Stafford

Rocky Pen Run Reservoir Filling Up

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STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. — A lake is forming in Stafford County.

It took two years to complete the dam for the Rocky Pen Run Reservoir, and now the 503-acre lake is filling with water.

The largest public works project in Stafford County’s history, the reservoir will hold 5.5 billion gallons of water. It started to fill in January when officials allowed water to flow into the man-made lake bed.

The lake will provide water for the county’s more than 130,000 residents and join two other reservoirs, Abel Lake and Smith Lake.

Rocky Pen Reservoir also be used for fishing, non-motorized boating, and kayaking when it’s completely full.

[Video: Ricky Moorefield]

Exchange Student Charged with Sex Crime

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STAFFORD, Va. — Authorities in Stafford County say they stopped an exchange student from boarding a plane bound for his native Saudi Arabia and then charged him in connection to a sex crime.

The county’s Sheriff’s Office states the incident occurred on April 19. A location of the alleged crime was not provided.

Here is the unedited press statement released by the Sheriff’s Office:

The Stafford County Sheriff’s Office is reporting the arrest of Hamad Mastour Alsuwat, age 20, currently of Stafford County on Sunday, April 20, 2014.  Alsuwat is charged with 1 Count Object Sexual Penetration.

On Saturday, April 19, 2014 Stafford Deputy Thomas Grasso responded to an address in Stafford County for a possible domestic disturbance.  While investigating the domestic disturbance Deputy Grasso learned that Hamad Alsuwat, a foreign exchange student residing at the residence, had sexually assaulted a 17- year-old female resident.  Alsuwat was not on scene when Deputy Grasso first arrived.

Detective Tim Covington initiated an investigation and when learning that Alsuwat was a foreign exchange student, contacted the Department of Homeland Security in the chance that Alsuwat was a flight risk.  Members of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection arrested Hamad Alsuwat as he was preparing to board a flight out of Washington Dulles International Airport bound for Saudi Arabia on Sunday, April 20.

Due to the sensitive nature of this ongoing investigation no additional information will be available at this time.

How Planning for Death Made One Mother’s Experience Easier

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STAFFORD, Va. — Shannon Broom was killed in a car crash 16 years ago.

Fresh out of college, the 23-year-old had a lot of life left to live. But when it suddenly came to an end her mother, Jan, knew she wanted to share that unlived life with someone else.

Four of Shannon’s organs were donated to others: 2 kidneys, her heart, and liver. The heart went to an 18-year-old who was hospitalized in Richmond, the liver to a patient in North Carolina, and the kidneys to patients in North Dakota and Minnesota.

The question of whether to donate her organs so others could live was never a question for the Broom family. Shannon was in third grade when someone came to speak to her class about the importance of organ donation. Afterward, the child knew it was what she wanted to do.

“I can still see her coming up the front steps. She was all excited about this lady who had gotten a new kidney and that if anything ever happened to her she still wanted to help people so they could still live because if she went to heaven she wasn’t going to need those parts anymore and she wanted somebody who did need them to get them,” said Jan Broom.

Jan on Wednesday joined doctors and administrators at Stafford Hospital who invited the community to come and have what many would consider an awkward conversation – what they want to happen in the event patients can no longer make decisions for themselves.

Called “advance directives,” it’s when a patient indicates ahead of time that, if hospitalized, they don’t want things actions like being placed on a breathing machine, a feeding tube, and they also designate who should carry out the patients’ final wishes in the event of death.

“Usually families are struggling with grief, and if they have to make a decision they might feel guilty about, you put guilt on top of grief and it’s a bad combination,” said Stafford Hospital Administrator Cathy Yablonski.

Tables were set up in the hospital’s lobby where residents could come in and speak to a counselor about their wishes, as well as fill out Virginia’s Advance Directive for Health Care so they could make those wishes known. It’s a conversation the hospital encourages every family to have at anytime, not just during special events like this one.

“No one knows mom better than you, and no one knows what decision would she want better than you do,” said Victor D ‘Addio, one of two vascular surgeons at Stafford Hospital.

Jan Broom was at those tables, and has come to events like these since her daughter passed away to communicate the importance of advance directives. She’s also kept in close contact with the recipients of her daughter’s recipients through letter writing.

“I kept worrying that they would feel guilty, and that the letters would somehow impair their healing process, thinking that someone had to die for them to be alive,” said Broom.

But she quickly learned that the letters were appreciated because some other mother had been praying for a miracle for their own child. That miracle was Shannon.

 

North Stafford Getting New CVS Store

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Photo: KJ Mushung

Photo: KJ Mushung

NORTH STAFFORD, Va. — A CVS Pharmacy on Va. 610 will soon be beside itself.

The national pharmacy chain has cleared trees next to its store at 388 Garrisonville Road in North Stafford to make way for a new, larger, 14,000 square foot store. The new store will be 1,000 square feet larger than the current pharmacy and feature double the parking spaces than its predecessor.

The current location has also built a solid list of drive-through window customers — where people can simply drive up to a widow on the side of the building, speak to a pharmacist, and drop off and pick up prescriptions – that the new store will feature a double lane drive through, according to company spokesman Michael DeAngelis.

The new store is slated to open in July and the old location, at the corner of Va. 610 and Onville Road, is scheduled to close shortly thereafter.

The new CVS will join its recently constructed sister location that sits further west on Va. 610, at the intersection of Shelton Shop Road.

 

Teen Wards off Would-be Abductor

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Investigators in Stafford County say a girl was nearly abducted on April 10 while walking her dog in her neighborhood.

The Stafford County Sheriff’s Department provided us the following press release with details about the incident:

The Stafford County Sheriff’s Office is reporting an attempted abduction that took place last night, Thursday, April 10 between 9:15 – 9:30 in the evening in the Stafford Lakes subdivision in southern Stafford County.

Deputies responded to a call of an attempted abduction on Hopkins Branch Way at 9:23 pm. The responding deputies spoke to the 17 year old female victim who told them that while she was out walking her dog she was approached from the rear by a Hispanic male subject. The male subject grabbed the teen’s wrist at which point the teen turned on the man, kneed him in the thigh causing the male subject to release his grip, allowing the teen to run home.

During the assault the male subject never spoke to the teen and was last seen running up Hopkins Branch Way towards Charter Gate Drive. Multiple units of the Patrol Division saturated the area along with detectives in an attempt to locate the male subject. Deputies and detectives returned again this morning in an effort to locate the subject.

The 17 year old teen was also approached by the same subject early on the same morning around 6:30 am. In that incident the teen was out walking her dog when the same Hispanic male, driving a white van, pulled up to her and began speaking to her in Spanish. The teen reports that the subject did not appear angry and his tone was conversational in nature. During that encounter the male subject made no attempt to grab the teen.

The male Hispanic subject is described as 5’02” – 5’08” tall weighing between 140 – 150 pounds with short black hair. The subject had no facial hair and was reported wearing a black shirt with some dirt marks on it and tan, short cargo pants. His age is described as late 30’s to early 40’s. It was also noted that his top two front teeth were crooked.

Anyone who has information relating to this incident is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at 540-658-4400, Stafford Crime Solvers at 540-659-2020 (callers may remain anonymous) or TEXT “Stafford + your tip to CRIMES (274637).

 

This story has been corrected.

Lower Pay, Student Funding Has Teachers Going Elsewhere for Work: Professor

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STAFFORD, Va. — School officials in Stafford County want to give teachers a raise.

Salary increases, to the tune of 3%, are a priority outlined in the Stafford County Public Schools proposed $273.8 million budget for fiscal year 2015, which takes effect July 1. To get there, the School Board is asking the Board of Supervisors for an additional $19.6 million to cover the costs of the raises, as well as other “unavoidable” increased costs mandated by the state to include rising healthcare, retirement, text books, and capital improvement costs.

“I know money doesn’t mean money doesn’t mean money in education, but lowering class sizes costs money. Quality educators don’t come cheap. That’s what makes a difference in education,” School Board Chair Nanette Kidby told the Stafford County Board of Supervisors.

First-year teachers in Stafford are the lowest paid in the region with a starting annual salary of $38,335, according Kidby. In neighboring Prince William, a county with nearly a $1 billion school budget, teachers start paid an annual starting salary of $45,370.

That funding gap makes it difficult to attract new educators to a county that boasts a low tax rate and a successful record of luring large businesses to set up shop.

“We are finding it very, very difficult to convince bright, young school teachers to come into your district. Your math teachers are going to Prince William and Fairfax County and there is not going to be anyone to replace them,” said Patricia Reynolds, a professor of education at Mary Washington University in Fredericksburg.

Reynolds’ students have examined the average cost per pupil that area school divisions spend to educate their students. They’ve found that Stafford’s $9,165 spent per student, when compared to $10,116 spend in Spotsylvania County and Prince William’s $11,984 per student, is a key factor that is driving teachers to work elsewhere.

In addition to state funds, Stafford officials will transfer $140 million of the county’s 2015 budget to the school division. That amount is $2.9 million more than last year.

“We are putting more local money into schools. That’s what the numbers keep saying. We are funding the schools at an increased rate. But if you listen to what is being put out there…you would think that were starving the schools,” said Rockhill District Supervisor Cord Sterling, who called for more accountability as to where the School Board spends their money.

Falmouth District Supervisor Meg Bohmke, who served on the School Board prior to being elected to the Board of Supervisors, agreed, and noted she has had problems getting information that she’s requested from the School Board on expenditures on things like the county’s International Baccalaureate program.

“If we can’t analyze the numbers we can’t make decisions,” said Bohmke.

The Board of Supervisors has invited the public to come speak on the 2015 budget at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Stafford County Government Center.

Jewelry Store Robbed, Owner Bound

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NORTH STAFFORD, Va. — A jeweler in Stafford County met an unwanted, gun toting customer Thursday morning.

The owner of Darian Jewelers at 364 Garrisonville Road in North Stafford, near the Doc Stone shopping center, had just opened his doors just before 10 a.m. when a man entered the store behind him, displayed a gun, and then forced the owner to crack open the safe. Afterward, he bound the owners hands and forced him into the store’s bathroom. The suspect then made off with cash and jewelry.

The victim untied his hands about 30 minutes later and called 911. Stafford Sheriff’s deputies arrived shortly after the call came in, searched the area but turned up nothing.

Anyone with information on this case is encouraged to contact Stafford County Crime Solvers.

Updated: Water Main Breaks Impact Drivers, Disrupts Service

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(Photo: Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

Drivers are dealing with multiple water main breaks today on area roads.

A 12-inche water main broke last night closing a portion of Dale Boulevard at Birchdale Avenue. Fire and rescue crews that were called to the scene told Potomac Local News the pressure that was released when the water main blew caused “rocks the size of basketballs” to roll down the boulevard. The break disrupted several Virginia American Water customers in Dale City and forced the closure of Dale Boulevard in both directions near the site of the break.

Here’s more from water company spokeswoman Samantha Villegas; 

The main break initially affected about 48 town homes. But the break caused us to nearly drain our Hillendale tank which caused major pressure drops noticed much further away – a map of affected area was posted to our FB this am.

By about 7-8 am, most were back to normal.

As of noon, everyone but about 80 customers on Birchdale Square are back on.

Birchdale Square will be back on shortly, but because of the complete pressure loss, the homes on that street will need to boil water for consumption until we give them the all clear. We are notifying who is affected with door hangers.

All westbound lanes of Dale Boulevard reopened just before 10 a.m., according to Prince William police.

It’s almost as if drivers and people living in this area cannot catch a break. On Monday night, a gas main also ruptured in the same area and was ultimately repaired.

Crews are also on the scene of a water main break in Stafford County today, at the intersection of U.S. 1 and Layhill Road.

Here’s the latest statement from the Virginia Department of Transportation about the traffic impacts caused by the break.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has closed the right lane on Route 1 north just north of Route 624 (Layhill Road) in Stafford County due to a drainage pipe failure.

VDOT crews are on the scene accessing the damage.

There is no estimated time of reopening at this time. 

Church Gifted Land on Busy Route 610, Considers Relocating

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NORTH STAFFORD, Va. — The Ebenezer United Methodist Church in Stafford is currently considering the options for development of a property on Va. 610 in North Stafford they inherited last year. The church received the land after the passing of two congregation members, Mary Stuart and Frances Cloe.

“Mary Stuart and Frances Cloe were long time members of Ebenezer Church. As I understand it, their parents were some of the founding members of Ebenezer Church,” said Reverend Chris Bennett.

“We ultimately decided that after prayer and discussion, that if we’re gonna stay here, we want to be able to do what we can with where we are, and it made sense to sell the property,” added Bennett.

More to the Story: A list of FAQs compiled by the church about the Cloe property

The 45-acre property at 425 Garrisonville Road sits across from Dan’s Pharmacy, and Arby’s restaurant and a Radio Shack. “It is currently zoned as residential with a house sitting on it, but the church is considering the development of the land for commercial use, which would require approvals from the Stafford County Board of Supervisors.”

According to Bennett, the proceeds from the sale and development of the proper will help to fund ministry work and projects, as well as a potential scholarship program in the Cloe’s name.

“We want to honor the Cloe sisters, whether it’s setting up a scholarship or naming something after them,” Bennett said.

In order for the church to move forward with commercial development, they’ll need to get the rezoning approved, so the plan will have to go before the county’s Planning and Zoning Commission, be subject to public hearings, and ultimately be approved by the Board of Supervisors, according to Stafford County spokeswoman Shannon Howell.

While Ebenezer Church has not started on the paperwork for the rezoning, they are hopeful about the impact they can have on the community as a result of the land sale’s proceeds.

“We are excited about the opportunity this gives us to continue our ministry and blessing the community. We hope this will continue to give us the opportunity to serve the local habitat. We’re just thankful for the gift that the sisters gave us, and we want to make sure that whatever we do honors them,” Bennett said.

Ebenezer United Methodist Church dates back to before the Civil War. The church used to be located on Onville Road in North Stafford before moving to its current location on Embrey Mill Road in 1992. If Ebenezer decides to relocate to the more visible Cloe House property, it would sit about a mile away from its old location on Onville Road.

Infant Dies in Fire, Local Collection Efforts Underway to Help Family

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STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. — Eleanor Mae Avery died in a house fire in Stafford County on Monday.

The 6-month-old girl became trapped inside of her burning home in the Kings Grant subdivision in Hartwood.

“Despite efforts to gain entrance into the residence the mother was unable to rescue the child due to the severity of the fire,” stated Stafford fire and rescue spokesman Mark Doyle in a press release.

Flames destroyed the single family home that housed two adults and five children. It is a property loss of $650,000, according to a Stafford County fire marshal’s estimate.

The county’s sheriff’s office took over the investigation into the fire and noted that autopsy reports conclude the child’s death was fire related.

A Facebook page has been set up in a relief effort to assist the family. Here is the message posted to that page that describes the family’s loss:

Yesterday afternoon, Dirk and Naomi Avery’s house caught on fire and it quickly spread burning the house to the foundation. Due to living in rural Virginia, it requires time for the fire department to arrive and sadly by the time they were able to begin putting out the fire, the fire had consumed most of the house.

Everything has been lost and those who were at home managed to escape with only the clothes on their back. The biggest tragedy being they were unable to save their youngest daughter Eleanor who perished in the fire.

Also lost in the fire was their labra doodle Strider who had remained in the home with the baby. Fortunately their four other children are unharmed, but all their photographs, baby memorabilia and children’s keepsakes are gone.

Although insignificant in comparison to the loss they have sustained, both their cars were destroyed; all the children’s toys, books, movies and clothes have been lost. Local collection efforts have been amazing and the family has been fortunate enough to have clothes donated for the children, but the process of rebuilding their home and their lives will take time and money.

Insurance will only cover so much, so should you feel that you are in a position to help Dirk and Naomi with a small financial donation to help them with the items they will need down the road please donate whatever you can. Thank you!

Child Dies in House Fire

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Updated

Stafford County fire and rescue spokesman Mark Doyle provided the following updated statement about Monday’s fatal fire.

The Stafford County Fire Marshal’s and Stafford Sheriff’s Office continue to investigate yesterday’s fatal fire that occurred in the Kings Grant Subdivision located in the Hartwood area of Stafford County. The damage is estimated at $650,000.00 which includes the home, contents and nearby vehicles.

Stafford’s sheriff’s office, now in charge of the investigation, had no comment on Tuesday.

7 a.m. 

STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. — A child died in a fire in Stafford County’s Hartwood area.

Fire and rescue crews were called to a two-story house that was on fire at 2:19 p.m. Monday. Crews immediately learned there was a child still inside the house at the time they arrived.

“However, due to the excessive heat, fire conditions and structural collapse units were forced to operated in a defensive mode,” Stafford fire and rescue spokesman Mark Doyle stated in a press release.

The fire was brought under control and the child was located. The victim was taken to state medical examiner’s office where an autopsy will be performed.

Doyle also stated there was no further information available. So, here’s what we don’t know right now:

The address of the home that burned

The age and gender of the victim

Overall, how many people were displaced

An estimate of damage to the home

The outcome of a fire marshal’s investigation

If criminal charges are pending in the sheriff’s office investigation

We’ll tell you more when we get more details.

 

Stafford Residents Outsmart Sheriff’s Office Scammer

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STAFFORD, Va. — You could call this scammer creative or shameful, just don’t call some Stafford residents easily fooled.

Five Stafford County residents told authorities they received a phone call from a Lt. Paul Stevens who said he worked at the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office. He told them there was a bench warrant out for their arrests because they failed to report for jury duty.

The caller told them if they simply went to a nearby CVS Pharmacy and get a money order for the $230 for failing to appear in court, and another $200 to cover court fees, then call him back with the account number for where the money could be sent, all would be forgotten.

But, not so fast. 

“When several of the citizens volunteered to come to the Sheriff’s Office to discuss the situation, the fictitious “Lt. Stevens” refused and told the citizens to send the money to him instead. Realizing that they were involved in a scam the five citizens notified the sheriff’s office and a deputy responded to their residence to take a report,” said sheriff’s spokesman Bill Kennedy in a press release.

It turns out there is no one by the name of Lt. Paul Stevens at the sheriff’s office. And the office would never ask for money to be sent to any deputy or the department’s top brass for any reason, Kennedy said.

No one gave over any money to the scammer and no arrest has been made.

 Anyone with information on this case is encouraged to contact Stafford County Crime Solvers

Final Heroin Ring Suspect Arrested in Va. Beach

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The final at-large suspect in a group of people busted in a suspected heroin ring in Stafford County was arrested Sunday in Virginia Beach.

Corey Waters, 20, of no fixed address, was taken into custody with no incident by Virginia Beach authorities, said Stafford sheriff’s spokesman Bill Kennedy.

Waters was the last person to be arrested after being indicted on drug charges last week. Ten others have already been rounded up in connection to the crimes.

 

Taser Used in Arrest of Suspected Heroin Dealer

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STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. — Another arrest in the Stafford sheriff’s new war on heroin was made early Saturday but not before the suspect was hit with a taser weapon.

Investigators conducting surveillance of a home in Stafford County suspected of being a hot bed of narcotics sales saw a man leave the house at 2147 Sebastian Road just of Va. 218 in south Stafford in the late evening hours of Friday, March 28. The man got into his car and deputies stopped him on U.S. 17 in Stafford County.

Arthur Watts, 49, of 8 Harborton Lane in Stafford, and is charged with possession of a schedule 2, said Stafford sheriffs spokesman Bill Kennedy.

Detectives then obtained a search warrant for the house on Sebastian Road and went back to the home in the early morning hours of Saturday, March 29. The home owner wasn’t at the house when sheriff’s department authorities showed up with the warrant, but he did return home while deputies were there, said Kennedy.

Spotting law enforcement, the suspect fled the scene in a vehicle and deputies pursued him. The suspect eventually crashed the car on Va. 218, got out, and then dared officers to shoot him, said Kennedy.

A taser weapon was used on the suspect and he was taken into custody. Authorities took the suspect to a local hospital where it was determined the suspect suffered injuries that did not appear to be life threatening.

Gonsala Ceja, 36, of 2147 Sebastian Road, faces numerous charges including possession with the intent to distribute heroin, oxycodone, suboxone, marijuana, as well as several traffic misdemeanors, said Kennedy.

He was held at Rappahnnock Regional Jail with no bond.

This latest arrest comes after 11 people were charged in connection to a suspected heroin ring in Stafford County.

“This will be an ongoing investigation and other charges are possible for other individuals.” said Kennedy.

This case does not appear to be related to the suspected heroin ring. 

Stafford Hospital 5K Scheduled for April 12

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STAFFORD, Va. — Runners will be racing to the hospital this month, but it’s not because they are sick.

The 2014 Stafford Hospital Foundation 5K run will take place Saturday, April 12 at the Stafford Hospital on Hospital Center Boulevard, just off U.S. 1 in Stafford.

The annual family event invites runners and walkers, and awards will be given to the top overall three men and top three women in each of the groups: 14 & under, 15-19, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, and 70 and over.

The race is one of 12 races in the Coldwell Banker Elite Grand Prix series.

Registration costs are $30, and actual registrations can be made by going online or by calling 540-741-1638.

Updated: 11 Suspected in Stafford Heroin Ring

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7:45 a.m. Saturday, March 29, 2014

Police arrested two others wanted in connection to a heroin ring they say was operating in Stafford County.

Jimmy Mills, Jr., 34, of 21 Petroleum Drive in Stafford and James Anthony Cox, 25, of no fixed address are now in custody. Both men were indicted on Monday of being suspects in a drug ring that involved at least 11 people from Stafford County, according to the Stafford sheriff’s office.

Mills turned himself into law enforcement late Thursday and Cox was arrested during a traffic stop in North Stafford. Both men were taken to the Rappahannock Regional Jail.

Authorities are still looking for 20-year-old Corey Waters who is also suspected of being involved. He has no fixed address and he is charged with possession of a schedule I or II narcotic and with possession of controlled paraphernalia.

Additionally, Stafford authorities issued a correction to a statement about the case released on Thursday. Jeannine Scenters arrested yesterday lives at 22 Oak Road in Stafford, not 22 Oak Drive.

4 p.m. Thursday, March 27, 2014

STAFFORD, Va. — Authorities in Stafford County arrested eight people early this morning in connection to a heroin ring.

Stafford sheriff’s Special Investigation Unit served two search warrants at two addresses in Stafford County – one at 42 Lightfoot Drive inside the Augustine subdivision and the other at 22 Oak Road near the Stafford County Government Center and Courthouse.

The searches come after a Stafford County Grand Jury indicted 11 members of the suspected heroin ring on charges of either use or distribution of the drugs. Three suspects still remain on the loose.

Information detailing the arrests did not indicate how much heroin was found during this morning’s searches or who is was being sold to. Sheriff’s department authorities did state the the investigation into the suspected drug ring began in “December of 2013 and was initiated by members of the Sheriff’s Office Special Investigation Unit, in large part, to the high number of heroin overdoses that occurred in Stafford County over the last year. Unfortunately, Stafford County had 12 confirmed heroin overdoses that resulted in death in the past 12 months,” according to a sheriff’s department press release.

Here’s a list of people facing charges, and three who are still at large:

Anthony Pakhchanian (the report incorrectly listed his name as being spelled Pakchanian), age 22, of 42 Lightfoot Drive, Stafford (Prior court records and address listings show his address to be 382 Hope Road, Stafford) (1 County of Distribution of Schedule II Narcotics & 1 Count Misdemeanor Distribution of Drug Paraphernalia)

Jeannine Scenters, age 40, of 22 Oak Road, Stafford (2 Counts of Distribution of Heroin)

Cynthia Louise Miller, age 48, of 26 Richland Road, Stafford (1 Count of Possession of Heroin & 1 Count of Possession of Marijuana)

Daniel Ringler, age 21, of 1006 Blackbeard Drive, Stafford (1 Count of Possession of Schedule I or II Narcotic & 1 Count of Possession of Controlled Paraphernalia)

James Beverly, age 32, of no fixed address (1 Count Distribution of Heroin)

Jason Matthew Monroe, age 22, of 225 Courthouse Road, Stafford (1 Count of Possession of Heroin)

Robert James Ruff, age 20, of no fixed address (1 Count of Distribution of Schedule II Narcotic)

Malcom Wayne Moore, age 42, of no fixed address (1 Count of Distribution of Heroin).

Still at large

Cory Waters, age 20, of no fixed address (1 Count of Possession of Schedule I or II Narcotic & 1 Count Possession of Controlled Paraphernalia)

Jimmy Mills Jr., age 34, of 21 Petroleum Drive, Stafford (1 Count of Possession of a Firearm by a Felon, 1 Count Possession of a Schedule I or II Narcotic & 1 Count of Possession of Marijuana)

James Anthony Cox, age 25, of no fixed address (1 Count of Distribution of an Imitation Controlled Substance)

Pakhchanian was thought to be at the Lightfoot address but was picked up at another undisclosed residence in Stafford. Jeannine Scenters was arrested at the Oak Drive address. The other subjects arrested today are Daniel Ringler, James Beverly, James Monroe and Malcom Moore, according to sheriff’s department spokesman Bill Kennedy.

Robert Ruff and Cynthia Miller were already in jail at the time of this morning’s arrests.

This is not the first time Daniel Ringler has been in trouble with the law as he is already serving a three-year unsupervised probation for drinking a driving, then crashing his vehicle into a tree in Aquia Harbour, and then trapping himself and another male occupant inside, while two other female occupants were ejected from the mangled vehicle in July 2012.

The females suffered serious injuries in the crash but no one was killed.

In March 2013, Ringler was sentenced to 180 days in jail with 150 days suspended, and was also granted “first offender” status which allowed him to serve 50 hours of community service in exchange for the alcohol charged being dropped.

Several agencies were involved in the investigation to include the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug Task Force, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Virginia State Police.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Mills, Cox, or Waters is encouraged to call Stafford County Crime Solvers at 540-659-2020.

 

Water Tank Cell Phone Antenna Lease Agreement on Hold

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STAFFORD, Va. — A plan to place a cell phone antenna atop a water tower in Stafford County is on hold.

The Board of Supervisors delayed an agreement that would have had the Stafford County Utilities Department enter into a 5-year lease with New Cingular Wireless PCS, LLC that would allow the company to place a new antenna on the Stone River Water Tank at 17 Jason Lane in Stafford. The company would pay Stafford County Government $2,850 per month to lease the space atop the tower for five years, and have would have the option to renew the contract for four consecutive 5-year terms with a 3% escalation fee for each subsequent year.

A playground, tennis court, community center, swimming pool, and small cemetery all surround the water tower where the antenna would be hoisted. Residents who live nearby told Supervisors they don’t want the antenna near their homes out of fears it would bring down property values. They also cited unknown fears of electromagnetic fields emitted by cell phone antennas.

“The water tank is surrounded by our subdivision’s recreation area. I’m sure the Board’s members would not vote of a cellular communications facility in their children’s playground area, so please don’t place one in ours,” said Deborah Tricky, of Antietam Loop.

Others, including Aquia District Supervisor Paul Milde, expressed concern that the count would not be able to break the lease with New Cingular Wireless if problems with the antenna arose in the coming years.

“It’s clearly a lease developed with their terms in it and it would put us at a disadvantage should you go with that lease,” said Bobby Thornburg, of Pritchard Court.

Milde said he would meet with members of the neighborhood’s HOA and to discuss the antenna, but said it would be a “good idea” to add to the water tower. The Board voted unanimously to delay the project.

A representative from New Cingular Wireless did not speak to officials during the meeting.

Stafford County officials in recent months have been looking for ways to improve cell phone service throughout the county, which remains shoddy in several rural neighborhoods.

Well Water Tested for Bacteria, Officials Provide Tips

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STAFFORD, Va. — About 40 Stafford County residents lined up to have their well water tested by the Virginia Cooperative Extension at Virginia Tech.

The testing program will help identify what may be lurking the groundwater in the wells outside their homes, and can provide information on any contaminants that could be making their way to water faucets after being piped through the home. Each participant in to the testing program paid $49, collected water samples from a faucet in their home, and handed over the samples which were then taken to Virginia Tech where they will be examined over the next three weeks.

Program participants who met for the first time during an informational session on March 24 will meet again to hear the results of their tests on April 30.

“Generally we find a fair amount of coliform bacteria in household water. It can come from somewhere in the house, like a faucet, but can also come from the well water itself,” said Erin Ling, with the Virginia Household Water Quality Program at Virginia Tech and Virginia Cooperative Extension. “Coliform bacteria are present in the digestive systems of humans and animals and can be found in the soil and in decaying vegetation. While coliform bacteria do not cause disease, they are indicators of the possible presence of disease causing bacteria, so their presence in drinking water warrants additional testing. We see some E. coli, which is a more serious result, indicating that human or animal waste are entering the water supply.”

What if I have bacteria?

Some at the informational meeting asked what they should do if these types of bacteria are found in their well water supply.

“We’re doing the testing but what you do with the information once you have it is up to you,” said Guy Mussey, an agent with the Cooperative Extension who lead the informational session.

For instance, if E. coli bacteria is found in the water supply, a homeowner could add chlorine to the well and “shock” the water, but the homeowner would still need to find the source of the E. coli bacteria.

There are several things that can cause groundwater contamination; Landfills, seeping gas tanks, and manure are just some of the culprits. Agents like copper and lead are usually not found in groundwater but can be detected inside homes after water travels through pipes.

Water collection

The participants were told to collect water from a tap that had its faucet aerator and screen already removed, and then to fill each bottle and then place it in a refrigerator until it was time to take the samples to the collection point. Mussey also told them to remove any dishes from their sinks to avoid any possible contamination of the water samples, which he was scheduled to collect March 26 at the Rowser Government Building in Stafford.

Low turn out for testing

The Virginia Cooperative Extension offers periodic testing of well water every four to five years in Stafford County. This year, Stafford’s testing program is being done in conjunction with King George County. Mussey said previous testing programs included more than 300 participants, and he said this latest round of testing in Stafford County drew far fewer interested participants than he had expected.

An announcement about the upcoming testing program was placed on the Stafford County Government website. No more water samples will be accepted in this round of testing, said Mussey.

Route 610 Expansion will Continue into 2017

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(File) A crawler excavator dumps dirt onto what will become the widened portion of Va. 610 in North Stafford. (Mary Davidson)

NORTH STAFFORD, Va. — Stafford County has entered into a contract to design and build further road improvements on Garrisonville Road in North Stafford.

Work is currently underway under the management of VDOT on 610, but the County will pick up where this project ends, continuing the road expansion with lane widening and improved turn lanes.

“It’s basically a widening, from four lanes to six lanes, plus some turn lanes; that will extend from the improvements at Onville Road and Garrisonville Road that are being worked on by the Virginia Department of Transportation. So we will pick up it from there and continue west to Eustice Road,” said Keith Dayton, Deputy County Administrator for Stafford County.

In addition to the road widening, the project will include sidewalks on both sides of the road and improved turn lanes at intersections.

This project is a result of a 2008 transportation bond referendum, where voters identified the stretch between Onville Road and Eustice Road as an area in need of improvement.

Once VDOT has completed their portion, with a projected completion of late 2015, early 2016, the County will begin work, projecting their extension to be completed by mid 2017.

“We’ve completed much of the field survey work and working on the preliminary design. Our expectation is that land acquisition is going to take a while,” Dayton said.

The County sees some potential challenges with the project, including the loss of some private business parking, utility relocation of water, sewer and power lines, and a traffic impact on motorists.

“We speculate that we’re going to affect business parking. We don’t expect to take any businesses, but when you take some of their parking you’re going to have to look at trying to replace it somewhere else,” said Dayton.

The project budget is just over $13 million, with the funding coming from the Garrisonville Road service district, with some of the funding coming from loans.

 

Stafford Supervisor Takes Issue with Military Vehicles on 610

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NORTH STAFFORD, Va. — Have you seen military vehicles traveling on Garrisonville Road lately?

Several Marines were using light armored vehicles, known as LAVs, when training at Quantico last weekend. Some drivers, including Garrisonville District Supervisor Laura Sellers, noticed the LAVs using Va. 610 (Garrisonville Road) to transport Marines to the training sites.

Sellers noted seeing the LAVs during a discussion about the Quantico Joint Land Use Study which, among other things, talks about the need for military personnel to use Va. 610 to transport vehicles to the western portions of Quantico, where many of the base’s muntions ranges are located.

“It doesn’t’ happen often, but just last week I have a question about what that does to our roads. If they’re going to be out there are they going to make sure 610 is going to be taken care of,” asked Sellers. “There’s wear and tear on the road, and it’s a heavily-traveled road.”

Quantico officials point out that the LAVs are “road ready” and use pneumatic tires, not tank tracks; the same kind of tires you would find on any truck. As more Marines return home from Iraq and Afghanistan, there is the potential that even more training will be conduced on base to warfighters can maintain their training.

But the military vehicles, like large trucks, are heavy, and vehicle weight is something that Virginia State Police monitor at places like truck weigh scales along interstate highways.

“Weight matters, and tanks are not light,” Stafford Rockill District Supervisor Cord Sterling chimed in.

Sterling also serves on Virginia’s Commonwealth Transportation Board with whose entire mission is highways and transportation.

Base officials say Stafford residents shouldn’t be alarmed to see the LAVs on Va. 610.

“Tactical vehicles are designed to support military and humanitarian missions and as such will look different from something you would drive off the showroom floor at a dealership. But as far as contact with the road and impact on infrastructure are concerned, most military vehicles are similar to their civilian counterparts,” said Quantico spokesman 2nd Lt. Matthew Rojo. “Also, because safety is one of our top priorities it important to mention that each military driver is specially licensed to operate their vehicles to ensure the roads are safe for all who share them.”

Officials from Stafford County who worked on the Joint Land Use Study told Sellers and Sterling that more discussion needs to take place between the county and the base, and that Stafford County could provide some type of escorts for the military vehicles during evening hours when traffic on Va. 610 is lighter.

There has also been discussion about building a road on the base itself so vehicles wouldn’t have to use Va. 610 at all, but there is currently no funding for such a military thoroughfare.

Telegraph Road Bridge Reopening This Weekend

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122613-telegraph-road-2

NORTH STAFFORD, Va. — The Telegraph Road bridge connecting drivers on U.S. 1 to Quantico in Stafford is set to reopen this weekend.

The original bridge was demolished and replaced with a new bridge as part of the Interstate 95 Express Lanes Project.

Here’s more in a press release:

Commuting near Marine Corps Base Quantico will improve with the opening of the new Telegraph Road bridge over I-95 in Stafford County scheduled to open weekend (March 22-23).

The original bridge was demolished in April 2013 as part of the 95 Express Lanes project. The bridge was actually two spans with an earth mound in the center between the north and southbound lanes of I-95. With the new 95 Express Lanes coming through the highway’s median, the ground has been leveled and a pier built to support the center of the new bridge that now stretches across the entire length of I-95, including the regular lanes and future Express Lanes.

The bridge is located between mile post 143 at Garrisonville Road at mile post 148 at Russel Road at Quantico.

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