Stafford

Mass Casualty Drill set for Saturday

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(Photo: Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. — It’s only a drill.

The Stafford County Fire and Rescue Department will converge onto the county’s regional airport on Saturday for a mass casualty drill. It’ll better teach fire fighters and emergency responders how to be better prepared in the event a major disaster.

Here’s more in an undated press release from the fire and rescue department:

On Saturday March 22, 2014 The Stafford County Fire and Rescue Department will conduct a drill at Stafford Regional Airport. The purpose of the drill is to exercise the response plan to the airport. The drill will incorporate agencies from Stafford and surrounding jurisdictions. It will simulate an emergency that results in an aircraft fire and mass casualty incident.

A spectator area will be set up at the airport where the public will be able to view the entire event, according to Stafford County fire and rescue spokesman Mark Doyle.

 

Video Shows I-95 Express Lanes Progress over 6 Months

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The construction crews behind the Interstate 95 Express Lanes are making progress.

A recent video produced by the Virginia Department of Transportation show just how much things have changed along the corridor, from Edsall Road in Alexandria to Garrisonville Road in Stafford, in the past six months.

When complete in 2015, the Express Lanes on I-95 will connect with those already operating on I-495 between Springfield, Tysons Corner, and the Dulles Toll Road. The lanes will charge single-drivers an electronic toll while vehicles with three or more people will be able to use the lanes for free.

 

Work on U.S. 1 Bridge Continues, Temporary Closures Expected

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NORTH STAFFORD, Va. — Drivers should be aware of temporary road closures on U.S. 1 in North Stafford this week.

The closures are part of an effort to improve a bridge that carries drivers on U.S. 1 over Aquia Creek.

Here’s the latest noticed from the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office:

From the Stafford County Sheriffs Office – Beginning Sunday motorists should expect delays on Route 1 at the bridge over Aquia Creek. Lane closures will impact traffic from Sunday, March 16 until Sunday, March 23. The following schedule has been established for the lane closures

 

Could a Popular Beach be Hindering Tourism in Falmouth?

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FALMOUTH, Va. — When Lynn Knight first drove to Falmouth she couldn’t find the place.

The area – once a bustling port in the 18th and 19th centuries – sits on the Rappahannock River in Stafford County across from Fredericksburg. Knight, a consultant who was hired to figure out how to make Falmouth bustling again eventually did find the tiny village, and then she devised the Falmouth Master Interpretive Plan that details how to bring more people to the area with the hopes of boosting tourism and commerce.

Self-guided tour

The plan calls for a self-guided walking tour that would take visitors past some of the oldest and historic homes and buildings in Stafford County where they could learn about the man rumored to be the U.S.’s first millionaire, Bazil Gordon, who opened a store in the village in 1786 and exported cotton and tobacco from plantations along the Rappahannock River to England. There’s also Duff Green who, in the early to mid 1800s when textile production was at its peak in Falmouth, created the Falmouth Manufacturing Company which became Stafford County’s first stockholder-controlled company.

Another suggestion: build a permanent monument that could showcase the plight of the more than 10,000 slaves who crossed the Rappahannock River during their journey north to freedom as part of the Underground Railroad.

This list of people who made an impact on Falmouth during Stafford’s formative years goes on to include founding father George Washington.

Today, some of the old warehouses have been turned into shops. One of the most successful is Amys’ Cafe.

But number of parking spaces is limited and that could be what is curbing interest in the tiny village. The lack of parking is what keeps would-be tourists out of the area, said Knight. The remaining businesses in Falmouth want county leaders to devise a plan to create more parking spaces to build commerce and bring tourists, she added.

A popular beach

At the Historic Port of Falmouth Park, there is plenty of parking. But those who come during the summer months flock to the park’s riverside beach to swim, not to tour the village.

County officials are debating changing the rules and keeping the park’s parking lot open 24-hours a day so visitors could park and stroll downtown Falmouth. Stafford County Hartwood District Supervisor Gary Snellings said it’s a start but added the popular beach is incompatible with the historic nature of Falmouth and needs to go.

“That beach, it’s my understanding, is man made and it can be undone by man with using only a couple bulldozers,” said Snellings.

Once the beach is gone it can be replaced with additional parking spaces, he said.

The Stafford County Sheriff’s Office has not reported an increase in recent parking violations in Falmouth that would indicate drivers clamoring for parking spots. Most of the police activity in Falmouth, however, is logged during the summer months, said sheriff’s spokesman Bill Kennedy.

The park is one of the busiest in the county and averages 160 visitors each Saturday and Sunday during the summer months. The river beach is also known as a safety hazard where some swimmers have  have drowned and others have become stranded on rocks during times of rising tides.

But some say closing the beach is not the answer.

“I want to keep the beaches open, and I want to keep the reservoirs as a place for people to swim, and I’d like you to get on board with that, Gary” Stafford Aquia District Supervisor Paul Milde told Snellings during a recent meeting.

‘Nobody knows who they are’

Snellings is also concerned about tourism taking foot in Falmouth. He cited a list of well-known names of people who once lived in neighboring Fredericksburg, such as James Monroe, and Mary Washington, George Washington’s mother whom a university and a hospital are named after. Many flock there each year to see their historic homes and offices. 

“The big difference with Falmouth is that the people who lived there mean something to us, but you go outside Stafford and nobody knows who they are,” added Snellings.

Knight compared the two places and said while Fredericksburg has more small shops in its downtown, Falmouth is more authentic.

“Fredericksburg is in many ways a manufactured downtown where, it’s kind of like a shopping mall within historic buildings. Falmouth is where things really happened; the buildings are really historic,” said Knight.

Now the Stafford Board of Supervisors must accept the $20,000 Falmouth study. If they move forward with its recommendations, it could take up to five years to implement the walking tour, put new signage in place, and install plaques and park benches at a cost of just under $100,000. The study did not include a price tag for a permanent monument. None of the recommendations are currently funded in the county’s budget.

The study was funded by the Virginia Department of Transportation as a way to mitigate any further loss of historic buildings as construction of a new interchange in the heart of Falmouth ramps up, at the intersection of U.S. 1 and U.S. 17.

Updated: I-95 Reopened after Bus Crash Injures 4

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11 a.m. 

Xiao

Xiao

Before a bus loaded with 58 passengers flipped over on Interstate 95 early this morning in Stafford County, it stopped to refuel in Woodbridge.

Here’s the latest from police:

The bus driver is being held on a $5,000 unsecured bond at Rappahannock Regional Jail in Stafford County on the reckless driving charge.

The bus left Brooklyn, N.Y., last night and had stopped to refuel in Woodbridge, Va., Monday morning. No passengers got on or off the bus in Woodbridge. The bus’s only stop in Virginia was to be in South Hill Monday morning. Its final destination was Doraville, Ga.

8:45 a.m. 

A man from Flushing, N.Y. identified as the bus driver in this morning’s crash on I-95 has been charged. 

Here’s the latest from police: 

All 54 passengers were transported to area hospitals – to include those not injured. State police requested the assistance of Stafford County to provide school buses to transport passengers who were not injured from the scene. The decision to transport injured and non-injured passengers to the hospitals was made in order to keep passengers together and provide them immediate, adequate shelter from the winter storm.

The driver of the bus, Qilong Xiao, 50, of Flushing, N.Y., refused medical treatment at the scene. He has been charged with reckless driving, as speed was a factor in the crash.

The bus, a 2005 Van Hool, was operated by Princess Tours, Inc., headquartered in Indianapolis, Ind. The bus had departed from New York and was en-route to Doraville, Ga.

The Virginia State Police Motor Carrier Safety Team also responded to the scene to inspect the vehicle. State police also notified the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The crash remains under investigation at this time.

8:25 a.m.

Update

An overturned bus that crashed this morning while traveling Interstate 95 south has been removed from the roadway.

All lanes of I-95 that had been closed following the crash for the police investigation have once again reopened.

7 a.m. 

STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. — A bus with at least 50 people on board crashed this morning near Centreport Parkway in Stafford County.

The bus was traveling I-95 south when the crash occurred. At least four people are seriously injured.

Here’s the latest from Virginia State Police:

At 4:05 a.m. Monday (March 17, 2014), Virginia State Police responded to a single-vehicle crash in the southbound lanes of Interstate 95 near the 136 mile marker in Stafford County.

The crash involves a commercial passenger bus (please note it’s NOT a Greyhound) with at least 50 passengers on board. At least four suffered serious injuries and been transported to a nearby hospital. There are no reported fatalities at this time.

State police requested the assistance of Stafford County to provide school buses to transport passengers from the scene and are coordinating to provide shelter from existing weather conditions. Shortly before 5 a.m. passengers began loading the buses and leaving the scene.

At this time, all southbound lanes of Interstate 95 are closed to through traffic. Motorists are advised to be prepared for significant traffic delays due to the interstate closure and road conditions resulting from the weather.

Dogs Pulled from Burning Home

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NORTH STAFFORD, Va. — Fire crews pulled two dogs from a burning home in North Stafford on Sunday afternoon.

The fire broke out at a 2-story single family home on Stoneridge Court at 3 p.m. Sunday. Fire crews arrived to find flames and heavy smoke billowing from the home. Once inside, crews were also faced with high heat in addition to the other conditions, said Stafford County Fire and Rescue Deputy Chief Steve Weissman.

It took crews about 15 minutes to knock down the blaze. Several firefighters remained inside the house dousing hot spots to ensure a fire didn’t reignite. There was no one inside the home and no one was injured.

But there were two dogs inside the house that firefighters rescued. Fire crews pulled 8-month-old bulldog Dodger, and his larger brother, Smash, 5, and gave them both oxygen at the street curb in front of the house. Both dogs had no issues with having the oxygen masks placed on their snouts.

“We found the dogs on the second floor of the house and then helped them get downstairs,” said one firefighter on the scene.

He declined the give his name but the fire figher said that saving the dogs was a team effort.

“We had the entire fire department here…it wasn’t just me… we all helped,” he added.

The homeowner was not home when flames broke out. He said he was attending baseball practice when fire crews were called to his home.

A neighbor called 911 after smelling burning plastic.

The dogs’ owner was happy to see his rescued animals and hugged both of them as the dogs received oxygen.

It’s unclear what started the fire. Flames were initially contained to the second floor and attic of the home but eventually shot through the roof.

3-6 Inches of Snow Possible, Winter Storm Warning Issued

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We might be getting less snow than we thought we would this time yesterday, but you still might need a shovel to remove what falls tonight and into St. Patrick’s Day.

A winter storm warning has replaced the watch issued by the National Weather Service. They’re calling for three to six inches of snow to fall from about 5 p.m. tonight through 2 p.m. Monday. The Monday morning rush hour could be messy, so we can expect some delays tomorrow.

Here’s the latest forecast:

Today A slight chance of rain after 3pm. Increasing clouds, with a high near 44. Northeast wind 8 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Tonight Rain and snow likely before 8pm, then snow. Low around 28. Northeast wind around 11 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 2 to 4 inches possible.

Monday Snow, mainly before 2pm. High near 32. North wind 7 to 11 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.

Monday Night Cloudy, with a low around 28. Light east wind.

Tuesday A slight chance of snow before 11am, then a slight chance of rain and snow between 11am and 2pm, then a slight chance of rain after 2pm. Cloudy, with a high near 39. Northeast wind around 9 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Tuesday Night Mostly cloudy, with a low around 34.

Wednesday A chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 50. Chance of precipitation is 40%.

Wednesday Night Mostly cloudy, with a low around 38.

Thursday Partly sunny, with a high near 57.

 

Snow Chances Increase St. Patrick’s Day

News

Our region is in for another round of winter weather just in time for St. Patricks’ Day.

A winter storm watch is in effect for our area and a winter storm warning to the west, in the Charlottesville area. At least five inches of snow is expected to fall in Prince William and Stafford counties Sunday night into Monday (St. Patrick’s Day).

The winter storm watch is in effect for Prince William and Stafford counties, Manassas, Manassas Park, and surrounding jurisdictions in the Washington, D.C. area.

Here’s the latest from the National Weather Service:

…WINTER STORM WATCH IN EFFECT FROM SUNDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH MONDAY AFTERNOON…

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON HAS ISSUED A WINTER STORM WATCH…WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM SUNDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH MONDAY AFTERNOON.

* PRECIPITATION TYPE…SNOW

* ACCUMULATIONS…POTENTIAL FOR 5 OR MORE INCHES…THE HIGHEST TOTALS ARE ANTICIPATED TO BE IN SOUTHERN SECTIONS OF THE AREA.

* TIMING…LATE SUNDAY AFTERNOON INTO MONDAY AFTERNOON. THE HEAVIEST SNOW IS EXPECTED SUNDAY NIGHT THROUGH EARLY MONDAY MORNING.

* TEMPERATURES…LOWER TO MIDDLE 40S SUNDAY AFTERNOON…DROPPING INTO THE LOWER TO MIDDLE 20S ACROSS MOST LOCATIONS SUNDAY NIGHT. HIGHS MONDAY WILL BE IN THE LOWER 30S.

* WINDS…NORTHEAST AROUND 10 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 20 MPH.

* IMPACTS…ROADS MAY BECOME SNOW COVERED AND SLIPPERY. TRAVEL MAY BE DANGEROUS…ESPECIALLY SUNDAY NIGHT THROUGH THE MORNING RUSH ON MONDAY.

Updated: Chimney Fire Displaces 5

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NORTH STAFFORD, Va. – A chimney fire broke out this morning on Harpoon Drive in North Stafford’s Aquia Harbour neighborhood.

Five people and two pets were displaced from the home, according to Aquia Harbour police at the scene. All of the occupants inside the home were ordered to evacuate by fire and rescue personnel.

Fire and rescue units were called to the home in the 2100 block of Harpoon Drive about 9 a.m. The fire was contained to the chimney and no one was injured, said Stafford fire and rescue spokesman Mark Doyle.

The chimney leads to a common wood-burning fireplace. Police on scene surmised that built-up debris in the chimney may have led to the fire, which was still smoking about an hour after the call came in.

Fire and rescue crews from Stafford County and Quantico responded to the fire.

Mental Illness Treatment for Children Gets Boost in Stafford Budget

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STAFFORD, Va. — Funds to treat mental illness in children would get a boost under the proposed Stafford County budget for FY2015.

The county is set to hand over nearly $41,000 more than it did a year ago to the Rappahannock Community Services Board (RCSB) to treat children with mental illness. Officials said the number of youths being treated by the intergovernmental agency is on the rise.

The RCSB would receive $291,000 under in the new budget year beginning July 1. The money would go to fund additional resources at an RCSB campus in Stafford and in Fredericksburg, which treats cases from south Stafford County.

“We want to keep that kind of treatment in our county, if we can,” said Stafford spokeswoman Shannon Howell.

The RCSB provided PotomacLocal.com with these numbers that show how many children are aided by the organization.

In FY 2012 (July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2012), the RCSB Stafford County Clinic saw 311 children in outpatient services. In FY 2013 (July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2013), that number increased to 364. So far in FY 2014 (July 1, 2013 through February 28, 2014), 335 children/adolescents from Stafford County have been seen for outpatient services at RACSB.

Hospice Support Care and the Rappahannock Area Council for Children and Parents are two organizations that are no longer functioning, and those agencies received some of the $1.7 million Stafford gave to its community partner agencies last year. With those agencies now defunct, more monies could be allotted to the RCSB.

According to the RCSB’s application to Stafford County for FY2015 funding, the agency served 7,733 mental health patients last year. Of those, a total of 2,218 cases originated in Stafford County.

The RCSB is the main entry point to the publically-funded mental health system in Stafford County, Fredericksburg, and the remainder of counties in Virginia’s 16th planning district.

The Stafford County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to have a work session on Tuesday to review the $261.4 million budget proposed by County Administrator Anthony Romanello. The Board is expected to approve a final budget in April.

 

Brooke Point Students to Perform at Kennedy Center

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STAFFORD, Va. — The Chamber Ensemble singers of Brooke Point High School in Stafford are going to perform at the Kennedy Center in Washington on March 16. Their performance will be apart of a larger show of student choirs from across the U.S., according to Brooke Point Choral Director Stephen Shelburne.

Here’s Shelburne’s letter to Stafford County Public School administrators telling them of the students’ upcoming trip and how the public can attend the concert in Washington, D.C.:

Dear Administrators,

I want to let you know that 14 of our students, my Chamber Ensemble class, will be performing at The Kennedy Center in D.C. on March 16th as part of a large choral ensemble made up of students from all over the U.S. This concert is sponsored by Manhattan Concert Productions in New York City.

Not only is the performance venue incredibly exciting for our students but so is the conductor they will be working with – Z. Randall Stroope – he is a huge name in choral music and it is an honor to be able to work and sing with him. http://www.zrstroope.com/

I know that you will be impressed by the entire concert and no doubt the students and I would appreciate your support as well. If you are able to or interested in coming you would have to purchase a ticket from The Kennedy Center’s Box Office. Attached to this e-mail is a document explaining how to receive a 25% or 15% discount on the ticket price.

Regardless of this event, I sincerely appreciate the support that each one of you provide myself and our young musicians. Not every school is fortunate enough to be supported like we are here and I do mean it when I say thank you.

Stephen

iPads at Center of Credit Card Fraud Investigation at Best Buy

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NORTH STAFFORD, Va. — A Maryland woman faces charges after sheriff’s’ deputies said she opened a line of credit in someone else’s name and tried to buy several iPads.

Deputies were called to a Best Buy store in the Stafford Marketplace shopping center on March 8 to find a woman standing at the store’s service desk speaking with a manager. The manager called 911 after he became suspicious of the woman opening up a new account with an out-of-state ID card, and using a social security number she pulled from her cell phone on a credit application, said Stafford sheriff’s spokesman Bill Kennedy.

Once the woman was approved for the new line of credit, she said she would like to purchase three new iPads and then went to a restroom. The manager called sheriff’s deputies when the woman went to use the restroom.

Now back at the customer service desk and a sheriff’s deputy standing beside her, the woman was told she was suspected in being involved in a forgery. She then tried to leave the store and was taken into custody. The woman also provided a false name to the deputy during questioning, said Kennedy.

Tyiesha Allen, 26, of Montgomery County, Md. is charged with credit card fraud, credit card forgery, ID theft, and with obstruction of justice, said Kennedy.

She was taken to the Rappahannock Regional Jail.

 

Furnace Road Reopened, Pipes Replaced

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NORTH STAFFORD, Va. — Residents of Stafford’s Vista Woods neighborhood can once again use Furnace Road to access busy commuter route Va. 610.

Furnace Road closed in early February when a problems were found with the street surface and the metal pipes that run underneath.

Here’s more in a press release from the Virginia Department of Transportation:

Furnace Road in Stafford County has re-opened to traffic between Route 610 (Garrisonville Road) and Choptank Road.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and its contractor have substantially completed emergency repair work to the road. Guardrail installation will be scheduled, and can occur while the road is open.

The road was closed on February 5, 2014, after a dip formed in the road over two 60-inch corrugated metal drainage pipes.

The pipes had deteriorated and rusted away at the base, causing the pipes to sink into the soil. VDOT and its contractor removed and replaced the pipes, and restored the road’s travel surface.

 

Missing Child Found Barefoot in North Stafford Woods

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NORTH STAFFORD, Va. — A child was found barefoot and sitting by a creek in North Stafford.

A man called 911 just before 3 p.m. Thursday and told authorities he had seen a small girl try to approach him while he was working in the garage at his home in the area of Garrison Woods Drive and Onville Road.

But the child then went into some nearby woods and did not approach the man who called 911. Deputies were called to the scene and found foot prints on the ground that looked like they belonged to a small child.

“They could see the toes of the feet in the footprints, and that told us that the child was barefoot,” said Stafford sheriff’s spokesman Bill Kennedy.

Deputies then brought in K9 units and set up a perimeter around the wooded area where they thought the child could be.

About the same time, a woman called 911 and reported that her daughter was missing from her house on Garrison Woods Drive. The woman said she had left the child in the care of her father at their home earlier that day before going out to run errands.

In the woods, the deputies followed trail of footprints that lead to a stream where they found the small girl sitting on a small sandbar. They wrapped the child in blankets to warm her, gave her a medical evaluation, and then returned her to her mother.

Deputies then charged the child’s father, 28-year-old John Fuller, of Garrisonville Woods Drive, with felony child neglect, said Kennedy.

He was taken to the Rappahannock Regional Jail.

 

Stafford’s Proposed Budget Increases Tax Bills 1%, Funds Storm Water Management

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STAFFORD, Va. — Stafford residents got their first look at the County Administrator’s proposed $261 million budget for FY2015 Tuesday night.

The plan calls for increased funding for road construction projects, park improvements, and a the installation of a new computer-aided 911 dispatch system to be used by the sheriff’s office and fire and rescue department.

The proposed budget also calls for hiring six new government employees, none of which are needed public safety employees as outlined by a plan developed by the county’s sheriff’s office.

In education, Stafford County Public Schools would receive $140 million of the budget transferred to them automatically. And, of the $6.4 million in new taxes and fees to be generated next year, the school division would receive 60% of it, amounting to $2.9 million.

Developed by County Administrator Anthony Romanello, the proposed budget is built on a lower property tax rate of $1.002 per every $100 of assessed value. The rate is seven cents lower than the current tax rate, and would generate an average residential tax bill of $2,685, an increase of 1% over the previous year.

The increase is based on rising property values. Over the past year, residential property values rose 8% while commercial properties rose 2%. 

Romanello built his proposed budget on the “equalized” rate of $1.002 which would generate the same amount of taxes as the year prior. County leaders also asked him to develop a budget around an “effective” rate of $1.012, which is 1% higher than the equalized rate.

The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to hold a work session March 18 to choose which rate they like best. A public hearing will be held April 1 for the proposed budget, and officials are set to adopt the new budget no later than April. 15.

The new FY2015 budget will take effect on July 1.

New positions

A total of six new county government positions are funded in the proposed budget. Three of the employees would work in the planning and public works departments. Two others would be maintenance workers at the new Embrey Mill Park.

A new, “experimental” position titled Best Practices Officer would effectively “sing for their supper” and work to find savings with county government operations, as well as to help identify fiscal inefficiencies in shared county government services with the school division, said Romanello. The employee would not be a auditor.

The Best Practices position would receive the same county benefits as any other county employees, but there was concern from the Board of Supervisors that county staff would have a difficult time attracting quality talent to fill the job.

“I see this as a temporary position… you are going to get to a point where there is nothing else to innovate and no more efficiencies to find. You’re not going to have a long-term employee and, knowing that, you’re not going to be able to recruit anyone who is very good,” said Hartwood District Supervisor Gary Snellings.

The total number of non-public safety county government employees is at its lowest point in a decade, down from 401  in 2009 to 335  budgeted in FY2015. All six of the new positions will be paid for with county user fees and not with tax dollars collected from residents.

Storm water levy

Residents would pay more for storm water management in this proposed budget as a county-wide storm water management district would be established to reduce pollutants that flow from Stafford’s rivers and streams into the Chesapeake Bay. A new tax levy of 1 cent – which nets $1.4 million in revenue annually– would be used to fund the $42.1 million, 15-year storm water management plan.

All counties in Virginia east of Charlottesville, as well as counties in Maryland, and Washington, D.C., are required to implement a storm water management plan, said Romanello.

Rockhill District Supervisor Cord Sterling fears the levy would negatively impact home owners associations who already pay to maintain their own ponds and lakes, essentially making them pay twice to help maintain waters in non HOA neighborhoods.

“It is far from a perfect funding source,” said Romanello.

Stafford officials explored the option of creating a county-wide water service utility that would focus solely on storm water management, but the costs of implementing the utility were deemed to be too high.

No new hires negates sheriff’s 5-year plan

The lack of hiring any new public safety personnel is a far cry from what is called for in a proposed 5-year-plan that would bring additional resources to the county’s sheriff’s office. Starting in FY2015, the plan, developed by the sheriff’s office, called for adding positions like six new deputies to the streets, two new detectives, and four new emergency 911 operators.

Overall in FY2105, the plan called for 18 full-time positions and one part-time position to be implemented at a cost of $2.1 million, with additional 65 positions added to the department through 2019.

Officials at the department are quick to point out the level of service provided by sheriff’s office will be unchanged despite the lack of new hires.

Do You Have Stafford’s Treasures Sitting in Your Attic?

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STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. — How much of Stafford’s history do you have sitting around your house?

Those who hope to one day build a museum in the county that would feature treasures and artifacts that help tell the story of the county’s 350-year history want to know.

This Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m., anyone who thinks that have something of Stafford historical significance can bring it to Gari Melcher’s Home and Studio in Falmouth to have it inspected by those who are working to raise funds to build a Stafford County Museum.

While there’s no museum in place now, the idea behind this weekend’s event is to gauge interest as well as see what types of artifacts are out there.

“We will be launching a website in the spring and then hope to begin fundraising with the intent to eventually have a physical museum,” said Traci Ramos, with the Stafford Museum organization. “Once there is a physical museum, then if people would like to

donate their items we would be happy to take them.”

Ramos couldn’t provide an estimate of how much money needs to be raised in order to fund such a museum. She says organizers at one point identified how much money would be needed to raise the museum, but now “the plans they have are old.”

The Treasures in the Attic event is free to attend. It comes during the county’s 350th anniversary celebration in which several events have been planned to honor the milestone.

Black History Artifacts Donated

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STAFFORD, Va. — Dr. Lewis Brown of the Brown Foundation agreed to provide items for Stafford Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities to display in honor of Black History Month. The items are memorabilia from African-Americans who played roles in Stafford’s History.

Brown was welcomed by county staff at a reception at the County Government Center on Thursday, Feb. 28 where his artifacts were displayed.

Click here to see a list of the artifacts Brown donated to be on display.

 

Postal Service Asks for Your Help Clearing Snow from Walkways

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Mail service is running today but letter carriers need your help to get your mail to you.

The U.S. Postal Service has asked that residents help clear sidewalks, steps, and snow from mailboxes to help ensure timely delivery today.

Here’s the latest in a press release:

• Customers are asked to clear enough snow from curbside boxes to allow mail trucks to approach the box, deliver the mail, and to drive away from the box without danger or the need for backing.

• Walkways should be cleared of snow and ice and allow enough traction to avoid slips, trips or falls.

• Steps should also be kept clear of ice and snow and in good repair so as not to cause injury to the letter carriers or others who visit the customer’s home.

• Overhangs should be clear and free of snow and ice to avoid injury.

Business and residential customers can check the USPS Service Alerts web page for the latest information on service issues at: http://about.usps.com/news/service-alerts/welcome.htm.

Whether mail arrives on foot or by postal vehicle, the letter carrier needs access to the mailbox to deposit mail. Please make sure the mailbox itself is visible and free of snow and ice, and make sure it is safely accessible for your letter carrier. Letter carriers are instructed to hold mail to addresses where ice and snow are not cleared.

 

State Police Render Assistance to Snowbound Drivers

News

At least three inches of snow has fallen across the area today. Now, some drier air is working its way into the region and that could decrease the forecast snow totals.

Virginia’s Governor Terry McAuliffe this morning declared a state of emergency throughout the commonwealth and urged people not to drive unless they absolutely had to.

“This storm could bring difficult travel and widespread power outages for the next few days,” stated McAuliffe in a press release. “It is also going to be very cold with gusty winds across Virginia. Please postpone travel during the storm, charge up your mobile devices so you can stay in touch, and take time to check on your neighbors in case they need help.”

But some who ventured out wound up needing help from Virginia State Police.

In the agency’s Fairfax Division, which includes Prince William County and the major Northern Virginia highways there, there was a total of 200 calls for service, 65 crashes, and 41 stalled vehicles, according to spokeswoman Corinne Geller.

In the Culpeper Division, which includes Stafford County and Fredericksburg, there were 85 crashes, 37 disabled cars, and a total of 195 calls for help.

A winter storm warning remains in effect until 6 p.m. by the National Weather Service but if conditions improve it’s likely that warning will come down.

This latest update from VDOT states how road crews will prioritize their snow clearing duties:

Road Clearing Priorities

Crews will focus first on clearing roads that carry the most traffic.

Crews begin by clearing interstates, primary roads and major secondary roads that connect localities, fire stations, employment hubs, military posts, schools, hospitals and other important public facilities, followed by secondary roads and subdivision streets.

Driveway Clearing Tips

To make as many roads passable as quickly as possible, VDOT plow operators will push snow off the roadway in smooth, continuous passes. It ends up along road shoulders, sometimes blocking driveways.

To avoid doing double work, wait until a plow has cleared your street before shoveling snow from the end of a driveway.

For motorists who must shovel the end of their driveway before a plow arrives, shovel it to the right of your driveway as you face the road.

 

 

Closings & Delays for Monday, March 3, 2014

News

Local school systems

Prince William County

— On Monday, March 3, 2014, all Prince William County Public Schools will be closed due to expected inclement weather in certain areas. Code Red for employees. All school division activities including Professional Development sessions are cancelled. SACC will not open.

Stafford County

— All Stafford County Schools are closed on Monday, March 3, 2014. Employees are Code Zero.

All schools and offices are closed. No employees shall report to work today.

Manassas

–Manassas City Public Schools will be closed Monday, March 3, 2014 due to expected hazardous weather conditions. Code Blue for employees. All extracurricular activities and school events are also cancelled.

Manassas Park

— From the school system:  All Manassas Park City Schools will be closed Monday, March 3, 2014 due to inclement weather.

Employee Code Red. The School Board Budget Session is rescheduled to March 4, 2014.

Quantico

— DoDEA schools closed today 

Colleges and universities

Northern Virginia Community College: NOVA day and evening classes and activities are canceled Mon., March 3 due to inclement weather. All campuses and administrative offices are closed. Please refresh your browser for the latest update.

Mary Washington  University: Due to adverse weather conditions predicted for Monday, March 3, the University will be closed on the Fredericksburg, Stafford and Dahlgren campuses. Administrative and staff offices will be closed. All classes and activities are canceled. Monday evening exams at the Stafford campus will be rescheduled for later in the week; students will be contacted with details as soon as possible.

Germanna Community College: Due to inclement weather all Germanna locations will be closed Monday, March 3, 2014.

Military installations 

Quantico Marine Corps Base: MCB Quantico operating status is Code Red for March 3.

The base will be closed Monday. Only emergency and essential personnel are required to report.

Fort Belvoir: Fort Belvoir offices are CLOSED on Monday, March 3, 2014. Emergency and Telework-Ready Employees must follow their agency’s policies. Non-emergency employees (including employees on pre-approved paid leave) will be granted excused absence (administrative leave) for the number of hours they were scheduled to work.

Federal Government

STATUS: FEDERAL OFFICES ARE CLOSED – EMERGENCY AND TELEWORK-READY EMPLOYEES MUST FOLLOW THEIR AGENCY’S POLICIES

FEDERAL OFFICES in the Washington, DC, area are CLOSED. Emergency and telework-ready employees required to work must follow their agency’s policies, including written telework agreements.

Local government

Prince William County

Prince William County Government is closed Mondy, Mar. 3. All County government offices will be closed for business. Emergency personnel shall report as scheduled.

Prince William County Courthouse is closed Monday, Mar. 3. All cases and proceedings will be rescheduled by the clerks of the court when the courthouse reopens. Grand Jury has been rescheduled to March 10. Term Day has been rescheduled to March 11. Judge O’Brien’s returning jurors are to report on Tuesday, March 4.

Senior Centers are closed Monday, Mar. 3.

Adult Day Healthcare closed Monday, Mar. 3.

Stafford County 

Due to the high volume of snow and ice Stafford is expected to receive throughout the day, Stafford County government offices will be closed today.

All courts will be closed.

The landfill will open on time but will re-evaluate later.

Woodlands Pool and the Stafford Gymnastics Center are closed.

Schools are closed as well with a code zero.

Manassas Park 

City offices will open two hours later than usual and employees will be authorized to take liberal leave.

Manassas 

On Monday, March 3, 2014, City of Manassas employees are on liberal leave for non-essential employees should not report to work.

Due to the impending snow event, the City of Manassas is declaring a Snow Emergency effective at 8 p.m. on March 2, 2014. 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.

 

Local transportation 

Virginia Railway Express

Due to the heavy snow fall forecast for the area, VRE will not operate any train service tomorrow Monday, March 3 and our offices will be closed.

We will continue to monitor the storm and travel conditions in order to make a decision about service for Tuesday, March 4, hopefully by Monday afternoon. Please stay tuned to Train Talk, Twitter, Facebook, and our website about any service changes.

Stay safe and warm. As always, thanks for riding VRE.

OmniRide, OmniLink buses 

Based on the latest National Weather Service forecast, PRTC WILL NOT operate any bus service on Monday, March 3.

Airports 

Click here to see Dulles International Airport departures 

Click here to see Regan Washington National Airport departures

Click here to see BWI departures 

Click here to see Richmond International Airport flight information 

Weather Service Calls Approaching Snow Storm ‘Rare’

News
021314-prius-snow

There are a few things that caught our attention when we read this morning’s briefing from the National Weather Service.

After seeing how high temperatures during the day today could rise up well above 40 degrees, it’s what will happen after  colder air from the north pushes into our area later tonight, just in time for a winter storm to move in.

“Gulf moisture ahead of the approaching waves enters from the west and it honestly looks to be all snow,” according statement posted on the weather service’s website. “Heavy snow at that.”

There could be as much as eight to 14 inches of snow that falls across Prince William and Stafford counties. If this happens, the old saying “March roars in like a lion” will certainly be true.

“Our snow probabilities suggest up to 15 inches which is quite rare for March…but looking more likely,” stated the weather service.

A winter storm warning is posted throughout the area. The frozen precipitation will fall from west to east, and the area between Petersburg, WV and Annapolis, Md. where at least a foot of snow could fall. Areas to the south, including Stafford, could pick up more snow than usual as there has the computer forecast models have showed the storm trending more to the south, according to the weather service.

The storm should begin as rain, and then expect a changeover to freezing rain, sleet, and then eventually all snow could begin in our area at 8 p.m. Expect all snow by 7 a.m., and possibly some thunder snow at times.

The weather will begin to clear Monday evening. Expect sunny skies and high temperatures in the 30s on Tuesday.

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