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From music, wine, to romantic dinners: Where to take your valentine this year

valentines day

Looking for some last minute ideas for your Valentine’s Day celebration? Potomac Local has you covered. Here are some events and local eateries that will help make your Valentine’s Day special.


Valentine’s Day Dinner
Malone’s of Manassas
9329 Main Street, Manassas, VA 20110

 This fine dining restaurant in Downtown Manassas is offering a prix fixe menu to create a 3-course meal for your Valentine’s Day dinner. It runs from 5p.m. to 12a.m. and is $80 per person. Dinner package comes with a champagne toast and live music in the upstairs area, that begins at 9p.m. The package does not include liquor or beverages.


Valentine’s Day Sweetheart Ball
Emeritus at Manassas
8341 Barrett Drive, Manassas, VA 20109

At the Emeritus Retirement Living community there will be a Valentine’s Day Sweetheart Ball from 6p.m. to 9p.m. There will be dancing, hors d’ouerves, and a chance to meet the staff at Emeritus.


American Festival Pops Orchestra: Valentine’s Day Pops
Hylton Performing Arts Center
10960 George Mason Circle, Manassas, VA 20109

If you’d like to do something less traditional than a romantic dinner on the town, then check out the Valentine’s Day Pops concert being hosted at the Hylton Center. Starting at 8p.m., the American Festival Pops Orchestra will begin playing classic love songs. Ticket prices range from $29 to $48 per person.



National Museum of the Marine Corps Wine Dinner
National Museum of the Marine Corps
18900 Jefferson Davis Highway, Triangle, VA 22172

If you and your partner enjoy a nice glass of wine, then look at the Marine Corps Wine Dinner being held near Quantico. The dinner will take place from 6p.m. to 8:30p.m. Make sure if you plan to attend that you RSVP.



Chocolate Infused Wine Dinner
Maddigan’s Waterfront
201 Mill Street, Occoquan, VA 22125

On the water in Occoquan, Maddigan’s Waterfront will be hosting a Chocolate Infused Wine Dinner, as well as offering a special Valetine’s Day menu. The dinner begins at 7p.m. with a reception. The featured winery is Rodney Strong Vineyards. The wine dinner is $59 per person, and the Valentine’s Day menu is $75 per couple. Reservations are required.



Valentine’s Day Weekend Celebration
Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center
14900 Potomac Town Place, Woodbridge, VA 22191

The new Stonebridge shopping center is having an entire weekend of Valentine’s Day celebrations. Restaurants in Stonebridge, like Not Your Average Joe’s and Firebirds will be having special menu offerings for the entire weekend. A perfect option if you can’t celebrate on February 14.



Sinfully Sweet Dessert & Wine Pairing
Potomac Point Winery
275 Decatur Road, Stafford, VA 22554

At the Potomac Point Winery, sit down for a romantic pairing of wine and dessert. Choose from four dessert options, paired with the wines made by Potomac Point. The event has two dates: February 13 at 8p.m. and February 14 at 4p.m. 6p.m. and 8p.m. The cost is $36 per person.

Bull Run Rotary Day is Feb. 21 at the Capitol Steps Concert for charity

Rotary Day is typically a fun, informal event to introduce the community to Rotary and their local beneficiaries.

Rotary Day is not just for a club or district. There are National Rotary Days in many countries and even an International Rotary Day at the United Nations. The Rotary Day events convey the Rotary’s relevance and highlight the good work and involvement.

The theme for Rotary International, this year is “Light Up Rotary” so there is increased effort this year to illuminate the great things that Rotarians facilitate. This year is also the 25th Anniversary of the Rotary Club of Manassas Bull Run, so there is extra pride in this year’s Bull Run Rotary Day.

This year’s Bull Run Rotary Day will be on Feb. 21 at the elegant Hylton Performing Arts Center and is called “Love and Laughs.” It is on the eve of Rotary International’s 110th Anniversary and just a week after Valentine’s Day for those couples that couldn’t make a date night. The evening entertainment will feature DC’s Capitol Steps.

Purchase your tickets online.

Commuters flock to 95 Express Lanes, following $250M extension project

At the end of December, the 95 Express Lanes became active toll lanes, running from Edsall Road to Garrisonville Road – following an over $250 million dollar 9-mile extension project.

In order to use the lanes, all drivers need to have an EZ-Pass, or EZ-Pass Flex mounted in their vehicles.

According to Mike McGurk, a spokesperson for the 95 Express Lanes from Transurban, the transition for drivers on the lanes has been smooth, and steadily growing.

“We’ve steadily seen more folks out there, using the [toll] lanes,” McGurk said, continuing, “One of the big observations for us is that we’re very pleased with the road operations to date. A lot of areas that we were keeping a very close eye on – areas like the part where the Express lanes end, and the HOV lanes begin – we have not seen a lot of driver confusion in those areas.”

Looking at primary operations data, McGurk stated that the 9-mile extension has been popular for drivers from the start.

“The 9 mile extension – from below Dumfries down to just before 610 – was popular with drivers right from the get go…we saw a lot of folks opting to get on at that first entry point,” said McGurk.

One thing that has been somewhat of an issue on the HOV lanes, and now the toll lanes, are individuals sitting on the shoulder with their vehicle, waiting for road restrictions to be lifted. To respond to that issue, Transurban has partnered with the Virginia State Police to increase their presence in the shoulder areas.

There were two things that McGurk stressed for drivers that intend to use the toll lanes – check your device before your trip to ensure it’s toggled in the right mode (commuter or single driver). And, if you are new to the lanes and drive without an EZ-Pass, reach out to Transurban before getting an invoice for your toll.

“If you take the 95 Express Lanes without an EZ-Pass, what you can do is you can either call our customer service center or go online and if it’s within five days of your trip, you can actually search for your trip and settle the cost of your tolls,” said McGurk.

They also have a first-time forgiveness program for drivers on the Express lanes.

“Look, if it’s your first time getting an invoice – maybe you didn’t know you needed an EZ-Pass, maybe you didn’t have funding on your EZ-Pass – if you call us after getting that invoice, and it’s your first time, we’ll waive all of the fees and just take payment of your toll,” McGurk commented.

If you’re planning use the toll lanes, it’s also important to note that the toll rates change, according to McGurk, based on real-time traffic.

While Transurban plans to use the toll revenue to recoup the cost of front loading the project initially, there are plans in the works to have a revenue sharing agreement. This agreement could be used to fund future VDOT projects, McGurk commented.

More information on the 95 Express lanes from a release:

All information is from December 29, 2014 to January 31, 2015.

95% of weekday 95 Express Lanes customers are traveling with an E-ZPass or E-ZPass Flex

33% of weekday trips are HOV-3+ carpoolers who enjoy a toll-free trip at all hours of the day

The average dynamic toll price on the 95 Express Lanes is $4.01

Since we opened just over a month ago, we have seen more than 200,000 unique customers traveling with an E-ZPass or E-ZPass Flex who have gotten a faster and more predictable trip on the 95 Express Lanes

Nearly 30% of 95 Express Lanes customers have also taken a trip on the 495 Express Lanes during this period, taking advantage of the network of Express Lanes. With the 495 and 95 Express Lanes drivers now have an option to travel at highway speeds for more than 40 miles from Stafford to Tysons Corner

Average weekday toll revenue of nearly $103,000 and average weekday trips just over 37,000. The first quarterly traffic and revenue report with 95 Express Lanes data will be issued in April.

53 days later, what we don’t know about a Stafford Christmastime stabbing

[Photo by: Diane Elkins McCutcheon]

Drivers passing by saw blood on the pavement outside a popular shopping destination in the days leading up to Christmas.

According to the Stafford sheriff’s office, two men were involved in road rage argument. The men got out of their cars, and one stabbed the other. A victim was taken to a local hospital.

All of this happened in broad daylight 53 days ago outside a Walmart in North Stafford, during the height of the Christmas shopping rush. To date, investigators at the sheriff’s office are still working in the case.

No new information about the case has been released. Nothing, from the victim’s age, to condition, to what investigators discovered about the moments leading up to the violent confrontation, has been spoken about by authorities to the public.

There are no charges in the case.

There was, back on Dec. 21 when the stabbing took place, a bloody scene on the roadway following the stabbing. A photo was sent to Potomac Local by a driver happening to drive by the scene following the incident. That’s the photo we used in this story.

Emergency crews used water to wash away the blood on the pavement, and traffic on the street resumed as normal.

R-Board revises landfill fee system

The Rappahannock Regional Solid Waste Management Board (R-Board) met Monday to readdress the newly instituted fee system for the landfills being used by Stafford County and City of Fredericksburg residents.

At an earlier meeting, they had voted for a new fee system, which would cost residents up to $12 a load to drop off their garbage at an area landfill.

After community concern about the high fee system, the R-Board called a special meeting to readdress the amount of the fees.

In a 5-1 vote, the R-Board voted to remove the earlier tiered fee system, said Anthony Romanello, the Stafford County Administrator, in a release.

Now there will be a $4 cap per truckload, and the $100 rate for the annual pass to the landfills was lowered to $75.

While Paul Milde, a Stafford County Supervisor and R-Board member, is still not happy with the fee structure, he commented that the cap is better than the original $12 fee.

In addition to addressing the fee system, the R-Board discussed other options on what to do with area landfills, according to Milde.

“[We’ve been] given several options. One of them was selling [the landfill] outright, one was privatizing,” Milde said.

Another option would be a transfer station, where residents could drop off their trash at the landfill facilities, and then it would be transported elsewhere.

“You’d come to dump your trash, and it wouldn’t stay there,” said Milde. He did not feel that the idea was good for residents, but noted that many other counties use transfer stations for waste management.

Gary Snellings, a Stafford County Supervisor and another R-Board member, raised the issue of selling the landfill as a preferable option, according to Cathy Volbrecht, Director of Communications for Stafford County.

There have been no final decisions as to the future of Stafford County landfills, but the R-Board has decided to continue exploring options in future meetings.

They couldn’t solve the graphics problem in house, so JTC used their expansive network to find a solution

  • JTC, Inc.
  • Address: 9720 Capital Court, Suite 305, Manassas, Va. 20110
  • Phone: 703-794-1225
  • Website: http://www.jtcinc.net/

An architectural firm relies on graphics. When they can’t access them, that can be a problem. 

Alexis Peck is the Vice President of Design at Peck Peck & Associates, an architectural firm located in Woodbridge, Virginia that has been in business for 42 years.

Peck also heads the marketing and IT department and is a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Peck Peck and Associates needed Jewell Technical Consulting, Inc. (JTC, Inc.) to assist them with the recovery of data, lost from corrupted hard drives.

Peck explained in detail the entire process.

“We had a couple of backup hard drives for some graphics of ours from archive projects and one day when we tried to access the backups, all of the actual hard drives had been corrupted,” said Alexis Peck. “I’ll note that it was not equipment that we bought through JTC, it was something we bought years and years before they came on board and so we contacted them to see if they could help us recover the data….”

JTC, Inc. was unable to solve the problem in-house and reached out to another company for extra assistance.

“…Through JTC we worked with another company and sent the hard drive out and they were able to recover some of it (not all)…” said Peck. “It wasn’t any client information or anything like that, it wasn’t anything critical to our operations, it was just something we wanted to keep for nostalgic reasons.”

Though the other company was located out of state, Peck said overall experience was very easy.

“We did everything through JTC so they came, picked up the hard drives from us. We paid everything through them, they took care of everything.”

Peck also noted that without JTC, Inc.’s network, they would not have known what company to contact. 

Peck Peck and Associates have worked with JTC, Inc. for over four years and originally chose JTC, Inc. for two reasons:

1. JTC, Inc. had been recommended by the previous company Peck Peck and Associates employed for their IT services

2. JTC, Inc. offered the best agreement to their firm

JTC is a Microsoft Certified Partner and a Dell Authorized Partner and utilizes Microsoft and Dell technology.

The preceding post was written by Potomac Local under an agreement with Jewell Technical Consulting.

Public hearings set for proposed VRE fare increase

Virginia’s only commuter railroad says it needs to raise fares by 4% to pay for increased operations costs. Virginia Railway Express is giving its customers a chance to weigh in on the proposed increase at a series of upcoming meetings.

The transit agency says riders can find more about the fare increase on its website.

Here’s a list of upcoming meeting dates, times, and locations:

Date  Location  Time
Wednesday, February 18, 2015 Stafford County Government Center Board Chambers, 1300 Courthouse Road, Stafford, VA 22554 7 p.m.
Thursday, February 19, 2015 Holiday Inn [L’Enfant], Congressional 1, 550 C. Street, S.W., Washington, DC 20024 Noon
Tuesday, February 24, 2015 Burke Centre Conservancy, “The Commons” Community Center, 9837 Burke Pond Lane, Burke, VA 22015 7 p.m.
Wednesday, February 25, 2015 Crystal City Marriott, Lincoln Room, 1999 Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington, VA 22202 Noon
Thursday, February 26, 2015 Manassas City Hall, City Council Chamber Room, 9027 Center Street, Manassas, VA 22110 7 p.m.
Tuesday, March 3, 2015 P.R.T.C. Board Room, 2nd Floor, 14700 Potomac Mills Road, Woodbridge, VA 22192 7 p.m.
Thursday, March 5, 2015  Fredericksburg City Hall,715 Princess Anne Street,Fredericksburg, VA 22401
7 p.m.

Angel Wraps project helps families cope


Shelly Madden, a stay-at-home mother in Stafford, has undertaken a project called Angel Wraps – creating blankets and wraps for stillborn babies from donated gowns.

“I donated my wedding gown a while ago, to the NICU Helping Hands. And I had a very bad miscarriage when I was younger,” Madden said.

According to Madden, the miscarriage was an influence that helped her to begin the project.

After being laid off in October of last year, Madden wanted a way to be active in the community.

“I wanted to find something…and my husband said, ‘Find something you want to get into,’ and I looked at my sewing machine one day and gave it a try,” said Madden.

After meeting with a woman in Texas that runs a similar project called Angel Gowns by Diane, Madden turned her sewing efforts to making the wraps.

“I teamed up with her and she took me under her wing. She donates gowns to Mary Washington [Hospital],” Madden commented.

Madden went to Stafford Hospital and spoke with the staff, and began donating the wraps to the Labor and Delivery unit on a monthly basis.

Each wrap is handmade and comes with two pieces – a wrap and a blanket. Madden makes an effort to uniquely decorate each wrap, including buttons and lace to make them special for the grieving parents.

“I was told [by a parent] that it made it not easier – but it comforted them,” Madden said.

A majority of the materials used to make the wraps are donations. Members of the community, family and friends have all donated their gowns and materials to help Madden create the wraps.

“I want to give everyone credit that has been a big part of this along the way,” Madden said. Groups like “SECA” and “The Hope Center” along with the private donations have allowed her to continue the project.

Currently, Madden is looking for more donations so that she can expand to other area hospitals in the future.

Capitol Steps show proceeds to benefit ‘Calling All Souls’

capitol steps, hylton, rotary

The Capitol Step will perform at the Hylton Performing Arts Center thanks to Bull Run Rotary.

The Capitol Steps are coming to the Hylton Performing Arts Center, and proceeds from the show will go to help Calling All Souls, a group that provides a helping hand in our community. 

Anyone living knows that life is not easy. It becomes harder when we lose our jobs, have to escape an abusive situation, and have to take care of a loved one. The mission of Calling All Souls (CAS) is to provide relief and restoration for families and individuals who are in the midst of life’s overwhelming situations.

They do this by providing goods and services donated by our community and delivered by our volunteers. These acts-of-love are anchored in the messages of Jesus Christ and by bringing both, we want to bring Hope where there may be none. And also show those whom we support that by Faith and with Love we can all overcome adversity. Our vision is driven by God’s word and founded in the verse “Don’t forget to do good and to share what you have because God is pleased with these kinds of sacrifices.” – Hebrews 13:16”.

The goal

By selling out the 1,200 seats at the Hylton Center, we will raise $50,000. All proceeds raised will go directly to organizations that are on the front lines helping care for, encourage, lift spirits, give hope and opportunity to our struggling neighbors.

These organizations are the unsung heroes in our community whose compassion makes our community a place to be proud of. They cannot do it alone!

Order tickets online from the Hylton Performing Arts Center or call 1-888-945-2468. If you or your business would like to sponsor the event, please contact Steve Chapman, steve@washmydeck.com by February 10.

New shops, homes, high citizen satisfaction rates: The state of Manassas is Great

business, development, location

Manassas Mayor Parrish highlights the City’s many successes in 2014

Recently, Mayor Harry J. Parrish II delivered the State of the City of Manassas address.  The address was delivered in a video message to city residents. In his address, Mayor Parrish welcomed new businesses to the city, like El Cactus, Don Lencho, The Bone, Fire House Subs, Zandras and the Olde Town Man Cave. He also spoke about expanding businesses including Heritage Brewing, Bad Wolf Brewing, Fauquier Bank and a few others. 

Mayor Parrish spoke about the many family friendly events held in the city, Manassas City Public Schools and the summer camps held by the Fire and Rescue and Police Departments for Osbourn High School Students. He talked about the citizens group who asked that City Hall be named in honor of Mayor Marvin Gillum and how their civic involvement and community spirit led not only to raise funds for the signs, but funds for the upkeep of those signs as well. 

Mayor Parrish talked about the City of Manassas’ first Citizen Satisfaction Survey held in 2014. The survey set a baseline for future surveys and will help determine priorities in coming years. This survey is available at www.manassascity.org/css. One of the findings of the survey was that city staff ranks 20 percentage points higher than the national benchmark in customer service.

Mayor Parrish also spoke about economic development for the City of Manassas including the hiring of a new Economic Development Director and a greater focus on business attraction, retention and expansion. In closing, Mayor Parrish said, “For those who appreciate independence and access, the historic City of Manassas enjoys a strategic location in Northern Virginia where Old Town charm combines with a new city spirit so you experience a sense of place, a sense of community and a sense of opportunity.  To watch the State of the City in its entirety, visit www.manassascity.org.

The preceding post was written by the City of Manassas. 

Updated: Stafford Sheriff Charles Jett to retire

Stafford fire and rescue Acting Chief Mark Lockhart, Sheriff Charles E. Jett, and ATF Special Agent Richard Marianos appear at a press conference in Stafford. [File photo: Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com]


Updated: Sheriff Charles Jett released this statement about his upcoming retirement: 

I am taking this opportunity to announce that after 37 years of service to Stafford County, in the most rewarding career I could have imagined, I have decided to retire at the end of my term in December of this year.

The highlight of my career has been the opportunity to work with some of the most selfless, courageous and dedicated men and women anywhere.  I am proud of the work that we have accomplished as a team and equally proud of the service that that team has provided to the citizens of Stafford County.  I feel confident that the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office will continue its path of excellence.

As Sheriff of Stafford County I have been the recipient of many accolades on behalf of the Sheriff’s Office, knowing full well that the credit belongs to the outstanding professionals that I have been honored to work with each and every day.  It is their commitment to the mission and core values of this department that have helped us achieve the high standards that our community expects and deserves.

It has been my high honor to serve the citizens of Stafford County for 37 years.  The opportunity to work for and assist the fine people of Stafford County has been a blessing and I will always be grateful for the support that I have received over the years from the community.

Original post

Stafford County Sheriff Charles Jett is expected to announce his retirement formally through the Sheriff’s Department tomorrow, sources say.

Sources told Stafford Local Jett made the announcement Monday night at meeting of Republicans in Stafford County.

Jett is up for re-election this year. It is not clear if the Sheriff’s Department will appoint a successor or if Jett will step down in when his term ends in November .

 Major David Decatur, the Chief Deputy for the Stafford Sheriff’s Department, is second in command at the department and is rumored to be Jett’s chosen successor.

Jett has served as sheriff since 2000. Jett has worked in law enforcement for 30 years at the Stafford Sherriff’s Department, beginning when he was just 19.

Jett is a graduate of the FBI National Academy in the 187th Session. He has held several leadership positions, including Chairman of the Virginia Law Enforcement Professional Standards Commission, the Chairman of the Criminal Justice Services Board and State Chair of Special Olympics Virginia.

Additionally, he has served on several committees, including the National Sheriffs’ Association Traffic Safety Committee, the Virginia Law Enforcement Executive Advisory Committee on Crime Prevention, the Virginia Commonwealth University Public Safety Institute Inaugural Member, and the Virginia Sheriffs’ Association.

In the Sheriff’s Department, Jett has held several positions, including Field Operations and Criminal Investigations work. During his career, he worked as a Field Operations Commander before being elected as Sheriff.

R-Board to address fees for Stafford landfill use today

The Rappahannock Regional Solid Waste Management Board (R-Board) will hold a special meeting today at 2:30p.m. to address the controversial fees now being charged to Stafford County and City of Fredericksburg residents for landfill use.

For residents attempting to drop off waste at their area landfills, they can expect to pay up to $12 per truckload, or opt for a $100 annual pass. 

In their last meeting, the R-Board passed the residential fee structure, but the fees originally agreed upon were not what were implemented after the vote, according to Paul Milde, a Stafford County Supervisor and R-Board member. 

“The Board embarrassed themselves by voting to have a complex fee structure, that was not even close to what they promised people, when they voted to have a fee,” Milde said.

Milde has been against the fees from the onset, stating that there were other options that would have carried less of a burden on residents. 

“My vision is that there wouldn’t be fees – that through a series of subsidies from the County and the City, some savings on the landfill operations, and another look at waste energy, that we wouldn’t need to,” said Milde. 

Prior to the new implementation of the fee structure, residents in Stafford County were receiving free litter pick up to the tune of around $300,000, according to Milde, which was being covered by the R-Board.

“Stafford is one of the last large counties – population wise and budget wise – to offer a free landfill services to their residents…and it was profitable, because we charged commercial haulers to dump. [But] the competition in landfills got fierce. So the amount of money we were getting for charging commercial haulers has been going down,” Milde commented.

According to Milde, to be competitive with nearby landfill facilities in Spotsylvania County, the R-Board would need to cut the rates charged for commercial haulers in half. 

Waste to energy was another option in Stafford, but became a source of controversy and was ultimately shut down by the Stafford Board of County Supervisors

“What I always wanted to do was put the litter pickup facility costs back on to the City and County respectively, and that would’ve given us some breathing room – making it not necessary for the fees,” Milde said.

When the R-Board meets this afternoon, Milde said he would support a vote on a $4 per load cap on the fees, despite his disapproval of the landfill fees in general. 

“You’re going to have to get more money somehow, but you don’t need $12 per truckload – you do $3 or $4 – and that is also what was promised,” Milde said.

2 charged after string of shootings at Stafford homes

Authorities in Stafford County say they arrested two men in connection to a string of shootings at houses in the White Oak area, outside Fredericksburg.

Here’s more in a press release:

During the week of January 26, 2015 Stafford County Deputies responded to reports of shots fired at multiple residences (6) in the White Oak area of Stafford County.  In addition, 2 residents were shot at in King George County, near the same area as the shootings in Stafford County, during the same time period.

During the next week, Stafford Deputies responded to additional shootings at dwellings in the same general area.  An intense, multiple pronged investigation was initiated complete with dozens of members of the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office as well as assistance from the King George County Sheriff’s Office.

Christopher Kerr [Stafford County Sheriff's Office]

Christopher Kerr [Stafford County Sheriff’s Office]

Stafford sheriff’s spokesman Bill Kennedy said the following men are charged:

Austin Keith Kerr, age 20, of Cherry Laurel Drive, has been charged with 2 Counts of Discharge of a Firearm in  Roadway, 2 Counts of Vandalism, 2 Counts of Reckless Handling of a Firearm, 2 Counts of While in a Motor Vehicle Discharge of a Firearm, 2 Counts of Conspire to Maliciously Discharge a Firearm Within a Dwelling While Occupied, 2 Counts of Maliciously Discharging a Firearm Within a Dwelling While Occupied, 2 Counts of Discharge of a Firearm in a Street That Did Not Result in Injury, 1 Count of Grand Larceny, 1 Count of Breaking and Entering and 1 Count of Distribution of Narcotics to a Person Under 18 Years of Age. The charges of Grand Larceny, Breaking and Entering and Distribution are the result of an incident that occurred in Stafford County earlier this year.

Christopher Patrick Kerr, age 18, of Sandy Ridge Road, cousin of Austin Kerr, has been charged with the same counts as Austin with the exception of the Grand Larceny, Breaking and Entering and Distribution of Narcotics charges.  However, Christopher Kerr is facing 2 additional Counts of Conspiracy to Shoot from Vehicle and 2 Counts of Conspiracy to Shoot at a Residential Building.  Both men are currently incarcerated in the Rappahannock Regional Jail under no bond.  This investigation is ongoing and additional charges for the other shootings against both Kerrs will forth coming. A search warrant was executed during the arrests which has resulted in evidence being recovered linking both men to the shootings.

A tip led investigators to the two men, said Kennedy: 

Austin Kerr and Christopher Kerr came to the attention of the Sheriff’s Office thanks to the solid investigation work of the Stafford County Detectives and corroborative tips from local citizens.  Both men were located at a hotel in north Stafford County.  Members of the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office SWAT Team, Stafford Detectives and the Patrol Division took both men into custody as they were about to leave the hotel, in their vehicle this afternoon, Saturday, February 7, 2015.  They were taken into custody without incident.

Hilarious, heartfelt: ‘Laughs and Love’ — A night you will remember!

capitol steps, hylton, rotary

The Capitol Step will perform at the Hylton Performing Arts Center thanks to Bull Run Rotary.

On Feb. 21, don’t miss Bull Run Rotary’s Laughs and Love benefit, at the beautiful Hylton Center featuring the Capitol Steps.

Why laughs and love? Here’s the love:

One of the greatest benefits of business ownership is being able to be part of give back to our community. Those who have faced hardship are struggling and in need.

Washmydeck.com is a seasonal business. We have a small fleet of vehicles that get lots of use eight months of the year. This leaves four months that where we can use our vehicles to help families in need have reliable transportation in order to help them work and get on their feet. We just look at it as doing a small part, with the resources we have.

Bull Run Rotary is doing it BIG by celebrating five hero organizations whose hard work day in and day out enriches the lives of those around us.

On one night, we set an ambitious goal to raise $50,000 to help abused children find security, battered women feel safe, families who have had hardship achieve the American dream of home ownership, and help feed our neighbors who live in tents in the woods.

Please help Bull Run Rotary in supporting CASA, Calling All Souls, Habitat for Humanity of Prince William County, Transitional Housing BARN, and Therapeutic Riding Rainbow Center, it promises to be a night to remember.

Oh yeah, there will be laughs!

Have you seen the hilarious Capitol Steps? They put the MOCK in Democracy with their song parody of political current events. The night will also have some surprise big VIPs. Regardless of your political leanings this is sure to be a night you will be talking about for some time.

Purchase tickets online at the Hylton Performing Arts Center box office.

See you there,

Steve Chapman, Founder, and President Washmydeck.com

Stafford Sheriff requests help to identify shooter

On Thursday, the Stafford Sheriff’s Department responded to a call about shots being fired in a residential area on Forest Lane Road for the second time in the past month. While no one was injured, there is property damage to some of the homes near the incident.

The Sheriff’s Department has been unable to locate the shooter or shooters involved in the incidents, and are asking Stafford residents to help identify them.

More from a Stafford Sheriff’s Department press release:

The Stafford County Sheriff’s Office is requesting citizens’ assistance in identifying the person or persons responsible for shooting at several occupied residences on Forest Lane Road, in the White Oak area of Stafford County.

Stafford Deputies responded to a call of shots fired at residences on Forest Lane Road (4 residences) at 11:30 pm last night, Thursday, February 5, 2015. When deputies arrived on scene they were told by the home owners that their house had been shot at by what appears to be some type of rifle. The residences have received damage in the sides of the house or the windows. In some instances the projectiles actually entered the residence. No one has been hurt by these shootings.    Stafford Deputies responded to 4 residences on Forest Lane Road for a report of shots fired at residences during the week of January 26, 2015 as well.

“We are dedicating every asset of the Sheriff’s Office to identify and arrest the individual or individuals responsible for these senseless, dangerous acts,” states Stafford Sheriff Charles Jett.   “Working together with the community, these criminals will be found.”

Due to the sensitivity of the ongoing investigation, and at the request of the residents whose homes were shot at, members of the media are respectively asked to not interview the victims in these incidents.

Anyone who has seen or heard anything suspicious during this time period in the area of the shootings or has any information as to the identity of the person or persons responsible for these shootings is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office at 540-658-4400, call Stafford Crime Solvers at 540-659-2020 (callers may remain anonymous) or TEXT “Stafford” + your tip to CRIMES (274637).

Stafford Board to apply for $162K for Mine Road improvements

The Stafford County Board of Supervisors has decided to move forward with making sidewalk improvements on Mine Road.

This project would happen along Mine Road, starting at Highpointe Boulevard, and ending at Cathedral Lane.

In order to obtain the funding needed to complete the project, the Board will submit an application the Fredericksburg Transportation Management Area (TMA). The TMA currently has $162, 672 in available funding for these types improvement projects.

According to Jack Cavalier, Supervisor for the Griffis-Widewater district, the improvements to Mine Road are among the County’s top priorities.

“The Mine Road sidewalk project is among the County’s highest priorities to accommodate pedestrians safely and efficiently. If constructed, the proposed sidewalk project will connect to other existing sidewalks in the area, providing a network of opportunities for bicycle and pedestrian traffic to travel safely to and from existing and commercial developments. It will provide for safer access along a busy roadway that is frequently used by pedestrians traveling between their homes and commercial areas,” said Cavalier.

The Board would need to match the funding from the TMA with local funds in the amount of $40,688, according to Cavalier.

The application for funding Mine Road improvements will be considered at the Fredericksburg Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Technical Committee meeting in March.

If approved, the funding and application for the project would be handed over to the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and added to their Six-Year Improvement Program.

And while the road improvements will help many Stafford residents, there may be some challenges up ahead to get the project completed.

“While constructing a sidewalk may not seem complicated, there are a number of unique factors that make this project challenging including the fact that part of the sidewalk has to go over a creek, and we may have to expand the culvert that is under the road to accommodate the sidewalk,” Cavalier said.

The Board is considering additional grant requests for the future, to complete the sidewalk on Mine Road.

‘Next generation 9-1-1′ system to cost Stafford over $800K, includes texting option

The Stafford County Sheriff’s Department will be getting a new 9-1-1 emergency calling system that will cost $807, 540, to serve more than 136,000 Stafford County residents.

According to Carol Adams, ECC Director at the Stafford Sheriff’s Department, the changes are necessary, as the current emergency calling system has become obsolete.

“The current system that we’re using was installed in the mid-90s, and it was upgraded about eight years ago when we moved into this [current] building. But it has reached its end of life and is no longer supported by the vendor. So we were in a position where we had to go and look for something else,” Adams said.

The large cost was approved by the Stafford Board of Supervisors. The project is being funded through a $150,000 grant, the Sheriff’s 2015 maintenance budget and partial 2014 funds that were held when the project first began moving forward, according to the Board of Supervisors agenda.

“The cost comes from the system itself, and what we’ve been trying to do throughout the entire requests for proposals and procurement process is to make sure that the system we do put in place will meet not just the current needs of Stafford County – but the future needs as technology changes,” said Adams.

Robert Weaver, a PSC Supervisor for the Manassas City Police Department, stated that the cost for an emergency calling system of that size was appropriate for the figure allocated for Stafford’s upcoming system.

“For the City of Manassas – we’re a five station answering system – and for us to get what we needed to get, we’re talking about almost $500,000,” Weaver said.

One thing that the Sheriff’s Department is looking for, according to Adams, is a new system that will be able to integrate with upcoming technology for future 9-1-1 calling – being termed ‘next generation 9-1-1’.

“… eventually [you’ll] be able to text to 9-1-1 as well as send pictures, send video and real time events as they’re happening into 9-1-1,” said Adams, continuing, “That technology is a ways off.”

But one thing that residents in Stafford may be able to see in the near future is the advent of text to 9-1-1. This will allow residents in need to submit a text message to 9-1-1, versus a voice call.

“We’re always going to look for people to make that voice call before they make that text call because there’s information we can glean from a voice call. But there are people within the community that will definitely benefit – the deaf and hard of hearing, those that are in domestic situations that can’t talk to us – so those are two communities right off the bat that will see benefit from text to 9-1-1,” said Adams.

While the text to 9-1-1 features won’t be available immediately – even with Stafford’s new emergency calling system – the system will have features that will help dispatchers work more effectively.

“The system that we’re looking at does have an integrated map with it that does allow a dispatcher to be able to see clusters of calls, and be able to prioritize sometimes how they answer those calls,” commented Adams.

Since the Board of Supervisors has already approved the funding for the project, the Sheriff’s Department is moving ahead. They will be able to select a vendor for the project contract as soon as the Stafford County Administrator signs off on it.

Adams expects that the new system will be operational and in use by June of this year.

Missing endangered teen suspected of leaving Stafford County

A teenager who went missing in Stafford County is now believed to have traveled outside the area.

Authorities searching for 17-year-old James “Daniel” Martson suspended their efforts Friday after searching for two days and two nights, said Stafford sheriff’s spokesman Bill Kennedy.

Officials are mum about where the teenager might have gone. The sheriff’s office called in assistance from various other agencies to aid in the search, said Kennedy.

Authorities reported the missing teenager as endangered when he left his home in Stafford County near Fredericksburg. He was last seen wearing dark blue jeans, a black hoodie, and a plaid jacket.

6 tips for good health from Mary Washington Healthcare

Dr. Vranian’s Quick Tips for Good Health

1. Minimize meat consumption

2. Avoid “white” foods — Foods that have had the shell of the grain removed

3. Eat plenty of colored vegetables

4. Stay away from saturated fats, like heavy dressings and sweets

5. Exercise 30 minutes/day at least 3 – 5 days per week

6. Find some thing or somebody to love

- by Dr. Robert Vranian, Cardiologist, Mary Washington Healthcare

KO Distilleries opening in the City of Manassas

KO Distilleries

On Jan. 29, KO Distilleries, a new business in the City of Manassas, opened their doors for a “keel laying.” This is a nautical term for the start of a ship’s construction and is appropriate for this business as both owners are graduates of the Merchant Marine Academy.

Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore, Mayor Harry J. Parrish II as well as other City Council members, business owners and residents were onsite to welcome this new industry to the City of Manassas. KO Distilleries, located at 10381 Central Park Drive, will manufacture, store and sell distilled spirits, including bourbon, rye whiskey, corn whiskey, gin, vodka and rum. The distillery will have a visitors center for tours, tastings, merchandise sales and special events.

Owners Bill Karlson and John O’Mara will open their doors in the spring of 2015. This is only the 19th distillery in the Commonwealth of Virginia and is on the forefront of an emerging industry trend. Historic Manassas, Inc. helped the City and KO Distilleries with the event and many members of the Prince William Chamber of Commerce welcomed the new owners as members of the Chamber.


The preceding post was written by the City of Manassas. 

Stafford rescue crews called to head-on crash on Route 1

A driver and three children were taken to a hospital after being in a car crash in Stafford County.

The crash, reported as a head-on collision about 1 p.m. on Sunday, occurred in the 3600 block of Jefferson Davis Highway just south of the Quantico Corporate Center at Boswell’s Corner.

The second vehicle had two occupants inside but both refused treatment at a local hospital, said Stafford fire and rescue spokesman Mark Doyle.

The conditions of the those taken to the hospital were not released. 

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