Stafford High School classes delayed 1 week

stafford high school

Stafford High School will delay its opening by two weeks. The school was unable obtain a permit to open its doors for the first time.

More in a press release from Stafford County Public Schools: 

As of 4 p.m. today, the general contractor (Hess) has failed to meet requirements for temporary occupancy of part or all of the new Stafford High School and the planned move of the administrative offices have been delayed until early next week. Stafford County’s Code Compliance Office has extended every effort in support of this project and is committed to continue to do so until the contractor meets the requirements for temporary occupancy.

In order to provide a positive educational experience for our students in a finished building, we have determined to delay the start of school for Stafford High School students until Monday, September 14, 2015. Instructional plans are being explored in the event that students must make up the time missed during this first week.  These options may include making up the time during the second semester, requesting a waiver from the Commonwealth and/or providing on-line opportunities for classroom instruction.

Teachers and staff will have access to the building as soon as temporary occupancy is achieved.  Teachers will work from home during teacher work week (August 31-September 4) until access to the building is possible. If the division staff are able to accelerate the moves to earlier dates, it will be done and information on any changes will be sent out to the community using a variety of media.

The Freshman Orientation and Open House scheduled for Thursday, September 3, will now be held on Thursday, September 10, 2015.  The freshman orientation will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.  The Open House will be held on September 10 with Seniors and Juniors arriving from 4:30 to 6 p.m. and with Sophomores and Freshmen arriving from 6 to 7:30 p.m.  Freshmen who attend the orientation earlier in the day are not expected to attend the open house that evening as they will have received the information needed. Both of these events on September 10 will be dependent upon access to the spaces within the school.

Further details regarding instruction during the first week of school will be shared next week.

Virginia eyes Tropical Storm Erika


S115331tormy weather may be ahead for Virginia.

According to the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, Tropical Storm Erika may become a hurricane by Monday, and has the potential to hit Virginia.

The storm is currently approaching the Dominican Republic, and is still impacting the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, stated the National Weather Service.

Tropical Storm Erika currently has wind speeds of 50 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service.

According to the track, released by the National Weather Service, the storm could impact Virginia by Monday.

Delays, closures expected tonight on I-95 South


vdotlogo600pixelsIf you’re traveling south on Interstate 95 overnight, expect some delays.

According to the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), between 12 a.m. and 3 a.m. traffic will be stopped near the Fall Hill Avenue overpass, so that crews can lift beams.

More from a VDOT release:

Southbound Interstate 95 traffic at Fredericksburg will be stopped intermittently tonight so concrete beams can be lifted over all travel lanes for construction of a new overpass at Fall Hill Avenue.

I-95 travelers are advised to use Route 1 to avoid delays. Message boards on I-95 will provide advance notice of lane closures and detour routes.

The Fall Hill Avenue overpass is located at mile marker 131, just south of the Rappahannock River bridges and Safety Rest Area. It is located between I-95 exit 130/Route 3 and exit 133/Route 17.

Tonight, a single lane of I-95 southbound will close at the overpass at 9:30 p.m. Two southbound lanes will close at 10 p.m.

Between midnight and 3 a.m. all traffic will be stopped four times so workers can lift beams over the travel lanes. Each traffic stop will last approximately 15 minutes. After each closure, the waiting queue of vehicles will be cleared from the scene.

‘Steve’ the eagle released at Widewater State Park today


"Steve" the Bald Eagle was released in Stafford.
"Steve" the Bald Eagle was released in Stafford.

The bald eagle rescued by Stafford Animal Control was released today at Widewater State Park.

An Animal Control officer found the eagle – named ‘Steve’ by the child of the caller who alerted the Stafford Sherriff’s office – on the Potomac River in May.

According to a Stafford release, Steve was staying at the Wildlife Center of Virginia in Waynesboro, for rehabilitation.

“Stafford County is blessed with abundant natural resources and with that comes an array of wildlife. Our Animal Control officers do a wonderful job everyday ensuring that all our residents, both citizens and animals, can co-exist peacefully and safely. We are very pleased this eagle is coming home,” said Chairman of the Board of Supervisors Gary Snellings in a release.

More from a Stafford release:

Animal Control Officer Anthony McCall responded and flushed the bird from the water to the bank, where he was able to capture it safely. The bird was taken to the Wildlife Center where it was found to have a wrist injury and received medical care and rehabilitation services.

Stafford Animal Control handled 491 wildlife calls in 2014. Officers are trained in all types of animal investigations including criminal activity, cruelty, livestock, exotics and wildlife. Animal Control officers in Stafford are sworn law enforcement officers who conduct routine patrols in assigned areas and respond to complaints of citizens. Officers enforce the laws of the state and county for the purpose of compliance and education.

Stafford park closed due to sewage leak



The Historic Port of Falmouth Park will re-open tomorrow, according to a Stafford release. 

Testing done by Stafford County showed that the bacterial levels in the river are below state standards and the water is safe, stated a Stafford release.

Original post

The Historic Port of Falmouth Park in Stafford – which runs alongside the Rappahannock River – is closed today and tomorrow due to a sewage leak.

According to a Stafford release, the Stafford County Utilities Department found on August 24 that a sewage spill had happened in Falls Run. Falls Run is upstream from the Historic Port of Falmouth Park, according to the release.

The leak was due to a plug in the pipe system failing, according to a Stafford release.

Stafford stated that the leak has been repaired and there are other plans for repairs to be made, to prevent this from happening again.

Currently there is no evidence that sewage contaminated the river at the site of the park, but Stafford is doing water tests before reopening the park to visitors, stated a Stafford release.

The park could be reopened on August 27.

Drive throughs proposed at Aquia, Stafford office complex

Construction is underway at the site of the North Stafford Office Complex at Garrisonville and Furnace roads.

The Stafford County Planning Commission will a series of public hearings Wednesday.

There are two proposals to bring new businesses with drive-through windows. Two are in Town Center at Aquia — a pharmacy with a drive-through window and a grocery store with a drive-through window. The second is a food store that would be built next to a new Sheetz gas station under construction at the intersection of Garrisonville and Furnace roads.

Official documents don’t provide the names of the businesses that wish to locate to Stafford. Several calls to planning commissioners in the respective districts where these new businesses would be located went unreturned.

Town Center at Aquia

A conditional use permit is required for both new businesses to have a drive-through window inside Town Center at Aquia.
The pharmacy would be located near the front of the shopping center, closest to the entrance to Route 1. A new grocery store with a drive-through window is shown next to an existing movie theater near the rear of the plaza.

A Rite Aide pharmacy already exists inside the plaza. Shoppers Food Warehouse was once located inside the shopping center when it was known as Aquia Town Center. It moved to nearby Stafford Marketplace in 2004.

Much of Aquia Town Center was demolished in the mid-2000s. All that remains of the original complex is the movie theater and Rite Aid. A 5-story office building was added in the late 2000s.

North Stafford Office Complex

Next to where a Sheetz gas station is under construction, planners must review an application for a “retail food store” that needs a drive-through window.

The proposed 42,000 square-foot development would face Garrisonville Road. Much of the front of the property would be parking spaces.
A drive-through window would be located on the east side of the building, according to documents.

The North Stafford Office Complex was rezoned from agricultural land to urban commercial land in 2004. Until construction on the gas station began this year, the site remained untouched.

Another commercial development diagonally across the Sheetz gas station location has gone widely underutilized. Aside from government offices in the rear of the development and a new fitness center, many of the storefronts in the center are empty.

The Stafford County Planning Commission will begin the public hearings at 6:30 p.m. inside the Board of Supervisors Chambers at the Stafford County Government Center located at 1300 Courthouse Road.

Why classes at Stafford High School could be delayed


Classes at the new Stafford High School could be delayed at least a week.

County officials did not issue the school division a temporary occupancy permit. That is keeping teachers and administrators out of the new $66.6 million school slated to open this year.

“The contractor did not complete the work as needed to open the school safely, so the county government did not issue the temporary occupancy permit,” said Stafford County spokeswoman Shannon Howell.

School division officials had hoped to be in the new building in May. As the start of the new school year in Stafford County approaches on September 8, the school’s contractor Hess Construction is being fined $5,000 per day until the work is finished.

“If by Thursday we don’t have an occupancy permit, then we will make a decision and announce the decision to, perhaps, delay school for students a week, perhaps more,” said Stafford public schools spokeswoman Valerie Cottongim.

Weather, and “self-inflicted” delays brought on by changes requested by the county school division and approved by the school board prompted the possible late opening of the new building, added Cottongim. The contractor is working hand-in-hand with the he school system to complete the school as soon as possible, she added.

The new school sits next to the old Stafford Senior High School build in the early 1970s. It opened under the short-lived notion of “open” classrooms, where students could collaborate with each other. Gar-Field and Woodbridge senior high schools in Woodbridge opened about the same time, under the same notion.

“That concept went out very quickly. We’ve made some innovations to the building over the years, but it made for some pretty choppy classrooms,” said Cottongim.

Student athletes are still using the old Stafford Senior High School’s gym, fields, and locker rooms to practice for fall sports. Students won’t be able to return to classes in the old building because much of the furniture, to include auditorium chairs and gym bleachers, were moved to the new school to be reused there.

The new Stafford High School is modeled after Mountain View and Colonial Forge high schools in Stafford County. The new school’s three-stroy academic wing is larger than both predecessors by one floor.
When the new school opens, it will have 21st-century amenities to include a lunch counter that will allow students to plug in their personal computing devices to work on assignments while at lunch. The old school will be demolished to make way for new parking lots and sports fields.

Cottongim posted these tentative dates for teachers, parents, and students leading up to the opening of the new school:

Division staff, with contract support, will continue moving operations of items from the existing school through the week of August 24.

SHS administrative staff equipment and materials are now scheduled to be moved into the new building on Saturday Aug 29, 2015. This is a change from moving them the weekend of August 22. Technical (computers/copiers/phones etc.) set up of the school front office and administration will be done on Sunday Aug 30, 2015.

Teachers will be invited into the new school to start unpacking their boxed materials and setting up classrooms on Monday August 31 (if able, we will attempt to allow teachers into the new school on Sunday August 30). Division staff will have support teams in the areas of the school that have been granted a temporary occupancy starting the weekend of August 29, 2015 to assist administration, teachers and staff in preparing the school and assisting with the move in, unpacking and set up of classrooms and other spaces.

New temporary access roads and new on-site transportation patterns will also go into effect on Saturday August 29, 2015. Although the temporary access road is open and the barricades for walking traffic are in place, the transportation patterns will not change until the move of the administrative offices on August 30th.

The Marching Band now is scheduled to move their equipment and materials into the new space the weekend of Labor Day, September 5 – 7. Fall athletic programs currently operating out of the existing SHS will also be moved the weekend of September 5 – 7, 2015. If staff is able to accelerate the move to an earlier date, it will be done and information on any changes will be sent out to the community via e-mail, Blackboard connect and websites.

The Freshman Orientation scheduled for Friday, August 28th, will now be held on Thursday, September 3, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Open House will be held on September 3, with Seniors and Juniors arriving from 4:30 to 6 p.m. and with Sophomores and Freshmen arriving from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Both of these events on September 3 will be dependent upon access to the spaces within the school.

Central Office and Stafford High School Staff are working together to develop a contingency instructional plan for a potential delayed opening of Stafford High School (the delay could be up to a week with school opening for students on September 14) if the general contractor fails to meet the requirements for temporary occupancy of all or key areas of the building. Staff will evaluate the general contractor’s status with respect to temporary occupancy at close of business on Thursday August 27, 2015.

Fire crews battle blazes in Lake Ridge, Stafford


Fire crews were called to a several house fires over the weekend.  

3681 Meandering Way in Lake Ridge


The blaze broke out at 3681 Meandering Way, behind the Dillingham Sqaure shopping center at 11:46 p.m. 

The fire was contained to one apartment building with no extension to a second building, however fire tactics required cutting the roof away on the adjoining building to stop the spread of fire, thereby making it uninhabitable.  Red Cross was called and working with 58 occupants and an undetermined number of pets. The fire is under investigation by the Prince William County Fire Marshal’s Office.  There were minor injuries to two firefighters. Fire and Rescue units from OWL VFD, Dale City VFD, PWCDF&R, Manassas City and Fairfax responded to the incident.

-OWL Volunteer Fire Department Spokeswoman Rebecca Barnes

2823 Madeira Court in Lake Ridge 


Fire crews on earlier in the day on Sunday were also called to Mederia Court in Lake Ridge for a fire at 12:46 p.m.

The fire was contained to one unit with no extension and the blaze was knocked down within 10 minutes.  The fire is under investigation by the Prince William County Fire Marshal’s Office.  There were no injuries. Fire and Rescue units from OWL VFD, Dale City VFD, PWCDF&R, Manassas City and Fairfax responded to the incident.

-OWL Volunteer Fire Department Spokeswoman Rebecca Barnes

15 Blacksmith Court in Stafford County 

Blacksmith Court fire.
Blacksmith Court fire.

Another fire broke out at 3:11 p.m. Friday at 15 Blacksmith Court, just off Austin Ridge Drive in Stafford County. 

The Deputy Chief of Training was the first arriving unit with a 6 minute response time. His initial size-up revealed active fire conditions on the second story of a 2-story single-family dwelling.

The occupants of the house had evacuated prior to the arrival of units. Engine 9 from the Aquia station was the first arriving fire suppression unit with a 7 minute response time.

Units deployed fire attack handlines to the second story of the building. A majority of the fire was extinguished 19 minutes after the time of dispatch.

The property was valued at $450,000.00 with damage estimated at $100,000.00. The cause was ruled accidental by the Fire Marshal’s office. The were no reported injures during the incident. The occupants consisting of two adults and two children were displaced but didn’t require assistance from the Red Cross.

-Stafford County fire and rescue Assistant Chief Mark Doyle

Updated: Afternoon VRE Fredericksburg line trains on ‘S’ schedule after pedestrian killed


A Virginia Railway Express train struck and killed a man this morning near the Leeland Road station in Stafford County. 

Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller made this statement by email:

At 5:20 a.m. Monday, Virginia State Police responded to a fatal crash in Stafford County.  A northbound Virginia Railway Express (VRE) train struck and killed a pedestrian on the tracks. The incident is under investigation at this time.

Police did not release the name of the victim.

Trains on VRE’s Fredericksburg line were delayed due to the incident. The commuter railroad urged riders to find another way to work

The incident will have impacts on the afternoon commute, too. 


Trains on the Fredericksburg line resumed operation just before 10 a.m. 


Stafford plans ‘drug take back’ Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015

On Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015, the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office, in conjunction with the Drug Enforcement Administration, Partners on Aging-TRIAD, and the Stafford Hospital Center will hold a National Drug Take Back Initiative.  

The National Take Back Initiative is a collaborative effort focused on removing potentially dangerous controlled substances from medicine cabinets all over the country. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., citizens may drop off expired, unwanted or unused pharmaceutical controlled or non-controlled substances and other medications to Stafford deputies for destruction at the Stafford Hospital Center, located at 101 Hospital Center Blvd. in Stafford.  

Citizens can drive up to the drop off site and simply dump the medications directly into the disposal box, never having to leave their car. This method of destroying unwanted medications is safer for citizens and better for the environment.

Participants may dispose of medication in its original container or by removing the medication from its container and disposing of it directly into the disposal box. If an original container is submitted, the individual is encouraged to remove any identifying information from the prescription label.  

Liquid products such as cough syrup, should remain tightly sealed in their original container.


Animals to adopt at Stafford County SPCA


Trinity and Bitsy

Roscoe is a 1 year old, lovable beagle mix who loves playing with other dogs and spending time with people, both indoors and out. Roscoe is looking for a new forever home because his former owners had to give him up when a serious illness struck their family. He is house-trained, crate-trained, neutered, microchipped, and UTD on vaccines. He is currently in a foster home, waiting for his forever family to come along!
Trinity is a 2 year old, black Bombay mix kitty that arrived at our shelter with 7 kittens. Bitsy is the last of Trinity’s litter, is approximately 13 weeks old, and is a “mini-me” of her mother. They both have heartbreakingly sweet personalities, and we would love to see them go home together! Trinity is UTD on all vaccines, spayed, and microchipped. Bitsy is UTD on all kitten vaccines.

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

River Road in Stafford closed August 20


River Road in StafUntitledford will be closed from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on August 20.

More from a Stafford release:

River Road will be closed to through traffic on Thursday, August 20, 2015, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The Belmont-Ferry Farm Trail will also be closed to through traffic at the River Road crosswalk from Pratt Park to the Historic Port of Falmouth Park.

A raised crosswalk is being installed on River Road between the two parks on the Belmont-Ferry Farm Trail. The entrance to Pratt Park on River Road will remain accessible to visitors as well as the entrance to the Historic Port of Falmouth Park. River Road will close just east of the Historic Port of Falmouth parking lot entrance and west of the Pratt Park entrance. No through traffic will be allowed on the Belmont-Ferry Farm Trail from the Pratt Park side to the Historic Port of Falmouth side.

Signs will advise motorists of detours on Chatham Heights Road and Butler Road/Route 17.

Barron charged in North Stafford Walmart parking lot stabbing


A Prince William County man is charged with stabbing another man outside a North Stafford Walmart.

The stabbing occurred Aug. 9 in a Walmart parking lot on Garrisonville Road. Investigators said the suspect forced his victim’s car into the parking lot, got of his vehicle, and stabbed the passenger side door and the victim in the arm.

Stafford sheriff’s Detective Eric Schinault tracked down the suspected stabber a home outside Dumfries. A man who answered the door at the suspect’s home did not want to comment on the matter and asked reporters not to return.

Mark Jozef Barron, 22, of Marhalt Place in the Brittany subdivision of Prince William County, is charged with malicious wounding, said Stafford sheriff’s spokesman Bill Kennedy.

Barron turned himself into Stafford County authorities today after a warrant was issued for his arrest.

He is now in the custody of the Rappahannock Regional Jail.

Stafford fire crews called to house fire on Dent Road

dent rd fire

8 a.m. Monday, Aug. 17

Three adult and three children were displaced from their home in this fire. 

Fire crews arrived flames inside the two-story home. Firefighters searched the home and learned it had no staircase on the inside of the home, only one on the outside which had already been destroyed by fire.

Crews used their own ladders and entered the home through second floor windows, according to a press release. 

7:40 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 16

Here’s the reason some of you were seeing smoke in Stafford today. 

Stafford Volunteer Fire Department reports it was called to a fire at a home on Dent Road, just off Courthouse Road near Stafford Elementary School and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. 

The fire had fully engulfed one side of the house and had spread to a car parked outside the home, according to firefighters.

Crews were able to douse the blaze. We don’t know yet if anyone was injured. 


Honored Stafford sheriff’s employee fired after evidence goes missing


A man who spent 14 years working as an evidence clerk at the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office is out of a job after a coin went missing.

A letter to attorneys who have all plead cases inside the Stafford County Courthouse were notified via a letter from Commonwealth Attorney Eric Olsen on Wednesday of an internal investigation that led the employee’s firing.

The former employee William Byrne is now being investigated by Virginia State Police who are probing the case for any criminal wrongdoing on Byrne’s part. Stafford County Sheriff Charles Jett requested state police investigate the incident, according to a press release.

No charges have been filed against Byrne.

He was twice awarded the civilian integrity award during the Stafford Sheriff’s office annual awards in 2012 and 2007.

An investigation into the incident found the missing coin was scheduled to be delivered to the state treasury. The coin was replaced with a coin of no value, and Byrne made false statements to investigators after the fake coin was found, according to a press release.

The sheriff’s department is conducting an audit of all evidence in the department’s locker.

“The audit has thus far shown no other improprieties with any active case from 2014 and 2015,” the press release stated.

Could rising temperatures impact the area’s data centers?


UntitledFacebook, Google, Amazon.

Chances are these are names you know well. But what you may not know is that companies like these own large data centers across the U.S., including Northern Virginia.

Data centers, used for storage, backups and communications, use a lot of power for both powering their equipment and for keeping their facilities cool.

But a report titled ‘Risky Business’ completed by the Paulson Institute, asserts that climate change and rising temperatures – over time – will negatively impact these data centers and the electrical infrastructure.

Rising temperatures will make the infrastructure less efficient, and harder to keep the data centers cool.

There are about 25 data centers in Prince William, according to Prince William Economic Development Executive Director Jeff Kaczmarek.
Stafford has several data centers, but they won’t disclose the total because of confidentiality reasons.

For Kaczmarek, the data centers, which invest $3.7 billion into Prince William, will be able to combat rising temperatures.

“Data center companies are looking both at conventional as well as alternative energy systems…it’s a problem that can be solved. I don’t think it would cause [companies] to pull back in wanting to build data centers…the power and cooling problems will have to be solved, and they will be – it’s just a matter of how they’ll do it,” said Kaczmarek.

Manassas doesn’t have a data center, but their Economic Development Director Patrick Small asserted that during the coming years, data centers would be able to drastically change their technology in order to combat any possibility of increased temperatures.

“There are huge power consumers that are all over this state…I would think that the temperature would have to rise so significantly that it would be as uncomfortable for us to walk outside, as it would be for the data center to exist. The equipment in these [data centers] goes obsolete every two to three years, the useful life of the building is 30 years…over the next 100 years, technology’s going to change an awful lot,” said Small.

According Dominion Power spokesman Dan Genest, Dominion accounts for increased power usage and infrastructure strain in their planning, and would be able to replace equipment without a major issue for customers.

“As we move several decades out, ‘current’ equipment would either be replaced or augmented with more new power stations, transmission lines and distribution systems,” said Genest.

According to the report, during the last 30-years, on average in the Southeastern U.S., there have been nine days over 95 degrees per year.

By about 2050 there will be on average 17 to 53 days over 95 degrees each year, and 47 to 115 days over 95 degrees by the end of the century.

Manassas a magnet for creative, performing arts

Manassas is a regional art destination
Manassas is a regional art destination

The Arts and Tourism District is in Historic Downtown Manassas.

Manassas already boasted the renowned Center for the Arts where visual and performing arts are taught, practiced and displayed as well as the highly regarded local studios and galleries, Creative Brush and ArtBeat. But local artists and community leaders wanted more.

The city council has a vision for Manassas to become known as an arts and cultural center in Northern Virginia, and beyond.

Last year the city converted the hallway on the first floor of City Hall into an art gallery aptly named “The Hall at City Hall.” The gallery has featured paintings, photographic art and works by local art students at Osborn High School and changes artwork every six weeks so there are regularly new displays.

Another example is the banner art displayed on light poles throughout Historic Downtown. The juried competition attracted artists from throughout the Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia. Sixty of the more than 130 entries were transformed into public art that is on display seasonally until winter.

Historic Manassas Inc., the city’s Virginia Main Street Program, oversaw the project and intends to repeat it annually. The top -ranked submission, as judged by a panel of professional artists, received a $1,000 cash prize and at the end of the season one artist will be awarded the “People’s Choice” prize of $500. Ballots for this are included in a brochure describing each piece and available at the City’s visitor center in the historic train station adjacent to the municipal parking garage.

But it’s not all just about the visual arts.

Manassas also boasts the second largest ballet company in Virginia. The work of the Manassas Ballet Theater is recognized in the national and international press.

This attention helps contribute to Manassas becoming known as a regional arts and tourist destination. Further, Manassas worked closely with George Mason University, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and Prince William County to bring the Hylton Performing Arts Center from dream to reality. The city continues to provide support to ensure the performing arts venue remains an asset for the citizens of Manassas and the surrounding area as well as attracting visitors.

There are many other local performing and visual arts groups and businesses in the city too numerous to mention in this article; all of which exist to teach, promote or display the vibrant culture of this historic yet modern city.

Renovations underway at El Gran Charro

el gran charro

After 10 years, it’s time for a change.

El Gran Charro inside the Town Center at Aquia closed its doors to remodel on Aug. 3. Inside the eatery on Aug. 10, a team of workers worked in a dimly lit room working on the ceiling.

It’s a complete renovation for the restaurant that sits just off Route 1 in Stafford County. When it’s done, the bar will sit in the middle of the restaurant, and new tables and chairs will be positioned on both sides of the restaurant.

The bar had been located on the right side of the restaurant, and that made some customers who sat on the left side of the eatery a bit lonely.

“[When the left side began to empty out] customers thought they were the last ones in the restaurant, and that we were about to close,” said owner Jose Gallardo.

As in most cases, there were more people sitting at the bar on the other side of the restaurant, they just couldn’t see them. The new floor plan will make the eatery more open and inviting, said Gallardo.

The renovations to El Gran Charro are happening as it appears work on the surrounding town center could finally begin. A new plan announced this spring indicates new commercial buildings and apartment homes could be built at Town Center at Aquia.

Stores closed, and buildings were demolished here in 2007, and the property has remained largely untouched since then. El Gran Charro has been located inside the town center or a decade.

“The finished shopping center is going to help a lot,” said Gallardo.

El Gran Charro will reopen its doors with a few new menu items. Seafood dishes and some new appetizers are the main new additions.

The renovations should take about two weeks to complete.

“I thought [this project] was going to be a smaller thing… but it turns out we’ve made a bigger mess than we thought,” joked Gallardo.

Stafford Walmart stabber sought


A man was stabbed outside a Walmart store in North Stafford.

It happened at 1:29 a.m. Sunday at the Walmart at 217 Garrisonville Road. The victim was riding in the passenger seat of a car and had been stopped at a nearby 7-Eleven store at 201 Garrisonville Road to get gas.

A maroon SUV then pulled up beside the car the victim was riding in, revved his engine, and the victim then yelled at the suspect making a “statement” about his car, said Stafford sheriff’s Maj. David Decatur.

After getting gas, the driver and the victim riding in the passenger seat pulled out onto Mine Road. The maroon SUV then pulled up behind the car the victim was in and forced it into the Walmart parking lot, said Decatur.

The car the victim was in stopped, and the victim got out of the car and yelled at the suspect, according to Decatur. The victim then got back into his car.

The suspect then got out of his SUV and walked up to the car the victim was in, pulled out a knife, and stabbed the passenger door and then stabbed the victim in the arm, said Decatur.

The victim and the driver went to a nearby house and called 911. The victim was taken to a hospital injuries that appeared to be non-life threatening, said Decatur.

The suspect is white, 5 feet 10 inches tall, thin, tall, brown hair, mustache, goatee, in his 20s. He was with a white woman described as slender and in her 20s, said Decatur.

Decatur said the suspect’s car is possibly a Nissan Rouge. Anyone with information should call Stafford County Crime Solvers.

Fatal crash on I-95 in Stafford investigated

Photo: Mary Davidson

Virginia State Police are looking into the cause of a fatal crash on Interstate 95 in Stafford County early  Sunday morning. 

Here’s information from state police: 

At 5:14 am, Sunday (Aug 9), Virginia State Police Sr. Trooper H. Jaime Jr., responded to a single-vehicle crash along Interstate 95 in Stafford County at the 131 mile marker.

A car traveling south on I-95 ran off the left side of the road and caught fire. The driver, and only occupant of the vehicle, died at the scene. The driver’s remains were transported to the Office of the Medical examiner in Richmond for examination, autopsy and positive identification.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

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If you are cleared and have one of the following skillsets, we would like to meet you at our recruitment invitational which will take place multiple days next week.  Visit us at where you can create a candidate profile against opportunity 5053: NCIS Event Requisition.  After receiving your resume, a SRA Recruiter will contact you within 24 hours.

We are looking for highly motivated people to fill the following positions:

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SRA International, Inc. is a leading provider of sophisticated information technology and professional services to the U.S. federal government. Our services help our government customers address complex IT needs in order to achieve their missions. We are inspired by our customers’ missions and strive to provide the best people, working together to generate the best ideas, to deliver the best possible performance – all driven by our enduring values of Honesty and Service®. SRA was founded in 1978. We are headquartered in Fairfax, VA and employ approximately 5,600 professionals.

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