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Light Snow Fog/Mist

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It is forcast to be Snow at 7:00 PM EST on March 05, 2015
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It is forcast to be Clear at 7:00 PM EST on March 06, 2015
Clear
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It is forcast to be Clear at 7:00 PM EST on March 07, 2015
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Stafford

Closings and delays for Friday, March 6, 2015

Check back for the latest in closings and delays from Potomac Local.

Need to be added to the list? Let us know if you’re organization is closed or delayed by sending us a Tweet.

Public schools

Local governments

No changes to tax rate, increases in county salaries and schools proposed in Stafford

Stafford County Administrator Anthony Romanello presented his proposed fiscal year 2016 budget to the Stafford County Board of Supervisors at their meeting Tuesday.

Among the key points in the proposal were that no changes in tax rates were suggested. The real estate tax will remain at $1.019, the same rate as last year, according to Stafford County spokeswoman Shannon Howell. 

According to Howell, the average tax bill for a Stafford resident would be $2,731. 

“There is no change to the average tax bill because this year is not a [property] re-assessment year,” Howell said. 

Real estate taxes is the county’s main source of funding revenue.

Additionally a 2% raise for school and county employees, and more funding to the school system were proposed, according to county documents.

There were six areas that the board stated were a priority for this budget process – reducing the citizen’s tax burden, public safety, education, infrastructure, economic development and service excellence.

With the current budget draft, Romanello stated that the county would be looking to attain a AAA bond rating.

The spending not related to public safety in the county is $3 million less than in 2009, and the staff also made $3.4 millions in reductions and management additions. Keep Reading…

Closings and delays for March 5, 2015

Check back for the latest in closings and delays from Potomac Local.

Need to be added to the list? Let us know if you’re organization is closed or delayed by sending us a Tweet. 

4 to 8 inches expected, snow heaviest Thursday morning

11:15 a.m.

Here’s a weather forecast from the National Weather Service for projected accumulation in the next few hours.

Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 11.14.21 AM

 

11:08 a.m.

The snow is coming down hard in the Manassas area right now. Video submitted by one of our reporters, Amber Champ. 

 

10:53 a.m.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is ready to clear roads as the winter storm continues to move across the area this afternoon. They have advised against non-essential travel on roads today.

More from a VDOT release:

Virginia Department of Transportation crews with nearly 900 pieces of available equipment are ready to treat and clear roads this afternoon as a winter storm moves across the 14-county Fredericksburg District. 

Road conditions are currently clear in most of the Fredericksburg area, with ice beginning to appear on primary roads in Stafford County, which is experiencing sleet and freezing rain.

Road conditions are clear and wet in the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula.

Conditions are expected to change quickly as rain changes to sleet, freezing rain and snow this afternoon, and driving could quickly become hazardous.

 Before starting a trip, travelers should check real-time road conditions at 511Virginia.org, by calling 511, or downloading VDOT’s free mobile 511 app. While snow is falling, motorists are advised to stay off the roads and delay nonessential travel.

VDOT has tree removal contactors on standby to assist the agency with removing trees and other debris that may obstruct travel lanes. 

Temperatures are expected to fall below freezing Thursday evening into Friday morning, which could lead to icy, slippery road conditions. VDOT crews will apply salt to melt ice and snow, and sand to improve traction for motorists.

What Motorists Should Know: 

While snow is falling, VDOT crews will make repeated passes on Interstate 95, primary roads, and key secondary roads to keep travel lanes clear.

VDOT’s goal is to have all roads passable within 48 hours of a storm’s end.

Motorists are encouraged to delay any nonessential travel.

VDOT’s Customer Service Center is open 24 hours a day to answer questions and take reports of roadway hazards at 1-800-FOR-ROAD (800-367-7623).

Shovel snow from your driveway to the right as you face the street. This will minimize the snow pushed into your driveway by plows clearing the road. Consider waiting to shovel the last several feet closest to the street until after plows have passed.

 

8:53 p.m.

The National Weather Service has released a Dense Fog Advisory, in effect until 10 p.m. tonight.

7:07 p.m.

Wondering if you have work or school tomorrow? Take a look at our closings page.

4:18 p.m.

The City of Manassas has declared a snow emergency, effective starting 8 a.m. tomorrow.

More from a city release:

On March 4, 2015, the City of Manassas is declaring a Snow Emergency effective at 8 a.m. on March 5, 2015 due to the impending snow event. This means that cars parked along designated snow emergency routes are subject to towing and fines.

Snow emergency routes in the City of Manassas are as follows:  Dumfries Road/Route 234, Hastings Drive, Godwin Drive, Liberia Avenue, Richmond Avenue, Fairview Avenue, Grant Avenue, Wellington Road, Ashton Avenue, Cockrell Road, Nokesville Road/Route 28, Center Street, Prescott Avenue, Sudley Road/Route 234, Church Street, Zebedee Street, Centreville Road/Route 28, Mathis Avenue, Portner Avenue and Euclid Avenue.

Once the snow event is over, the City will issue a termination of the snow emergency and will reopen these streets to parking.

1:41 p.m.

The Service Authority is asking residents to help keep fire hydrants free of snow during the storm, in case of incidents where fire and rescue need access.

winter warning1:30p.m.

Expect more snow – and lots of it.

The National Weather Service has issues a Winter Storm Warning, in effect from midnight to 9p.m. on Thursday.

There is a wintry mix expected, with between 4 to 8 inches of snow accumulation and additional ice accumulation.

The snow is expected to be heaviest during late Thursday morning, and continue on through Thursday afternoon.

If you’re still planning to commute into work on Thursday morning, VDOT is urging caution, and has also issued a release about difficulties traveling during the storm. 

Potomac Local will keep you updated on the latest in closings, delays and outages.

More from a National Weather Service alert:

…WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT

TO 9 PM EST THURSDAY… 

* PRECIPITATION TYPES…WINTRY MIX…THEN ALL SNOW…HEAVY AT

TIMES. 

* ACCUMULATIONS…SNOW ACCUMULATION OF 4 TO 8 INCHES…ALONG

WITH AROUND A TRACE OF ICE.

* TIMING…RAIN CHANGES TO WINTRY MIX AROUND MIDNIGHT THEN ALL

SNOW THURSDAY. SNOW HEAVIEST THURSDAY LATE MORNING INTO THE

AFTERNOON. 

* TEMPERATURES…IN THE UPPER 20S.

* WINDS…NORTH 10 TO 15 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 25 MPH.

* IMPACTS…ROADS WILL BE SNOW COVERED…VISIBILITIES WILL DROP

TO AROUND A QUARTER-MILE AT TIMES…MAKING TRAVEL DANGEROUS. 

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR HEAVY SNOW MEANS SEVERE WINTER WEATHER

CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED OR OCCURRING. SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF SNOW

ARE FORECAST THAT WILL MAKE TRAVEL DANGEROUS. ONLY TRAVEL IN AN

EMERGENCY. IF YOU MUST TRAVEL…KEEP AN EXTRA FLASHLIGHT…

FOOD…AND WATER IN YOUR VEHICLE IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY. 

Keep Reading…

No charges ultimately filed in Stafford Christmastime stabbing

[Photo by: Diane Elkins McCutcheon]

The Stafford County Sheriff’s Department has decided not to file charges against the two individuals involved in a road rage incident that turned into a stabbing near a Wal-Mart location in Stafford on December 21.

“[After] consultation with the Commonwealth Attorney, there are no charges being filed,” said Bill Kennedy, Public Information Officer for the Stafford County Sherriff’s office.

According to Kennedy, one individual got out of his car and attacked the driver in the car in front of him, which led to the stabbing.

“The individual who was stabbed – before that occurred – got out of his car, reached in and began punching and assaulting the individual who was in the car in front of him. Now in response, that individual had a razor knife and defended himself. He caused, when he did that, there was cut that caused a major loss of blood,” said Kennedy.

Stafford Local attempted to reach out to a man claiming to be the father of the assault’s victim but received no response.

Kennedy stated that the individual stabbed was taken to the hospital with severe injuries, and after the incident occurred, did not even remember what had taken place.

“In fact, the man who was injured, when he was taken to the hospital…said he had no recollection of the incident,” said Kennedy.

Sheriff deputies interviewed several witnesses at the scene in December to help make a determination as to what took place, and whether it was appropriate to file charges.

“This was self-defense – legally justified. The gentleman who reached into the car was assaulting the individual who was in the car. However, keeping in mind the severe injury that resulted in the altercation – this guy almost lost his life as well,” Kennedy said.

The sheriff’s department could not release the names of the two individuals, as no charges were filed. They also could not discuss the current condition of the individual who was stabbed or the location of his medical treatment, under HIPAA protections.

Kennedy warned residents always to call for law enforcement to prevent these types of incidents.

“If there’s an issue that is going to result in an altercation, call 9-1-1 right away. And no matter where you are, deputies will respond,” Kennedy commented.

Flooding possible, significant snowfall expected Wednesday night

While the winter weather wasn’t as severe as predicted today, the National Weather Service has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook alert.

The rain is expected to continue into Wednesday, and could pose a flooding threat in some areas.

Late Wednesday night the precipitation is expected to turn into snow. There has been no exact project on the amount of snowfall expected, but the accumulation is projected to be significant.

Potomac Local will be releasing all information about weather updates, closings, delays and outages.

More from a National Weather Service alert:

.DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN…WEDNESDAY THROUGH MONDAY 

HEAVY RAIN IS POSSIBLE WEDNESDAY INTO WEDNESDAY NIGHT WHICH COULD

COMBINE WITH SNOWMELT FOR A LOCALIZED FLOODING THREAT. 

SIGNIFICANT SNOWFALL ACCUMULATIONS WILL BE POSSIBLE LATE WEDNESDAY

NIGHT INTO THURSDAY. THERE IS UNCERTAINTY WITH REGARD TO HOW MUCH

SLEET MAY MIX IN WITH THE SNOW. PLEASE STAY TUNED FOR DETAILS.

Stafford board passes TDR program, shifts growth to courthouse area

The Stafford County Board of Supervisors has established a transfer of development rights (TDR) program that will help the county to direct development and protect open space in Stafford.

“There’s peninsulas in Stafford, that jut out towards the Potomac River…and if you have more than twenty acres out there, you can apply for your rights to be severed and extinguished on that property – with a conservation easement placed on that property,” said Paul Milde, Aquia Supervisor.

After a property assessment, the county will issue developers a taxable certificate for the development rights. The developers will then be able to use these development rights in the courthouse area in Stafford, and their properties in these peninsula areas will be placed in a conservation easement, according to Milde.

“You can use those [development rights] inside the receiving area – that is the [Stafford] courthouse area,” Milde said.

While most properties must be twenty acres or larger in order to apply for the TDR program, there are some exceptions in the Crow’s Nest Harbor area.

“The area of Crow’s Nest Harbor, which is about 1,000 acres, 353 lots, 2 and half acres on average each – they are the exception to the twenty acre minimum. And [the board] did that because in the comp plan that’s designated park-land…We did that because we wanted to provide some kind of relief for the owners in Crow’s Nest Harbor that are suing us, because we won’t let them develop their property on water and sewer, and we also won’t let them develop their property on on-site septic and wells – we just won’t let them develop their property,” said Milde.

The county could not comment on the lawsuit when Potomac Local reached out.

There are two points of concern about the program. 80 lots in the Crow’s Nest Harbor area are not eligible for the TDR program, and the program will allow developers to increase density without a public hearing for transferred rights in the courthouse area.

“The [owners] that have less than an acre of buildable space…they’re not eligible. And that will be a point of contention, and we’ll have to deal with that later,” Milde commented.

By implementing the TDR program, the county will be able to direct growth to areas where public utilities and services are already available.

“These lots had to be billed [for transfer of development rights] inside the courthouse area, which already has water, sewer – it’s right next to Stafford Elementary and Stafford Middle – the high school, the courthouse…Everything is already there. So we are moving these lots where they’re easily supported,” said Milde.

Milde has been working to establish the program since 2006. He is concerned about over-development in Stafford and the evaporation of open land spaces.

“What’s going to happen in 30 years, 40 years, when Stafford’s a bunch of three acre lots, and there’s no open farm land,” said Milde.

Snow, sleet expected tomorrow morning into the evening

3:16p.m.

The Winter Weather Advisory has been called off by the National Weather Service, as the precipitation has been mostly rain.

10:48a.m.

With the impending winter weather forecasted today, VDOT has issued a release warning drivers to be careful on the roads today, as conditions could become dangerous.

More from a VDOT release:

Motorists are advised that sleet and freezing rain could affect road conditions this afternoon in the Fredericksburg area, especially in northern and western areas. 

Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) crews are ready to apply salt and sand to reduce icing, and provide additional traction for vehicle tires. Sleet and freezing rain are forecast to affect the region starting in early afternoon, followed by rain.

Rain is forecast this afternoon in the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula.

Travelers are encouraged to monitor weather forecasts and road conditions on 511Virginia before starting a trip this afternoon. 

Motorists are encouraged to:

Slow down and allow extra travel time to reach your destination.

Be aware of potentially icy areas such as bridges, ramps, hills, curves and overpasses. 

Keep a safe following distance of at least five seconds behind other vehicles and trucks that are applying sand, salt, and treatment chemicals to the road.

Use extra caution on roads carrying less traffic, such as subdivision streets.

12a.m.

And just when you thought that the snow was over – it’s come back again. 

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory earlier this evening, in effect tomorrow morning at 9a.m. until 10p.m.

Snow and sleet accumulation is expected to be up to 1 inch, and there is some anticipated ice accumulation as well.

As always, Potomac Local will keep you up to date on the latest in weather, closings, delays and outages.

More from a National Weather Service alert:

...WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 9 AM TO 10 PM
EST TUESDAY...

* LOCATIONS...THE BALTIMORE AND WASHINGTON METROPOLITAN AREAS
  AND NORTH CENTRAL MARYLAND.

* HAZARD TYPES...SNOW...SLEET AND FREEZING RAIN.

* ACCUMULATIONS...SNOW AND SLEET ACCUMULATION OF UP TO 1
  INCH...ALONG WITH UP TO ONE TENTH OF AN INCH OF ICE.

* TIMING...TUESDAY MORNING THROUGH LATE TUESDAY EVENING.

* IMPACTS...ROADS WILL BE SNOW AND ICE COVERED. TRAVELING WILL BE
  DANGEROUS.

* WINDS...SOUTHEAST 5 TO 15 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 25 MPH.

* TEMPERATURES...IN THE UPPER 20S.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY MEANS THAT PERIODS OF SNOW...SLEET...OR
FREEZING RAIN WILL CAUSE TRAVEL DIFFICULTIES. BE PREPARED FOR
SLIPPERY ROADS AND LIMITED VISIBILITIES...AND USE CAUTION WHILE
DRIVING.

Improvement projects slated for three Stafford high schools

Within the next three years, three Stafford high schools – Brooke Point, Colonial Forge, and Mountain View – will be undergoing improvement and expansion projects.

The programs have been slated for completion as part of Stafford’s capital improvements program for several years.

“These additions have been in the capital improvements program for a number of years. But student growth [prompted the additions],” said Valerie Cottongim, Public Information Officer for Stafford County Public Schools.

The Brooke Point project will add eight classrooms and labs, two wellness rooms, an orchestra room, and update the culinary arts space and the library, according to Board documents.

The Colonial Forge and Mountainview expansions will also offer similar updates to the building, with the addition of a security entrance, according to board documents.

Currently, the construction of the projects is out for bid.

Brooke Point’s improvements will cost $6,611,000 and will be completed by September 2016. The Colonial Forge improvements will also be completed in September 2016 and will cost $7.3 million.

The Mountain View project will not start until the other two high school’s projects have been completed, but it’s estimated start date is 2017, slated for completion in September 2018.

Cottongim stated that the bond-funded improvement projects would help accommodate current students, and provide more quality education in Stafford.

“It’s going to allow us to accommodate the students that are attending these schools. The expanded rooms, and fine arts suites will provide extra space for those areas of the curriculum. At Brooke Point, the expanded media center will allow our students and staff to take advantage of more modern technologies than a library that was designed and built 25 years ago,” Cottongim said.

First Friday March Madness in Downtown Manassas

first friday, manassas, shop
  • Historic Manassas Inc.
  • Address: 9431 West Street Manassas, Virginia 20110
  • Website: visitmanassas.org

Historic Downtown Manassas is going a little “mad” for First Friday. On March 6 from 6 to 9 p.m., City restaurants, retailers and the Manassas Museum are offering specials and special entertainment.

The list participating merchants is growing and can be viewed at .visitmanassas.org.

Each store and restaurant is selecting their own way to celebrate March with either a Mardi Gras, St. Patrick’s Day or other March theme.

The Manassas Museum will offer free admission and 10% off at Echoes, their gift store.

The Osbourn High School String Quartet will serenade museum visitors.

There will be book signings, drink specials and much more around the Historic Downtown of the City of Manassas. Come for dinner and stay to shop and explore.

Inspired by the success of the monthly event concept held in other localities, First Friday in Historic Downtown was created by the Historic Manassas, Inc. promotions committee to enhance tourism and entertainment offerings in the City of Manassas.

The initial First Friday event was held in February 2014 and has grown and evolved. Some months feature roving musicians and caricature artists, while other months feature sidewalk art, games or special foods.

Closings and delays Monday, March 2, 2015

Public schools

Colleges and universities 

Military

Local government

Closings and delays Sunday, Mar. 1, 2015

Potomac Local will keep you up to date on the latest in closings and delays.

 

Wintry mix today, into tomorrow morning

5:53p.m.

The Stafford County Fire and Rescue Department were called to the scene of another collision, at Shelton Shop and Courthouse Road. According to the department, one of the individuals in the crash was injured.

1:05 p.m. 

winter strom warn

A winter storm warning is in effect for Prnce William and Stafford counties, and the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park until 3 a.m. Monday.
Here’s the latest from the National Weather Service:

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON HAS
ISSUED A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR FREEZING RAIN…WHICH IS IN
EFFECT UNTIL 3 AM EST MONDAY. THE WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IS NO
LONGER IN EFFECT.

* LOCATIONS…WASHINGTON METROPOLITAN AREA…CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN
MARYLAND.

* HAZARD TYPES…SNOW…SLEET…AND FREEZING RAIN.

* ACCUMULATIONS…A COATING TO AN INCH OF SNOW AND SLEET. 1 TO 2
INCHES OF SNOW AND SLEET NEAR THE MASON-DIXON LINE. ICE
ACCUMULATION AROUND ONE QUARTER INCH.

* TIMING…SNOW AND SLEET WILL CHANGE TO FREEZING RAIN BETWEEN 11
AM AND 1 PM THIS AFTERNOON. THE HEAVIEST ICE ACCRETION FROM FROM
FREEZING RAIN IS EXPECTED THIS AFTERNOON AND EARLY EVENING.
PRECIPITATION WILL END THIS EVENING.

* IMPACTS…ROADS WILL BE SNOW AND ICE COVERED THROUGH TONIGHT.
TRAVELLING WILL BE DANGEROUS.

* WINDS…SOUTH AROUND 5 TO 10 MPH.

* TEMPERATURES…RISING THROUGH THE 20S THIS AFTERNOON.
TEMPERATURES WILL RISE INTO THE LOWER 30S

Keep Reading…

Closings and delays Friday, Feb. 27, 2015

Public schools 

Attack the Fat uses the most effective equipment in the industry

freedom aqautic fitness center

The Attack the Fat challenge at the Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center uses a variety of different work outs to keep participants inspired and burning as many calories as possible.

Director of the Attack the Fat, Robin Frey says that for the strength component of the program they use everything from Technogym strength equipment, free weights, various weighted equipment, and many times functional body weight exercise, without any equipment.

Frey highlighted their use of TRX suspension training, which involves suspension straps weighed down by body weights. She said, “It’s very functional because you have to control every part of your movement with your body itself. You can do all different movements that require balance and stability so you’re getting a more integrated effort at that point.”

The center’s Olympic sized swimming pool is also used for strength training because of the natural resistance the water creates.

In addition to more strength based training, Frey says that they do a lot of cardio work.

“It’s by creating a metabolic effect where you’re keeping the heart rate elevated is where you’ll see calories burned,” said Frey. She explained that their goal is to create this metabolic effect, where both the heart rate and the metabolism increases.

Frey said, “Our most recent research shows us that when you bring the body up to that level and maintain it, it takes calories afterwards, a sufficient amount of calories, to bring it back to a resting state. So your body continues to metabolize and stay at a certain level after exercise.”

While the variety in these Attack the Fat workouts helps to burn calories and shed pounds, it also keeps the participants in the program engaged. With so many different resources available, trainers are able to help participants explore a variety of options for reaching their weight loss goals.

Snow ending across area, warmer temps to look forward to on Monday

022615 snow flower

It started snowing overnight and it piled up quickly.

All school systems in our area canceled classes today, governments delayed their opening, and Quantico Marine Corps Base closed altogether.

The National Weather Service just released some unofficial snow totals that measure what snow fell overnight:

…CITY OF FREDERICKSBURG… FREDERICKSBURG 4.0 827 AM 2/26 PUBLIC

…PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY… 1 ENE DUMFRIES 3.5 849 AM 2/26 TRAINED SPOTTER

HAYMARKET 1.3 936 AM 2/26 PUBLIC

…STAFFORD COUNTY… STAFFORD 2.5 831 AM 2/26 PUBLIC

A winter storm warning in effect for Stafford County expires at noon. Expect more snow showers this afternoon and evening ending before 2 a.m.

There’s another chance of snow showers Friday, and high temperatures will only be in the low 30s, according to the weather service. It’ll be sunny and cold on Saturday, and cloudy and in the low 40s un Sunday.

We could see highs in the low 50s on Monday – hello winter warm up.

Closings and delays Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015

Public schools 

Colleges and universities

Military 

Federal government

Local governments 

More snow to fall tonight, tomorrow morning

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It looks like you can expect to see some more snow in the area this evening, into your morning commute tomorrow. 

The National Weather Service has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook for the area, with snow projected to begin late tonight, but there’s been no projection on the potential accumulation as of right now, as part of the alert.

Potomac Local will keep you updated with the latest on weather, closings, delays and outages.

More from a National Weather Service alert:

THIS HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK IS FOR CENTRAL MARYLAND...NORTHERN
MARYLAND...SOUTHERN MARYLAND...THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA...CENTRAL
VIRGINIA AND NORTHERN VIRGINIA.

.DAY ONE...TODAY AND TONIGHT

A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY HAS BEEN ISSUED TONIGHT FOR SAINT
MARYS...KING GEORGE...AND SPOTSYLVANIA COUNTIES. ACCUMULATING
SNOWFALL IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN LATE TONIGHT FURTHER NORTH AND
WEST...INCLUDING THE I-95 CORRIDOR. ADDITIONAL ADVISORIES MAY BE
ISSUED LATER TODAY.

.DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN...THURSDAY THROUGH TUESDAY

SNOW IS EXPECTED TO END THURSDAY MORNING.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has also issued an alert, and are preparing and treating roads for tonight’s snowfall. 

More from a VDOT release:

Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) crews in the 14-county Fredericksburg District are preparing for another winter storm.

Crews are currently pre-treating Interstate 95 and primary routes in the Fredericksburg area. Motorists should expect delays due to the slow moving vehicles that are applying a salt brine anti-icing solution. Anti-icing prevents ice from bonding to the pavement during inclement weather, which reduces the risk of hazardous travel conditions.

At 8 p.m. tonight crews will be mobilized throughout the district.

Once the snow begins, crews will continue to work around the clock in 12-hour shifts until conditions improve.

Motorists are encouraged to monitor news and weather reports for the latest forecast and road conditions. Before starting a trip, motorists can call 511, visit www.511Virginia.org, or use VDOT’s 511Virginia free mobile app to find real-time road conditions in any area of the state.

If traveling tonight VDOT offers the following winter weather driving tips: 
• Slow down and allow for extra time to reach your destination.
• Be aware of potentially icy areas such as bridges, ramps, curves and overpasses
• Keep a safe distance of at least five seconds behind other vehicles and trucks that are plowing the road. 
• Use extra caution on roads carrying less traffic, such as subdivision streets.

 

Stafford to offer $10K in grant money to local arts groups

Stafford County will be giving money to local non-profits arts groups in the county, as part of a grant awarded by the Virginia Commission for the Arts.

“The Virginia Commission for the Arts offers local governments a challenge grant opportunity, to apply to non-profit arts groups,” said Henderson, the arts grant coordinator.

According to Henderson, any non-profit arts group that contributes to the quality of life in Stafford County can submit an application for some of the grant funds, to use for performances, shows, and other artistic activities.

The Virginia Commission for the Arts awarded Stafford $5,000. The county gave another $5,000, as it was a matching grant.

The Fredericksburg Arts Commission has done the challenge grant for several years, but this is the first time Stafford is taking part. They hope that by providing funds to arts groups in the area, that it will establish Stafford as an artistic hub.

“Fredericksburg, for a long time, has been as a place for the arts, and we know that Stafford has plenty of arts, and arts opportunities, we just want to make sure that those organizations get an opportunity to get some of this state grant,” Henderson stated.

The criteria for how the groups can spend some of the grant funding was intentionally open-ended, said Henderson.

“Maybe they want to do a public art display, or maybe they want to do a concert – or maybe they need some help developing a logo…Our only criteria is going to be that it contributes to the quality of life for Stafford County,” said Henderson.

The application deadline for the grant is March 6.

After the Virginia Commission of the Arts has distributed the grant, the county will dole out the funds to the selected applicants and hopes to get the funding to the groups by the end of this year.

Why is Attack the Fat so successful?

Win, fat, fitness, freedom

People keep coming back to the Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center’s Attack the Fat challenge. Director of the program, Robin Frey, says that it’s so successful because it utilizes all the elements of personal training, without the high cost.

“Group training in the industry itself is the driving force with training right now,” Frey said, adding, “Economically it’s more affordable. Personal training can be a little more costly.”

While some people might be concerned that they don’t get the same amount of one on one time without a personal trainer, Frey says that this is not the case with Attack the Fat. She says with teams that are maxed out at four to six people, the trainers are still able to work one on one with each of the participants.

“Quality control is still there,” Frey said. She added, “The trainer is able to watch form and technique, motivate them, and make sure everything is running correctly.”

It’s not just the personal training that makes people want to come back though. Frey says they really enjoy the community that Attack the Fat creates. Instead of working on just their own goals, participants are able to help motivate and look after one another too. “It’s more fun for them,” she said.

Stafford County, UMW to identify slavery sites in Stafford

Stafford County has received grant funding to conduct a survey and has partnered with the University of Mary Washington to find artifacts, buildings and sites from the lives of African Americans and slavery in the county prior to 1866.

After an interest had been expressed by local historians, Stafford applied for a certified local government grant from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, according to Kathy Baker, Assistant Director of Planning & Zoning for the county.

“They were actually looking for projects related to slavery, and slavery sites – because a lot of it has not been documented,” said Baker.

The grant given by the Department of Historic Resources was $14,475, and Stafford County and the University of Mary Washington further contributed, giving the project a total funding of $36,000, according to project documents.

The project began last October and is slated for completion this June.

“We put together a list of probable sites where they may be some standing slavery resources – such as slavery quarters, domestic kitchens, and graveyards,” said Baker.

Now that a preliminary list of sites is established, the individuals in the project plan to meet March 9 to discuss next steps.

Field surveys will be conducted on many sites from the list, with the help from members of Stafford’s Historic Commission and the University of Mary Washington.

While they’re unsure of what they’ll discover during the surveys, the artifacts and structural sites could help the county to document the lives of slaves and African Americans.

“It’s going to depend on what they actually find out there, because a lot of times, particularly with this type of resource, there probably aren’t going to be a lot of standing structures left, so a lot of it is going to be archaeological work,” said Baker.

She also stated that the group would work with the property owners of the surveyed sites, in terms of how to handle artifacts and structures identified during the process.

Some Stafford residents may already be familiar with some of the slavery-related structures in the county, including a building at the Sherwood Farm on Route 3.

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