Berryman indicted in Wings to Go slaying


A Stafford County Grand Jury indicted a man accused of shooting and killing another man outside a North Stafford restaurant.

La’Twon Marte Berryman faces murder charges in the Feb. 15, 2015 slaying of Mark Milligan outside Wings to Go at the corner of Garrisonville Road and Travis Lane.

Court documents assert Berryman displayed a firearm while committing or attempting to commit murder. Stafford County Commonwealth Attorney Eric Olsen had no comment on the case.

Berryman remains at large, and Stafford County authorities are actively looking for him.

According to investigators, deputies were called to Wings to Go at 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015 to investigate a shooting in the parking lot. A confrontation between people in two separate vehicles escalated, and gunfire was exchanged.

Milligan apparently got out of his car and was fatally shot and killed. Berryman and another person fled the scene to a local hospital where they were treated.

If convicted of murder, Berryman faces 20 years in jail.

We’ll bring you more on this as we have it.

Find people you know, trust who have your success in mind

“Business Beat” is a sponsored column written by One Degree Capital CEO and President Rod Loges. His column examines ideas and best practices that help local businesses succeed.

Building a Business is a Team Effort — With a Little Help From Our Friends

My first lesson in the value of mentors came early – and hard. On July 3rd, 1985, I was enduring the first grueling week (called “Ground Week”) of the U.S. Army Airborne School. My Student ID – printed boldly across my helmet – was 141 (yes, 30 years later I remember my Student Number).

No matter the reason, I was a “NO GO” and did not qualify to advance to the second week (Tower Week) of training. The choice was mine – give up or repeat Ground Week.

Ugh! I wanted to quit, to give up, go back home and drink some beer with my friends and work so I could actually afford my next year of college expenses. Worse yet, if I decided to repeat Ground Week my Student ID label on my helmet would become 141”G” and everyone would know that I was “recycled.”

One of my Airborne Drill Instructors (we called them “Black Hats” ( I’ll leave you to guess why) came over and said to me) “Cadet, I know you are thinking about quitting. Heck I would be thinking it too if I were you.”  Keep Reading…

Shots fired at Stafford New Years Eve party


At least three residents in the area of Westminster and Picadilly lanes called 911 to report a large party, and then hearing what sounded like fireworks or gunshots.

“They turned out to be gunshots,” said Stafford sheriff’s spokesman Bill Kennedy.

Deputies arrived on the scene at 12:30 a.m. Friday to find a crowd of 30 to 50 people on the streets who had been attending a party. An argument broke out, and then someone fired a handgun.

“They heard what sounded like five or six shots… heard pops, a pause, and then several more pops,” said Kennedy.

Deputies found bullet holes inside nearby apartments. The residents came home to find bullet holes in walls and bedroom furniture.

“It was right where they slept, and had they been home they couldn’t have been injured,” said Kennedy.

No one was hurt.

The shooter could have fled the scene on foot, running in the direction of the Route 610 – Staffordboro Commuter Lot. He’s described as black, with dreadlocks, thin build, 5 feet 9 inches tall, said Kennedy.

Anyone with information on this incident is encouraged to call Stafford Crime Solvers.

Shell gas station on Route 17 in Stafford robbed


A gas station on Route 17 in south Stafford was robbed at 6:12 a.m. Monday.

Authorities said a man walked into a Shell gas station at 535 Warrenton Road and demanded cash. He then walked out with an undisclosed amount of cash he had taken from the register.

The suspect is described as a black man, between 190 and 200 pounds, 5 feet 9 inches to 6 feet tall, wearing dark blue jeans, gloves, a mask, and a blue hooded sweatshirt with “Mossy Oak” printed on it, said Stafford sheriff’s spokesman Bill Kennedy.

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

This is the third robbery at a Stafford gas station in the past two weeks.

Last week, another gas station on Route 17 was robbed. An in North Stafford, a group of thevies made off with gas from the 5 Twelve C store on Garrisonville Road.

Stay on the path to a New Year, New You at Manassas Park Community Center

“Shaping the Future” is a sponsored column written by Manassas Park Community Center Marketing Manager Jason Shriner. The column highlights the many ways you can have fun, get fit, and improve your life.

With the New Year, now is a great time to think about the year ahead. When I was younger, New Year’s Day didn’t really mean much more than partying, but now it’s a favorite time of mine where I like to set goals for myself. I especially like resolutions that involve learning something new or that result in a tangible finished product.

Over the past few years my resolutions have included listening to more podcasts and TEDtalks, learning to sew (this includes sewing a costume from scratch), creating my own board game, and learning sign language, photography and how to indoor rock climb. When you’re a kid, school can really make learning feel like a chore, but after I graduated college, I realized how much I missed learning new things and challenging myself. You don’t realize how easy it is to stand in one place until you look back on the year and realize it!

Make a promise to yourself this upcoming new year; find the new you! Here are some tips and strategies on choosing resolutions and seeing them through.

1. Be true to yourself and set resolutions you’ll enjoy

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my life it’s that if something feels like a chore, then I will find every excuse in the world not to do it. Motivation is an incredibly powerful thing, but it doesn’t come externally. Even when somebody else is encouraging you, you must ultimately want to do it for yourself in order to see your goals through. If you are an extrovert and you have fitness goals, participate in fitness classes! There is nothing more isolating than wearing headphones and working out – totally toxic to an extrovert’s success. Remember to set yourself up for success when choosing your resolutions!

One of my favorite fitness classes at the Manassas Park Community Center is bootcamp. In this high intensity class, the instructor challenges my classmates and me to perform a variety of strength training and cardiovascular exercises, all while maintaining an elevated heart rate. As a self-identifying geek, I never knew I was capable of doing some of the exercises until I participated. It’s not all excruciating work! I feel like we laugh constantly in the class as we awkwardly try new exercises and tease the instructor. Other popular fitness classes at the community center include Zumba, Aqua Zumba, and yoga.

2. Create a plan

Aside from fitness and learning something new, financial responsibility is another popular resolution. Whatever your resolution is, make sure you actually plan out how you’re going to achieve it. Ask yourself these questions to start. Is it fitness related – Where do I want to work out? Should I hire a personal trainer? If it’s learning something new – What time can I dedicate? What expenses are involved? If it’s fiscal What is a budget I can manage? Do I have monthly expenses that I can do without?

One method that helped me save money was to track my spending on a spreadsheet. True, this is a chore (although I do love a good spreadsheet), but knowing that I would eventually have to input a purchase into a spreadsheet where it will be staring back at me – possibly judging me – has been enough to deter me from certain purchases. Plus it’s pretty rewarding to see a year’s worth of spending slowly declining throughout the year! Another tip that I use to talk myself out of a purchase is equating how much an item costs to how much I make hourly. Is this new gadget really worth 2, 4, or 8 hours of my time at work? Cash and especially credit cards can be intangible concepts, but your sweat is pretty real!

Consider incorporating a class into your plan like the programs at the Manassas Park Community Center. INOVA will be teaching a free class called “Eating Better on a Budget” on January 5 or come check out People, Inc.’s free “Credit and Budgeting Workshop on January 20. Talking with professionals and researching ideas online, including articles, videos, and podcasts, are great ways to get fresh ideas to incorporate into your plan.

Belly dancing: Learning new dances, like belly dance, is a great new year’s resolution!
Try group exercise classes or working out with a friend if your routine gets stale
The Manassas Park Community Center recently built a second fitness room featuring all new exercise equipment – come try them out!
The personal trainers at the Manassas Park Community Center love finding new ways to shake up your workout – like boxing!
You can get 2 30-minutes personal training session as part of your membership to the Manassas Park Community Center
Try something you’ve always wanted to, like scrapbooking, by taking a class at the Manassas Park Community Center
Taking classes, like sign language, gives you a chance to meet people who share your interests and can help practice your new skills
Zumba is one of our most popular classes at the Manassas Park Community Center

3. Set realistic and measurable goals

Businesses are successful because employees have somebody holding them accountable. Excellent managers use plans with defined goals to set expectations that both the employee and the manager can agree upon. Similarly, anytime you sign a contract, you’re actually setting a level of expectations. These are expectations you are expected to perform as well as what you expect the other party to perform. Plans, goals, expectations, and accountability all result in getting things done. So why not do the same for your resolution?

I don’t expect you to draw up a contract between you and yourself for your new year’s resolution, but you should at least create an event in your phone’s calendar eight weeks from now that says, “Lose this many pounds,” “Save this much money,” or “Be able to ask for help in the grocery store in a foreign language.” When you have a goal, you have a real expectation with a real deadline for yourself to work towards as opposed to some nebulous concept of “lose weight,” “save money,” or “learn Spanish.” Don’t just set one goal either – set milestones leading up to your final goal so you have a timeline to reinforce your plan.

When setting fitness goals be sure to consult a professional so that you are setting safe and healthy goals. Your Primary Care Physician and the Personal Trainers at the Manassas Park Community Center are two good resources, and a fitness assessment is included free of charge with every membership at the community center.

4. Celebrate accomplishments and be flexible

Willpower is a limited resource. When you’re trying to lose weight, you can only deprive yourself of ice cream for so long. Torturing yourself like this is a surefire way to turn your resolution into a chore. If you reach a fitness milestone, treat yourself! Be flexible and don’t punish yourself for accommodating unexpected events. If your car gets a flat, replacing a tire isn’t a hindrance to your financial goal – emergencies are a reason you wanted to save money in the first place!

5. Don’t stop, won’t stop

It’s going to take persistence and practice to reach your final goal, so don’t give up! It’s said it can take an average of 66 days to form a habit – although this number can vary vastly depending on the habit. [1] If you find your motivation waning, try to focus on the end goal or try to find ways to make the project fun again. Getting a friend involved, changing locations, or switching up your routine can help keep your resolution enjoyable.

Finally, don’t stop once you’ve achieved your resolution. Keep working out, keep saving money, keep practicing that language, but also set a new resolution for yourself! Yes, even in the middle of July! Have you reached your target weight? Why not try hiking or indoor rock climbing? Keep learning and keep moving forward so that next December 31st you can look back and reward yourself for all the resolutions you’ve accomplished – and look forward to all the resolutions you want to try.

How Home Instead finds great people to care for their clients

Editors note: This paid promotional post was written by Potomac Local in collaboration with Home Instead Senior Care of Manassas, serving Prince William and Fauquier counites.

Home Instead Senior Care of Manassas is always looking for candidates searching for rewarding career.

Candice Johnson is the Regional CAREGiver Recruiter at Home Instead Senior Care. Home Instead Senior Care selects and places experienced CAREGivers to homes with seniors, from those who need just a little help and companionship to seniors who need around the clock, twenty-four hour care.

As a Regional CAREGiver Recruiter, Johnson does a lot of work and running around town to attract the best talent that the community has to offer.

“The recruiting process is a lot of repeating my same actions. So I do a lot of “flyering”, I advertise in papers and online, I participate in job fairs and speaking engagements at colleges, CNA schools, LPN schools. I’m really just getting the position out there,” said Johnson The most important part to Johnson’s role is that people know that Home Instead Senior Care is hiring and that many of the positions are flexible and can fit comfortably into anyone’s hectic schedule.

“So if they’re working full time or going to school full time, this is a job that will allow you to still keep your daily responsibilities but bring in some supplemental income on the side,” said Johnson.

Who is the ideal candidate that Home Instead looks for and hires? Keep Reading…

Emergency I-95 road work to fix Stafford pothole

A large pothole formed on Interstate 95 south today prompting emergency repair roadwork.

The work is slated to begin at 8 p.m., at I-95 and the Route 17 overpass in south Stafford.

The roadwork comes as I-95 south in Stafford saw a crash Wednesday afternoon that blocked two lanes of traffic near Courthouse Road. At 7 p.m. the entire stretch of the highway in Stafford County was experiencing delays.

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

Interstate 95 southbound will be reduced to a single travel lane starting at 8 p.m. tonight at the Route 17 overpass in Stafford County.

The right and center travel lanes will close so a Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) crew can perform an emergency pothole repair.

The work zone and overpass are located in the vicinity of I-95 Exit 133 at Falmouth, which is just north of the Rapphannock River bridge.

Two lanes will be closed on the overpass until the repair is complete.

Aquia Christian Academy helps S.E.R.V.E

Homeless Care Package Outreach

On Friday January 8, 2016 from  10 -11 a.m., ’s Pre-K Volunteer Program, Aquia Christian Serves, will serve the Stafford County based nonprofit organization, S.E.R.V.E.

S.E.R.V.E. is an emergency assistance food pantry that provides assistance to families one time a month, a Community Pharmacy, and Emergency Financial Assistance for residents of Stafford County. Our Pre-K Students (3 and 4 year olds) will be traveling to the facility and sorting/packaging canned food items for the organization.

There will also be a Service Learning aspect incorporated into our academic curriculum for our students so that they may begin to understand the community service they are committing as well as the impact. The need for Aquia Christian Serves was determined because volunteering is essential to youth’s development and personal growth.

Aquia Christian Academy’s Event Manager, Martese Mason, explains, “With all of the negative influences that happen in the world daily, we hope to encourage and demonstrate social responsibility, positivity, and a passion for helping others. Moreover, it is important to instill this in our youth at a young and receptive age.”.

Aquia Christian Serve’s first community volunteer event was December 18, 2015. Our students raised more than $430 and assembled 43 Homeless Care Packages that benefited the Thurman Brisbane Homeless Shelter. Additionally, our second outreach on December 19, 2015 was located at Marion Manor, an elderly home with Alzheimer’s Disease patients.

Our students interacted and played bingo with the residents. About Aquia Christian Serves Aquia Christian Serves is a part of Aquia Christian Academy that exists for the purpose of promoting volunteerism, community service outreaches, and training in a Christian environment. Our program offers an exciting opportunity to serve children and families in our community. We focus on promoting active community involvement while provide engaging and meaningful outreach opportunities for the youth. Through local outreaches, we connect the youth through volunteering, service learning, and by working together.

Primarily, we will take action on outreach issues that are of significance to our local community. It is our mission to become a driving force in enthusing young people to grow and remain responsibly involved while becoming pillars within their community.

How knowing ‘Why’ led website developer WIX to $1 billion

“Business Beat” is a sponsored column written by One Degree Capital CEO and President Rod Loges. His column examines ideas and best practices that help local businesses succeed.

Five, four, three, two, one… Happy New Year! Well, almost! The New Year is a great time to evaluate our business goals and make sure we know the answer to the question, “Why do we do what we do?”

Here is a great example: Avi, a business associate I met in 1999, said to me at the time, “Rod, I want to make it easy and affordable for business owners to build and manage websites.”

In 1999 that was easier said than done. But Avi and a few of his associates started a company that set out to do just that. While his company attracted millions in venture funding, they never gained a critical mass and eventually sold to a competitor.

Flash forward several years later to a phone call I received from Avi who proudly claimed, “Rod, I have finally found a way to make it easy and affordable for business owners to build and manage websites.”

Now, those who know me know that I am a bit of a tech snob. I remember looking at the phone thinking, “WOW, that is a big claim to make!”

Sure enough, Avi’s tenacity paid off. Today his company, WIX, trades on NASDAQ and has a value of just under $1 billion – that’s right – just under $1 billion.

One Degree Capital is a customer of, and we love it.

Across three businesses and over 16 years, Avi always knew his “Why” and stuck to it. As quoted from the company’s website, Wix’s vision is “We make it easy for everyone to create a beautiful, professional web presence.”

A common thread that runs through most successful companies is that they know their WHY – the main reason they do what they do. They know and stay committed to their “Why.”

So here is a question for you: As a business owner do you know your “Why?” If you need some help, ask yourself the following questions:

— Why? Why does your business exist? Are you passionate about this?

— Who? Do you enjoy working with your target audience?

— How? Do you serve your customers in a unique and valuable way?

If you are interested in learning more about how to build your “why” here are several great resources:

Simon Sinek, internationally acclaimed author of “Start with Why,” has a powerful TED Talk that is sure to inspire you to action.

Jeff Parks, a Prince William County-based seasoned consultant and a Coast Guard veteran, says “Live your passion, give your gift.” Jeff has helped over 200 organizations define their purpose and build “High-Performance Organizations.”

Margie Warrell wrote this incredible article “Know Your Why – 4 Questions to Tap the Power of Purpose.” Also, she has written three books on Leadership, Life, Courage and Purpose.

Sharon Dilling, owner of Fairfax-based Ability Potentials helps people identify their unique skills, energies, and passions. It works! I took Sharon’s assessment test years ago, and it said I should be the general manager of a commercial finance company. She was right!

As the owner of One Degree Capital for the past six years, I can tell you that I LOVE working with my third hero: The American Small Business Owner. Sharon’s test was so helpful that I have paid for a number of people to take it.

The people who are open and willing to explore the suggested career paths have told me they later that they have truly found their “life’s work.”

What is your “Why?” If you know of any locally owned businesses that have a strong “Why” please share them in the comments section – I would love to learn more about the amazing business owners in our local area.

Shootout, tornado, and brew pubs; Potomac Local’s top stories of 2015


Another year has gone by, and Potomac Local continues to bring you important late-breaking news in your community.

We started 2015 off with heavy snows that left drivers stranded on the roads. As the weather improved, we saw more breweries pop up in shopping centers as local governments changed the rules that once prevented them from locating there.

New restaurants cropped up, and old ones plan to return.

It was also a busy year for the police and fire crews who work to keep us all safe.

Here is a collection of Potomac Local’s most viewed stories of 2015, ranked by number of clicks from you:

1. Shootout at Wings to Go kills 1, injures 2

wings to goA quiet Sunday afternoon in North Stafford was rocked on February 15 when three men inside two cars exchanged gunfire. 

One man who got out of his car was killed, and two others were wounded.

2. Woodbridge Army Reservist attacked in Norfolk



Potomac Local broke the story of London Colvin, an Army Reservist and graduate of Woodbridge Senior High School who was viciously attacked by police dogs after leaving a party in Norfolk.

The incident sparked an investigation at the Norfolk Police Department that ended with four city police officers losing their jobs.

Colvin was a student at Norfolk State University at the of the attack and required 43 stitches to close her wounds.

3. Woodbridge hookah bar brawl

11866258_889345217781579_8338679539284698514_nPotomac Local readers were following the story of 23-year-old Tiffany Conley who police said stabbed another woman outside a hookah bar.

Police said Conley and the 25-year-old victim got into a fight in August at a hookah bar on Golansky Boulevard in Woodbridge. The fight escalated and the victim was stabbed multiple times with a box cutter. 

The victim was taken to a local hospital and suffered injuries that did not appear to be life threatening.  

4. Manassas Council melts for Krispy Kreme 

Krispy KremeThe Manassas City Council in December approved a rezoning at the Davis Ford Shopping Center that cleared the way for the fast food favorite to be built between an Exxon gas station and an Arby’s Restaurant.

Our story lit up social media and readers shared their excitement about what will be the only Krispy Kreme Doughnuts location in the Greater Manassas area.

5. Witness describes mother’s last moments

erica sherwood

Prince William County’s first murder of 2015 came just minutes after midnight New Years Day. That’s when police said John Sherwood came to a house on Concord Drive in Dale City and killed his wife and mother of his child Erica Renee Sherwood (pictured on left).

Sherwood’s friend Sharae Harris took the witness stand in April to describe the horror that unfolded inside her home in the early morning hours of January 1. She said John Sherwood accused his wife of cheating, and that he cornered her in a bathroom and slit her throat.

John Sherwood’s case is set for trial in a Prince William County Courtroom on Wednesday, Jan. 6.

6. Marston goes missing 

martsonJames “Daniel” Marston went missing in late January, prompting Stafford County authorities to seek the public’s help in finding him.

The missing endangered teen left his home on Belle Plains Road near Fredericksburg on January 29. The next day, the Stafford sheriff’s office reported they had exhausted their search for the boy and that it was possible the teen left the area.

Marston was later found in the Richmond area. 

7. Tornado hits Bristow, Manassas

manassas-tornado-3A tornado that started in Bristow ripped through Manassas in June.

A wind gust as high as 61 mph was recorded during the summer storm, and it was enough to topple scoreboards and cause damage at baseball fields in Manassas.

No one was injured in the tornado.

The same storm also brought heavy rains and flooding to eastern Prince William County.

8. Stafford couple dies in murder-suicide


080911 Sheriff new carPotomac Local readers followed the tragic story of a murder-suicide in Stafford.

Authoriteis were called to the 300 block of Garrison Woods Drive in North Stafford on May 15 where the bodies of a man and woman were found.

The victims, a boyfriend and girlfriend, suffered fatal gunshot wounds, according to Stafford authorities.

The bodies were sent a medical examiner in Richmond.

9. Lewd animal acts land man in jail

amleyIn March, police said they found a man who used the internet to chat with a woman who agreed to perform sexual acts with his lab mix dog. The two agreed to meet, and while there the woman would perform the acts in front of a video camera that would record the encounter, police said. 

This wasn’t the first time the man had recorded sex acts with animals, police said. Investigators found other videos featuring animals on his computer at his home near Manassas, and the videos were distributed on the web, police said.

The suspect was charged, and the animals were seized by police and were put into the care of a veterinarian. 

10. Prince William’s first brewpub opens 

orneryfrontPrince William County changed its policy in late 2014 that banned breweries from opening in shopping centers. The change cleared the way for several breweries to open or expand.

Randy Barnette remade his Hard Times Cafe in Woodbridge into Ornery Beer Company and Public House — Prince William County’s very first brewpub specializing in brews made in-house coupled with chef-inspired cuisine.

Our story was enough to get people talking about the demise of Hard Times, onces a bustling neighborhood bar, and to get them excited about the changes at the new place – including a new rule that a banned smoking inside the establishment.


Top stories of 2014

Top stories of 2013

Top stories of 2012

Top stories of 2011

Top stories of 2010


It’s time to party with Okras New Years Eve in Manassas

  • Okra's Cajun Creole
  • Address: 9110 Center Street Manassas, Va. 20110
  • Phone: (703) 330-2729
  • Website:

An all-inclusive party, a hotel room, and hangover cure awaits New Years Eve revelers at Okras in Manassas.

Okras Cajun Creole in Downtown Manassas will hold a New Year’s Eve party that will feature a full buffet of favorites from the Big Easy, to include Pene New Orleans with andouille sausage and ham; Cajun deviled eggs and alligator bites.

Drinks will be flowing from the bar, as hurricanes, landmines, and some bourbon from Okra’s private stock are all on the menu.
A high-energy live band will play music from the 80s and 90s, and take requests all night long.

After the party, guests will enjoy a deeply discounted room rate at Olde Town Inn, a short, one-block walk from Okras. This way, those who come out to party don’t have to think about getting behind the wheel of a car.

Those who stay the night at the hotel will be welcomed back to Okras the following day for an individually prepared “hangover” lunch.

While the party is all about fun, Fisher said it was important for Okras to partner with Olde Town Inn to give his guests a place to stay for the night.

“This is a great way to come out and have fun and skip the driving home part,” said Fisher.

Tickets for Okra’s New Year’s Eve party are on sale online now. 

Okras opened in 1998 and became known as the place that brought New Orleans flair to the City of Manassas. The restaurant sits on the corner of Center and Battle streets in Manassas, at the heart of the city’s growing entertainment district.

Okras has become a destination for local and visitors seeking authentic “Nawlins” food and flair. The restaurant has become a popular gathering place for those who are looking for daily drink specials, and for those who seek authentic New Orleans cuisine. 

Are robberies at 2 Stafford gas stations linked?


A North Stafford convenience store was robbed at gunpoint Saturday night.

Four people wearing dark clothes entered the 5 Twelve C store at 1075 Garrisonville Road, across from Mount Ararat Baptist Church, at 10 p.m. They were in the store for about two minutes before one man walked up to the counter, pulled out a shotgun, and demanded cash, said Stafford sheriff’s spokesman Bill Kennedy.

Two robbers were at the front of the store while two others stood by the shop entrance posted as a lookout, said Kennedy. The robbers made off in a blue Hyundai headed east on Garrisonville Road with an undisclosed amount of cash. The robbers were wearing ski masks and appeared to have used a pump-action shotgun, said Kennedy.

No one as injured in the robbery.

Stafford deputies set up a perimeter around the robbery scene, posting deputies up and down Garrisonville Road. No arrests were made.

Stafford deputies were called to another robbery at 8:14 p.m. Sunday at an Exxon market and deli at 375 Warrenton Road in south Stafford. Three people were inside that store when “four to five” people, one of them possibly a woman, burst into the shop. One of them brandished a small pistol and demanded cash, said Kennedy.

The robbers made off with cash and an iPhone that belonged to one of three people who were inside the store at the time of the robbery. The iPhone was later recovered in the parking lot.

No one was injured in this robbery.

The robbers had their faces covered, and all were wearing dark clothes, to include pants and hooded sweatshirts. They made off in a newer model Kia or Nissan sedan.
Investigators are looking into whether or not the two cases are linked.

Stafford holds 1st annual Christmas Parade


The first-annual Stafford County Christmas Parade took place on Saturday, December 19, at 5 p.m.

The parade route started at Stafford Middle School and ended at Brooke Point High School. All the parking spots quickly filled up at Brooke Point so attendees had to park along Courthouse Road.

The theme for this year was “All I want for Christmas.”

The parade was sponsored by Stafford County Crime Solvers. The lineup included horses, antique cars, and floats that were created by local businesses and organizations.

After the parade, children were able to get their pictures taken with Santa at Brooke Point High School. The parade committee in planning on having a bigger and longer route for next year.

— Submitted by Brooke Point High School student Katie Young  


Driver killed in Aquia Harbour crash


A 20-year-old man was killed in a car crash in Aquia Harbour.

Authorities were called to a crash in the gated neighborhood in Stafford County at 12:02 a.m. Saturday. A car traveling on Aquia Drive had run off the road, hit a telephone, and multiple trees, said Stafford sheriff’s spokesman Bill Kennedy.

Investigators said speed was a factor in the crash.

Lucas Kurkowski is identified as the victim. The crash remains under investigation.

From refugees to residents: ‘Incredibly deserving family’ gets new Stafford home


A family that lived in a refugee camp before coming to the U.S. will have a new home in North Stafford.

The Habonimana family will move into a new home at 3 Aquia Avenue on Sunday. Originally from Tanzania, mom, dad, and their five children aged 16, 14, 10, 6, and 18 months, will live in the home made possible by Habitat for Humanity Fredericksburg.

The family came to the U.S. in 1994 as a refugee family. They had lived in refugee camps while in Tanzania. They left Tanzania during the genocide.

He lost 12 members of his family, and his wife lost nine. Since, they have worked hard to become citizens and make their way in the U.S.

They moved to the Fredericksburg area a few years ago after being in Kentucky.

— Patty Hunke, Habitat for Humanity Fredericksburg

This home build was made possible by an $80,000 grant from Thrivent Financial, according to Habitat.

In 2015, Thrivent has invested $12 million in building with Habitat for Humanity, International including 121 homes in the United States through the Thrivent Builds Home program.

A special dedication ceremony for the Habonimana family will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday at their new home.

Here’s more in a press release from Habitat for Humanity:

The Habonimanas are an incredibly deserving family, and their story is a testament of hard work and dedication to the American dream. They have completed 500 hours of “sweat equity” helping build and repair locals homes and have graduated from a Homeownership Education course.

Now, they will purchase their Habitat home with a zero-percent interest mortgage. At the home dedication ceremony, the affiliate will share the success the Habonimanas have worked so hard to achieve and attendees will be able to tour the newly built home.

The Habonimanas will move into the home on Aquia Avenue off of Garrisonville Rd. and the home will look like every house in the neighborhood –a simple, safe and affordable home.

The ‘Tree of Life’ on display in Stafford honors two county EMS workers who died while helping others


The National EMS Memorial Tree of Life on Display at the Stafford County Public Safety Center honors two Stafford EMS providers who lost their lives while trying to help others. 

Here’s more in a press release: 

Stafford County Fire and Rescue is hosting a display of five panels from the National EMS Memorial’s Tree of Life, the iconic symbol honoring EMS providers who gave their lives in the line of duty.

The panels, which represent five years of the Tree of Life’s 23 panels (one for each year from 1993-2015), can be viewed from Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, at the Office of Public Safety, 1225 Courthouse Road in Stafford, Va. Mark Lockhart, NRP Stafford County Fire Chief said. “I wish we didn’t have to have it, but it speaks to the inherent dangers in providing patient care. These folks all made the ultimate sacrifice caring for their fellow citizens.”

Two Stafford EMS providers are recognized on these panels. Israel, (Izzy) Rodriguez, Rockhill Volunteer Rescue Squad was answering a call on January 28, 1998 to assist accident victims during a rain storm when his ambulance left the road and struck a tree.

On March 16, 2001, Joseph “Neal” Sherman died as a result of an ambulance crash while he was working with the Loudoun-Fairfax Ambulance Service of Sterling VA. Neal was also an EMT for Aquia Harbour Rescue Squad and Firefighter for Stafford Volunteer Fire Department, Company 2.

The National EMS Memorial is composed of the Tree of Life and the Memorial Book. The Tree of Life is a representation of an oak tree, symbolizing strength. The name, agency and date of loss of each National EMS Memorial Service honoree is engraved on a bronze oak leaf, which is then added to the Tree of Life.

The Memorial Book contains a page for each National EMS Memorial Service honoree. These pages contain photos, biographies and agency patches for each individual honored. The Memorial Book is kept on display near the Tree of Life. 

Woman commits suicide at Stafford gun range


A woman in her mid-20s committed suicide at a public gun range on Tuesday.

Stafford authorities were called to The Range at 62 Potomac Creek Drive in Stafford County at 3 p.m. to investigate the incident.

There were no other injuries, according to Stafford sheriff’s spokesman Bill Kennedy.

Volunteer firefighters will make sure Santa visits all over Stafford this year


The volunteers at Stafford Volunteer Fire Department will once again this year bring Santa Claus on a tour through neighborhoods in Stafford County. 

The volunteers will travel through neighborhoods starting on Thursday, December 17 through the weekend. Officials said look for the lights and sirens coming through the neighborhood, and then come outside and see Santa Claus. 

On Thursday, December 17, Santa Claus will visit Courthouse Square, Liberty Knolls, Colonial Forge, Paradise Estates, and the Ulturis neighborhoods. 

On Friday, December 18, Santa Claus will visit Foxwood Village, Highpointe, Stafford Marketplace, Sunningdale, Woodstream, and the Stonegate neighborhoods. 

On Saturday, December 20, Santa Claus will be in the 1st annual Stafford Christmas Parade that will travel from Stafford Middle School down Courthouse Road to Brooke Point High School starting at 5 p.m.

Afterward, Santa Claus will visit the Azalea Woods, Bells Run, Cresente Pointe, Forreston Woods, Greenridge, Season’s Landing, Somerset Landing, Stafford Oaks, and Stone River neighborhoods.  

On Sunday, December 20, Santa Claus will visit Austin Ridge, Embrey Mill, Hampton Oaks, Patriot’s Landing, and the Settler’s Landing neighborhoods. Volunteers will also take Santa to Stafford Marketplace on Sunday night.

The volunteers made a promotional video to promoted the ride. The Stafford Volunteer Fire Department has been serving the community since 1962.

It’s the last stand for outgoing Stafford Sheriff Charlie Jett

Stafford County Sheriff Charles E. Jett and Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell sat next to each other during a ceremony Wednesday at the Stafford County Public Safety Center. (Mary Davidson/

Stafford Sheriff Charles “Charlie” Jett will say goodbye tonight.

A special meet and greet is planned at the Stafford County Public Safety Center from 4 to 7 p.m. where at least 300 people are expected to come and shake the hand of the veteran sheriff who has spent a lifetime serving the department, and as county sheriff since 2000.

“It’s going to be a packed event,” said Stafford sheriff’s spokesman Bill Kennedy.

Residents will line up to shake the hand and say goodbye to the outgoing sheriff. His successor David Decatur, who has long served in the Stafford sheriff’s office, will also be there.

The event is free to attend. It is closed to press, said Kennedy.

Jett started with the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office at age 19, working as a jail guard. In February, after 37 years with the Department and nearly 15 as its commander in chief, Jett said he planned to retire and wouldn’t seek reelection.

Chief Deputy David Decatur won an election in November to replace Jett. He’s been with the Stafford department since 1986.

Stafford sheriff’s office said Tieri got upset when his keys didn’t’ work in other people’s cars


Stafford authorities say a man told then he placed his car key into the doors of several parked cars on Elkton Drive and became angry when the doors didn’t open.

The Stafford sheriff’s office was sent to the street in England Run near the Central Rappahannock Regional Library on Sunday, December 13 at 5:30 a.m. after reports of a suspicious man trying to break into cars on the street were called into 911.

The deputy arrived on the scene and found an intoxicated man, according to Stafford sheriff’s spokesman Bill Kennedy. The deputy found several cars parked in the street had also been damage, to include a Honda that had its door and quarter panel kicked, and a green Ford that had its license plate ripped off and a mirror bent, said Kennedy.

The man told authorities he had been looking for his car, said Kennedy.

The deputy asked the man which car was his, and he responded by saying his car was the silver Chevrolet he was standing next to, said Kennedy. Later, the man told the deputy his car was a silver Cadillac, said Kennedy.

The man later told the deputy he became angry when he tried his set of car keys in the cars parked on Elkton Drive and they didn’t work, said Kennedy.

Gary Tieri, 26, of Spotsylvania County, is charged in the case. He was taken to Rappahannock Regional Jail.

Some Stafford County residents learned it’s not OK to leave your car doors unlocked anymore


Investigators are looking into a series of vehicle break-ins in Stafford County.

A sheriff’s deputy was called to three streets in the county’s Rockhill District after someone broke into a series of cars and stole things like an iPod, a knife, and some loose change.

The streets are Wagoneers Lane in the Colonial Forge neighborhood, and the others are Lakeland Road and Kingsley Court in the Augustine neighborhood.

During the investigation, the deputy noted three cars had been broken into during the early morning hours of Saturday, December 12. No arrests have been made in the case.

All three cars that were broken into had been left unlocked. The Stafford sheriff’s office last week launched a campaign to urge drivers to lock their car doors when they leave their vehicle unattended.

“Keeping vehicles locked really cuts down on the number of thefts as thieves are looking in neighborhoods for vehicles to hit,” said sheriff’s spokesman Bill Kennedy.

Page 3 of 10112345...102030...Last »