A fire of unknown origin destroyed much of a home situated on a wide section of Aquia Creek in Stafford on April 16.
Stafford County fire and rescue crews got the call at 11:22 a.m., for a fire in the Hidden Springs neighborhood. That area doesn’t have hydrant service, so a tanker team of three tanker trucks was also called in, as was a fire boat. The fire boat never made it.
There was a problem with the fire boat that was called in from Quantico, Virginia, so one was requested from Charles County, Maryland. But that boat took so long that the fire was extinguished before it arrived.
Dominion Virginia Power also had to come out and disconnect the power to the house for the safety of the firefighters who had to fight the fire from inside.
Several real estate websites say the home was built in 1918.
The cause of the fire is being investigated.
A local chemist has stepped up to run for the Stafford County School Board.
Dr. Dean Fetterolf, an analytical chemist is seeking the Rock Hill district seat as an independent candidate. He’s lived in the county for 21 years, according to a press release.
The current Rock Hill district representative is Patricia Healy, an attorney who has served in the position since 2000 and lived in the county for about 30 years.
Of Healy, Fetterolf said, “It’s disheartening that the four-term incumbent has led a change in the school board’s focus from the needs of the students to the wants of the adults. I share the growing concerns of many of the parents of our 27,462 students.”
“After 16 years as a member and chairperson of the school board, the Rock Hill incumbent can only point to negative Department of Education statistics that ranks Stafford as the 10th largest district but also ranks 85th out of 132 in per pupil total funding. The local per pupil contribution is 22 percent below the state average,” stated a press release.
Fetterolf reportedly served as the chair of the Stafford County School Board’s Finance and Budget Advisory committee from 2007 to 2011. He was also a member of a Capital Improvement Plan committee, a budget and compensation task force, and a previous middle school realignment committee.
“The county is growing. And, for the first time in 16 years, Rock Hill can count on there being a change of focus to student development and not housing development,” Fetterolf said in a release. The release also reported that, if elected, he will “stand up to the board of supervisors to mitigate the impact of thousands of new homes on the school’s infrastructure and operating budgets,” though it didn’t specify how.
“County budget priorities are out of whack. We don’t need plastic grass football fields when our high schools are overcrowded.”
If elected, Fetterolf plans to work on reducing class size, making Stafford school salaries more competitive with neighboring counties, and program parity.
A formal announcement of his campaign is scheduled for April 20 at 7 p.m., at the Porter branch of the Central Rappahannock Regional Library.
-Information provided by the Stafford SPCA. Contact them for more information on any of the animals shown above.
Stafford County Public Schools are open for Kindergarten registration for the 2015-16 school year. If you have a child who turns 5 years old by Sept. 30, 2015, the time to sign up for kindergarten is now.
Kindergarten enrollment will be held from April 13 through May 15.
On Monday, April 13, all Stafford County Public Schools will hold a special enrollment day with hours from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. to register children.
Fredericksburg Public Schools will hold its special enrollment day on Wednesday, May 6 with hours from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. to register children.
In order to register your child, you must bring a photo ID, an official birth certificate and proof of residence. Proof of residence may be a deed, a lease, a tax bill, utility bills, an insurance policy and such. A list of acceptable proof of residence items is available online.
The first 50 children registered in each school will receive a special gift.
This special kindergarten enrollment day is a collaboration between Smart Beginnings Rappahannock Area and the five school divisions. According to its website, Smart Beginnings Rappahannock Area is an early childhood initiative designed to ensure young children are prepared for success in school and success in life. It serves the city of Fredericksburg, as well as Spotsylvania, Stafford, King George and Caroline counties.
There will also be a kindergarten readiness event at the Children’s Museum of Richmond (Fredericksburg location) on Thursday, May 7 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, May 16 from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., with free admission for children and parents.
Residents should expect to see increased lane closures in the coming months at the intersection of Route 1, Route 17 Business and Route 218 in Stafford’s Falmouth district.
The closures are a part of the $22.1 million dollar construction project being completed by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), according to a VDOT release.
Construction on the intersection began back in March 2014 as part of an improvement project. Tavares Concrete, Inc is completing the project.
Currently, construction on the project is at 50% completion. The project includes building new turn lanes and travel lanes, as well as sidewalks, which will be open for use in September 2015, said a VDOT release.
According to a VDOT release, the purpose of the project is to unclog the intersection, as it is an important alternate route for Interstate 95, and local passage between Stafford County and the City of Fredericksburg.
“We appreciate the cooperation and patience of drivers over the past year during the demolition, utility relocation, and early construction work. We look forward to wrapping up construction over the next six months to deliver this project in September,” said Michael Coffey, P.E., VDOT’s Assistant District Administrator for Construction, Fredericksburg District in a release.
Residents should expect single lane closures near the intersection most evenings, Sunday through Thursday. VDOT stated that they will avoid lane closures during peak traffic times including rush hour on weekdays, Friday nights, and weekend days.
Five companies are expanding in Stafford, bringing in 112,000 feet of additional office leases and 370 new jobs to the county.
Among the companies that have helped drive economic growth in Stafford are Dispersive Technologies, MLT Systems, the Bowen Group, IPKeys Technologies, LLC, and SimVentions, according to a county release.
“The Board has been very strategic in its economic development efforts, and these recent expansions indicate that our work is making a difference. We have worked hard to make our community more business friendly, streamlining our processes and working closely with prospects to ensure that we can provide what they need to be successful here, as well as offering to our citizens high quality jobs right here in Stafford,” said Gary Snellings, Chairman of the Stafford County Board of Supervisors, in a release. Keep Reading…
I just reported on a woman being robbed in the parking lot of Target in North Stafford. And already social media commenters are saying people should be more aware of their surroundings, or they need to carry mace and have their car keys in their hands ready to use as a weapon. But it’s not so simple.
To recap, the woman and young child had walked out of the store to her vehicle. She then placed the child in the carseat. When she stood back up, she was shocked to find a man standing next to her. She asked him to step back. He showed a gun and demanded money.
A similar thing happened to me years ago in another area. I am normally very aware of my surroundings. I had served in the Civil Air Patrol, and our motto was Semper Vigilans, which is Latin for “always vigilant” — always alert and ready. I took that motto to heart.
Yet, one day at the park, after I had placed my child’s stroller in the trunk of my car, a man appeared out of nowhere standing VERY close to me. He asked for money.
He didn’t get any.
The trunk of my car was still open, and I had a sword in it. Yes, a sword.
I had recently given a presentation on what it was like to live in the Middle East as an American and had brought various souvenirs as well as historic cultural symbols. One of them included a sword.
I last saw him running across the train tracks with a bicycle in his hands that he didn’t have with him earlier. He was running fast. I never saw him again.
I was fortunate the man did not appear to have a gun. Mace, car keys, and even being aware enough to notice a criminal before he gets too close doesn’t help if that criminal has a gun.
I still don’t know how this man got right up next to me so quickly and so silently in an open area when there was no one else around for at least 50 feet except a gentleman sitting in an adjacent truck who called police after I was approached.
So I ask you not to judge the victim of the crime. If you choose to judge anyone, let it be the perpetrator.
To read the original story, click here.
An armed man robbed a woman in the Target parking lot in Stafford Marketplace in North Stafford while the woman’s young granddaughter was with her.
According to Stafford County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Bill Kennedy, the woman and child had walked out of Target to her vehicle. She then placed the child in the carseat. When she stood back up, she was shocked to find a man standing next to her. She asked him to step back, and he responded by asking for change. She declined. That’s when it got scary.
The man started yelling at her and opened his hoodie to display a gun, said Kennedy. He then demanded money.
The victim handed over an undetermined amount of cash then, shaken, drove home and called police.
Dep. Brandon Gates responded to the robbery. Additional officers canvased the area to search for the suspect but did not locate him.
The suspect is a thin black male, possibly with a mustache, approximately 5 feet 6 to 5 feet 9 inches tall, wearing dark clothing including a black and blue hoodie.
Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff’s office at 540-658-4400, or they may call Crimesolvers anonymously at 540-659-2020.
A Confederate battle flag stands tall over Interstate 95 in south Stafford County.
Seen by drivers traveling along the East Coast, it was placed there by “The Virginia Flaggers,” a group that remains proud of its southern heritage.
The group filed for the permit to fly the flag at a home on Beagle Road, on a property owned by one of the group’s members.
‘Flaggers’ say heritage, not hate
According to group spokesman Barry Isenhour, the group places Confederate flags in locations around the state as a response to people looking to remove the flags.
“The reason we put that [flag] up was to commemorate the Confederate soldiers who actually fought and died in that area, defending the state of Virginia,” Isenhour said.
Throughout the Confederacy between 1861 to 1865, more than three iterations of the flag were used for several different reasons.
The flag placed alongside I-95 was specifically used when Confederate soldiers stepped into battle, known as the battle flag.
The Virginia Flaggers formed 3-years ago, and they pay for all of the flags and flag poles using donations.
“What we’ve seen [are] negative positions on our Confederate ancestors who fought bravely for the state…and they started taking flags off of the Confederate War Memorial Chapel in Richmond. [And our group] said ‘enough is enough’ – these are ancestors of ours, they were honorable men, honorable veterans and there’s no need to start rewriting history in the modern eyes,” commented Isenhour. Keep Reading…
U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine paid a visit to Stafford County, where he led a roundtable discussion at the Stafford Economic Development Authority on April 8. More than a dozen business and political leaders were present, including Stafford County supervisors Jack Cavalier (Griffis-Widewater) and Laura Sellers (Garrisonville).
The group touched on many different topics, but the need to fund cyber-security initiatives and the effect of BRAC got much of the attention.
BRAC stands for base realignment and closure. According to the U.S. Department of Defense website, BRAC is “the congressionally authorized process [the DOD] has used to reorganize its base structure to more efficiently and effectively support [U.S.] forces, increase operational readiness and facilitate new ways of doing business.”
Kaine said: “BRACs are obviously very tough. I mean, nobody wants to contemplate dramatic scale-downs of infrastructure when they’re such significant job creators, economic centers of gravity for communities where a military installation is [located]. At the same time, the defense budget Priority One is not a job creator. Priority One is national defense. And if you spend more on installations than you need to, then you’re spending less on something else [like cyber-security].”
“I’m not sure the BRAC process is really the best way to come at the rationalization of physical infrastructure,” he added.
Past base closures didn’t save money, they cost money, said Kaine. He told roundtable that the Pentagon claimed BRACs that didn’t save money weren’t done efficiently. And when a BRAC is announced, every community hires attorneys and lobbyists to try and protect what they have, even in communities where the installation is not at risk. It becomes a massive check to the lobbyists and lawyers, said Kaine.
“You’re never out of the woods if you have an installation in your community.”
Also present at the meeting were Stafford EDA Chairman Joel Griffin, Curry Roberts, Howard Owen, George Judd, Patrick J. Gallagher, Ken Fried, Gen. E. Gray Payne, Rich Sackette, Suzanne Milem, Martin Arase, Cristina R. Barnes, Kent Farmer, Mark Kavanaugh, Ken Farquhar, Gabe Patricio, Joshua Kovacs, Jeff Speights, Shannon Howell, Sarah Kirkpatrick, and M.C. Moncure.
On April 15, people can get a free massage from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. by massages therapists at the Massage Envy location in Stafford.
The massages are complimentary, and are being done to help residents and tax preparers relax during ‘tax day’.
Additionally, there are several local tax preparers in the area that have partnered with various Massage Envy locations to provide free massages to clients and staff on-site that day.
The first ever Government Island photo contest, called “Picturing Government Island,” just concluded. The contest, run by Tour Stafford Virginia via their Facebook page, features five winners.
The photo contest was judged by photographer Buddy Secor of Ninja Pix and historian Jane Conner, who is the author of book about Government Island called “Birthstone of the White House and Capitol.”
Stones from an old quarry that used to be on the small island inside Aquia Harbour in Stafford, Virginia, were used to build the White House and Capitol. Government Island is now a park with hiking trails.
Maria Cannata received Honorable Mention in the Nature and Landscape category and will receive a copy of Jane Conner’s book.
Laura Stoffel received Honorable Mention in the People category and will also receive a copy of Jane Conner’s book.
Joy Cox received Honorable Mention in the Animals category. She, too, will receive a copy of Jane Conner’s book.
The Fan Favorite, with 346 votes, is Alyssa Douglas. She won a $50 gift certificate to Zibibbo 73 Trattoria Italiana & Bar.
The Grand Prize Winner and recipient of a $50 gift certificate to Zibibbo 73 Trattoria Italiana & Bar is Brant Stevenson.
Team Power Kix, based in North Stafford, gave impressive performances at multiple events in the U.S. and Mexico.
First, they competed in the 2015 US Open TaeKwonDo Championships in Orlando, Florida this past January. Over 2000 athletes from more than 15 countries competed at this event, according to a press release.
Joey Rohal won a bronze medal in the Junior Division.
Other participants included Devon Lewis, Alison Fetchko, Jordan Stewart, Wardell Samotshozo, Ernest Samotshozo, Charlie Buset, Kym Buset, Taylor MacLeod, Matt Gallagher, Matt Allen, Keegan Chaney, Brandon Curry, Joey Rohal, Hunter Cobb, Mathew Vickers, Landri Vickers, Emily Allen, Brayden Hanny, Adeeb Shuhaite and Omar Shuhaite.
Keegan Chaney, who was unable to participate in the 2015 Virginia State TaeKwonDo Championships Official USAT National Qualifier last month, made a road trip to South Plainfield, New Jersey with Team New Jersey Head Coach Peter Bardatos.
Keegan won gold and qualified for 2015 USA National championships that will be held in July in Austin, Texas.
Then, Team Power Kix were successful at the Pan American Games Qualifying event where U.S. athletes claimed 11 medals and secured four quota spots for the 2015 Pan American Games at the Mexico Open International TaeKwonDo Championships.
Team Power Kix brought home two bronze medals, which is very impressive for the Pan American Games. Charles Buset won bronze in the Senior Division, and Hunter Cobb won bronze in the Junior Division.
Other participants included Devon Lewis, Alison Fetchko, Jordan Stewart, Wardell Samotshozo, Charlie Buset, Taylor MacLeod, Matt Gallagher, Keegan Chaney, Brandon Curry, Joey Rohal, Hunter Cobb, Mathew Vickers, Landri Vickers, Brayden Hanny and Adeeb Shuhaite.
The Virginia State Taekwondo Championship Qualifier will be held Saturday, May 9, in Fredericksburg, Virginia at Riverbend High School.
Team Power Kix is a non-profit organization lead by 1988 Olympic Gold Medalist Arlene Limas. Coach Limas is currently one of the AAU National Team Coaches and owner of Power Kix Martial Arts.
CVTV and CVTV Kids are proud to announce their latest partnership! Dragon Talent & Performance Coaching will bring over twenty years’ experience nurturing young, professional and pre-professional theatrical talent to the Fredericksburg area.
Want to work in theatre and television? How about one of CVTV Kids exciting new shows?
Located at the heart of the new CVTV studios in Fredericksburg VA, Dragon Talent & Performance Coaching is poised to assist with training young, emerging talent entering the commercial and theatrical professions.
Get on the list for Summer Camp and Fall Sessions. Contact Jennifer Gregory before end April 2015.
The Stafford County School Board has approved a make-up plan for all of the days students missed in school this winter, due to inclement weather.
The school board voted to use the waiver method to make up the school days missed, according to Valerie Cottongim, Public Information Officer for Stafford County Public Schools.
According to a release, the last day of school in Stafford will now be June 12, and will include an early release day.
Early release days that were scheduled for April 3, May 22, and June 10 were all removed, said a release.
Despite the removal of these early release days, June 11 will remain an early release day for middle and high school students, and will be a full day for elementary students.
Additionally, June 15 and 16 will remain as teacher work days, according to a release.
We may not have been able to see the total reddish lunar eclipse yesterday morning as the West Coast could, but the full moon made a big, bright appearance in the skies over Stafford, Virginia that evening.
Photo by: KJ Mushung
On Saturday afternoon, a call came in for a boat in distress at Willow Landing Marina, which is on Aquia Creek in eastern Stafford County. Two men were on board.
A flat-bottom boat had reportedly run aground in the low tide of the creek. That wouldn’t be as much of a problem had it not been for the high winds that were blowing on the sunny, 59-degree day. According to weather.com, the day’s wind speed was around 20 miles per hour, with gusts up to 33mph. The National Weather Service reported wind speed to be 23mph with gusts of 28mph.
The hard-blowing winds on the water may have complicated matters.
Mark Doyle, Assistant Chief of the Stafford County Fire & Rescue Department, told Potomac Local News that in low tide, as it was when the boat ran aground, high winds push water out of the creek and hold off the tide. This hindered navigation of the vessel so it couldn’t reach shore.
Attempts to help the two people by water were unsuccessful, so a helicopter was brought in to lift them to safety.
According to Doyle, fire and rescue crews from Stafford made several attempts to reach the men with different boats, but were unable to access them.
Initial reports indicate that, despite the temperature being in the 50s, hypothermia was a concern. It’s unclear how long they had been out on the water or if they had made a physical attempt to get the boat moving that might have caused them to get wet.
“We felt the safest course of action was to call for a hoist rescue,” said Doyle later in a release.
They requested a helicopter hoist rescue from the U.S. Park Police Aviation Section.
The two were airlifted one at a time in rescue baskets from the ship between 2:15 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.
Both men were evaluated by Stafford County paramedics and, although both were slightly hypothermic, they refused transportation to the hospital.
On May 2, 2015, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. the Manassas Airshow is bringing in Breitling Jet Team, the largest professional civilian flight jet team. This team demonstrates aerobatics with precision, speed, mastery and style. The Breitling Team coordinates a meticulous ballet in which planes sometimes fly within three meters of each other at speeds of over 700 kilometers per hour.
They are really a sight to see and the event is free to the public.
Also performing this year are the 3rd Dimension Parachute Team, the American Helicopters Demonstration Team, Andrew McKenna P-51 and T-6 Aerobatics, the Flying Circus Stearman Flight, Scott Francis MXS Aerobatics, Jack Knutson Extra 300 Aerobatics, Matt Chapman CAP 580 Aerobatics, Randy Devere CJ-6 Aerobatics and there will be an RC Modeler Jet Demonstration. Along with these performers, the Manassas Airshow offers aircraft displays, military re-enactors and much more.
Also at the Manassas Regional Airport on April 26 at 7:30 a.m. runners will be getting ready to race the Manassas Runway 10K/5K presented by the Bull Run and Manassas Rotary Clubs. This is the flattest run in the area, being held on the actual runway.
The Texas Raiders B-17 will be at the Manassas Regional Airport from May 3 to 6 offering rides on their B-17, which is one of only eleven B-17 flying fortresses still flying today. On May 8 from noon to 1 p.m. 15 historically sequenced warbird formations will participate in the World War II Victory Capitol Flyover in honor of the 70th Anniversary of Victory in Europe (VE) Day. While several of these majestic warbirds are visiting the Manassas Regional Airport, they will be giving tours, May 9-10 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For more information on any of these events, visit manassascity.org/airportevents.
The Stafford County Department of Utilities has started the bidding process for a new 1 million gallon water tank to be built in Stafford on Greenbank Road.
The project has been budgeted for $2.5 million in the capital improvements plan for the county, said Mike Smith, Director of the utility department.
Residents are currently served by the water tank on Berea Church Road, which will remain in service until the new tank is completed, according to Bryon Counsell, manager for the project at the Stafford utility department.
According to a county release, the Berea tank will be demolished after the new water storage tank is in service.
“The Berea tank, which currently serves that area, has outlived its useful life and is too small to provide adequate water and storage for future needs of customers in that area,” said Shannon Howell, Public Information Officer for Stafford.
According to Howell, the water tank is being called the Celebrate Virginia – England Run water storage tank due to its proximity to Celebrate Virginia Parkway.
The project for the new water tank will include construction of the large water tank itself, the access road, and pipes to connect the tank to the county’s water main system, according to a county release.
The Drive to Donate program, hosted by Transurban, raised over $78,000 for area fire and rescue departments on March 21.
More than 20,000 drivers took to the 495 and 95 Express Lanes to participate the in the program. All of the toll money collected by these drivers on the toll lanes was donated to Fairfax County Fire and Rescue, Prince William County Fire and Rescue, and Stafford County Fire and Rescue.
According to a Transurban release, each of the fire and rescue departments received over $26,000 to help them purchase equipment and continue to protect area residents.
“We are pleased that so many drivers chose to travel on the 495 and 95 Express Lanes on March 21 to help us support a great cause. As safety is the top priority on the Express Lanes, it was important to us to support our local fire and rescue organizations. This donation is one way we can thank our local heroes for keeping the communities surrounding the Express Lanes corridor safe each and every day,” said Jennifer Aument, North American Group General Manager for Transurban in a release.
All three fire and rescue departments were grateful for the donation from drivers that participated in the program.
“The Prince William County Department of Fire and Rescue is grateful for the support provided by those drivers who traveled the Express Lanes on March 21 and to Transurban for supporting both driver safety and local fire and rescue departments through the Drive to Donate program,” said Prince William County Assistant Chief, Lance McClintock, in a release.
The Stafford County Fire and Rescue Department will use some of the raised funds for their Operation Warm Coats for Kids Program.
“Thanks to the Drive to Donate campaign, we believe we will be able to provide a warm coat to every Stafford County student who needs one this coming fall and winter,” said Stafford County Fire and Rescue Chief, Mark Lockhart in a release, continuing, “This incredible donation will move us closer to that goal. Every child should have a coat to keep them warm; we are grateful that the Drive to Donate program will help us take care of Stafford’s children.”
Two lanes of northbound and southbound Interstate 95 traffic will be closed tonight for bridge joint repair work at the Route 17 overpasses in Stafford County, just north of the Rappahannock River bridge at Exit 133/Falmouth.
Work will begin on the northbound overpass. When work is complete, all northbound lanes will be re-opened, and crews will shift to the southbound I-95 overpass.
Lane closures will occur on the following schedule:
- 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. – Two northbound I-95 lanes closed
- 10 p.m. to 4:30 a.m.? Two southbound I-95 lanes closed
All lanes will be re-opened by 4:30 a.m.
Crews are performing bridge deck repairs on the overpasses, which have had temporary pothole repairs recently.
For real-time updates on lane closures and work zones, please visit VDOT’s 24-hour traffic information website, www.511virginia.org.
Motorists can also access 511Virginia by calling 511 from any telephone in Virginia, or downloading VDOT’s 511Virginia free mobile app.