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News
In his own words: ‘Under the First Amendment, that Confederate flag may fly’

STAFFORD — There have been weeks of public comment and debate over a Confederate battle flag that has become a staple of the skyline over Interstate 95 in south Stafford.

At the Stafford County Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday night, elected leaders allowed county attorney Charles Shumate explain why he says the county cannot force the removal of the flag that sits on private property.

This issue that you have before you is not isolated here in this Fredericksburg, Stafford, Spotsylvania area as you well know. It’s it’s an issue that we’ve got throughout the country.

But you know there are a lot of things that we deal with in a free society that are hard to sometimes understand. How can you do this? How can how can you allow somebody to fly this flag or how can you put up a Nazi swastika? Or how can you burn a flag?

I served 11 months and 29 days in Vietnam in a combat zone. To this day if I see someone burning the American flag… Fortunately I’ve never been present. That is so disrespectful and hateful to me. And I relate that to what you’re saying about how hateful it is to you to see that Confederate flag. (more…)

News
Drone finds Mountain View High School student who was reported missing

From a press release: 

The Stafford County Sheriff’s Office located a missing Mountain View High School student last night with the help of the Sheriff’s Office Unmanned Aircraft System commonly referred to as a drone.

The Stafford Sheriff’s Office received a call on Monday, September 18, 2017, at approximately 5:00 p.m. in reference to a missing person.  The missing person was an 18-year-old Mountain View High School student who failed to return home after school.   The missing student had no history of running away and the Sheriff’s Office had reason to believe that he may be endangered.

 Deputies located the missing student’s book bag and cell phone in the school which heightened the concern for the young man’s safety.  Detectives conducted numerous interviews with associates of the student and learned that nobody had seen or heard from him since the end of the school day.

In light of the circumstances and the belief that the missing student may still be somewhere in the area of Mountain View High School, the Sheriff’s Office Search & Rescue Team as well as the Drone Team were called out to assist in the search.  The drone, which is equipped with a thermal imaging camera, was launched just before 9:00 p.m.

By 9:30 p.m. the drone operator picked up a thermal image believed to be that of the missing student in the far southwest portion of the school property near the track.  Drone team members directed deputies to that area and the missing student was found unharmed.

Photo: Stafford County Sheriff’s Office 

News
Virginia State Police warn of automated traffic ticket scam

If you get an email from someone claiming to be from the Virginia State Police telling you about an automated traffic ticket, it’s a scam. 

From Virginia State Police: 

Virginia State Police is warning all Virginians of an email scam that advises individuals they are receiving an “automated traffic ticket” from the State Police. The Virginia State Police does not use or issue digital/automated traffic tickets or summonses. Anyone receiving such an email should delete it and NOT click on any links provided in the email (See example below).

The email scam is just one of numerous tactics used by scammers to harass individuals under the guise of being the Virginia State Police. Just last month Virginia State Police pushed out an advisory about state police phone numbers being cloned by scammers demanding money and/or threatening individuals with arrest warrants. In these instances, anyone receiving such a phone call should hang up.

To protect one’s self from such scams:

— Never open or click on a link in an email from an unknown email address, individual or organization. To check the validity of an email, locate the entity’s website and call to determine if it is a legitimate email. The same goes for an individual.

— Never give out personal information, credit card numbers, bank account information, etc. to an unknown individuals or entities via the phone or email.

— For additional tips on how to protect yourself and identifying common scams, go to www.usa.gov/scams-and-frauds.

Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center launches Sentara Neck and Back Center

Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center announces its newest addition to help you get back in the game!

Today, Monday, September 18th, the hospital launched the Sentara Back and Neck Center during a ribbon cutting attended by doctors, nurses, volunteers and members of the team.

The Sentara Back and Neck Center offers patients a ‘one-stop shop’ for complete, compassionate care from our board-certified, fellowship trained spine surgeons offering advanced surgical procedures and treatments such as minimally invasive surgeries and artificial disk replacement.

“It’s a more comprehensive approach to treating spinal issues. It’s a team approach, “explains Dr. Paymaun Lotfi, an Orthopedic Spine Specialist and Surgeon at Sentara.

This comprehensive, team approach to treating back pain and spinal issues allows patients to return to their lives with less pain and more hope. Whether that treatment means minimally invasive surgeries or a non-surgical alternative, like working with a pain management specialist or trained physical therapist to create a rehabilitation plan – the new Sentara Back and Neck Center is a specialized program that has something to get everyone back in the game.

“Most people realize they’re going to have some aches and pains, or stiffness, with normal aging. That’s very common. The majority of the issues we see are among those lines, but when you have radiating pain into the extremities- into your arm, into your leg, numbness, weakness, tingling… that’s really not common with normal aging,” explains Dr. Lotfi.

Our expanded orthopedic specialty services are a reflection of Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center’s commitment to offer state-of-the-art services right here in our community.

“We’re there for you and your family every step of the way,” says Dr. Lotfi.

News
‘Each illegal sign will result in a $100 fine’

STAFFORD — The Stafford County Government is going to war over popsicle signs.

Those common cardboard signs seen along roadways advertising the small business, apartment complexes, and Realtor open houses are now the target of the county’s public works staff.

“We’ve had so many signs, such a bad problem with it in recent months. We want to keep Stafford beautiful, and having signs in our gateways doesn’t do that,” said Stafford County Board of Supervisors Chairman. 

From a press release:

Stafford County is stepping up efforts to eliminate illegal signs placed in the public right-of-way and asking the public to obey sign ordinances. Illegal signs distract drivers, disrupt sight distances and clutter gateways to the county that Stafford has worked to beautify in recent years. Each illegal sign will result in a $100 fine.

This effort is aimed at the hundreds of signs illegally placed in the public right-of-way. Placing signs within the public right-of-way without a permit is illegal pursuant to both Stafford County and Virginia codes. Stafford County has entered into an agreement with the Virginia Department of Transportation to remove such signs from the public right-of-way. Illegal signs will be removed and a fine of $100 plus costs will be imposed on the person or entity being advertised on the signs.

To avoid fines, officials recommend that individuals or companies obtain permits from VDOT, remove the signs from the public right-of-way or obtain permission from private property owners to locate the signs on their property. Signs on private property may also require County permits. For information on the proper way to display a sign in Stafford County, please visit Sign Info or call the Department of Planning and Zoning at 540-658-8668.

News
Modern Day Marine begins today at Quantico

QUANTICO — Today is the first day of the annual Modern Day Marine expo at Quantico.

The three-day event is expected to draw not only U.S. Marine Corps military and civilian personnel but also members of the other U.S. services, foreign military attaches, and corporate representatives from throughout the U.S. and several other nations.

This is the 37th year for the show, and the 25th consecutive year it has been held at Quantico. 

The show features exhibitors on Lejeune Field, and panels to discuss the future of the warfighting and its impact on the Marine Corps. Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert B. Neller will be on hand at 10 a.m. Wednesday to introduce the new Navy and Marine Corps operating concept: “Littoral Operations in a Contested Environment (LOCE).

The event will culminate on Thursday with a banquet dinner at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Crystal City.

News
Boaters urged to pull out of Abel Lake as water levels drop

The water level in Stafford County’s Abel Lake reservoir is dropping, and county officials warn residents to pull their boats out of the water if water levels continue to drop. 

From a press release: 

A flow control gate at Lake Abel is stuck in the open position, causing the water level in the lake to drop. Stafford County is working to make repairs.

Until the repair is complete, residents in the area may notice a drop in the lake level as well as strong odors. The water at the bottom of the lake has organic matter which is causing the odor.  Boat owners should monitor the lake level and consider removing boats as necessary.

Officials will notify the public when the repairs are complete.

Abel Lake is one of three reservoirs to include Smith Lake in North Stafford, and Lake Mooney in southern Stafford.

News
Authorities search for driver who struck 11-year-old boy on his bike

An 11-year-old boy is recovering after he was struck by a truck while riding his bicycle outside his Stafford County home.

Stafford authorities are now looking for the driver who struck the child on Saturday afternoon.

More in a press release:

On Saturday, September 16, 2017, just after 3:00 p.m. deputies from the Stafford Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to the England Run North apartment complex in reference to a pedestrian struck call.

Deputies arrived on scene to find an 11-year- old male victim. It was reported that the victim was attempting to cross Cynthias Place on his bicycle when he was struck by a blue pickup truck. The truck reportedly stopped momentarily before driving off.

The victim was transported by rescue to Stafford Hospital Center where he was treated for non-life-threatening injuries and later released.

The suspect vehicle is described as a dark blue crew cab style pickup truck. There was a Philadelphia Eagles sticker on the left side of the truck’s back window. The driver is described as a young Hispanic male with black hair. The driver was wearing rainbow-colored
sunglasses on his head. There was a female in the front passenger seat of the truck with a child sitting in her lap and another male in the backseat sitting behind the driver.

Anyone who witnessed the accident or has information that would assist in identifying the suspect is asked to contact the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office at 540-658- 4400, Stafford Crime Solvers at 540-659- 2020 (where callers may remain anonymous) or TEXT “Stafford” + your tip to CRIMES (274637).