County supervisors talk on how to address $9M PRTC shortfall

Many riders begin and end their commutes, or transfer to other PRTC buses at the agency’s Transit Center in Woodbridge.

County supervisors are talking about ways to handle the Potomac and Rapphannock Transportation Commission’s (PRTC) $9 million dollar annual shortfall.

PRTC provides bus and rail service for residents in Prince William, Manassas and Stafford, including commuter, cross-county and local bus service.

According to PRTC’s Interim Executive Director Eric Marx, the organization is facing this large shortfall and may have to make some drastic cuts to service – including eliminating all local service or severely limiting commuter service – unless additional funding can be found.

Currently PRTC’s revenue sources include some federal and state funds, and a 2.1% motor fuels tax. Previously, the board of county supervisors chipped in money from the general fund, but stopped doing so after the recession hit the county in 2008.

An independent audit, and more talks

Marx has met with the supervisors to discuss the shortfall, and the board’s first step has been to call for an independent audit of PRTC and their budget, to see if efficiencies and cost savings can be found.

“There is an audit that Prince William County is planning, to have their independent auditing firm perform on PRTC, regarding our performance…it will be a way that the county can sort of independently determine how well we are doing. We can say everything we want about how efficient we are, and how productive we are…but having and independent process [provides] verification,” said Marx.

The audit will take place this fall, according to Marx.

While Marx stated that the three scenarios that PRTC has offered to address the shortfall are very real, they were meant to be broad and will receive much tweaking from the board.

 “I’ve spoken with most of the [supervisors]…and all of them have listened attentively and asked some questions. But [we’re] really not at a point that people are making declarations one way or the other. There are three very broad scenarios, developed to illustrate what the extremes would be in terms of how many cuts would need to be made in order to achieve [certain] levels of savings. I suspect that none of those will be implemented exactly as they are…I suspect there will be a fair amount of give or take, with the policy guidance from the elected officials and the board of county supervisors and the county finance staff,” said Marx.

Supervisors share their thoughts

Potomac Local reached out to the county board of supervisors for their thoughts on how to handle the PRTC shortfall.

For Supervisor Mike May, addressing the board’s previous general fund contribution is on the table.

“It’s a significant amount of money and I don’t think the board is going to be able to be in a position to completely backfill a $9 million shortfall. There is a history of using general fund monies to supplement PRTC, and that probably makes some amount of sense – depending on of course, the amount. Historically, it’s been $1 to $1.5 million dollars, and so there’s a significant difference between that and the $9 million shortfall,” said May.

Additionally, May stated that none of the scenarios to cut service that PRTC has put forward would seriously be considered.

“All three scenarios are essentially non-starters. But those all assume a $9 million shortfall, and PRTC resolving it with some level of reductions. I don’t think any of the three will be met with a whole lot of support from the board,” said May.

Supervisor Maureen Caddigan stated that many of her constituents rely on PRTC and that not finding funding sources for PRTC’s shortfall would have a major impact on transit in the area.

 “We need transportation, obviously. If you look at Route 1, and [Interstate] 95 and certainly [Route] 66 – where the jobs are…and the traffic is horrendous, so we need [public] transportation to get people around. The OmniRide is doing wonderful, people are really happy…the concern with some of the money now that is needed is for OmniLink. And OmniLink does take care of our neediest people – the people that don’t have cars…it’s expensive to run the buses, so we are taking a look at it…Route 1 – that is my greatest concern. People get off of 95 and they get onto Route 1, and the traffic is terrible, so I would not cut out any kind of transportation to get people around,” said Caddigan.

According to Supervisor John Jenkins, the General Assembly should play a role in solving the shortfall by putting a floor on the motor fuels tax – one of PRTC’s major funding sources.

“We have a corporate responsibility, with other jurisdictions, and so it’s not one of these things where you can just say, ‘You know, we’re not going to fund it.’ There are two or three options we’re going to look at in the future. We have, over the years, in Prince William County, funded from the general fund, a little bit of the operation of the transportation systems, but I don’t think we can continue to do that in the current scenario. The General Assembly could put a floor on the amount of [motor fuels] tax that’s being cut. One of the things I would like to see done would be for the state General Assembly to come in there and come and give us some real, meaningful revenues to help operate this transit system,” Jenkins said.

May also mentioned seeking outside funding sources, including the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA), but that ultimately there would have to be some cuts at PRTC.

“I’m open to working with my colleagues to try and identify funding to help with some of that. I also think we should probably take a look at the possibility of using NVTA funds for a portion of that as well, but there’s probably going to have to be some reductions made on the PRTC side as well,” May commented.

Marx stated that public hearings could be held in the future to hear from county residents, as to how to address the $9 million shortfall.

Picturesque Stafford barn destroyed by storm


All that's left of an old barn on Route 610 in Stafford.
A strong gust of wind took down the barn.
The old barn on a spring day. [File photo: Mary Davidson]
The old barn during a snowstorm in 2013. [File photo: Mary Davidson]
The same gust of wind that blew down the barn also took down these large trees.

An iconic barn that stood for at least 60 years is gone.

The barn sat on a 90-acre property on Route 610 in Stafford County. It was mostly intact and was being used to store an old straw blower once used on the farm.

A severe thunderstorm blew through Stafford on Thursday night packing heavy lightning, high winds, and quarter-sized hail.

A strong gust of wind blew through Aaron Clark’s property and took down two massive trees, as well as what was left of the old barn.

Before the storm, it was clear the barn had seen better days. It was missing a sidewall that faced the west. It had deteriorated over the years.

With so few barns left in an area once rich in farmland turned suburban neighborhoods, the structure was popular with photographers who would knock on Clark’s door and ask if they could shoot the wooden building.

Potomac Local’s Mary Davidson did just that in 2012 while on assignment shooting photos across the seasons of the year.

“I’ve always loved the old barn and have stopped to photograph in on several occasions. It seems to defy all the new houses that spring up around it and must have so many stories to tell,” said Davidson.

Clark says he and his wife, Joanie, used to watch the Barnwood Builders show. The show follows woodworkers who go about restoring old 19th-century barns. Joanie always wanted to restore the barn and make it into a house, said Clark.

It was a project the two never started, as Joanie wife passed on three months ago after battling cancer.
She leaves behind Clark — her high school sweetheart — and four children.

“I think this is a sign from my wife that’s it’s now OK to build a house here now,” said Clark.

Stafford doctor receives 4-year sentence for distribution, fraud


Nibedita Mohanty, a 56-year old Stafford doctor, was sentenced to 4-years in prison and 3-years of supervised release, for distribution of controlled substances and aiding and abetting health care fraud.

Mohanty was formerly the Chief of Medicine at Stafford Hospital, according to a U.S. Department of Justice release.

In addition to her jail time, Mohanty has been fined $15,000 and has been ordered to forfeit $43,120.

More from U.S. Department of Justice court documents:

Mohanty admitted to issuing prescriptions for oxycodone which were not for a legitimate medical purpose and beyond the bounds of medical practice. In one such instance, on May 2, 2011, Dr. Mohanty issued a prescription for oxycodone to patient who experienced a nonfatal narcotics overdose. Dr. Mohanty subsequently treated the patient at the hospital. On May 31, 2011, Dr. Mohanty issued another oxycodone prescription to same patient. The next day, the patient was found deceased in the bathroom of a friend’s home. The cause of death was determined to be accidental acute combined oxycodone and imipramine toxicity.

In another instance, on Oct. 3, 2011, Dr. Mohanty issued a prescription for oxycodone to a patient. Nine days later the patient was found unresponsive in her home. Hospital records and testimony would have shown that the nonfatal overdose was oxycodone related.

In addition, Dr. Mohanty admitted that she aided and abetted a patient in the commission of health care fraud. Dr. Mohanty acknowledged that she did not possess a “X” DEA number, nor was she authorized for office-based narcotic buprenorphine treatment. Despite this Dr. Mohanty prescribed Subutex, which contains buprenorphine, to a patient who she was treating for drug addiction and dependence, which was billed to and paid for by the patient’s health insurance.

Mohanty pled guilty to all charges in February.

Changes to 95 Express Lanes schedule for July 4 weekend


On the upcoming Fourth of July weekend, expect to see some changes to the 95 Express Lanes schedule.

According to Transurban – the company that owns and operates the Express Lanes -the lane schedule is being modified on July 4 and July 5 to make it easier for drivers to see the fireworks displays in Washington D.C., and for drivers to return from out of town travel.

More on the schedule changes from Transurban:

Friday, July 3:  No changes to reversal time.  The reversal from northbound (NB) to southbound (SB) will begin around 11 a.m. with the SB lanes open around 1 p.m.  

Saturday, July 4: 

Reversal from SB to NB will begin at midnight with the NB lanes open around 2 a.m.

Reversal from NB to SB will begin around 7 p.m. with the SB lanes open around 9 p.m.

Sunday, July 5:  Reversal from SB to NB will at midnight with the NB lanes open around 2 a.m.

Monday, July 6:  No changes to reversal time.  The reversal from NB to SB will begin around 11 a.m. with the SB lanes open around 1 p.m.  

Automated cars to be tested on 495, 95 Express Lanes


Expect to see automated vehicles on 495 and 95 Express Lanes in the coming months.

Following a proclamation from Governor McAuliffe on June 2, organizations including Transurban and Virginia Tech’s Transportation Institute (VTTI), have moved forward on researching and testing automated vehicles.

The project is being called the Virginia Automated Corridors Initiative.

“Automatic-vehicles are the future, and our Commonwealth’s long history in military and private automated and unmanned systems has poised Virginia to lead the way,” said Governor McAuliffe. “As we work to build a new Virginia economy, we have a tremendous opportunity to provide car companies and suppliers of automated vehicles the ideal, real-world environments they need to test complex scenarios prior to putting their vehicles on more roadways,” McAuliffe stated in the proclamation.

According to Transurban spokesman Mike McGurk, the 495 and 95 Express Lanes will be used for testing the automated vehicles.

“What we offered up, in conversations with VDOT and Virginia Tech, is use of our facilities on 495 and 95 [Express Lanes] for the testing of these vehicles,” said McGurk.

Myra Blanco, who works out of VTTI’s Center for Automated Vehicle Systems, stated that the research into vehicle automation has been going on for a long time, but the Governor’s proclamation has given them the green-light on roads in Virginia.

“We have been doing research for a long time, on different levels for vehicle automation…this project was part of the Governor’s proclamation to allow us to do vehicle automation related research on Virginia roads,” said Blanco.

While many people picture cars that can completely drive users on their own, Blanco stated that the technology is not there yet.

“We currently have features in the vehicles that are automated. For example, it’s called ACC – it’s a more advanced type of cruise control…it allows the vehicle to stay within the lane. What people tend to think of are fully automated vehicles. That’s when they start calling them autonomous vehicles – that would be in the future…we’re not there yet. The next [automation] progression would be changing lanes. There’s a lot of research going on, on those types of use cases,” said Blanco.

McGurk stated that the Express Lanes are perfect for testing the vehicles because their industries are similar, and the lanes allow Transurban to create a closed system for testing that won’t impede drivers.

“We’re excited about this technology. In the very long term future, we could possibly see further applications…it’s at the leading forefront of transportation technology and we consider ourselves in that same realm, so we wanted to be supportive,” McGurk said.

McGurk stated there is no firm timeline to begin testing the vehicles on the lanes currently.

Celebrate America in style in Manassas July 4

Fireworks show, watermelon, and pie contests planned 

On Saturday, July 4, 2015, Celebrate America with the City of Manassas from 3 to 10 p.m. in Historic Downtown Manassas.

The celebration begins with the Bicycle Decorating contest. At 5 p.m. visitors are invited to take part in a Watermelon-eating contest.

Next, Judges from around the City will lend their culinary expertise to judge the Apple and Peach Pie Baking Contest. This is Americana at its best. To sign up for these contests, visit

Visitors can bring a blanket or a lawn chair to lay claim to a spot for viewing the best fireworks in Virginia. Beginning at 3 p.m., there will be children’s rides, food vendors, and other vendors. The celebration centers around the Harris Pavilion, the Manassas Museum and the Train Depot.

The City of Manassas loves pets, but pets do not love loud noises. Their ears are more sensitive and the City asks that pets be left at home in the air conditioning. This time of year, streets and sidewalks are hot enough to burn puppy paws.

Storms leave several without power in Prince William, Stafford


A round of severe storms moved through the region Tuesday night cooling off temperatures that climbed into the triple digits during the day.

The storms also left many in the dark. Here’s a look at power outages in the region:

6:30 a.m. Wednesday

Dominion Virginia Power
Prince William County: 158 without power

Prince William County: 1 without power

10:30 p.m.

Dominion Virginia Power
Prince William County: 1,160 without power
Stafford County: 839 without power

Prince William County: 242 without power
Stafford County: 1 without power

Storms in the forecast Tuesday



It looks like the area will be seeing some more stormy and hot weather.

According to the National Weather Service, scattered and severe thunderstorms are possible this afternoon and evening.

There may also be damaging winds and large hail. Additionally, there could be thunderstorms with significant rainfall and flash flooding.

Along with the stormy weather, the National Weather service has announced a heat advisory for the entire Interstate 95 corridor.

It is expected that the temperature will rise to 105 degrees.

The advisory is in effect from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.

More from the National Weather Service:






Original post

Sweltering hot temperatures and more potentially dangerous storms are in the forecast.

We’ll see a high of 96 degrees on Tuesday. Factor in the heat index, and we could be looking at temperatures that feel like 101 or better.

The hot temperatures could also bring severe thunderstorms much like we saw on Saturday night, said National Weather Service Baltimore-Washington office forecaster James Lee.

According to the weather service, the movement of a cold front across the region could determine when we could see some nasty weather. The storms could come during the afternoon or evening, so keep an umbrella handy for the drive home from work on Tuesday.

This latest threat of stormy weather comes days after a massive line a damaging, potentially tornado-causing weather moved through the region Saturday night. That storm — remnants of Tropical Storm Bill that slammed into Texas last week — caused flooding, topped trees and structures, and lightning from the storms sparked several house fires.
We are well into the summer season now, and the weather pattern setting up for the remainder of the week reflects the season.

While not nearly as hot as Tuesday’s forecasted temperatures in the high 90s, the rest of the week will bring temps in the high 80s, as well as more chances for thunderstorms on Thursday and Friday.

Your weekend should be warm with highs in the low 80s, with a chance of showers on Saturday and Sunday.

Sex assault suspect sought; purple lines on I-95; teen mechanic turns heads


Drivers on Interstate 95 will start to see purple. Special purple striping will be added to the entrances of the 95   EZ-Pass Express Lanes, and the Express Lanes on the Capital Beltway.

The purple lines should make it easier for drivers to see the entrances for the new toll lanes.

A woman was cleaning out her car at a Woodbridge CVS, and was sexually assaulted.

The 73-year-old victim told Prince William police it happened in during the morning hours of Wednesday, June 17. The woman was not injured. We’ve got a photo of the man suspected in this case on our website,

In our promoted post file today, see how 18-year-old Katie Tatum is turning the automotive world upside down. A fresh graduate from Hylton High School in Woodbridge, she’s been giving her fellow guy mechanics and run for their money. You can see her full story on

Next, your weather forecast.

Today, expect mostly cloudy skies with a high of 92 degrees. Storms will develop this afternoon — some of them could be severe. Tonight, expect temperatures in the low 70s.
That’s it for now. Check back with us throughout the day on for desktop and mobile, and and Facebook and Twitter.

Purple stripes coming to 495, 95 Express Lanes


Starting at the end of June, there will be purple lane striping added to the entry points on 495 and 95 Express Lanes.

According to a release from Transurban, the company that owns and operates the lanes, the new stripes will be added to the inside of the existing stripes at entry points.

The reason for the new lane striping is to minimize confusion for drivers, so they can better distinguish between Express Lanes and the regular Beltway and Interstate 95 lanes.

More on the striping locations from Transurban:

95 Express Lanes
95 Express Lanes entrance near Dumfries Road
95 Express Lanes entrance near Cardinal Drive
95 Express Lanes entrance near Franconia-Springfield Parkway

95 Express Lanes entrance between Lorton Road and Route 123
95 Express Lanes entrance north of Edsall Road

495 Express Lanes: 
Northbound 495 Express Lanes entrance near I-95/395/495 interchange
Regular Capital Beltway lanes between the southbound 495 Express Lanes exit and 95 Express Lanes entrance

Stafford could get 8 new officers with COPS grant

Stafford fire and rescue Acting Chief Mark Lockhart, Sheriff Charles E. Jett, and ATF Special Agent Richard Marianos appear at a press conference in Stafford. [File photo: Mary Davidson/]

The Stafford County Sheriff’s Office is applying for a federal grant to get funds for more officers.

The Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grants are funded through the U.S. Department of Justice, and are meant to assist law enforcement agencies with staffing needs.

“We’ve taken advantage of them in the past to supplement and increase our sworn staffing – primarily with the argument that we’re a fast growing community and that we’re not able to keep up with the human resource that is needed to engage in and fulfill our community policing mission,” said Stafford Sheriff Charles Jett.

The county was awarded a COPS grant in 1999 and was able to hire 10 new officers.

According to Jett, applying for these grants has gotten very competitive.

“We’ve seen the amount of money dwindle, in regards to nationwide, the amount is available to grantees. We’ve also seen it become extremely competitive, as a number of law enforcement agencies laid off officers during the economically challenging times…for us, we’re making the case that we’ve already made before the board of supervisors and that’s that through our sheriff’s office staffing strategic plan, we were able to demonstrate that currently we are 30 field positions down,” said Jett.

The COPS funding allows for a 5% increase in sworn officers – which would be 8 positions for Stafford, according to Jett.

In total, Stafford County could receive up to $1 million, and there is a local matching responsibility that the Stafford County Board of Supervisors would have to agree to. The board gave Jett the approval to apply for the grant last month.

For Jett, this funding would allow the county to offer better response times and community outreach.

“It would enhance and increase service delivery. As we’re now showing that our response times are not where we want them to be on emergency calls – it’s also showing that our deputy currently has a minimal amount of proactive community policing time to engage in the community, in problem solving activities….it would [also] reduce the financial impact on the community,” Jett commented.

The winners of the COPS grants will be announced before the end of September.

Feldbush wants more training, transparency, as Stafford sheriff candidate


Chuck Feldbush has declared his candidacy for the Stafford sheriff’s race.

More on Feldbush’s background:

Mr. Feldbush is a retired Prince William County police detective, and is a U.S. Air Force veteran.  This rich tradition of service is a foundation of his campaign and is reflected in his most recent discussion of issues facing Stafford residents that the Sheriff’s Department can have an impact upon.  Of particular note, and in the news recently, is business security.  Mr. Feldbush believes the Sheriff’s Department can have a positive impact on the security environment for all Stafford businesses.  

During his candidacy, Feldbush plans to speak about transportation, transparency in law enforcement practices and increased law enforcement training.

“A well-trained force responds and reacts in a professional manner at all times, a first step in maintaining a well-rounded justice system in the county,” stated Feldbush.

Mission BBQ opens in North Stafford

mission bbq stafford

There’s a new barbecue joint in town.

Mission BBQ opened in the North Stafford Shopping Center on Monday. The chain restaurant with locations in Richmond, Roanoke, Virginia Beach, saw a line form with hungry customers form outside their location off Route 610 in North Stafford.

Jacqueline and Mark Dickenson took their family to the restaurant for opening day. They said the pulled pork was delicious.

At noon on opening day, employees treated customers to a live rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner. The grand opening followed a week of special fundraising events for the Stafford County Fire and Recuce Department, Stafford County Sheriff’s Office, and the Wounded Warrior Project.

Here’s more in a press release:

The restaurant known for its traditional American BBQ with a hefty side of patriotism opens its 17th location in Stafford on June 15. Now Stafford County can experience traditional favorites done the MISSION BBQ way. Menu items include Texas Inspired Beef Brisket; Jalapeño and Cheese Sausage; and the bestselling North Carolina Pulled Pork Sandwich topped high with Cold Slaw accompanied by an array of homemade BBQ sauces. The opening of the Stafford location is part of MISSION BBQ’s expansion plans, with a targeted goal of 40 restaurants throughout the East Coast by 2018. MISSION BBQ currently has restaurants in five states: Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Florida. 

Stafford #1 for job growth in Virginia


Stafford County is now number one for job growth in Virginia.

Last week, at the 24th Annual Business Appreciation Reception held by Stafford’s economic development department, they made the announcement about the county’s job growth numbers.

“Today is a great day for business in Stafford. None of these achievements were random. We deliberately set out to attract businesses that our citizens wanted and that would bring jobs home to the county. We created and followed plans for economic development and those efforts have paid off with more than 2,400 businesses calling Stafford home and more than 40,000 jobs located in the county,” said Chairman of the Board of Supervisors Gary Snellings in a release.

Over the past six years, Stafford has had around a 2.6%increase in job growth annually.

Additionally, Stafford was ranked third in the state for overall business growth. There are currently more than 2,400 businesses in the county, according to a release.

“We are delighted with Stafford’s business success in the last few years but there is more work to be done. We will continue our push to attract and retain quality commercial business to Stafford County,” said Chairman of the Stafford County Economic Development Authority Joel Griffin, in a release.

How to do a tasting at Manassas Olive Oil Company

Manassas Olive Oil Company
Manassas Olive Oil Company
Manassas Olive Oil Company
Manassas Olive Oil Company
Manassas Olive Oil Company
Manassas Olive Oil Company

Find perfect pairings for salads, chicken, even ice cream

At Manassas Olive Oil Company, you have the opportunity to sample over 45 flavors of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

From mild to robust, these oils fill up metal fusties that are placed throughout the room. Empty bottles are lined up beneath them, and tasting cups are waiting to be filled with fresh oils and vinegar.

A tasting experience can vary.

You may end up spending an hour with friends sampling a large variety, or you might just be looking for something to create a perfect marinade for tonight’s chicken entree.

“We encourage people to spend as much time as they want finding what they love in here,” says store manager Cameron Thomson. “If you don’t want to spend an hour and change in here tasting everything, I can ask you what you’re looking to use it for and then help you find what you’re looking for.”

Thomson says it’s an experience that most people aren’t expecting. “Typically most people, what they’ve had their whole life is nothing like this, so they’re going to be caught very off guard by what they’re about to taste,” Thomson says.

To sample any of the olive oils or balsamic vinegar, you just have to fill up a small plastic ramekin of the flavor you want. Thomson says it’s important to smell it before taking a swig. He also suggests slurping the oils in order to really discern their tastes.

For people that might be put off by drinking the oils on their own, there are jars of bread available for tastings. You can dunk the small pieces of bread into the various flavors in order to get a sense of their taste.

“Sometimes it’s good to break up the taste of it,” said Thomson. “Some of the oils have very strong flavor by themselves, so sometimes its good to have something neutral to taste it with.” 

After sampling a variety of flavors, you may end up with a French Walnut olive oil and Black Cherry vinegar pairing that will make a perfect dressing for your salad, a Mushroom Sage as marinade for tomorrow night’s pork dinner, and a raspberry vinegar to drizzle on that vanilla ice cream in your freezer.

After narrowing down your choices, employees will help you fill the empty glass bottles with the fresh balsamic vinegar and olive oils.

Thomson says this is something fun and new that everyone will love trying out.

“Open up your mind to the new possibility of tasting very fresh olive oil,”he said.

Manassas Olive Oil Company opened its doors in May. Hours are Monday thru Thursday 10 a.m.- 6 p.m., Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Update: Woman arrested, eat flowers from your backyard


A woman is charged with assault and battery on a police officer. Prince William police were called to a home on Redskin Court in Woodbridge on Tuesday, June 9, and said they saw the suspect, 37-year-old Michelle Bullock get into a car and then try to speed away from police.

An officer ran alongside the car before to try to get the woman to stop. She eventually did and was arrested.

In Lake Ridge, The Chinn Park Regional Library is newly renovated. Over the past month, a new circulation desk was added. The desk was redesigned to make it more efficient for employees and library patrons. The renovation cost $100,000.

And From our promoted post file today — did you know that many of the weeds, flowers, and leaves in your own backyard are edible? But how do you know which ones to eat?

The Earth Village Education Foundation in Fauquier County will hold a class June 20 to help you identify what you can eat, and what neat food and drinks — including coffee — you can make from plants in your own backyard.

Stafford Superintendent’s contract extended to 2019



Looks like Dr. Bruce Benson will continue to be the Stafford superintendent through 2019.

The Stafford school board voted to extend his contact at their meeting on Wednesday night.

Benson began working in the Stafford County School system as superintendent last year, after Dr. Randy Bridges left to spend more time with his family.

There will not be a salary increase, according to a school release.

“I appreciate the Board’s confidence in my ability to continue guiding Stafford County Public Schools.  I have enjoyed my first year in Stafford County and welcome the excitement and challenges the next four years will bring.  There are few places in Virginia that rival the advantages of Stafford County and I am honored to call Stafford County my home. I look forward to ensuring improved community engagement and transparency for the school division over the next four years,” stated Benson in a release.

You’ll be surprised at the local artifacts featured in the ‘Hometown Tourist’ exhibit in Manassas

Screen Shot 2015-06-09 at 8.35.14 AM

Manassas Museum ‘Hometown Tourist” exhibit coming to Bull Run Regional Library 

Trade your suitcase for some walking shoes and be a Manassas hometown tourist this summer. If walking shoes aren’t an option, take a virtual tour.

The new Manassas Historical Sites Map Tour lets you click on a map to find in-depth information about the city’s eight historic properties. The tour includes photographs, little-known stories about people and places associated with the site, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and information about visiting in person. Visit to access the tour.

The Manassas Museum is taking to the road for a new summer travelling exhibit, Hometown Tourist, at the Bull Run Regional Library. The exhibit features artifacts, old post cards, and archaeology from nine area historic sites: The Southern Railway Depot, the Hopkins Candy Factory, Liberia Plantation, the Stone House, the Manassas City Cemetery, the Manassas Museum (built on land where Eastern College once stood), the Manassas Industrial School, the former Grace United Methodist Church (now Bull Run Unitarian), and the Albert Speiden House.

Most of the City’s nationally significant historic sites are open free every day and offer interpretive signage that tells their story. Take along the mobile version of the Manassas Historical Sites Map Tour as you visit the Manassas Museum, the Southern Railway Depot, the Hopkins Candy Factory, Liberia Plantation, Mayfield and Cannon Branch Earthwork Forts, and the Manassas Industrial School/Jennie Dean Memorial to enhance your experience.

If you would like to learn even more about the sites, guided walking tours of Historic Downtown Manassas are offered every Thursday and Friday at Noon, and Liberia House tours are offered Sundays at Noon through the summer. Meet at the Manassas Museum, 9101 Prince William Street, for the Downtown tours, and at Liberia, 8601 Portner Avenue, for the Sunday tours.

Call 703-268-1873 or visit for more information.

Exclusive: King is new candidate for 2nd district


072914-First-on-plJosh King is the new Democratic candidate for Virginia’s 2nd House district.

King, an Iraq War Army veteran and a Sheriff’s deputy in Fairfax County, was officially filed as the candidate by Prince William County Democratic Party Chair Harry Wiggins. He lives in Woodbridge with his wife and three children.

“I’m excited for the opportunity to serve the residents of the second district. This district needs a representative who will work to reduce school overcrowding, increase our transportation options, and work tirelessly to attract more jobs to the area,” King stated.

The original Democratic nominee for the seat was Rod Hall, who decided that he would step down following a job offer

The incumbent for the seat, Delegate Michael Futrell, was running in a three-way Democratic primary for the 29th Senate district, when he lost to Jeremy McPike. 

Futrell was asked to run for re-election for his seat, but declined in a statement.


King will face Republican Mark Dudenhefer in the General Election on Nov. 3.

Wendy Maurer is the Republican nominee in Stafford Rock Hill District


Wendy Maurer is the Republican nominee for the Rock Hill District of the Stafford County Board of Supervisors.

Maurer, a Quantico businesswoman, beat out challenger Adela Bertoldi by eight points in the race.

Maurer attributed her win to the support of her family and her community.

As she prepares to face two independent candidates in November, she will focus on better schools and better development are two main issues campaign issues.

“We need to make sure we fund our schools to have teachers available to teach our children,” said Maurer.

Stafford schools cut 55 teachers from the school division last year, said Maurer. She said it’s up to the Board of Supervisors to work hand in hand with the school board to ensure schools are properly funded.

Maurer says she will work to attract more businesses to the county — something the county has already had great success in doing — but adds the Rock Hill District doesn’t have the necessary road infrastructure needed for the development of new homes.

Maurer says she will make updating the county’s comprehensive plan a priority to control growth in the area.

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