The region is under a dense fog advisory from the National Weather Service.
Until 10 a.m., visibilities are expected to stay at a quarter a mile or less.
Traffic on area highways like Interstate 95 and 66 were moving without incident about 6:45 a.m. Thursday. The weather service still urged drivers to slow down in the face of dense fog to prevent accidents.
The sun has been absent from our area for most of the week. Thunderstorms are once again possible for today, but warmer temperatures near 80 degrees are on the way today.
QUANTICO, Va. – There will be loud noises coming from Quantico Middle/High School tomorrow.
The Marine Corps base of the same name on which it sits and emergency first responders scheduled an active shooter drill beginning at noon. Quantico officials warn the exercise is only a drill, and asked residents not be alarmed.
“Participating agencies will include but not be limited to Fire and Rescue Departments, Marine Base Quantico’s Crisis Management Team and the Provost Marshal’s Office,” a base spokesperson released in a statement.
Quantico officials describe the exercise as “full-scale,” and say it’s one that has been planned for more than a year to improve preparedness and response times in the event a shooter were to ever appear on campus.
The school has 308 students enrolled in classes in grades six through 12.
I very rarely, if ever, pass on a slug ride.
That’s not to say that it never happens, but the truth is that I’m not very picky when it comes to getting a ride. I may laugh about a driver’s strange behavior, or complain about a stuffy car, but at the end of the day, I’m happy just to get back and forth to work without any major issues.
The only time I will choose not to accept a ride is when the driver and I are headed to different locations. For instance, if I approach a vehicle and the driver says they’re going to Crystal City, I will generally pass and look for another driver who is headed to L’Enfant Plaza, or somewhere closer to my destination in Washington.
Some people will refuse rides from certain drivers after a bad experience, such as a driver who makes them feel unsafe, or even one who smokes. I know someone who stopped slugging altogether and formed her own carpool because she couldn’t stand riding with strangers who poured on the cologne or perfume – it made her nauseous!
While waiting to slug home one afternoon, I saw two gentlemen allow the people behind them in line to get into a car before them. I wondered why they hadn’t taken the ride until one of them joked, “I’m too big for that car!” They were both very tall, and apparently didn’t think that they could squeeze into the small coupe.
It reminded me of my own car, and one of the many reasons I am almost always a rider and not a driver in the slug line. When I do drive, I’m afraid my passengers will be uncomfortable in my small, two-door Honda.
Over the holidays, I drove in one day and parked at Pentagon City, where parking is a few dollars cheaper than it is in D.C. I decided to pick up slugs at the Pentagon, and ended up with two of the biggest, tallest men in the line sitting in the front and rear passenger seats. As the first one climbed into the backseat, I apologized profusely, acknowledging the lack of space. Both passengers said they’d be fine, but I still felt badly for them, and tried to make the rest of the ride as smooth as possible.
Other drivers don’t seem as concerned with their passengers’ comfort, or sometimes, even their safety. I’ve ridden with many drivers who treat the commute like a race, speeding and weaving in and out of traffic. There’s a lady I’ve ridden with to the Pentagon a few times – she’s as nice as can be, very friendly – but she drives like a maniac! When I rode with her earlier this week, we made it from the Horner Road Commuter Lot in Woodbridge to the Pentagon in about 15 minutes. She said that she was running late that morning, but the other passenger had ridden with her before as well, and we laughed that she always drives that fast.
I’m always much more careful when I drive with other people in my car; I want them to feel as safe and secure as possible. At the same time, I’ve never had the guts to speak up to a driver who isn’t driving carefully, like the hybrid driver I rode with recently. Even though that ride in particular made me nervous, if I encountered that driver in the slug line again, I’m not sure that I would pass on the ride. When the line is long and moving slowly, I’m just happy to get into a car no matter what!
That said, there have definitely been times where I’ve been relieved not to have to get into certain cars, too. One morning when I used to slug from the Tackett’s Mill Commuter Lot in Lake Ridge, I rode with a lady whose car smelled overwhelmingly like a wet dog – you know the smell. It was awful, and I couldn’t wait to get out. When I saw her car pull up to the slug line that evening, I cringed. I couldn’t handle that again! But luckily, there were two people ahead of me in line, and I was able to take the next car. Whew!
When it comes down to it, slugs and drivers both have the choice to decline a ride or a passenger, it’s just not something I do very often. However, I’ve learned after years of slugging to never say never. Each day and each ride bring different circumstances, and if I ever felt unsafe (or sick!) from a ride, I’d probably have to just wait for the next one.
WOODBRIDGE, Va. – It was report card day for legislators at a breakfast hosted by the Prince William Chamber of Commerce.
The business organization on Wednesday doled out scorecards, giving elected officials who represent the county in Richmond both high and low marks on bills they supported or opposed, with the outcomes of the of bills impacting business owners and some 2,000 Chamber members.
Democrats like Toddy Puller, Charles Colgan, and Luke Torian, and Republican Mark Dudenhefer got high marks for voting for a transportation funding package that will provide $800 million in new road funds, and increase sales taxes in Northern Virginia to as much as 6%.
“I voted for the transportation bill because it had real funding behind it. I don’t like the funding source – I would prefer funding it through the gas tax – but we needed it,” said Puller.
The state’s 17.5 cent gas tax not adjusted since 1986 was eliminated in favor of 3.5% wholesale tax on fuel. Sales tax statewide will increase from 5 to 5.3%, with another 0.7% increase possible in the commonwealth’s most congested areas – Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads.
The passage of the bill also signaled a comprise where Medicaid will be expanded in Virginia, with the feds funding 100% of the expansion for the first three years and up to 90% each year afterward, said Puller.
Jackson Miller, R-Manassas, voted against the transportation package, and wasted no time voicing his disappointment for his score of 79 out of 100 points. Touting himself as a supporter of small business in Prince William, Miller said fixes are needed within state transportation funding formulas that send Prince William’s tax dollars to Richmond, and then mandate they be given to larger entities like Fairfax County.
“My voting record reflects what I thought would be best for Prince William County, not the commonwealth,” said Miller. “We need to stop Fairfax from getting more of our tax money to build new roads and highways in that county.”
Miller also took at stab at local politicians in Prince William by saying their neighbor to the south, Stafford County, is better off because they’re attracting more business to that county.
“Stafford is already ahead of us because they don’t have [a Business or Professional Licensing Tax], and we do,” said Miller.
The tax, which is common in Virginia, is collected on businesses’ gross receipts.
Calling for unity among legislators, Delegate Richard Anderson, R – Prince William — who also opposed the transportation because of tax increases – said leaders need to move on and work together.
“I liken this to a disagreement with people in the same family, but then those family members come together, move on, and continue working on making this a better place to live,” Anderson said.
The Chamber gave high marks to legislators on their support for bills concerning transportation improvements, allowing local school boards to set the start of the school year and doing away with the “Kings Dominion law”, a mandate that states schools must begin after Labor Day, abolishing a four-year term limit for the governor, and lowering taxes on computer data centers.
STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. – A trash truck ran off the side of Va. 610 in Stafford County on Tuesday evening.
The crash involved only the truck and happened just before the Fauquier County line.
No one was injured in the incident the closed one lane of westbound traffic on Va. 610 about 6 p.m. The truck was operated by American Disposal of Manassas.
Traffic delays in the area of the crash were minor.
A field day at Crow’s Nest Natural Area Preserve in Stafford County will be Saturday, May 11, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Participants will experience one of Virginia’s most significant natural areas through a guided hike and natural history interpretation.
The field day is free to attend, but reservations are required. Participants should wear casual clothes and comfortable shoes and be prepared to walk up to four miles. The event will take place rain or shine. Reservations can be made by calling 804-786-7951. Registration is limited to 80 people.
Crow’s Nest became a natural area preserve in 2009. The property is a peninsula between Accokeek and Potomac creeks. At 2,872 acres, Crow’s Nest contains mature hardwood forest and some of the best examples of diverse, intact wetlands in the Potomac River drainage basin. The property supports habitat for a variety of species, including bald eagles, migratory birds, the federally listed short-nosed sturgeon and 22 plant species important to Virginia’s Coastal Plain.
In addition to its ecological value, the property has played a significant role in Native American, Colonial and Civil War histories.
Crow’s Nest is one of 61 natural area preserves managed by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. Natural area preserves contain some of the best examples of natural communities and rare plant and animal habitats in Virginia and the world.
Crow’s Nest is co-owned by DCR and Stafford County.
STAFFORD, Va - Stafford resident and business woman Kara Vanderpool Ward was named as the United States Recipient of The Hot Mommas® Project. The project honors women from across the world whose stories can serve as teachable case studies to women in business. “You don’t have to be a momma to be a ‘Hot Momma.’ Our venture celebrate diverse, dynamic women around the globe,” said Kathy Korman Frey, Founder of The Hot Mommas® Project and Entrepreneur in Residence at the George Washington University School of Business, Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence.
Vanderpool Ward was nominated last fall and was then asked to write her story. Her Case Study made it to the finals where it was read and judged by a panel of globally recognized leaders in business, government, media, academia and nonprofit sectors including Lesley Jane Seymore, Editor in Chief of MORE Magazine, Maryam Bannikarim, Chief Marketing Officer of Gannett, Diane Tomb, President and CEO of the National Association of Women Business Owners, Ellen THrasher, head of Small BUsiness Association’s Office of Entrepreneurship, Princess Fay Al Jahan Ara, President of the RACH Charity Foundation, and Katherine Johnson, former Senior Vice President of Integrate Marketing for the Oprah Winfrey Network.
The project awarded three global awards, 9 category awards and seven regional awards from various regions of the world including The Africa Award, The Canada Award, The East-Central Europe Award, The Middle East Award, The Southeast Asia Award, The Northern Europe Award, and The United States Award, for which Vanderpool was awarded.
“Realizing your story had a global impact is a life altering experience. I still have so much to learn and feel as if this designation will allow me to grow in ways I could not have ever imagined.” said Vanderpool Ward.
For more information visit: http://hotmommasproject.com/2013/05/hot-mommas-project-announces-winners-of-2012-2013-global-case-study-competition/
MANASSAS, Va. – Manassas Assembly of God has a new name: Chapel Springs Assembly of God Church.
The church dropped the Manassas portion of their moniker because they plan to open a new church in Stafford County.
“God is leading us in an exciting new direction. We’re expanding by opening new branches of our church in other communities. We’ll be opening our first new site this fall in North Stafford. As we began praying and planning for our expansion, it became clear that we needed a name that would work anywhere, not just in Manassas,” said Senior Pastor Scott Leib.
The church takes its new name from a small street nearby off Va. 28, Chapel Springs Road. The name was chosen after a panel took more than 400 names into consideration, according to a press release:
Longtime church member and historian Charlie Byrd immediately set about months of detective work on the name. “I had lots of help from the folks at the Prince William County Library and the Manassas Museum,” he says. “We scoured old records for any mention at all of Chapel Springs.”
The resulting efforts netted maps of the area from the early 1820s, which identified a White Chapel and an Old Chapel Spring on the property.
As Byrd continued his search, he unearthed the December 4, 1854, edition of the Alexandria Gazette. The paper contains an advertisement for the sale of a parcel of land on which Chapel Springs is situated. The tract was described as “249 acres situated near Bristoe Station with a dwelling house, good soil, sufficient wood and water with the Chapel Spring supplying a never-failing stream of excellent pure water.”
Says Pastor Scott Leib, “’A never-failing stream of excellent and pure water.’ What a perfect description not just about a spring but about a church—a church which would relocate on the same property. That advertisement captures the essence of our church over these past 76 years!”
The church plans to have its new campus in Stafford County open by October. In February, the church held meetings at Shriley Heim Middle School on Telegraph Road in Stafford for those who had questions about the expansion, according to the church’s Facebook page.
This is not the first time the 76-year-old church has changed its name. With it’s roots in the Great Depression and the Old Dixie Threater on Main Street in Old Town Manassas, the congregation later moved to the corner of Maple and Quarry streets and changed its name from Manassas Full Gospel Church to Manassas Assembly of God in the 1960s. A later move took the church to Plantation Lane in Manassas in 1979, and then another move brought the church its current 150-acre home on Va. 28 near Bristow in 2001.
In Manassas, the church offers four worship services each weekend and has special programs for infants, children, and teens.
There’s a lot happening in our communities this weekend. Here’s a quick guide to get you call caught up on the events taking place nearby.
More than 50 vendors will converge at Dumfries’ Garrison Park behind Town Hall on Saturday for the town’s 2nd Annual Multicultural Festival. Also back this year will be the Barbeque Battle featuring four vendors: Frank’s BBQ, Jeremiah’s Kansas City BBQ, Devyne BBQ In Motion, and Eva’s Delight Catering.
There will also be live music and performances, face painting, and photos with the “Virginia is for Lovers LOVEWork! sign in the park.
Potomac Local News is proud to help sponsor the Prince William County Community Expo set for Saturday, May 4, from 11 a.m.–4 p.m. at the Pfitzner Stadium Complex.
The event will include activities for all ages, such as a petting zoo, mascot dance off, BMX demonstrations, on-stage performances, prizes, food vendors, nature walks, nutrition education and physical education activities. Youth can earn their Junior Forest Ranger Badge.
PWC Community Expo is coordinated by Prince William County Public Schools, ED OUT, Prince William County Healthy Communities, Healthy Youth, PWCS Health and Physical Education, PWC Parks and Recreation, Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington, and the Hylton Foundation.
As part of the day’s events, and to encourage community spirit, the City is going to attempt to break the Guiness World Record for the largest game of red light/green light. The City of Manassas is an advocate of healthy living and encourages healthy outdoor activity and red light/green light is a simple, healthy outdoor activity that is fun for the whole family.
From noon until 2 p.m., the Manassas Regional Airport Air Show will be held. It’s free to get in, and the event will feature aircraft displays, a full aerobatic air show, and wing-walking.
Donations will be accepted at the gate to support the Manassas Freedom Museum.
IKEA Woodbridge will mark the official completion of the newly updated Marketplace on Saturday, May 4 and Sunday, May 5, for a weekend of savings, giveaways, kids eat free and fun activities for the whole family. Live Radio Disney, Saturday, May 4, from 1 – 3 p.m.
The early birds get the prizes. The first 500 in line will receive a free Blue Bag & Kids get a freesoft toy. The first 100 will receive a gift card ranging in value from 5- $1,000 each day. The $1,000 winner will also receive a free design consult with an IKEA interior designer.
Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative customers will be able to view and pay their bills, and view their accounts in a much easier way starting April 30, 2013. Instead of having to log onto two websites, customers can log onto www.novec.com, click on “My Account” on the home page, type his or her user name and password, and pay online through e-Billing. The same user name and password will work on NOVEC’s mobile app.
“We’re trying to make it easier and quicker for Co-op customers to do business with the company,” explains Wilbur Rollins, senior vice president, Finance and Asset Development. “If customers have questions or need assistance, they may call our Customer Service Center at 703-335-0500 or 1-888-335-0500, Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.”
NOVEC, headquartered in Manassas, is a not-for-profit supply and distribution electric utility corporation that supplies and distributes electricity and energy-related services to more than 150,000 customers in Fairfax, Fauquier, Loudoun, Prince William, Stafford, and Clarke counties, the Town of Clifton, and the City of Manassas Park. It is one of the largest electric companies of its kind in the nation. For more information, visit www.novec.com or call 703-335-0500 or 1-888-335-0500.
The victim in an early morning crash on Interstate 95 remains unidentified this lunchtime as police try to reach his family.
The crash happened at 5:45 a.m. on the northbound lanes of I-95 at mile post 148 at Quantico in Stafford County, where a 2007 Chrysler station wagon failed to stop in time and rear-ended and a 2012 Honda that has stopped for congested traffic.
Then, a 2009 Harley-Davidson motorcycle rear-ended the station wagon, and the impact caused the cyclist to slide into another car, and was thrown from the bike in the opposite direction where he collided with a tractor-trailer, said Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller.
Then, to avoid the motorcyclist, three cars collided in the northbound lanes causing a third crash, said Geller.
The only person injured was the motorcyclist, who was flown to an area hospital with life-threatening injuries.
Sandra T. Wilson, 47, of Ruther Glen, was the driver of the station wagon and was charged with following too closely, said Geller.
The lanes were reopened to traffic by 7 a.m.
QUANTICO, Va. – All lanes of Interstate 95 are reopened at mile post 148 at Quantico following a multi-vehicle crash this morning.
Police said the crash happened at 5:45 a.m. on the northbound lanes of the highway. A medical helicopter was called to fly one victim suffering life threatening injuries to a hospital. All of the northbound lanes were closed following the crash.
No details on what caused the crash, or who was involved have been released by police. Drivers should expect delays on I-95 this morning.
This incident follows a fatal crash on Tuesday that took the life of a Dumfries man riding his motorcycle. In that crash, the motorcyclist crashed and then was struck by a tractor-trailer. The driver of the truck did not stop and police asked anyone who many have more information about the truck to come forward.
STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. — There’s a new principal at Rocky Run Elementary School in Stafford County.
School officials announced the appointment of Nicholas R. Roman Jr., as the school’s new leader. He now works as the principal of Ferry Farm Elementary in south Stafford, said Stafford schools spokeswoman Vallerie Cottongim. He will take over as Rocky Run’s principal effective July 1.
More in a press release from the school system:
Nick Roman started his career as a third grade teacher at Stafford Elementary School in 2001. He moved to the new Kate Waller Barrett Elementary the following year and continued as a third grade teacher and grade level chairperson.
Roman was appointed as an assistant principal at Ferry Farm Elementary in 2006. He has facilitated all student support and special education Individualized Educational Plans while at Ferry Farm Elementary.
He has supervised responsibilities for the response to intervention committee, professional learning communities, and bully prevention training. Roman created Ferry Farm Elementary’s first master schedule to include an intervention/enrichment block for each grade level to promote differentiated instruction.
Roman earned a Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Education in Educational Leadership degree from Virginia Commonwealth University.
Update 11:30 a.m.
A man from Dumfries was killed this morning after he lost control of his motorcycle, and now police hope witnesses will provide information on the tractor-trailer that struck him.
Timothy E. Halpin, 68, was killed this morning when he lost control of his motorcycle, a 2001 BMW 1200, while traveling on the northbound lanes of Interstate 95 near Lorton. Halpin’s bike crashed and slid into the left shoulder of the roadway, but Halpin slid into to the center travel lane and was struck by a tractor-trailer, said Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller.
Halpin died at the scene, but the tractor-trailer failed to stop, and witnesses were not able to provide enough information to police for them to be able to locate the truck.
Anyone with information on the tractor-trailer is asked to call Virginia State Police at 703-803-0026.
A motorcyclist was killed this morning in a crash involving a tractor trailer, and traffic is severely delayed on Interstate 95 in Prince William County.
The crash happened on the northbound lanes just after 5:30 a.m. at mile post 165 in Fairfax County, just past the exit for Lorton. All of the lanes were reopened to traffic at 6:45 a.m. and had been closed for the investigation, said Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller.
The victim in the crash has not been identified, and we don’t what led to the crash.
Delays on I-95 extend from the crash scene in Fairfax County to near Dumfries. U.S. 1, which runs parallel to I-95, is also experiencing massive delays this morning ad drivers use it as a bail out route.
More on the crash as we have it.
STAFFORD, Va. – Employees at Del’s Towing and Wrecker Service in North Stafford made a shattering discovery Friday morning – the glass door to their shop had been smashed.
Stafford County sheriff’s deputies were called to the businesses on Va. 610 just after 7:30 a.m., after employees found chards of glass broken. Nothing from the shop was stolen, said sheriff’s office spokesman Bill Kennedy.
It appears someone tried to get inside the shop between 6:30 p.m. Thursday and 7:30 a.m. Friday.
Investigators in Stafford are also looking into another burglary, this time after a homeowner told authorities someone broke into his house but waited to call 911 because he was busy.
Kennedy on Monday said someone broke into a home on Summer Breeze Lane in the Willow subdivision in south Stafford on April 23, and took a Macbook laptop computer, another laptop, and an Xbox gaming system. The homeowner called Stafford County’s sheriff’s office to report the theft Saturday. The homeowner waited until Saturday to report the crime because of a “busy schedule,” said Kennedy.
The theft was believed to have taken place between 1 and 8 p.m. April 23.
Deputies were also called to Max Kar Motors at 1707 Jefferson Davis Highway in Stafford after someone smashed a window on a parked Nissan Altima. The window was last seen in tact at 9:30 p.m. Thursday but was found smashed the following morning.
By KEITH WALKER
For Potomac Local News
STAFFORD, Va. – It might not have been such a good thing for a Civil War soldier to make it to a field hospital since about one-in-four died there after surgery, according to “Doc” Pete Peters, a Civil War “surgeon” assigned to the Army of the Potomac.
Peters and dozens of other Civil War re-enactors came to Stafford Saturday to help commemorate the county’s opening of a new Civil War Park.
It was mostly infection that did in the wounded, since Civil War-era medics hadn’t a notion of germs, Peterson told people who stopped by his field hospital to get a look at his bone saws scalpels, knives and other medical instruments contemporary to the Civil War.
Peters went on to tell visitors that a good Civil War surgeon could remove a man’s leg in seven minutes and that amputated body parts, the blood and gore associated with 19th Century surgery usually wound up on the floor around the surgeon’s feet.
It was standard operating procedure, he said.
“There would be arms, legs, toes, fingers and everything else lyin’ around,” Peters said told small groups of people who stopped by his tent to see his medical instruments and medicine.
Peters, who wore a “blood-stained” white butcher’s apron, said that as his instruments dulled, a doctor would often use the leather soles of his boots to sharpen them.
“You’ve got to understand I’m steppin’ on everything by virtue of what I’m doing. I didn’t realize that I shouldn’t be doing that,” he said of the instrument-honing methods of Civil War doctors.
Stafford County’s newest 41-acre park, at 400 Mount Hope Church Road, was the site of the Union Army’s 11th Corps, 1st and 3rd Division’s 1883 winter encampment of more than 135,000 soldiers and was dedicated Saturday as part of the Civil War Sesquicentennial, according to the county website
Peters’ field hospital wasn’t the only stop where people could pick up pieces of Civil War history to take away and store away in their minds.
Visitors to the park opening also had the chance to see re-enactors representing Reilly’s West Point Battery Regulars, 5th Artillery Regiment, charge their teams horses, with cannons rattling behind, to firing positions where gun crews fired the cannons, startling people watching from sidelines in spite of the fact that one of the gun crew soldier yelled, “Fire!” just before the cannon boomed
Joe Slifer, a re-enactor with Reilly’s Battery, was there to give visitors all the information they might want to know about Civil War cannon batteries.
He said it took a lot of men and horseflesh to wage war back in the day.
Each cannon was drawn by six horses. Gun crews had 72 horses harnessed at any time, ready to pull six guns wherever they might need to be positioned, Slifer said.
He went on to say that each team was matched with at least one team of replacement horses, plus horses for outriders, or scouts.
“You had a couple hundred horses, minimum for a one-battery unit,” he said.
Sean Otto, brought his family to the new park to see the sights and came away with a few things he didn’t know before his visit.
“I learned that Stafford has a long history, with the Civil War in particular,” said Otto, a captain with the Va. National Guard’s 276th Engineering Squadron. Today is the 150th Anniversary of this particular camp and 3,500 people died in this camp in that winter.”
Other Civil War-era attractions in Stafford County which help “tell the story of how the war touched our county,” include the White Oak Museum and Chatham Manor, according to the county website.
STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. – A coal train derailed on a secondary track in Stafford County about 3 p.m.
Fire and rescue spokesman Mark Doyle said no one was injured, and added the train was traveling on a secondary track and the derailment would not impact service on either Virginia Railway Express commuter trains or Amtrak.
A portion of Caisson Road where it crosses railroad tracks, near Ferry Farm, is expected to to be closed through tomorrow morning for clean up. It’s not yet clear what caused the derailment, but we’re told an investigation is underway.
More as we have it.
STAFFORD, Va. – Stafford’s Civil War Park will hold its grand opening this Saturday at 10 a.m.
The park is located at 400 Mount Hope Church Road, near the Brooke Virginia Railway Express station. Free parking will be available at the VRE station for those who attend, and a free shuttle will be available to take visitors to the park between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., on Saturday. Those with physical impairments will be allowed to park at the park, while all others are asked to park at the VRE station.
Several events are planned to commemorate the opening of the park. Below is a listing distributed by Stafford County’s tourism department:
By MIKE SALMON
At 11 p.m. Friday, April 26, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will close the high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes on Interstate 395/95 from the Washington D.C. line to the end in Dumfries (Route 234) until 10 a.m. Saturday, April 27 when the HOV lanes will re-open from the Springfield interchange to Dumfries.
The HOV northern section between Washington and Springfield will remain closed until 4 p.m. Sunday, April 28, when the entire HOV system opens northbound.
Additionally, VDOT will close one left-lane on I-395 south between Seminary Road and the Capital Beltway (I-495) at 11 p.m. Friday night, April 26 to 9 a.m. Saturday morning, April 27 and again on Saturday night from 9 p.m. until 10 a.m. Sunday morning. April 28.
These closures will allow crews to drill foundations for sign structures, drainage work along with grading, and barrier work as a part of the 95 Express Lanes Project. Motorists can expect slower travel along the corridor and should add an additional 15 minutes to their trip. VDOT advises motorists to plan for night and weekend construction work throughout the summer and fall months along the 29-mile 95 Express Lanes construction work area. Signs and message boards are posted along the corridor to inform motorists of construction activities. Police will be onsite for motorist’s safety.
On the local scale, work continues in the Prince William County area as well. In the next couple of weeks, motorists will see work at Joplin Road, as crews set the bridge foundation and the piers to support the future 95 Express Lanes ramp to the general purpose lanes of I-95 and Joplin Road. Girders to support the lanes over I-95 will be set in the May or June time frame, so motorists on I-95 South can expect to see lane closures at that time.
At Telegraph Road in Stafford County, crews will be pile driving for the rest of this month and into May as well. Telegraph Road is scheduled to reopen next winter.
By KEITH WALKER
For Potomac Local News
STAFFORD, Va. – Elizabeth Chase, a senior at Stafford Senior High School, took one last opportunity to ask the Stafford Board of County Supervisors to give teachers a pay raise and to build a new school, rather than renovate, Stafford Senior High School.
Chase laid out her case during citzens’ comments time at the Tuesday board meeting, just before the board was scheduled to vote on the capital improvement plan, or CIP, along with the county budget.
The proposed budget included teacher pay raises while the CIP included the rebuild.
Chase said it’s time for a new school in the southern end of the county, and cited committee studies that favored building a new school, fairness for teachers and equity for students as reasons to do both.
She went on to suggest that Stafford Senior High School students might feel shortchanged when they visited the “beautiful buildings of Mountain View and Brooke Point high schools.”
“I’ve been hearing about it since I was nine” Chase said of plans for a new school. “It’s almost like a hopeless dream at this point. Could you please share the love? What we need is a new building, not another Band-Aid renovation.”
Just before the vote, Aquia District Supervisor Paul Milde, who has consistently and loudly opposed rebuilding in favor of renovation, proposed a last minute change to the CIP.
By the end of the night however, the board granted both of Chase’s wishes by voting 5 to 2, to keep the CIP intact and approved the rebuilding project.
The county’s adopted Fiscal 2014 General Fund Budget, with a tax rate of $1.07 per $100 of assessed value, gave teachers a 2.5% increase, automatic, annual raise, or “step increase” which will go into effect on July 1, 2013. An additional 2% teacher salary increase will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2014.
Other county employees will get a 1%, across-the-board pay raise.
The adopted Fiscal 2014 Budget also eliminated the boat tax, the machinery the tools tax, the motor carrier transportation tax to save county taxpayers $500,254.
The Fiscal 2014 budget of $253.4 showed an increase of 2.17 percent over last year’s 247.9-million budget. The county will share 55.16 percent, or $136.4 million, of its adopted budget with Stafford County Public Schools.
Board Chairman Susan Stimpson said she thought the adopted budget could only help StaffordCounty residents.
“Stafford County has shown that as we walk down taxes that has helped our county flourish,” she said after the board adopted the budget.
Toastmasters International District 29 will host its annual Spring Conference on May 3 and 4 at the Hyatt Fairfax at Fair Lakes, Virginia. District 29 includes Toastmaster Clubs in Northern Virginia and all District 29 members are encouraged to attend. Visit www.d2gtm.org to register. Members of the public are also invited to come and learn more about Toastmasters.
On Friday evening, guests will be mesmerized by world renowned magician, Eric Henning’s, presentation “The Magic of Leadership”. Henning reached the quarterfinals of the 1998 World Championship of Public Speaking and he recently made his third Presidential Inaugural appearance. Friday’s festivities also include a Toastmasters staple — Evaluation Speech Contest, as well as a Spotlight and Sing -a-long.
Saturday’s conference offering includes a variety of educational workshops and sessions selections for attendees. Presentations include the workshop “How to Ask” by Viki Kinsman, Toastmasters Region 7 International Director followed by six communication and leadership sessions and panel discussions, including Youth Leadership and Speakers Bureau.
In addition to district leadership elections, the conference coordinators are pleased to have award-winning speaker, author and consultant , Jo Condrill, Past Presidents Distinguished Governor, District 27, #1 District in the World 1992, provide the keynote speech, “3 Steps to the Top: How to Set Your Sights High and Achieve Your Dreams.”
Toastmasters International clubs are dedicated to helping people become better speakers and leaders. District 29 Toastmasters clubs provide a supportive and positive environment where members have the opportunity to overcome their fear of public speaking and sharpen presentation skills,” says District Governor Mo Hamilton. “Other benefits include the opportunity to increase one’s confidence, build critical thinking skills and become an effective listener.
About District 29
District 29 comprises more than 126 corporate and community clubs. District 29 territory consists of the cities of Fairfax, Fredericksburg, Manassas, and Manassas Park as well as the following Virginia counties: the portion of Fairfax outside the Capitol Beltway I-495 and inside the Beltway North of I-66, Westmoreland, King George, Stafford, Fauquier, Spotsylvania, Orange, Madison, Greene, Shenandoah, Page, Culpeper, Prince William, Rappahannock, Warren and Loudoun. To learn more about District 29 please visit: www.d29tm.org.