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News
Principi Holds Town Hall

Prince William County Supervisor Frank Principi speaks with supporter Bryanna Altman at his reelection kick off party at Uncle Julio's Rio Grande Café in Woodbridge. (File Photo: Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

Woodbridge, Va. — For the past 22 years, Bulah Smith has lived on Horner Road near Prince William Parkway and Interstate 95.

She says her neighborhood street is rife with debris, drug paraphernalia and crime.

“It is often that we hear gunshots; I mean they are so close to our home here where you actually hear the bullet cutting limbs and leaves off of the trees,” said Smith

To combat crime on her dark street, she erected two street lights on her property and pays an additional $20 per month to the electric company to have them, she said.

Woodbridge Supervisor Frank Principi said a planned development for the neighborhood, an assisted living center, could help turn things around. In the meantime, he said he’ll have the police department see what else they can do to make the street safer.

“What I will commit to doing is number one: we need to get the police department out there to do a crime assessment, and a street lighting assessment and look at the current street lighting situation, and if it merits, and if we can get that bill put on the county bill, rather that you paying for it, we’ll certainly explore that,” said Principi.

Principi, a Democrat seeking this fall to hold on to his seat on the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, held his third telephone town hall meeting Wednesday night. With 830 residents listening in, he fielded several questions on improving transportation, redeveloping U.S. 1, and whether or not property tax rates will be reduced in light of property values that have declined.

“Our property tax rate for [fiscal year] 12…is about a buck-twenty per $100 per assessed value. That is the same property tax rate that we had in 2007 and we have been able to, for the last four years, to maintain the property tax rate the same or slightly higher base on the rate of inflation,” said Principi. “We think that we on the Board of Supervisors are doing everything possible to hold down the property tax rates in this sour economy.”

During the town hall, about 10,000 residents were called and given the option to listen in on the call and submit questions, as well as respond to instant poll questions. Given the choice between bringing High Occupancy Toll lanes to the area, expanding area roads or extending Metro to Woodbridge, 66 percent of respondents said Metro is the most viable transportation improvement for the area, Principi said.

The supervisor announced a special Metro summit to be held in Woodbridge in late September with officials from the regional transit system.

Principi faces Republican challenger Chris Royse in the general election on Nov. 8.

News
Pitcher to Draw 9,000 Fans

Woodbridge, Va. — The man behind the most hyped pitching debut in baseball will play Friday night in Woodbridge.

Its Washington National’ s Steven Strasburg’s second rehab start since undergoing Tommy Johns surgery in September, and the stands at Pfitzner Stadium off Prince William Parkway in Woodbridge are expected to be filled with fans to see a pitcher whom Washington paid a record $15 million to sign.

“I would guess between 8-9000 fans Friday Night,” said Potomac Nationals General Manager Josh Olerud.

The gates to Pfitzner Stadium will open at 5 p.m. and the first 2,000 fans in the doors will get a raffle ticket to win a Strasburg autographed game jersey.

Additional police will also be on hand to direct traffic and for crowd control, said Prince William police spokesman Jonathan Perok.

The 23-year-old Strasburg made his first rehab start Sunday with the Hagerstown Suns, where he allowed one earned run on three hits over an inning and two thirds and tossed 31 pitches, 25 of which were strikes, said Olerud.

During his opener with the Washington Nationals on June 8, 2010, Strasburg pitched seven innings with no walks and 14 strikeouts, allowing two earned runs. It set a new team record, and he was the first pitcher ever to strike out at least eleven batters with no walks in his professional debut.

News
Potomac Library Expanding

Potomac Community Library in Woodbridge.

Woodbridge, Va. — A new addition to Potomac Community Library in Woodbridge aims to make the building more of a community center.

The groundbreaking for the project, to develop the area behind the building into an outdoor plaza, will be held at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, according to Woodbridge Supervisor Frank Principi.

The library on Optiz Boulevard just east of Potomac Mills mall was built in 1974 with an outdoor patio. But as the years have gone by the patio was rarely used, according to Prince William County officials.

The new plaza will include a stage that will allow for a wide array of events to be held there.

The $300,000 project should be complete in June 2012, and will increase the number of activities at the library from 400 to 424 per year. It is also expected to increase library attendance by 800 visitors, up from 19,000 per year, according to county documents.

News
Navy SEAL Mourned

Michael Strange, 25, was one of 30 Americans killed Saturday when his military helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan.

Lake Ridge, Va. — An area family is mourning one of the American heroes who died after he was shot down over Afghanistan last weekend.

Cheryl McNamee is the godmother of 25-year-old Michael Strange, a communications specialist with the Navy SEALS who was onboard a military helicopter shot down Saturday by at Taliban insurgent.

“Most guys from Philadelphia, like Michael, love the Eagles, they love Philly Cheesesteaks, but he was so much more. He was a thinker, and he loved his job and his family, and his family and all of us are very proud of him,” said McNamee.

Strange grew up in Philadelphia, but for the past two years was stationed in Virginia Beach where he lived with his fiancée. He joined the Navy when he was 18-years-old, right of high school.

McNamee and her family, also from Philadelphia and now live in Lake Ridge, will return home Saturday for a memorial service that will be held for Strange.

During a recent family get together, Strange told his mother, father, younger brother and sister that he leaves behind, he would see them at Thanksgiving when he returned from his deployment, said McNamee.

Strange’s body was returned to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware where he will be cremated.

Thirty Americans, 22 of them Navy SEALS, were killed when their helicopter was shot down by a rocket-propelled grenade.

All of but two of the SEALS killed were a part of the now infamous SEAL Team 6, the special forces unit that killed Osama bin Laden during a raid in Pakistan in May.

News
Free Mammograms Given

Christine Shachtman with the University of Virginia Mobile Clinic explains the mammogram procedure to Alcira Gutierrez, who is having her first mammogram screening in Woodbridge. (Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

Woodbridge, Va. — It’s National Community Health Center Week and residents came out Monday for free mammogram screenings.

The University of Virginia Mobile Clinic parked outside the Greater Prince William Community Health Center on Prince William Parkway  in Woodbridge where the breast cancer screenings were conducted.

“The theme for this year’s National Community Health Center Week is ‘serving locally, leading nationally.’ Our health center is a leader in the delivery of integrated and coordinated health care, including service to local uninsured families,” said Prince William health center Director Frank Principi. “This week’s free health care screenings – mammograms, ADHD, diabetes, glaucoma, etc. — will provide local families with a road map to better health outcomes.”

On Thursday, low-income families will have the chance to apply for a child safety car seat as 30 of them will be available at the community center on a first come, first served basis, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Also at the center until Friday will be free information on healthy eating, and healthy snacks will be available in the waiting room between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

News
New Voting Cards in the Mail

Woodbridge, Va. — The recent decennial redistricting process has prompted Prince William officials to issue new voter cards.

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, VIRGINIA . . . New voter cards are being mailed this week to all registered voters in Prince William County. Due to the recent redistricting, many election district boundaries and polling places have changed. The new voter cards will have the updated information including election district and polling place locations.

Another option to determine your election district and polling place is through www.pwcgov.org/votinginfo. This interactive tool will instantly give the correct election district and polling place location based on the address you supply.

The Republican Party will hold a primary on August 23, 2011 to select its candidates for the November General Election in the following races:

Board of CountySupervisors in Brentsville, Coles, and Gainesville districts, State Senate in Districts 13, 36, and 39 and House of Delegates in District 87.

The deadline to register to vote in the Primary Election has already passed. There will be no Democratic Primary this year.

To find out if you are currently registered to vote and what will be on the ballot in your polling place, visit www.sbe.virginia.gov/.

For more information, contact Voter Registration at 703-792-6470. The address is 9250 Lee Avenue, Suite 1, Manassas, VA 20110. Email questions can be sent to voterinquiry@pwcgov.org.

-Press release

News
Slide Show: 2 Injured in Blaze

Update

At 11:05 AM on Saturday, August 6, several 911 calls were received reporting that a house in the 11700 block of Lake Forest Drive was on fire.  The house is in the Buckhall area.  Reports included that there were occupants still in the house.  Fire and rescue units arrived on the scene reporting fire showing from windows on two sides of the house.  Fire crews began immediate entry and located a person in the burning house and rescued them.  At the time of the fire, three adults and two teenagers were home.  Two people were transported to a local hospital and one was flown to a regional hospital for treatment.  The house is 1 1/2 stories with a basement, and damage is estimated at $100,000.  The origin and cause of the fire is under investigation by fire marshals and the police.  Water to fight the fire was brought by tankers, and a “dry hydrant” on Split Rail Drive was utilized.  Water supply was adequate to fight the fire.

-Joe Robertson, Prince William fire and rescue

Prince William County, Va. –– Two people were pulled from a burning home Saturday morning in the Occoquan Forest neighborhood.

Flames broke out just after 11 a.m., as two people were reported trapped inside the two-story A-frame home in the 10700 block of River Run Drive.

Officials said an adult male was pulled from the home, as was an adult female who was found lying in a bathtub. Both were flown to an area hospital, and officials did not release their identities or conditions.

Neighbors said two children who were also inside the home when flames broke out heard a smoke alarm and made it out safely.

Though crews quickly extinguished the fire, flames gutted the house, and small pockets of fire continued to flare up inside the front of the structure about an hour and a half after it started.

Detectives and a fire marshal showed up to take over the fire investigation about noon.

The cause of the fire has not been released.

The blaze broke about a block from a home that also caught fire in February when high winds whipped up massive wildfires around the region. Neighbors say that home is still being rebuilt.

News
U.S.-Africa Ops Being Lured to Woodbridge

Chris Royse announces his campaign for Woodbridge Supervisor.

Woodbridge, Va. – After Virginia’s loss of one large military neighbor, the Potomac Communities may soon be home to another.

Woodbridge District Supervisor candidate Chris Royse announced Friday he’s been working with AFRICOM, the U.S. military’s joint command for all things Africa, urging them to relocate from Germany to Woodbridge.

“Many people look at Africa as a place, but it’s multiple nations, multiple diverse cultures, and it’s becoming more and more strategically important to the United States in terms of its location and different threats that have evolved there, and natural resources,” said Royse.

The announcement comes one day after U.S. Joint Forces Command (JFCOM) closed down its operation in Suffolk, leaving many business leaders in that city reeling the wake of lost government contracts and other services workers at the command brought to the city since 1999.

While he’s not clear on how many jobs a new AFRICOM headquarters would bring to the area, or when a decision could be made to relocate, Royse said access to two Virginia Railway Express stations with connections to Metro makes eastern Prince William an east choice.

“There could be opportunity for a headquarters in Woodbridge, rapid access to pentagon by a sustainable option, is exactly where the [Department of Defense] is wanting to move, this is what they’re looking for in BRAC. It’s ‘how do we reduce commuter time, become more green, and have more reliable transportation between where our commanders need to be to keep the security of the United States moving forward,” said Royse.

The Republican said he waited until JCOM closed down operations before making the announcement, and adds he plans to make bringing AFRICOM to Woodbridge a campaign issue. He faces democratic incumbent Frank Principi in the general election Nov. 8.

News
Slide Show: Residents Take to Streets for National Night Out

By Marty van Duyne
For PotomacLocal.com

Falmouth, Va. — McGruff the Crime Dog joined Sheriff Charlie Jett and Deputy Darrell English for National Night Out at several active adult communities.

The trio began the evening at the Falls Run community clubhouse where Jett thanked the standing room only crowd for their 8 years of support.

Slide show photo by: Mary Davidson

Officials Praise Seniors

The Sheriff lauded residents for their efforts in support of law enforcement that help make Stafford safer than counties to the north and south.

“We have a great community here and we are blessed to have people with the background you have,” said Jett. “The people that moved here bring such value to our community.”

Stafford County Sheriff’s deputy Darrel English, McGruff the Crime Dog and Sheriff Charles Jett applaud the Falls Run community after presenting a certificate for their efforts to Neighborhood Watch Director Bill Arnst. (©Marty van Duyne/For PotomacLocal.com)

The Sheriff told the crowd that many of the criminals that are apprehended and crimes that are avoided start with a phone call from citizens that see something out of the ordinary and make a phone call.

“If everyone was like the people in this community I would be putting stickers on people’s hands at Wal-Mart because there would be no crime,” said Jett to a round of applause.

Falls Run Neighborhood Watch Director Bill Arnst accepted a certificate from the Sheriff before presenting a $100 donation to the Sheriff’s Special Olympics program.

Falmouth Supervisor Susan Stimpson spoke to the crowd briefly. She thanked them for their support to the county acknowledging that they are far from retired and praised them for their volunteerism in the county.

Stimpson advised the residents that she was just a phone call away if they had any concerns that needed to be addressed to the Board.

Olsen briefs senior security

At the beginning of the evening Arnst announced there had been an error in the dinner order and the potato salad from Jimmy the Greek restaurant would not be on the menu. And English joked that the potato salad would be going to Falls Run’s sister community, Celebrate.

When Stafford Prosecutor Eric Olsen stepped to the podium, he was greeted with a round of rousing applause and laughter when he announced that messing up the potato salad order at Jimmy the Greek’s “was a prosecutable offense.”

Falmouth Supervisor Susan Stimpson lauded the Falls Run residents for their volunteerism in the county with Neighborhood Watch Director Bill Arnst by her side. (©Marty van Duyne/For PotomacLocal.com)

Olsen was the keynote speaker for the evening addressing the topic of victimization of senior citizens.

“The primary function of local government is the safety of its citizens,” said Olsen.

He began his career in the county more than 22 years ago when there were less than 60 thousand residents. He allowed that the downside to growth is that there is also more crime.

The prosecutor said law enforcement agencies learned many lessons in the 1980’s from Rudy Giuliani’s crackdown on crime in New York City.

Prior to Giuliani, the focus was on violent crimes and the city had an extremely high rate of major crimes. But Giuliani focused on quality of life crimes.

“The quality of life crimes had a ripple effect into big crimes,” said Olsen.

By prosecuting crimes at the quality of life level it kept criminals from spiraling upward into more major crime sprees according to Olsen.

“Because of that approach, the city is so much safer now than it was in the 1980’s,” said Olsen. “We in law enforcement learned a lesson from Rudy.”

Security in the community is a two-tiered system of both preventing crime and catching and prosecuting criminals said Olsen.

“It starts with Charlie Jett,” said Olsen. “My job is not preventing crime, but prosecuting the criminals.”

(©Marty van Duyne/For PotomacLocal.com)

According to the prosecutor there was no community policy in 1989. But the Sheriff’s office has developed a good partnership with the citizens in the community.

Olsen said there has also been a change in the type of crime with a lot of the crimes being committed by people from outside the community because this is where they find victims. And he said the growth in crime also includes a significant increase in crimes focused on senior citizens.

“There are four types of crimes aimed at seniors,” said Olsen. “They are Internet scams, solicitation fraud, construction fraud, and caretaker fraud.”

He warned that almost all of these crimes of these crimes are preventable.

Olsen explained why seniors are vulnerable to these types of crimes and addressed ways seniors can protect themselves from falling victim to these criminals.

Although these quality of life crimes can be devastating on many levels, because they are non-violent and many have gone on for years before the perpetrator is caught they can be extremely difficult to prosecute.

“Attorneys defend their clients very effectively on the basis of them not having previous criminal charges” said Olsen “…and the fact that the crimes are non-violent.”

“If we do not punish these quality of life crimes there is no deterrent,” said Olsen. “And deterrence is a form of prevention.”

Residents shared information about programs in effect in the community that help protect their neighbors from scammers and other potential predatory businesses.

Many people asked for advice regarding dealing with Internet scams and checking backgrounds on potential caretakers.

Olsen provided some advice to the residents and challenged them to remain vigilant.

He said he sees law-abiding citizens in two manners, as victims or members of a jury.

“I only want to see you as members of a jury,” said Olsen as he concluded his remarks.

Olsen headed out to the Celebrate active adult community to join McGruff and the rest of the Sheriff’s entourage for another presentation.

The Sheriff’s S.W.A.T. Team also visited the Falls Run community earlier in the evening.

Marty van Duyne is an award winning photographer and journalist.

News
Molotov Cocktails Found at Middle School

Whitmore

Woodbridge, Va. — One man faces charges after police said he used Molotov cocktails to start a fire outside a middle school.

A police officer on routine patrol about 1 a.m. Saturday noticed a large fire and several people outside Rippon Middle School in Woodbridge on Blackburn Road.

The officer pulled up and the those near the fire scattered, said Prince William fire and rescue Battalion Chief Joseph Robertson.

The officer chased the fleeing suspects and was able to apprehend one of them, and then questioned him.

Other officers, as well as K9s, were called to search the school grounds but were not able to find anyone else who fled.

While the school was not damaged, police said two Molotov cocktails had been ignited that night, and that three other unused cocktails were found on school grounds. The additional cocktails were thrown away while people fled the scene of the fire as police showed up, added Robertson.

Police searched a nearby apartment home in the 1500 block of Sunny Ridge Court where they found additional pieces of evidence, police said.

Douglas Shea Whitmore, 19, of Sunny Ridge Drive, is charged with manufacture, possession, and use of a fire bomb, conspiracy to commit a felony, and with underage possession of alcohol, said Robertson. He is scheduled to appear in court Aug. 29.

Investigators are still seeking to apprehend those who fled the scene of the fire as police arrived.

News
Tires, Rims Stolen From Cars at VRE Station

In July, police in Woodbridge were called to investigate several larcenies from automobiles from the Virginia Railway Express station on Express Drive.

Tires and rims were stolen from cars in multiple cases.

VRE / Commuter Lot Vehicle Larcenies
Since early July 2011, there have been several reports of tire and rim larcenies from vehicles parked in commuter lots and garages at area VRE and commuter locations. These larcenies have been reported to have occurred during the day hours, 6:30AM to 4:00PM, while vehicle owners have been at work. Police have increased their patrols and continue to monitor the area commuter and VRE lots within Prince William County. Commuters are urged to report suspicious activity to the police at 703-792-6500. See individual releases below.

Vehicle Larceny
On July 28th at 3:29PM, police responded to the commuter lot located at Jefferson Davis Hwy and Dumfries Rd in Dumfries (22026) for a vehicle larceny. Caller reported to police that two vehicles were parked in the lot that appeared to of had the tires and rims removed. The first vehicle was located which had all four tires stolen, as well as, the stereo. Entry appeared to have been made into the vehicle through a passenger window which had been smashed out. The second vehicle was located which only had one tire missing. A second tire had been removed but was not stolen. No entry was made into this vehicle. Total damage and stolen items were valued around $3,000.

Vehicle Larceny
On July 15th at 4:35PM, police responded to the VRE parking garage located at 1040 Express Dr in Woodbridge (22191) for a vehicle larceny. Police located a vehicle which had all four tires and rims missing. Vehicle owner reported to police that the vehicle had been parked in the lot between 5:30AM and 4:00PM. No entry was gained into the vehicle. Total value of the stolen property was estimated around $3,000

Vehicle Larceny
On July 15th at 4:35PM, police responded to the VRE parking garage located at 1040 Express Dr in Woodbridge (22191) for a vehicle larceny. Caller reported to police that two vehicles were located within the parking garage that appeared to of had the tires and rims removed. Both vehicles were parked on different levels within the garage. The first vehicle, parked initially at 5:30AM, was located which had all four tires and rims stolen. The second vehicle, parked sometime around 7:30AM, was located which, also, had all four tires removed. No entry was gained into either vehicle. Total value of stolen property was estimated around $10,000.

News
Woodbridge NOVA Campus Closed Today

PL Box Logo

Update 11 a.m.
Campus officials say a broken water pipe lead to today’s campus closure.

Woodbridge, Va. —
The Woodbridge campus of Northern Virginia Community College is closed today.

The college’s website or emails sent out to students state why the campus closed.

We are working to find out why, however, officials say campus activities and classes will resume tomorrow.

 

News
Feathers Ruffled Outside Wingate

A flycatcher bird kept North Stafford hotel guests away from her nest that housed three small hatchlings. (Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

North Stafford, Va. –– It was Birdgate at the Wingate hotel Sunday.

Two birds dive-bombed patrons walking in the hotel’s parking lot because they came too close to a nest of three little hatchlings.

Hotel guests complained to management who later found the small birds nestled in a bush outside the front entrance to the hotel off Va. 610 in North Stafford.

“We noticed the birds this morning, and we didn’t want anything bad to happen to them,” said a hotel employee who declined to give her name.

Employees then took photos of the baby birds inside the nest, put the photos on signs to warn people to stay clear of the area, and taped them to orange cones that were erected around the bush. They also added yellow caution tape in hopes people would keep out the bird danger zone.

Hotel employees at the Wingate by Windham in North Stafford on Sunday erected a barrier to protect two birds that were, in turn, trying to protect their nest in the hotel’s parking lot. (Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

For at least one woman the cones and caution tape weren’t bright enough, as she too walked right past the bush and became a quick victim of the  birds. No one was injured, and the woman quickly batted away the bird and kept walking.

Employees called several businesses Sunday morning hoping someone would know what to do about the birds, but many were closed, except for the Stafford County SPCA who came out the hotel.

The birds, known as a flycatcher, are migratory birds that can be found between Pennsylvania and Florida, have most likely flown north to beat the southern heat, and will hang around about another two to three weeks until the three hatchlings are ready to leave the nest, said Stafford County SPCA Director William Hoyt.

“It’s going to be really easy for them to stay with the tremendous food source (WaWa convenience store) next door,” said Hoyt. “But as soon as the babies are ready to go, the adults will leave too.”

Some employees wanted to simply move the nest to another bush or tree, but it is illegal to relocate baby birds more than 10 feet, or into another bush or tree, said Hoyt.

A portion of one of the branches of the bush was part of the nest, making it nearly impossible to move the next without damaging it, prompting momma and poppa bird to abandon their small offspring.

As soon as many of the onlookers cleared out, the two birds went back to collecting food and delivering to their young.

News
Separate Fires Kill Pet, Burn Home

Two fires, one in Woodbridge and the other in North Stafford, kept fire crews busy overnight.

Woodbridge, VA July 29, 2011 — 9:33pm Occoquan-Woodbridge-Lorton Volunteer Firefighters responded to the report of a boat fire at Hoffmaster’s Marina located at 1214 Swan Point Road, Woodbridge. OWL Engine 502 and Engine 514 arrived on the scene within minutes and found heavy fire from the port side of a boat, extending through the top deck. The fire had also spread to the canopy covering the dock, melting a hole in the aluminum roof.

The first engine crew positioned themselves to protect the adjacent boats and began a quick attack on the fire. The second crew attacked the canopy fire and protected the other nearby boats. Fire Boat 502 established a perimeter to check for hazardous materials leaking from the boat and provide a means of safety for the engine crews working on the dock. The fire was contained mostly to the midsection of the original boat with minor heat damage to a second boat. The fire was under control within 12 minutes.

There were no injuries to the occupant or Fire Fighters, however, unfortunately a family pet succumb to the fire. Fire and Rescue units from OWL VFD, Dale City VFD, Prince William County Department of Fire and Rescue and Boat 420 from Fairfax County Fire and Rescue responded to the incident.

-OWL VFD spokeswoman Rebecca Barnes

 

On Saturday July 30, 2011 at 4:20 am Stafford County Fire and Rescue Department units responded to a reported structure fire at 18 Larkwood Court in the Settlers Landing Subdivision. The first unit from the Garrisonville Station arrived on the scene within seven minutes finding a two story resident with fire throughout the second floor and extending through the roof of the home.

Once crews confirmed all occupants had evacuated the structure, hand lines and master streams were deployed to protect the adjacent homes and extinguish the original fire. The fire was under control within 1 hour. The cause of the fire is under investigation and damage estimates are currently not available.

The home was occupied by 2 adults and 2 children who were home at the time of the fire and exited without injury. The homeowners are being assisted by the Red Cross. There were no injuries to civilian or fire rescue personnel.

-Submitted by Stafford fire and rescue spokesman Mark Doyle

News
$500 Offered for Window Smasher Arrest

Woodbridge, Va. — Someone took a rock and smashed a window at Amici’s Italian Restaurant in Woodbridge.

It happened about 3 a.m. July 24, leaving the restaurant inside the Shops at County Center at Prince William Parkway and Hoadly Road with some shattered glass and a genuine whodunit case.

Police, who have been on the case for the past week, notified restaurant staff about the shattered window soon after it happened.

The restaurant’s owner, Jimmy Jadallah, is also on the prowl for whoever smashed his window.

“If they did it once they are going to do it again. They might not do it here, but they will do it somewhere else,” said Jadallah.

He’s plastered signs in the shopping plaza that includes a Harris Teeter supermarket as well as several other restaurants asking anyone with information about the window incident to “call the police” or “call Jimmy.”

Jadallah says he’ll pay up to $500 to anyone who can provide information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the window smasher.

Several officials with Prince William police have also visited the restaurant following the incident, including the chief of police, who promised he “would have his boys look into this” and find who’s responsible, said Jadallah.

Right now police are reviewing security footage taken that night to see if they can find the ones responsible, he added.

So far, no one has come forward with information, but surveillance tapes from the restaurant show a group of teenagers as the culprits.

It’s possible that the rock that was used came from the landscaping of a nearby restaurant, said Jadallah.

The window has since been repaired, and regular restaurant patrons Thursday night were all seated enjoying their favorite Italian food as only Amici’s can make it.

You can call Jimmy at 703-975-8984, or Prince William police at 703-792-6500.

News
Ebert’s Silence Prompts AG Petition

Prince William County Commonwealth Attorney Paul Ebert

Woodbridge, Va. –– A blogger has petitioned Virginia’s Attorney General to find out if Prince William’s top prosecutor is investigating a candidate for the county’s crown political office.  

Virginia Virtucon reported last week democratic candidate for Prince William County Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, Dr. Babur Lateef, is being investigated by Prince William Commonwealth Attorney Paul Ebert for alleged wire and bank fraud after he lost his $1.2 million estate on Chaddsford Terrace outside Dale City to foreclosure last year.

Blogger Jim Riley, who says he has petitioned Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli, has not revealed his source of the information.

Additionally, Ebert has not commented on the matter.

“You left us no choice, so we have passed along all of this information to the Office of the Attorney General and have asked that they look into whether you have engaged in any prosecutorial misconduct or failed to avoid a blatant conflict of interest,” Riley posted to Virginia Virtucon.

Ebert’s silence is in stark contrast to 2009 when he announced Del. Richard Anderson (R-Lake Ridge), who at the time was running for the job, was being investigated for possible wrongdoing with a campaign mailer. Anderson was later cleared of any wrongdoing.

Officials with Lateef’s campaign also have not commented about any investigation, but said campaign operations are continuing as scheduled.

Earlier this year, a report surfaced that soon after Lateef –– an eye surgeon with his own Ophthalmologist practice in Woodbridge –– lost his house his, his own business soon became the largest donor to his campaign. Additionally, Lateef still lives in the house, however, he now rents the home from his sister-in-law, according the report.

Lateef is scheduled to canvass neighborhoods and talk with voters in Woodbridge and Dumfries this weekend, according to his website.

Ebert, a Democrat, is also seeking reelection this year for Commonwealth Attorney and is running unopposed. He has held the job since 1968. 

News
Town Centers Could Stamp Out Small Businesses

Potomac Town Center at Stonebridge is home to Wegman’s supermarket and has been heralded an early success in the redevelopment of Woodbridge.

Editor’s note: This is the first part of an ongoing series about redeveloping the Potomac Communities.

Woodbridge, Va. –– As redevelopment in Woodbridge continues its shift from strip malls to urban town centers, some smaller businesses may not survive.

Town center developments like Belmont Bay in North Woodbridge on the Occoquan River, with easy connections to Virginia Railway Express and Interstate 95, to the planned Harbor Station near Dumfries, embody the vision of a new Woodbridge where residents can live, work and play.

At the center of these developments, arguably an early success in the area’s redevelopment is Potomac Town Center at Stonebridge, home to Wegman’s supermarket.

The center’s most vocal supporter, Woodbridge Supervisor Frank Principi, says developers here are doing all the right things. “It’s taken us decades to get to the position we are. National best practices, architects, urban planners are all doing things differently in communities and, dammit, we need to do that here,” he said.

Despite a depressed economy, Potomac Town Center, which already boasts several chain restaurants and a gated residential neighborhood, has moved forward with construction on a second phase to include office space.

In contrast, Woodbridge’s main street, U.S. 1, is lined with overwhelmingly vacant strip malls, fast food restaurants and car dealerships, and t hey may not have a place in the new Woodbridge.

“In the life cycle in many of the freestanding, low volume retail functions, they disappear, as they have over the years,” said Director of George Mason University’s Center for Regional Analysis Dr. Steven Fuller. “Stores come and go. Some will survive if they change their merchandising if they change to meet the changing marketplace.”

As younger families move into the area, many businesses will have to offer more products and services in one place.

“I think you can look around Woodbridge and point to some places like restaurants that are destinations that will survive, and there are others such as the [car] dealerships…and they’ll find some other place to locate, possibly, or they go out of business,” added Fuller.

There are plans to widen U.S. 1 from four to six lanes in an effort to add capacity to the already congested road, as well as more mass transit buses.

The new Woodbridge, says Principi, will be a place where both old and new will be able to coexist.

“For this to occur and to be successful, we have got to infuse the existing businesses and relocate new businesses here. So, it’s not about moving them, it’s about making sure in our planning process in the horizon over time that we are doing everything possible to expand their business, because, quite frankly, as we expand Route 1 and have more traffic, they are going to be a larger customer base,” said Principi.

News
No Saving Woodbridge Borders

During its final days, many flocked to Borders Books at Stafford Marketplace on final deals on books, movies and music. (Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

Woodbridge, Va. — A plan to save the Borders bookstore in Woodbridge has fallen flat on its face.

Books-A-Million aimed to purchase 30 of the company’s remaining stores all going out of business after the company declared bankruptcy earlier this year.

The bid to buy the store ­­on Prince William Parkway — one of the three Borders in the Washington area and the only location in Virginia Books-A-Million was interested in – collapsed when the two companies could not agree on terms, reports the Washington Business Journal.

Books-A-Million currently has a large book store and coffee shop inside Potomac Mills mall. If the company does acquire the Borders store, there is no word yet on what would happen to the Books-A-Million store inside the mall.

Borders last was unable to find a buyer for the ailing company and begun a massive liquidation of their remaining merchandise.

In February the company closed 30 percent of their stores, including a location in North Stafford. The storefront remains empty.

News
Robbery Leaves Woman Injured

Woodbridge, Va. — A woman was robbed at gunpoint after stopping to let someone cross the road.

Police said the 35-year-old victim was driving in the 1200 block of Easy Street in Woodbridge when she stopped for a pedestrian crossing the road, and then was approached by four men that surrounded her car at 9:40 a.m. Monday.

One man was armed with a handgun and another with a knife, and both went to the woman’s driver’s side window while the other two stood in front of the car, said Prince William police spokesman Jonathan Perok.

The men demanded her purse, which she handed over, but when she stepped on the accelerator to get away from the men she suffered a minor cut on her arm.

The men fled on foot and police later swarmed the area but were unable to find anyone who might have been involved in the robbery, said Perok.

The victim was only able to give a description of two of the armed men.

Both described as Hispanic, the first was between 18 and 20-years-old, with a medium build, wearing a red or burgundy shirt and was armed with a knife. The second was between 30 and 40-years-old, with a heavy build, wearing a dark shirt and white hat and armed with a handgun.

News
Garces Predicts Tight Race

Democratic candidate Esteban Garces is seeking the 2nd District seat in the Virginia House of Delegates. (Campaign photo)

Woodbridge, Va. –– While Esteban Garces knows the perils of the underprivileged in Alexandria, he says he’s listening to voters in his district to find out what the issues are in the Potomac Communities.

The Democrat vying for a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates for the newly shifted 2nd District says transportation and home foreclosures top the list of concerns of residents in the district, which include portions of North Stafford and Woodbridge.

“We’re looking at all solutions right now [to the problems], we’re exploring all solutions, we haven’t narrowed it down to one thing just yet, but it could be [Metro’s] Blue line from Springfield to Potomac Mills, special programs for housing like the ones that were just set up and adopted in Maryland and the District of Columbia where the borrower asks for mediation with the lender through the state. It’s forced mediation, they have to meet, and 21 percent of the time borrower is satisfied with the mediation even if they are going to lose their home,” said Garces.

In some cases, many families struggling to pay mortgages would like to at least stay in their homes until their children finish school, he added.

Garces, 30, admits his race against Republican veteran Mark Dudenhefer, Chairman of the Stafford County Board of Supervisors, will be a tight one. He urged the 20 people who came to his campaign kickoff at the La Luna Restaurant and dance hall Monday to donate, sign up to man the phone banks, and to help him canvass neighborhoods to get the pulse of the voters.

Garces expects to do well in the Prince William County portion of the district, where the majority of the democratic precincts are. His team is looking at population density maps to determine which neighborhoods they will canvass, he added.

Garces is employed by an Alexandria non-profit, Virginia New Majority, where he works as a community organizer. He graduated from the University of Mary Washington where he studied network security.

He is married and lives in the River Oaks section of Woodbridge.

 

News
Garces Kickoff, Take Two

Democratic candidate Esteban Garces is seeking the 2nd District seat in the Virginia House of Delegates. (Campaign photo)

Woodbridge, Va. — After one false start, Esteban Graces will try again tonight to hold a campaign kickoff in Woodbridge.

The Democrat seeks the newly shifted 2nd House of Delegates seat encompassing portions of North Stafford and Woodbridge.

The event is scheduled for 7 p.m. tonight at La Luna Restaurant at U.S. 1 and Featherstone Road.

Garces last scheduled campaign kickoff earlier this month, which was to be his first public campaign event, was abruptly cancelled due to a family emergency.

The first-time candidate faces Republican Mark Dudenhefer, Chairman of the Stafford County Board of Supervisors.

Both candidates have said they expect to do well in the district. While many of the voting precincts in North Stafford tend to lean more Republican, the majority of the precincts in Woodbridge tend to vote democratic.

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