Stafford

Mr. Postal holds ribbon cutting at North Stafford store

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Mr. Postal ribbon cutting.
Mr. Postal ribbon cutting.
Mr. Postal ribbon cutting.
Mr. Postal ribbon cutting.
Mr. Postal ribbon cutting.
Mr. Postal ribbon cutting.

Mr. Postal held a ribbon cutting at its location at 2769 Jefferson Davis Highway in North Stafford.

Now under new ownership, retail center was formerly known as the Pack N Ship Store.

Several members of the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce were in attendance. Margaritas, wine, and champagne was served at the event.

I-95 traffic already congested for upcoming July 4 weekend

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For those planning to head out of the area for the Fourth of July weekend – prepare for some heavy traffic.

Currently Interstate 95 going southbound in North Stafford was already seeing congestion at 9 a.m. this morning.

Additionally, there will be some lane changes for those traveling on the I-95 Express Lanes this weekend.

More on the 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.  

SoberRide offers free cab rides on July 4

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Make sure 11666199_871854766197291_5909740074273665784_nthat your Fourth of July is both fun and safe.

The Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP) is offering their SoberRide program from 10 p.m. on July 4 to 4 a.m. on July 5.

According to a WRAP release, individuals can receive a free cab ride home, up to a $30 fare.

In order to utilize the program, riders must be 21 years and older.

More on July 4’s SoberRide program:

Important note: All requests for SoberRide service must be called to and dispatched from 1-800-200-8294. Do not call a taxi company directly for SoberRide service as the ride will not be covered under this program.

General SoberRide Information
WRAP’s SoberRide , called one of the nation’s most successful free cab ride programs for would-be impaired drivers, has helped to ensure greater Washington, DC residents have a safe way home on high-risk holidays. Since 1993, WRAP has provided over 62,536 safe rides home. Currently, SoberRide operates during the December/January holiday season, St. Patrick’s Day, CInco de Mayo, Independence Day and Halloween.
WRAP’s SoberRide provides a free cab ride home up to a $30 fare.
Callers are financially responsible for anything over $30.

You must be 21 or older to use the SoberRide service. All calls must originate in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties in Maryland; the Cities of Rockville, Bowie, College Park, Gaithersburg, Greenbelt and Takoma Park in Maryland; the District of Columbia; Arlington, Fairfax, Prince William and Eastern Loudoun Counties in Virginia; and the Cities of Alexandria, Falls Church, Fairfax, Manassas and Manassas Park in Virginia.

You cannot reserve a SoberRide or schedule a pickup in advance. To receive a ride, you must call 1-800-200-8294 (TAXI) during the program hours. A SoberRide call operator will direct your request to the correct participating cab company.

Participating Taxi Companies:
Alexandria Yellow Cab (Alexandria)
Barwood, Inc. (Montgomery County)
Fairfax Yellow Cab (Fairfax County)
Loudoun Yellow Cab (Eastern Loudoun County)
Northern Virginia Checker (Prince William County)
Red Top Cab Company (Arlington County)
Silver Cab of Prince George’s County (Prince George’s County)
Yellow Cab of District of Columbia (District of Columbia)
Yellow Cab of Prince William County (Prince William County)
When waiting for a SoberRide, please watch for a cab from the participating taxi company in the area from which you are calling.

New Virginia traffic laws start today

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Starting today, there are some new rules of the road in Virginia.

During their last session, the Virginia General Assembly made amendments to state codes that are meant to increase safety measures for bicycles, postal vehicles, and garbage trucks, among others.

One change is that any vehicle that provides roadside assistance or traffic management aide is now qualified for the “Move Over” law in Virginia, because the vehicle may have blinking or flashing warning lights. The “Move Over law mandates that drivers change lanes to allow certain vehicles, including law enforcement, room on the road to provide assistance.

Another measure is meant to keep postal workers safe. A new regulation passed in the House now requires drivers passing a mail vehicle that has blinking or amber lights on to use caution and a safe speed.

A similar regulation now requires that those passing garbage trucks on roadways that have less than four lanes have to decrease their speed to 10 miles per hour lower than the speed limit. Additionally, drivers must leave two feet of room between where they pass and the left of a vehicle.

An interesting regulation passed this legislative session protects individuals on bicycles and mopeds, as vehicles can now be cited for following too closely.

For those that have been convicted in a federal court for a DUI offense that is similar to one within Virginia law, now has the ability to petition the court in their jurisdiction for restricted driving privileges, which is found in other states. The driving privileges, according to the text of the passed bill, would be restricted to areas including their workplace and church.

Prior to this change, only individuals convicted in a Virginia court of a DUI offense could petition the court.

Animals to adopt at Stafford SPCA

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Found dog
Kingston
Solomon
 
Solomon is a 7-year-old Rottweiler that is a staff and volunteer favorite. He loves playing with his basketball and getting belly rubs.
 
He is a pro at yard zoomies! Solomon needs a 6 foot, fully enclosed fence to run and play in. He would do best as an only pet in a home that has prior big dog experience and no young children. Solomon is neutered, UTD on vaccines, and microchipped.
 
Kingston is a 2-year-old, black and white, short haired kitty with lots of love to give! He is sure to entertain you with his quirky personality, while still being a cool, calm guy that enjoys the quieter moments in life. Kingston is neutered, UTD on all vaccines, and is ready for his forever home!
 
FOUND DOG. Beautiful white Pit / Pit Mix rescued from the road @ midnight on 06/22 in the Stafford area. The family was on their way home to Alexandria, and they took the pup home and he has been cared for there ever since.  If you have any information please call 540-657-7387.

-Information provided by the Stafford SPCA. Contact them for more information on any of the animals shown above. 

Here’s where you can check out fireworks this Fourth of July

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Wondering where you can celebrate July 4 and see the fireworks in your area? Potomac Local has a list of July 4 events you can check out.

Prince William

In Prince William County there are several events you can attend to celebrate July 4, including the Dale City Parade on Dale Boulevard at 10 a.m.

More on July 4 events in Prince William:

Dale City Parade (July 4th 10 a.m. on Dale Blvd)
Leesylvania State Park Kid’s Fishing Tournament (9:00 a.m.)
Freedom Firecracker 5k Run & 1 Mile Fun Run (Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center 8:30 a.m.)
Pfitzner Stadium P-Nats Ball Game followed by fireworks show
Montclair Dolphin Beach fireworks display  (You must be an MPOA member to be on the beach.  However, you do not have to be an MPOA member to take advantage of a side-street view.)

Manassas

On July 4, the City of Manassas will be hosting their Celebrate America event from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. in Downtown Manassas.

More on the excitement from the City of 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 visitmanassas.org.

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.

Manassas Park

Fourth of July celebrations in Manassas Park include a fireworks display at Signal Hill Park, starting at 6:30 p.m.

More information on the fireworks display:

The City of Manassas Park invites you to join us Saturday, July 4th for a display you won’t want to miss. 

Free Admission
Fireworks Display at Dark
Free shuttles from VRE & City Hall Starting at 6:30pm
$5 Parking Available at 5pm – On-Site Parking: Handicap Only
Limited General Parking Across Street
PLUS! We will be having food trucks featuring: Bella Vita, Guapos, Bauji’s Kitchen, and Snowie!
No Alcohol
No fireworks allowed in park (this includes sparklers) 
Expect traffic delays from 8pm-11pm in the areas of Signal View Drive/Signal Hill Drive, Manassas Drive/Signal View Drive, Manassas Drive and Centreville Road. 

Stafford

Stafford and Fredericksburg will also be celebrating that day with their Heritage Festival and fun run event.

More on the July 4 events from Stafford:

Fredericksburg’s July 4th Heritage Festival 
7:45 a.m.: Heritage Festival Five-Mile Run Sponsored by Fredericksburg Host Lions Club
6:30 a.m.: Registration at Visitor’s Center
9:30 a.m.: Heritage Day Parade Sponsored by Children’s Museum of Richmond/Fredericksburg
Downtown: Lafayette to Caroline to Princess Anne to Lafayette Prizes for Best Costume & Most Creative Bicycle
10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.: Festival of the Streets Craft Show with more than 100 vendors Sponsored by Beth Sholom Temple, Classic Car Display Sponsored by Stafford Car Club & Rosner Motor Sports, Dunk your Favorite Local Celebrity Sponsored by Rappahannock Rotary
Children’s Activities: Face Painting, Balloon Creations, Moon Bounce & Photo Booth with free pictures
Live Music: Wil Gravatt – Gravatt Entertainment, Steve Jarrell & Sons of the Beach
10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.: Ferry Farm’s Let Freedom Ring Sponsored by George Washington Foundation $1.00 admission Catch a bus or trolley from downtown or from the Eagle’s Lodge on Cool Springs Road. Ferry Farm parking will be handicapped only. Patriotic, Family Activities, Re-Enactors
1:00 p.m.: Flag Retirement Ceremony with Anthony Campbell
12:00 p.m.: Presentation of Colors — American Legion Post 290 Welcome — Matt Kelly – Councilman at Large
4:30 p.m.: Pratt Park Opens for the July 4th Spectacular Bring lawn chairs & picnic dinners Food Vendors available
6:00 p.m.- 7:00 p.m.: Quantico Marine Corps Rock and Roll Band
7:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Special Appearance by the cast of: The Wedding Singer from Riverside Center Theater 
8:00 p.m. – through the Fireworks: Quantico Marine Corps Band
9:15 p.m.: Fireworks Sponsored by City of Fredericksburg & Stafford County
View fireworks from Pratt Park or Old Mill Park. No alchoholic beverages. No sparklers. No grills. Dogs must be on leashes.

 

Stafford school board concerned about class size, communication

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At a work session on June 27, the Stafford school board established some of their priorities for the next year.

The school board had an efficiency study for the school system conducted by Evergreen Solutions, LLC, which led to 16 recommendations that the school board reviewed.

Of the 16, two items in particular were selected as top priorities for the coming school year – one related to strategic planning, and another being a communication plan.

More from a Stafford school board release:

The Board would like Superintendent W. Bruce Benson to develop a plan to review and revise the division’s vision, mission, and goals, and identify measurable outcomes and strategies connected to desired outcomes. The Board requested that a Superintendent’s Strategic Planning Committee be developed. The committee representation shall include School Board members, parents, teachers, administrators, and government and community leaders.

The second area identified was communication. It was noted that the division does not have a formal communication plan and division-level communication often appears reactive.

Additionally, during the work session, school board members voiced their concerns about class size. An analysis of class sizes from 2014 to 2015 showed numbers were higher than school board members felt comfortable with, according to a release.

Members of the school board advised the Superintendent to draft staffing and class recommendations for the next year’s 2016-2017 budget to address the issue, said a school release.

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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 visitmanassas.org.

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

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june-23-storms

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

NOVEC
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

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

Storms in the forecast Tuesday

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Update

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:

A HEAT ADVISORY MEANS THAT A PERIOD OF HIGH TEMPERATURES IS EXPECTED. THE COMBINATION OF HIGH TEMPERATURES AND HIGH HUMIDITY WILL CREATE A SITUATION IN WHICH HEAT ILLNESSES ARE POSSIBLE.

TAKE EXTRA PRECAUTIONS IF YOU WORK OR SPEND TIME OUTSIDE. WHEN POSSIBLE…RESCHEDULE STRENUOUS ACTIVITIES TO EARLY MORNING OR EVENING. KNOW THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF HEAT EXHAUSTION AND HEAT

STROKE. WEAR LIGHT WEIGHT AND LOOSE FITTING CLOTHING WHEN POSSIBLE AND DRINK PLENTY OF WATER.

TO REDUCE RISK DURING OUTDOOR WORK…THE OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION RECOMMENDS SCHEDULING FREQUENT REST BREAKS

IN SHADED OR AIR CONDITIONED ENVIRONMENTS. ANYONE OVERCOME BY HEAT SHOULD BE MOVED TO A COOL AND SHADED LOCATION. HEAT STROKEIS AN EMERGENCY – CALL 911.

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

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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, PotomacLocal.com.

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 PotomacLocal.com.

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 PotomacLocal.com for desktop and mobile, and PotomacLocal.com and Facebook and Twitter.

Purple stripes coming to 495, 95 Express Lanes

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

Southbound: 
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

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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/PotomacLocal.com]

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

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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

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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

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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.

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