Center near at Independent Hill.

The meeting will cover estate planning, college disability support services, career planning and other topics.

Reservations are suggested for the event.

There are a lot of other events going on in the area. Check them out and submit your own.

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A ‘brother’ to be remembered

George Doughty's body was found in the woods in Dale City on Jan. 5, 2011.

Woodbridge, Va. –– George Doughty was a good friend, a sort of keeper of homeless community in Dale City, and was like a brother to the man who will lead his remembrance service Thursday.

Doughty was found dead of apparent medical problems in the woods off Dale Boulevard one week ago. He was homeless, and for at least the past three years had called those woods home.

A service will be held in his honor at 8 p.m. at St. Paul United Methodist Church in Woodbridge.

The church itself is the tallest building in that section of town, a fitting place to remember someone who was loved by so many. (more…)

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Firefighter charged with DUI


Update 3:15 p.m.

The firefighter charged with DUI on Monday is a volunteer with OWL Volunteer Fire Department in Woodbridge, but officials stress he was not on company time when he was arrested.

OWL VFD Chief Jim McAllister said Pottier was operating his own vehicle and was not on duty, and when he was arrested, did not identify himself to police as a volunteer firefighter.

Original post 1:48 p.m.
Lake Ridge, Va. –– A volunteer firefighter in Prince William County has been arrested and charged with DUI, police said.

Nathan Collier Pottier, 25, of Vienna, was stopped at 11 p.m. Monday in the area of Hedges Run Drive and Old Bridge Road in Lake Ridge.

When the officer questioned him, he determined Pottier to be driving under the influence of alcohol, said Prince William police spokesman Jonathan Perok.

Police said Pottier is a volunteer firefighter in Prince William.

More on this story as we get it.

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Leesylvania to honor revolutionary Harry Lee

Woodbridge, Va. –– The father of confederate General Robert E. Lee was born in what today is considered Woodbridge.

Known as “Light Horse Harry” Lee, the historical figure served as a delegate to the continental congress, favored adoption of the U.S. constitution, and was Virginia’s ninth governor.

Leesylvania State Park, once a plantation on the Potomac River where Lee was born, will provide a tour of his birthplace, tell visitors of his life and accomplishments and showcase what life was like in colonial times.

The event begins at 11 a.m. Jan. 29, at the park’s visitor center. (more…)

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Slide show: McDonnell, Redskins get fit

Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell exercises with students from Fred Lynn Middle School in Woodbridge as the Redskins donate a “Youth Fitness Zone” to the school. (Mary Davidson)

Woodbridge, Va. –– Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell appeared alongside Redskins Linebacker Lorenzo Alexander on Thursday, when they donated a “Redskins Youth Fitness Zone” to a Fred Lynn Middle School in Woodbridge.

The governor was joined by his wife, Maureen, and team owner Daniel Snyder and his wife, Tanya, were also on hand for the event.

While there, the McDonnell exercised with students inside the gymnasium.

He also told the crowd that his wife was a Redskins cheerleader when they met 35-years-ago. (more…)

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Another Five Guys closes

Another Five Guys Burgers and Fries restaurant has closed.

After the company closed one of its Woodbridge locations last month, the popular Five Guys location in Salem, Va. (in southwest Virginia) closed its doors Dec. 31.

So far, the representatives from the Lorton-based burger chain have not said why they chose to close the locations.

A representative from the shopping center in Salem where the restaurant once sat told the Roanoke Times the burger joint appeared to be successful. (more…)

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Governor, Redskins to be in Woodbridge

Gov. Robert F. McDonnell

Woodbridge, Va. –– Gov. Robert F. McDonnell will appear in Woodbridge on Thursday as the Redskins donate a new fitness facility to a local school.

The state’s top official and his wife, Maureen, will be on hand when the Redskins Charitable Foundation and GlaxoSmithKline donate the ‘Redskins Youth Fitness Zone” at Fred M. Lynn Middle School, at 1650 Prince William Parkway.

The event will take place at 3:30 p.m., according to McDonnell spokeswoman Stacey Johnson. (more…)

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Victim ID’d, burglaries probed, crasher charged

Victim identified
The pedestrian struck and killed in Mt. Vernon on New Year’s Day has been identified as 58-year-old Marino Sorto-Reyes, of Alexandria.

Sorto-Reyes was killed after being struck by a 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee as he was trying to cross U.S. 1 in the area of Janna Lee Avenue.

Police said the victim was not using a crosswalk. No charges have been filed. (more…)

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High-speed rail board to set agenda Friday

The White House’s vision of high-speed rail in the U.S. in 2009.

Woodbridge, Va. –– The second meeting of the Virginia – North Carolina High-Speed Rail Compact will be mostly an organizational one, says one of the local legislators who represents Virginia on the board.

The 10-member board, which includes five members of the Virginia House of Delegates, an engineer and four members of the North Carolina House of Representatives, will meet Friday in Richmond.

Virginia Del. Richard Anderson, R-51 (Lake Ridge, Woodbridge) was tapped by Gov. Robert F. McDonnell to serve on the board.

The board is expected to identify what they will work on over the coming months at the meeting.

“We need to maximize any sort of federal grants we get so that we can press forward on the construction of high speed rail. I definitely agree with the Obama administration on high-speed rail. It’s something we need, and in our area, it’s much more doable than bringing Metro to Woodbridge,” said Anderson. (more…)

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Free cab rides offered tonight

Plan on having a few too many tonight while ringing in the New Year? Some can get a free cab ride home.

SoberRide will offer free cab rides home (up to a $30 fare) from now until 6 a.m. Saturday.

While residents in south Fairfax and Woodbridge can get in on the free rides, no cab company in Stafford County is participating in the SoberRide program. (more…)

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Late jazz musician frequented area high school

Dr. Billy Taylor, legendary jazz preformer and educator, died Wednesday at 89. (Credit: Travis Sullivan's Blog)

Woodbridge, Va. –– The legendary Dr. Billy Taylor died Wednesday at age 89.

The Washington native, renowned pianist and jazz educator often gave performances at C.D. Hylton High School in Woodbridge as part of “Billy Taylor’s Jazz at the Kennedy Center Program.”

The educational show was televised nationally by the Prince William Network, a media services division of the county public school system.

“He was our favorite artist and was always a gentleman who was never demanding. But when working with him you knew you were working with a giant of the jazz world and you made sure everything was perfect for his performances,” said Prince William Network Director Ben Swecker.

Taylor lived outside New York City and died of apparent heart failure, according to his website. (more…)

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Small toiletries help homeless in big ways

Gayle Sanders is the Director of the Hilda Barg Homeless Prevention Center in Woodbridge.

Woodbridge, Va. –– For those living in the woods, in transitional housing, or for those who don’t know where they’ll sleep tonight, small donations really add up.

The AfterShare program at the Volunteers of America Chesapeake Hilda Barg Homeless Prevention Center (always a mouthful) is collecting shampoo, toiletries and other small, everyday items many people may not even think to donate.

The collection is part of VOA’s 15 Days of Giving drive, which urges residents to donate to the organization before the Dec. 31 federal deadline.

While clothes and cash are always welcome donations, the shelter in Woodbridge is always in need of ethnic hair products and deodorant. (more…)

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Buzzed driving could get you cuffed

Get ready to see more police officers stopping drivers this holiday season.

Police in Prince William County plan to set up sobriety checkpoints in Woodbridge, Lake Ridge, Dale City, Dumfries, as well as other portions of the county, hoping to find some very worthy “buzzed drivers.”

Even if you’ve had a few to drink and then get behind the wheel, police say “buzzed” driving is just as bad as drunk driving. (more…)

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REI store to open in Woodbridge

Woodbridge, Va. –– Shoppers at Stonebridge Potomac Town Center will soon get a taste of the great outdoors.

Recreational Equipment Incorporated, better known as REI, plans to open a new location at the shopping center in spring 2012.

The store will boast two stories of camping, hiking, cycling, fitness and paddling gear, as well as clothing and accessories.

It will also include a bike shop for quick repairs, and an educational room where customers and community members will be able to see outdoor-related presentations and events.

The new store is expected to bring 50 new jobs to the area. Most of the hiring will take place three months prior to the store’s opening, company officials announced today. (more…)

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After defending woman, man beaten

Fredericksburg, Va. –– Two Woodbridge men are charged in the brutal beating of a man who came to the aid of a woman.

A police officer saw four men beating a man who appeared to be unconscious outside Fatty J’s bar in Fredericksburg after it had closed at 1:06 a.m. Saturday, the Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star reports.

Two of the attackers fled when they saw the police officer, but two others were arrested.

The victim was treated on the scene and declined to go to the hospital, according to the report.

As it turns out, the victim earlier that night saw a group of four men harassing a 24-year-old woman from Spotsylvania County who had also been inside the bar. He then approached the men and told them to leave the woman alone. (more…)

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Woodbridge firefighters test smoke alarms

Woodbridge, Va. –– Firefighters in Woodbridge visited more than 20 homes Saturday to help residents test their smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, a department spokeswoman said.

Many of the residents welcomed firefighters from OWL Volunteer Fire Department into their homes, and supplied new batteries to put into their smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.

“Eighty percent of child fire fatalities occur in homes without working smoke alarms. It’s a tragic statistic that could be reduced by adopting the simple habit of the changing your battery when you change your clocks” said OWL VFD Chief Jim McAllister.

The department urges residents to replace their smoke and carbon monoxide alarms every 10 years. (more…)

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2 carjacked in Woodbridge

Woodbridge, Va. –– An armed man forced a couple from their car Wednesday afternoon.

The victims, a 29-year-old woman from Alexandria and 29-year-old man from Woodbridge, were sitting in their car in the 13400 block of U.S. 1, near Station Plaza and Woodbridge VRE station, when two men approached at 3:23 p.m. and demanded they get out of the car.

One of the men showed a gun and both victims exited the vehicle, said Prince William police spokesman Jonathan Perok.

Police were called, and officers later found the car about a mile way on James Street. (more…)

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Parking fees waived at Leesylvania

Woodbridge, Va. –– Leesylvania State Park hopes free parking will draw some to the great outdoors Thursday.

In honor of Veterans Day, officials at the Woodbridge park will waive its $4 weekday parking fee charged when visitors enter the recreational area.

Officials hope residents will take advantage of the free admission and come to hike on one park’s many trails, take a boat ride on the Potomac River, explore some of the park’s rich history or simply have a picnic with family and friends, said Leesylvania State Park Chief Ranger Sarah Phillips. (more…)

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1 charged, 2 others wanted in robbery

Antuan Jamal Pendergraph, 24, is charged in connection to robbery that happened Friday in Woodbridge. (Submitted)

Woodbridge, Va. –– One man has been arrested in a assault robbery that happened at a Woodbridge home, and police are still searching for two others believed to have been involved.

Antuan Jamal Pendergraph, 24, of 33 South Bragg Street in Alexandria, is charged with abduction, robbery and malicious wounding, said Prince William police spokesman Jonathan Perok.

Investigators say Pendergraph is one of three other men who went to a home in the 1800 block of Tiger Lily Circle in Woodbridge about 5 p.m. Friday and assaulted the 33-year-old man who lives there.

The victim knew one of the men, police said, but shortly thereafter two additional men arrived. (more…)

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