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Work on E-ZPass Express Lanes extension to Fredericksburg begins

mcauliffehotlanes

From VDOT: 

Construction begins today on a project to extend 95 Express Lanes in Stafford County by 2.5 miles, seeking to reduce congestion and driver delay at the facility’s southern terminus near Garrisonville Road.

The Virginia Department of Transportion has partnered with 95 Express Lanes operator Transurban to add operational and safety improvements where the facility merges with the main lanes of I-95.

The approximate 2.5 mile extension will carry traffic beyond the flyover ramp where 95 Express Lanes currently end, just north of Exit 143 at Route 610 (Garrisonville Road).

When the project is complete:

Northbound traffic in the main lanes will be able to enter 95 Express Lanes earlier at a new left entrance south of the Garrisonville Road overpass. The existing left entrance north of Garrisonville Road will remain.

Southbound Express Lanes traffic heading to the Fredericksburg area and south will be able to continue past Garrisonville and merge about one mile south of Garrisonville Road.

What Motorists Can Expect

Most construction will occur in the median of I-95 and within existing right-of-way. New tolling and regulatory signs will be installed along the northbound lanes of I-95, south of Garrisonville Road.

Travel lanes will remain open during morning and afternoon rush hour. Work requiring lane closures will be performed during off-peak travel times.

Early construction is beginning in permitted areas, including the installation of temporary concrete barriers along the north- and southbound left shoulders of I-95, and tree clearing in the median. Drivers should expect reduced inside shoulders in both directions on I-95, and should stay alert for slow-moving construction vehicles entering and exiting the travel lanes.

Project Background

In May 2016, the Commonwealth Transportation Board awarded a contract worth approximately $31.1 million to Branch Highways Inc., of Roanoke to design and construct the reversible extension of 95 Express Lanes at the southern terminus.

The southbound ramp is scheduled to open by early 2018, and the northbound ramp will open in summer 2018.

 

News
Rail work at Arkendale will delay drivers

061314-widewater-2

Live in the Arkendale section of Stafford County? Heads up: 

From VDOT: 

Motorists traveling to the Widewater area of Stafford County July 25-29 may experience brief travel delays due to scheduled rail work at Arkendale.

Traffic at the intersection of Route 633 (Arkendale Road) and Route 658 (Brent Point Road) will use a temporary railroad crossing between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. each day on July 25-29.

The existing railroad crossing will be closed during the day to allow CSX to make improvements. At the end of each day, the crossing will be re-opened to traffic overnight.

The temporary railroad crossing will connect Arkendale Road and Brent Point Road slightly north of the existing intersection. It will be a one-lane crossing, and traffic will be directed by a flagging crew.

Additionally, between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. on July 25-29, traffic traveling to and from Brent Point Road east of the railroad crossing must use Route 633 (Arkendale Road) and Route 611 (Widewater Road). Through traffic will not be permitted on Brent Point Road west of the railroad crossing during the day.

Click here to view an online map of the temporary railroad crossing and detour route.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is coordinating closely with public safety and emergency response agencies. These agencies will be provided direct access in the event of an emergency.

Additional road construction is planned this fall in the Arkendale area. After the crossing work is completed, roadway patching will occur on Arkendale Road to prepare it for resurfacing.  Trench widening and resurfacing is expected to begin on Arkendale Road in November and will be completed by mid-December. This planned work will add additional width to Arkendale Road between Widewater and Brent Point.

 

News
Roommate finds child porn on computer, say authorities

From Stafford sheriff’s spokeswoman MC Moncure: 

Jason Charles Sulser, age 39 of Wakefield Drive in Stafford was served with 51 total arrest warrants relating to the Possession and Reproduction of Child Pornography.

The Child Pornography investigation began on April 13, 2016 while Sulser was incarcerated at the Rappahannock Regional Jail on a Violation of a Protective Order.

Sulser’s roommate was in the basement doing laundry and inadvertently bumped Sulser’s computer. The screen displayed a paused video with a pornographic image of a very young girl. He closed out the video and saw a library of thumbnail images and titles that indicated child pornography. He called the Sheriff’s Office to make a report.

An investigation began and computers in the residence were seized. Sulser was initially served with two arrest warrants for Possession of Child Pornography on April 15 while he was in jail. In the following weeks, in-depth computer forensics were performed and sufficient evidence was gathered to arrest Sulser on 49 more charges of Reproduction of Child Pornography.

News
Stafford County Administrator Anthony Romanello resigns

021011 Stafford Courthouse

Stafford County Administrator Anthony Romanello’s last day on the job is Sept. 8, 2016.

Romanello has overseen the operations of Stafford County Government since 2003. He’ll leave Northern Virginia for a new position as Deputy County Administrator in Henrico County outside Richmond.

Here’s his resignation letter:

Download the PDF file .

States Garrisonville District Supervisor Laura Sellers:

“It is sad to watch him go. He will be missed. I am glad to see his departure on his terms with a great opportunity on the horizon. Team Stafford’s strength is much greater than one position. I believe in this team as much today as ever and know that we will get through this together.”

States Griffs-Widewater Supervisor Jack Cavalier: 

“I was on the Board when we brought Anthony in as a Deputy County Administrator. He impressed all of us so much that just a few years later we selected him as County Administrator and I signed his first contract in 2007 when I was Board Chairman. He has always gone above and beyond to do the best for Stafford County. He will be sorely missed, but I wish him and his fine family nothing but the best as they return home for the next chapter in their lives in the Richmond area. Henrico County will benefit greatly through his leadership and expertise.” 

States Rockhill Supervisor Wendy Maurer: 

“In my short time on the board, I have found Anthony to be a true asset to Stafford County. He has built a great team committed to Stafford and I am grateful for the strong foundation that he is leaving behind. I am very happy for him and his family as they return home to an exciting new challenge.” 

Romanello called Henrico County the “gold standard” and told Fredericksburg’s Free Lance-Star that he has family in the Richmond region. Romanello’s resignation follows that of Dumfries Town Manager Dan Taber who resigned Tuesday.

News
Sheriff David Decatur runs with the Lions

decaturlions

From an email: 

The Lions of Stafford County, Virginia presented Sheriff D.P. Decatur with an honorary membership for exemplary service to the community on June 29, 2016.

This membership was extended by the Aquia Evening Lions Club, Greater Falls Run Lions Club, Aquia Harbour Host Lions Club and Stafford Lions Club.

The Stafford Lions Club meets on the third Tuesday of each month. A social starts at 6:30 p.m. and a formal meeting at 7:03 p.m.

Want to attend a meeting? You first must dial 540-752-7464 to find out the location of the meeting, according to the organization’s website.

 

News
Vinny’s: We’ve got no water

vinnys

Updated Sunday, July 3, 2016

We heard from Vinny’s this morning. Someone from the organization returned an email to us and said the restaurant reopened for business.

Original post

Vinny’s Italian Grill and Pizzeria in North Stafford is closed today.

The popular Italian food joint shut its doors due to a lack of water in the restaurant, a worker told us by phone.

This sign was spotted posted on the restaurant’s glass door:

A contractor with the Virginia Department of Transportation on Monday struck a water main nearby. Crews are working in the area to widen a portion of Route 610 from four to six lanes.

Crews are on the scene today trying to fix the water main break, said a Stafford County spokeswoman.

“I have no idea when we’ll reopen,” a Vinny’s employee told us.

The restaurant is one of several Vinny’s locations in the Fredericksburg area. They make mean pasta primavera.

 

News
HVAC problems forced Jeff Rouse Swim and Sport Center to close early

jeffrouseswim

Updated

We’re checking to see if the delay is related to the HVAC and electrical work we reported on earlier. 

“We are looking into it.”

-Stafford County Spokeswoman Shannon Howell stated in an email.


Original post

Problems with electrical and HVAC systems forced the staff at the Jeff Rouse Swim and Sport Center to close early Tuesday.

The center is scheduled to reopen for business today at noon. It’s normal hours of operation are Monday – Friday 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sundays 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The new indoor gym and aquatics center named after Olympic swimmer and Stafford native Jeff Rouse opened in May. County taxpayers funded the construction of the $11 million facility while a private firm was contracted to operate the center. 

 

News
Dominion power to serve new Yyotta data center in Stafford

A new data center will open in Quantico Corporate Center in Stafford County. 

From an email: 

Yyotta, LLC (“Yyotta”), pronounced ‘why yotta’, an emerging Internet exchange point (IXP), data center and managed services company based in Stafford, VA and Dominion Virginia Power today announced the addition of Yyotta IXP facility to the Dominion’s energy grid. Yyotta will offer its IXP, network transport and managed service solutions through its iFortress TM modular data center, a facility used by U.S. Army Corp of Engineers’ clients, focused on developing a cyber security “community of practice” serving the Commonwealth of Virginia. The IXP will be open June 2016.

Also: 

Yyotta’s IXP and data center consists of two (2) secure data center rooms encompassing 2,480 sq. ft. of computer room floor and 500 kW of UPS power capacity with access to more space and power for growth. The IXP is the only multi-tenant data center in Stafford, offering a highly compliant solution through a concurrently maintainable design. Yyotta’s Quantico Corporate Center customers have the option to choose from a 1Gig, 10Gig, or dark fiber connectivity solutions, delivered over private, low-latency networks to Washington, DC, Ashburn and Richmond, VA.

News
Here’s where traffic will stink in Stafford for June 26 – July 2, 2016

Va. 610 at I-95 in North Stafford. (Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

From VDOT: 

Route 1

(Update) SundayThursday, 8 p.m. – 5 a.m. Crews will continue milling and paving Route 1 northbound from just north of the Falmouth Intersection to Route 652 (Truslow Road). Motorists should expect lane closures, a rough driving surface and brief delays in the work zone.

Route 17 Business

(Update) SundayTuesday, 8 p.m. – 5 a.m. Crews will be milling and paving on Route 17 Business northbound from the Falmouth Intersection to Wyne Drive. Motorists should expect lane closures, a rough driving surface and brief delays in the work zone.

Route 17

(Update) MondayThursday, daylight to dusk and Friday, daylight to noon. Crews will be milling on Route 17 northbound and southbound and along the side streets between McLane Drive and Stafford Lakes Parkway. Most work will be done behind the orange barrels and cones, however, motorists should expect intermittent lane closures in the work zone. Crews will be working daylight to dusk. 

Route 218 (Butler Road)

(Update) SundayThursday, 8 p.m. – 5 a.m. Crews will continue milling and paving on Route 218 (Butler Road) from Carter Street to the bridge over CSX Railroad, located just east of the WaWa. Motorists should expect lane closures and a rough driving surface in the work zone.

Sidewalk Improvements

(New) Monday, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Work crews will install handicapped-accessible sidewalk ramps at Route 17 Business and Heartfields Lane

Route 610 (Garrisonville Road)

(Update) MondayThursday8 p.m. – 5 a.m. One lane will be closed intermittently on Route 610 eastbound and westbound at Onville Road. Motorists may periodically encounter brief delays in the overnight hours in this work zone.Crews are placing sewer lines in connection with the Route 610/Onville Road intersection improvement project.

Routine Maintenance

MondayThursday, 6 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. and Friday, 6 a.m. – noon. Stay alert for mobile lane closures. Crews will be performing routine maintenance activities in the following locations:

  • Route 1 (Jefferson Davis Highway) – shoulder work

  • Route 610 (Garrisonville Road) – mowing

  • Route 608 (Brooke Road) – mowing and patching

  • Route 616 (Poplar Road) – mowing and patching

  • Route 612 (Hartwood Road) – mowing and patching

  • Route 648 (Dunbar Road) – mowing

News
Stafford Cardboard Boat Regatta is July 9

Cardboard boats race at Aquia Landing Park on the Potomac River in Stafford County. (File photo/Mary Davidson)

An email from John and Linda Schumaker

Thank you for your interest and support of the Stafford County Cardboard Boat Regatta. This is the 13th year that the Rock Hill Ruritan Club and the Stafford County Parks and Recreation department have partnered to conduct this family friendly event.
 
The Regatta will be on Saturday, July 9th at Aquia Landing in Stafford County.  The event opens at 10 am with boat registration. 
 
Opening ceremonies will include music by the Stafford Regional Choral Society’s SoundCheck group.  Boat awards and races will begin around Noon
 
Boats are made from cardboard, tape, glue and painted to make then, hopefully, water-tight.  Past creations have included traditional boats, battle ships, paddlewheelers, dragons, a whale, a giant cicada, Gilligan’s Island, and a bath tub.

News
Van slams into FBI agent’s car on I-95, so he chases suspect

An FBI agent headed south on Interstate 95 chased down a driver of a van that struck his vehicle, according to Stafford sheriff’s spokeswoman MC Moncure. 

The male driver of the van stopped at the American Legion Road overpass, and he and female occupant of the van bailed into the treeline. The FBI agent called for help and gave chase: 

From Stafford sheriff’s office: 

An off-duty F.B.I. Agent traveling southbound on Interstate 95 on Friday afternoon, June 17, 2016 noticed a large white Dodge Ram Truck swerving between lanes and driving erratically. Shortly thereafter while traveling in the middle lane of the interstate the white truck ran into the back of the agent’s vehicle. The agent pulled over on the left shoulder and the truck pulled to the right shoulder. Then the agent observed the driver and the passenger of the truck, a man and woman respectively, abandoning their vehicle and fleeing on foot toward the wood line after the accident. The F.B.I. Agent crossed the interstate and began pursuing them on foot, identified himself as law enforcement, and ordered them to stop. The pair continued to run from the scene of the accident.

The agent caught up with the couple and attempted to detain them near the 1100 block of Ramoth Church Road. The man brandished a knife at the agent.

The Sheriff’s Office had been contacted by concerned citizens witnessing the foot chase and several units arrived on the scene. The situation was contained in minutes. Deputies searched both individuals and their belongs, finding drug paraphernalia in their possession.

The male suspect, identified as Isaac Brickley Moore, was taken into custody and charged with Felony Hit and Run, Driving on a Suspended License, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Possession of Marijuana and Assault and Battery. The truck was quickly identified as stolen from Southwest Washington, DC. An additional charge of Receiving Stolen Goods was added to Moore’s litany of charges.

Moore, age 18 of Barrows Court in Stafford, Virginia was incarcerated at the Rappahannock Regional Jail.

The female occupant was not charged, said Moncure.

News
Tony Bennett, Kristin Chenoweth to perform with Mary Washington Philharmonic

bennett

From University of Mary Washington: 

Legendary singer Tony Bennett and award-winning actress Kristin Chenoweth will headline the University of Mary Washington Philharmonic’s 2016-17 season. The announcement was made at a special event for the Friends of the UMW Philharmonic on Friday, June 17.
 
Bennett will perform for the holiday concert on Friday, Dec. 9, in Dodd Auditorium. Winner of 17 Grammy Awards and seven Emmys, the celebrated singer has sold millions of albums worldwide. A jazz vocalist, Bennett recorded his first hit, “Because of You,” in 1951 and made a career singing standards, including his signature song, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.” His career waned in the 1960s with the popularity of rock music, but rallied again in the 1990s. Tickets will go on sale Oct. 24 to the general public, Oct. 10 to Friends of the Philharmonic.

Chenoweth will perform with the Philharmonic as part of the Celebrity Series on Friday Saturday, March 18, in Dodd Auditorium.  The career of the Emmy and Tony Award-winning actress spans film, television, voiceover and stage. She is best known for her inaugural role of Glinda the Good Witch in the Broadway show Wicked. Her many television roles include The West Wing, Glee and Disney’s The Descendants.

News
Three rescued from Rappahannock River Sunday night

rappahannock

Three people were rescued from the Rappahannock River late Sunday night.

Fire crews from Fredericksburg and Stafford County found three people stranded on a rock at 9:25 p.m. The family of two adults and a child used a cell phone to call for help.

The victims told 911 they were stranded east of the Interstate 95 bridge that crosses the Rappahannock River. Rescue crews rushed to the scene and later found them near the Virginia Outdoor Center located on Fall Hill Avenue, according to Fredericksburg Assistant Fire Chief Mike Jones.

Rescue swimmers used a raft to reach the victims and pull them ashore. All three were examined by an EMS unit from Stafford County and refused to be taken to a hospital, said Jones.

Searchers looked for a light emanating from the victim’s cell phone in order to locate the victims, according to initial reports.

The body of a 21-year-old Manassas man was pulled from the Rappahannock River earlier this month after he drowned. Those who venture out onto the river should always wear a personal flotation device, said Jones.

Those who kayak or canoe along the Rappahannock should also plan to let someone know where they plan to put their boat in the water and where they plan to take it out and say how much time they expect to be on the river.

“It’s a long stretch of the river north of the city where the Rapidan [River] meets and Rappahannock, and then past the city limits where they river on to King George and to Tappahannock. It helps us to have an idea where you are,” said Jones.

Having a flashlight, and a fully charged cell phone are also good tools to have, he added.

News
Reinboldt seeks to reclaim seat on Stafford School Board

Dana Reinboldt hopes to recapture her seat representing the Griffis-Widewater Distict on the Stafford County School Board. 

She announced her candidacy today in a special election to be held Nov. 8, 2016 to replace Emily Fallon who resigned earlier this year after allegations surfaced that PTA funds at Moncure Elementary School went missing while Fallon was PTA president.

Here’s Reinboldt’s press release: 

Stafford, Virginia –Wednesday, June 15, 2016—Dana Reinboldt of Stafford, has announced her candidacy for the Griffis-Widewater School Board Seat in the Special Called

election on November 8, 2016.

“I’m excited about the potential opportunity to once again represent the citizens of Griffis- Widewater. I believe it is crucial for our district to have a strong and effective voice on the School Board. The citizens of our community deserve a committed representative, with integrity, working on their behalf. My experience as an elected school board member will permit me to provide Griffis-Widewater residents immediate, effective representation.

I have lived in the Griffis-Widewater District of Stafford County for the past 28 years with my husband, John. My 3 children all attended, and graduated from Stafford County Public Schools. I have 24 years of extensive experience as a parent and a volunteer in Stafford County Public Schools.”

Reinboldt served on the School Board in the Griffis-Widewater seat from 2004 to 2015. Fallon beat Reinboldt in a November 2015 General Election with 1,235 votes to Reinboldt’s 961, according to the Stafford County Voter Registrar’ s Office.

Melissa Y. Ayres earlier this month was appointed to represent the Griffis-Widewater District as the area’s School Board member. Reinboldt sought the temporary appointment given to Ayres, she said.

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