Animals to adopt at Stafford SPCA


Shae [Karen Presecan Photography]
Bitsy [Karen Presecan Photography]

The following animals are available for adoption at Stafford County SPCA. 
Bitsy is an approximately 9 week old, female, Bombay mix kitty. She is a very playful little gal, but is quick to cuddle up in your lap when she gets all tuckered out! Bitsy is FIV/FeLV negative, UTD on her kitten shots, and is looking for her forever home! We are currently accepting applications for Bitsy at:
Shae is an approximately 9 week old, female, Corgi/mystery mutt mix. Shae is a chill pup that loves to play with her brothers, sisters, and everyone she meets. She may or may not have supersonic hearing with those big ol’ ears! We are currently accepting applications for Shae and her siblings at

New skate park coming to Manassas

Vice Mayor Way, Councilman Wolfe and Councilwoman Bass stand with skater Oscar Medrano.

On Sunday, July 19, Vice Mayor Jon Way and Councilmembers Mark Wolfe and Sheryl Bass joined skater Oscar Medrano, a rising senior from Osbourn High School and others to break ground on a new skate park at Jennie Dean Park.  

This park will replace the Old Town Skate Park that had to be torn down to make room for the new Baldwin Elementary and Intermediate School.

This new park will feature a concrete surface, a huge upgrade from the asphalt surface from the previous skate park. It will also include several new features such as grind boxes, and new rail and bank ramps. In an effort to be earth conscious, the previous ramps will be refurbished and located within the new skate park.

Community Development Director Liz Via-Gossman credited skate boarders Oscar Medrano and Diego Patrick for coming forward when the new school was first being discussed to press City officials to provide a place for skateboarding. 

“The kids, most of them city residents from our schools, spoke at public hearings and hosted city officials at a skate competition to show us how important their skate park was to them,” said Via-Gossman.

The skateboarders formed a committee to work with City staff on the improved design within an acceptable budget.  The new skate park replaces two under-utilized basketball courts that will be replaced elsewhere in the park when Jennie Dean Park undergoes an updated master plan effort later in the year.

A grand opening is planned for Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015.  The park was designed by American Ramp Company from Joplin, MO and the new features are being constructed at their plant in Missouri.  The concrete work is being completed by Toro Concrete, Inc.  

Express Lane drivers see purple

Purple Lane Striping 3

There are new purple stripes on the 495 and 95 Express Lanes.

According to a Transurban release, the purple 4-inch stripes were added to the yellow and white road lines that precede entry points on to the Express Lanes.

The purple stripes were added to help signal to drivers that they are about to enter the Express Lanes, stated a Transurban release.

Stafford fire crews douse blaze on Longwood Drive


House fire on Longwood Drive. [Mark Doyle / Stafford County Fire and Rescue Department]
Several fire apparatus were dispatched to the fire. [Photo: Mary Davidson]
A fire broke out at a home at 138 Longwood Drive this morning. [Photo: Mary Davidson]
Smoke could be seen billowing for miles. [Photo: Mary Davidson]
The fire started on the second floor. [Photo: Mary Davidson]

Update 3:45 p.m. 

One firefighter was taken to a local hospital after becoming sick at a house fire on Longwood Drive. The firefighter was said to be in stable condition on Friday afternoon, said Stafford fire and rescue spokesman Mark Doyle.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Original post 8:46 a.m. 

A fire broke out at a home at 138 Longwood Drive about 8:30 a.m.

Stafford County fire and rescue crews rushed to the scene off Route 610 in North Stafford. Smoke could be seen billowing for miles.

The fire started on the second floor of the home and extended into the attic. The home is vacant, according to initial information.

Several fire apparatus were dispatched to the fire. Officials were directed to call Prince William County, Quantico, and Fredericksburg fire departments to assist some of the Stafford County fire stations with temporary replacement crews. 

More as we have it.

Phone scammers posing as Stafford sheriff’s office


Scammers are posing as the Stafford sheriff’s office to take money from unsuspecting residents.

According to a Stafford sheriff’s office release, residents are getting calls from individuals posing as representatives from the office that are fundraising money for programs.

More from a Stafford sheriff’s office release:

The Stafford County Sheriff’s Office is starting to receive calls from concerned citizens who have gotten calls from individuals who say they represent the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office and are collecting money for a variety of programs.  Once the citizen commits to donating funds a follow up call then comes from the same individual who then states that they are calling on behalf of the Fraternal Order of Police and they represent the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office.

The Stafford County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind citizens that the Sheriff’s Office never solicits funds over the phone.  The Sheriff’s Office is requesting that if any Stafford County resident has received such a call to contact Detective Eric Chinault or Detective Joe Duggins at 540-658-4450.

Stafford touts strong economy for AAA bond rating upgrade


Stafford joins an elite ranking of counties that have an AAA bond rating.

The new rating by Standards and Poors in New York City will allow the county to borrow money for capital projects and other needs at lower interest rates.

Stafford County Board of Supervisors Chairman Gary Snellings, George Washington District Supervisor Bob Thomas, and the chairman of the county’s budget and finance commission traveled to New York City to meeting with the financial rating agency just prior to the Independence Day holiday earlier this month.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to say as a result of that trip, and as a result of your hard work, Standard and Poors has awarded Stafford County with its highest distinction: a AAA bond rating,” said Snellings.

Stafford now joins 22 other counties in Virginia, including Prince William, that have AAA bond ratings. Stafford and Prince William are the only two counties in the Northern Virginia region to have been awarded the honor.

The credit rating agency credited Stafford’s strong economy, large cash reserves, and effective management.

“We never let the great recession hold us back,” said Stafford County Administrator Anthony Romanello.

Stafford officials also touted strong job growth at the AAA bond rating announcement on the steps of the county government center on Tuesday. Stafford now boasts 40,000 local jobs – one for each household — in the county. Romanello said efforts to attract new employers will continue to keep more commuters off the highways and to work locally.

Stafford’s bond rating was increased from AA+ to AAA. Romanello said only 4% of counties in the U.S. had been awarded this rating. His mission now, he said, is to secure AAA bond ratings with all three major credit rating bureaus.

“It’s difficult to achieve an AAA bond rating, and it’s even harder to maintain a AAA bond rating,” said Romanello.

Prompt action and cooperation needed to clean the Potomac River


This past week, the senior member of Virginia’s congressional delegation introduced legislation to remove the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ability to hold Virginia accountable for failing to clean up the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay.  People should be deeply disturbed. The Potomac provides drinking water to five million people.

A Rich History

The Potomac River was once a bountiful asset and source of employment.  In 1604, Captain John Smith wrote of fish so plentiful he could spear them with his sword, oysters that “lay as thick as stones” and schools of fish so plentiful that his men attempted to catch them with frying pans. 

One of General George Washington’s most profitable operations was his fishery.  In 1772, he caught over one million herring and 10,000 shad.  In 1886, one report estimated that 750 million shad were taken from the Potomac River during the eight-week season.  At the turn of the century, a Northern Virginia fisherman used a net with over five miles of total sweep operated by 100 men and eight horses.  Pre-World War II census tables reveal hundreds of Fairfax, Prince William and Stafford County citizens employed in fishing and aquaculture.    

The River’s Decline

Between 1950 and 1970, the picture changed.   Potomac fish populations and employment plummeted because of degraded water quality.  Poor water quality in the Chesapeake Bay caused similar population crashes in other species such as oysters and menhaden.  Today, there is only one family on Mason Neck still licensed as commercial fishermen in Fairfax County. 

Each year, Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality continues to list the Potomac estuaries as impaired for fish consumption and recreational uses due to PCB contamination and prevalence of e-coli bacteria and fecal coliform (largely from livestock and pet waste).  Lake Montclair in Prince William County is impaired for mercury in fish tissue.  Significant nitrogen loads frequently cause aquatic, life-killing algae blooms in the Chesapeake Bay. 

Some causes begin with livestock practices in the Shenandoah Valley; however, some also lie here in Northern Virginia – pollution flowing into the river from our stormwater runoff.  Most pre-1985 neighborhoods have zero stormwater controls.  

Northern Virginia’s streams continue to suffer. Almost 70 percent of Fairfax County’s streams are in fair to poor condition.  In my lifetime, I found crawfish, turtles, eels and fish in the small streams in the Mount Vernon area.  Today, decades of abuse from massive stormwater flows have left many of our local streams as biologically dead, over-eroded, litter-filled ditches fed by uncontrolled sewers. 

Action Needed

The solution will require more than litter enforcement and voluntary trash cleanups.  Because of Virginia’s failure to take the major steps necessary to solve these problems, EPA is forcing action.  Congressman Bob Goodlatte’s effort to emasculate EPA’s ability to hold Virginia accountable is a giant step backward. 

Requiring farmers to keep their cows from defecating in Virginia streams should not be controversial.  An upriver community should not be able to use their portion of the river in a way that destroys the river for those who live downstream. 

Legacy sites such as Dominion Power’s coal ash dumps at Possum Point in Prince William County should not be tolerated.  Coal ash is clearly linked to water pollution, especially when coal ash holding ponds are near water.  Dominion’s proposal to place only a dirt cap on the Possum Point pond is inadequate. 

Northern Virginia also needs to act.  The construction of high-quality transit on U.S. 1 should be prioritized. Not only will it bring carefully planned redevelopment, it can also modernize storm water infrastructure. Localities also must actually fund the plans they created a decade ago to restore our watersheds by building real storm water controls, those using low-impact approaches.   

The EPA is the only agency which has the authority to force action across all state lines.  Its authority must not be undermined so that Virginia is not the only state taking action.   

We should work together to solve problems instead of fighting attempts at progress, weakening environmental protections or turning enforcement measures into partisan fights. Clean water is not a partisan issue.  The Chesapeake Bay and Potomac River are shared assets that bind the Commonwealth of Virginia together and clean water is fundamental to our survival. 

It is an honor to serve as your state delegate.  Please email me at if you have any feedback.

*Surovell is a candidate for Virginia’s 36th senate district.

Stafford woman given 5-year sentence for welfare fraud


Stafford resident Linda Denise Ramsey was convicted and sentenced to five years in jail for welfare fraud.

According to a Stafford County release, in addition to the prison time, Ramsey is required to pay the Stafford Department of Social Services $28,567 in restitution.

Following sentencing, Ramsey was taken the Rappahannock Regional Jail to start her 5-year sentence, said a Stafford release.

More on the case from Stafford County:

An investigation by the Stafford Department of Social Services (DSS) revealed that Ms. Ramsey received Food Stamp benefits from July 2009 through January 2013. She had submitted fraudulent information about two addresses as well as her income to the Stafford DSS. The investigation found that she was not living at either of the addresses on her application. In fact, she had been living with her husband, and did not submit his wage information on her application for Food Stamps. His income made her ineligible to receive the benefit. In determining eligibility and benefit level for Food Stamp applicants, Stafford DSS is required to consider who lives in the household and available income and resources of all adult household members.

2 boaters missing from Stafford County


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According to Maryland Natural Resources Police (MD NRP) public information officer Candy Thomson, a second body – presumed to be Melissa Smarr – was found north of the boat on the Charles County side of the water.

The body was that of a female, confirmed Thomson.

Thomson stated that they are attempting to positively identify both bodies, and that families will give a positive identification tonight.

Investigation into the death’s of these two individuals is ongoing, no cause has been found said Thomson.

2:30 p.m.

According to the Maryland Natural Resources Police (MD NRP), presumably found the body of Charles Zintner – one of the two boaters who went missing on the Potomac River last night.

The MD NRP found Zintner’s body 1,000 yards away from the boat. 

Original post

The search is on for two boaters who went missing Wednesday on the Potomac River.

Charles “Charlie” Zintner, 58, and Melissa Smarr, 58, were due back at the Landmark Yacht Club on Aquia Creek in Stafford County at 5 p.m. Wednesday. At 11 p.m., the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office notified the U.S. Coast Guard that the 19-foot vessel the two were aboard never returned.

The vessel was later found by a Maryland State Police helicopter about a mile off Aquia Creek. Today along with the Coast Guard, authorities in Charles County, Md. and Stafford County are trying to find the missing boaters.

“We are trying to figure out in they’re in the water, if they swam to shore, or if someone else came along and picked them up and didn’t return. But it looked like someone had planned to return to the vessel,” said David Marin, U.S. Coast Guard spokesman.

Both Zintner and Smarr frequented the tiny private marina on the Aquia Creek. It was not like the two of them to be out on the water late at night, said Stafford sheriff’s spokesman Bill Kennedy.

The sheriff’s office towed a pickup that belonged to one of the missing boaters from the yacht club this morning. The truck will be searched for any clues that may shed some light on what led up to the couple’s boat trip and disappearance.

While the Coast Guard and authorities in Maryland are searching the water for the missing boaters, Stafford investigators are treating this as a missing persons case.

Potomac Local has learned Zintner is recently retired from the Marine Corps Systems Command after serving in the armed forces. He had also worked for the Department of Defense. 

Zintner and Smarr had been together for multiple years. Zintner loves dogs, riding horses and motorcycles, and the Green Bay Packers, according to a source. 

Keep Reading…

There’s yellow drinking water in south Stafford, officials say


Some Stafford residents may see discolored yellowish water coming from their taps.

According to a Stafford release, the water is safe to drink and will not cause any problems, and there is no need to boil it first. But the county is asking that residents refrain from doing laundry because it could stain clothing.

Stafford County stated that the discoloration is because of a high level of manganese – which happens naturally – at the Lake Mooney Reservoir. The reason for the higher levels of manganese is the recent heavy rains, said Stafford spokeswoman Shannon Howell.

The Lake Mooney Reservoir primarily serves residents in southern Stafford.

Staff at the Lake Mooney Reservoir have made modifications at the facility to reduce the amount of manganese coming in, and are working to flush out the system to get the water cleared up, said a Stafford release.

Three arrested for Stafford bank robbery, following long K-9, helicopter search



The identities of the three individuals arrested by the Stafford sheriff’s office – following a bank robbery yesterday – have been released.

The three individuals are 35-year old Richmond man Jerome Anderson, 28-year old Richmond man Anthony Washington and 21-year old Richmond man Tyrone Jones.

Anderson, Washington and Jones have all been charged with one count of robbery, one count of conspiracy to commit a robbery, one count of possession of stolen property and one count of grand larceny.

The men are being held at the Rappahannock Regional Jail with no bond.

More from a Stafford sheriff’s office release:

The charge of 1 Count of Possession of Stolen Property is the result of the fact that the three suspects were driving a car reported stolen out of Henrico County, Virginia.  The preliminary investigation indicates that the suspects were in the vehicle after leaving the bank but abandoned it on Truslow Road shortly after the robbery.

“The hard work of the Stafford Sheriff’s Office Deputies and the assistance of additional personnel from several other law enforcement agencies played a key role in locating these dangerous criminals,” states Sheriff Charles Jett.  “The other key factor in these arrests was the numerous citizens who took the time to call the Sheriff’s Office throughout the search and provide the possible location of the two suspects who were trying to evade capture.  The partnership between the citizens and the law enforcement community brought these suspects to justice.”

Original post

Yesterday afternoon there was a bank robbery at the Union 1st Market Bank on Warrenton Road in Stafford County.

According to the Stafford sheriff’s office, employees at the bank stated than an individual entered the bank and handed the employee a note to demand money.

The individual fled the scene and was last seen running through a field behind the bank, said the Stafford sheriff’s office.

Deputies set up a perimeter around the bank and searched for the individual with K-9 units. According to the Stafford sheriff’s office, witnesses to the robbery stated there may be two additional individuals involved.

Shortly after the robbery, the individual matching the description by a witness was seen walking down Truslow Road, said the Stafford sheriff’s office. The individual was taken into custody.

Additional deputies, detectives and K-9 units, along with a helicopter provided by the Maryland State Police, searched the area where the individual was arrested to look for the two other potential suspects. Following a 4-hour search, the two individuals were spotted running into the wooded area of Abel Lake, said the Stafford sheriff’s office.

A K-9 unit was able to locate the two individuals, who have been taken into custody, stated the Stafford sheriff’s office.

According to the Stafford sheriff’s office, units from the Fredericksburg Police Department, the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office and the Maryland State Police all participated in locating and apprehending the individuals.

Information about the suspects and their charges will be provided today, said the Stafford sheriff’s office.

16-year former Stafford supervisor to run again in Rock Hill


Former Stafford supervisor Robert Gibbons has announced he will run this year in the Rock Hill district.

Wendy Maurer was named the Republican nominee for the seat, following a primary on June 8.

According to a release, Gibbons began his political career in the 1980s, and is a business owner and a retired veteran.

Gibbons spent 16 years on the Stafford County Board of Supervisors.

During his time as a supervisor, he worked with the board on constructing courthouse buildings, the Stafford airport, the regional landfill, Centreport Parkway, establishing a University of Mary Washington campus in Southern Stafford and creating the Fredericksburg Regional Transit (FRED) bus system, stated a release.

“Between the beauty, safety, and strong education available in our region, not to mention the strong opportunities for business owners, Stafford County will only continue growing. It’s important that county leaders are able to support that growth without unduly burdening residents and while maintaining the area characteristics that make the county such an inviting place,” stated Gibbons.

During his candidacy, Gibbons would like to address continued expansion of the I-95 Express Lanes.

Mr. Postal holds ribbon cutting at North Stafford store


Mr. Postal ribbon cutting.
Mr. Postal ribbon cutting.
Mr. Postal ribbon cutting.
Mr. Postal ribbon cutting.
Mr. Postal ribbon cutting.
Mr. Postal ribbon cutting.

Mr. Postal held a ribbon cutting at its location at 2769 Jefferson Davis Highway in North Stafford.

Now under new ownership, retail center was formerly known as the Pack N Ship Store.

Several members of the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce were in attendance. Margaritas, wine, and champagne was served at the event.

I-95 traffic already congested for upcoming July 4 weekend


For those planning to head out of the area for the Fourth of July weekend – prepare for some heavy traffic.

Currently Interstate 95 going southbound in North Stafford was already seeing congestion at 9 a.m. this morning.

Additionally, there will be some lane changes for those traveling on the I-95 Express Lanes this weekend.

More on the changes from Transurban:

Friday, July 3:  No changes to reversal time.  The reversal from northbound (NB) to southbound (SB) will begin around 11 a.m. with the SB lanes open around 1 p.m.  

Saturday, July 4: 

Reversal from SB to NB will begin at midnight with the NB lanes open around 2 a.m.

Reversal from NB to SB will begin around 7 p.m. with the SB lanes open around 9 p.m.

Sunday, July 5:  Reversal from SB to NB will at midnight with the NB lanes open around 2 a.m.

Monday, July 6:  No changes to reversal time.  The reversal from NB to SB will begin around 11 a.m. with the SB lanes open around 1 p.m.  

SoberRide offers free cab rides on July 4


Make sure 11666199_871854766197291_5909740074273665784_nthat your Fourth of July is both fun and safe.

The Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP) is offering their SoberRide program from 10 p.m. on July 4 to 4 a.m. on July 5.

According to a WRAP release, individuals can receive a free cab ride home, up to a $30 fare.

In order to utilize the program, riders must be 21 years and older.

More on July 4’s SoberRide program:

Important note: All requests for SoberRide service must be called to and dispatched from 1-800-200-8294. Do not call a taxi company directly for SoberRide service as the ride will not be covered under this program.

General SoberRide Information
WRAP’s SoberRide , called one of the nation’s most successful free cab ride programs for would-be impaired drivers, has helped to ensure greater Washington, DC residents have a safe way home on high-risk holidays. Since 1993, WRAP has provided over 62,536 safe rides home. Currently, SoberRide operates during the December/January holiday season, St. Patrick’s Day, CInco de Mayo, Independence Day and Halloween.
WRAP’s SoberRide provides a free cab ride home up to a $30 fare.
Callers are financially responsible for anything over $30.

You must be 21 or older to use the SoberRide service. All calls must originate in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties in Maryland; the Cities of Rockville, Bowie, College Park, Gaithersburg, Greenbelt and Takoma Park in Maryland; the District of Columbia; Arlington, Fairfax, Prince William and Eastern Loudoun Counties in Virginia; and the Cities of Alexandria, Falls Church, Fairfax, Manassas and Manassas Park in Virginia.

You cannot reserve a SoberRide or schedule a pickup in advance. To receive a ride, you must call 1-800-200-8294 (TAXI) during the program hours. A SoberRide call operator will direct your request to the correct participating cab company.

Participating Taxi Companies:
Alexandria Yellow Cab (Alexandria)
Barwood, Inc. (Montgomery County)
Fairfax Yellow Cab (Fairfax County)
Loudoun Yellow Cab (Eastern Loudoun County)
Northern Virginia Checker (Prince William County)
Red Top Cab Company (Arlington County)
Silver Cab of Prince George’s County (Prince George’s County)
Yellow Cab of District of Columbia (District of Columbia)
Yellow Cab of Prince William County (Prince William County)
When waiting for a SoberRide, please watch for a cab from the participating taxi company in the area from which you are calling.

New Virginia traffic laws start today


Starting today, there are some new rules of the road in Virginia.

During their last session, the Virginia General Assembly made amendments to state codes that are meant to increase safety measures for bicycles, postal vehicles, and garbage trucks, among others.

One change is that any vehicle that provides roadside assistance or traffic management aide is now qualified for the “Move Over” law in Virginia, because the vehicle may have blinking or flashing warning lights. The “Move Over law mandates that drivers change lanes to allow certain vehicles, including law enforcement, room on the road to provide assistance.

Another measure is meant to keep postal workers safe. A new regulation passed in the House now requires drivers passing a mail vehicle that has blinking or amber lights on to use caution and a safe speed.

A similar regulation now requires that those passing garbage trucks on roadways that have less than four lanes have to decrease their speed to 10 miles per hour lower than the speed limit. Additionally, drivers must leave two feet of room between where they pass and the left of a vehicle.

An interesting regulation passed this legislative session protects individuals on bicycles and mopeds, as vehicles can now be cited for following too closely.

For those that have been convicted in a federal court for a DUI offense that is similar to one within Virginia law, now has the ability to petition the court in their jurisdiction for restricted driving privileges, which is found in other states. The driving privileges, according to the text of the passed bill, would be restricted to areas including their workplace and church.

Prior to this change, only individuals convicted in a Virginia court of a DUI offense could petition the court.

Animals to adopt at Stafford SPCA

Found dog
Solomon is a 7-year-old Rottweiler that is a staff and volunteer favorite. He loves playing with his basketball and getting belly rubs.
He is a pro at yard zoomies! Solomon needs a 6 foot, fully enclosed fence to run and play in. He would do best as an only pet in a home that has prior big dog experience and no young children. Solomon is neutered, UTD on vaccines, and microchipped.
Kingston is a 2-year-old, black and white, short haired kitty with lots of love to give! He is sure to entertain you with his quirky personality, while still being a cool, calm guy that enjoys the quieter moments in life. Kingston is neutered, UTD on all vaccines, and is ready for his forever home!
FOUND DOG. Beautiful white Pit / Pit Mix rescued from the road @ midnight on 06/22 in the Stafford area. The family was on their way home to Alexandria, and they took the pup home and he has been cared for there ever since.  If you have any information please call 540-657-7387.

-Information provided by the Stafford SPCA. Contact them for more information on any of the animals shown above. 

Here’s where you can check out fireworks this Fourth of July


Wondering where you can celebrate July 4 and see the fireworks in your area? Potomac Local has a list of July 4 events you can check out.

Prince William

In Prince William County there are several events you can attend to celebrate July 4, including the Dale City Parade on Dale Boulevard at 10 a.m.

More on July 4 events in Prince William:

Dale City Parade (July 4th 10 a.m. on Dale Blvd)
Leesylvania State Park Kid’s Fishing Tournament (9:00 a.m.)
Freedom Firecracker 5k Run & 1 Mile Fun Run (Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center 8:30 a.m.)
Pfitzner Stadium P-Nats Ball Game followed by fireworks show
Montclair Dolphin Beach fireworks display  (You must be an MPOA member to be on the beach.  However, you do not have to be an MPOA member to take advantage of a side-street view.)


On July 4, the City of Manassas will be hosting their Celebrate America event from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. in Downtown Manassas.

More on the excitement from the City of Manassas:

The celebration begins with the Bicycle Decorating contest. At 5 p.m. visitors are invited to take part in a Watermelon-eating contest.

Next, Judges from around the City will lend their culinary expertise to judge the Apple and Peach Pie Baking Contest. This is Americana at its best. To sign up for these contests, visit

Visitors can bring a blanket or a lawn chair to lay claim to a spot for viewing the best fireworks in Virginia. Beginning at 3 p.m., there will be children’s rides, food vendors, and other vendors. The celebration centers around the Harris Pavilion, the Manassas Museum and the Train Depot.

The City of Manassas loves pets, but pets do not love loud noises. Their ears are more sensitive and the City asks that pets be left at home in the air conditioning. This time of year, streets and sidewalks are hot enough to burn puppy paws.

Manassas Park

Fourth of July celebrations in Manassas Park include a fireworks display at Signal Hill Park, starting at 6:30 p.m.

More information on the fireworks display:

The City of Manassas Park invites you to join us Saturday, July 4th for a display you won’t want to miss. 

Free Admission
Fireworks Display at Dark
Free shuttles from VRE & City Hall Starting at 6:30pm
$5 Parking Available at 5pm – On-Site Parking: Handicap Only
Limited General Parking Across Street
PLUS! We will be having food trucks featuring: Bella Vita, Guapos, Bauji’s Kitchen, and Snowie!
No Alcohol
No fireworks allowed in park (this includes sparklers) 
Expect traffic delays from 8pm-11pm in the areas of Signal View Drive/Signal Hill Drive, Manassas Drive/Signal View Drive, Manassas Drive and Centreville Road. 


Stafford and Fredericksburg will also be celebrating that day with their Heritage Festival and fun run event.

More on the July 4 events from Stafford:

Fredericksburg’s July 4th Heritage Festival 
7:45 a.m.: Heritage Festival Five-Mile Run Sponsored by Fredericksburg Host Lions Club
6:30 a.m.: Registration at Visitor’s Center
9:30 a.m.: Heritage Day Parade Sponsored by Children’s Museum of Richmond/Fredericksburg
Downtown: Lafayette to Caroline to Princess Anne to Lafayette Prizes for Best Costume & Most Creative Bicycle
10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.: Festival of the Streets Craft Show with more than 100 vendors Sponsored by Beth Sholom Temple, Classic Car Display Sponsored by Stafford Car Club & Rosner Motor Sports, Dunk your Favorite Local Celebrity Sponsored by Rappahannock Rotary
Children’s Activities: Face Painting, Balloon Creations, Moon Bounce & Photo Booth with free pictures
Live Music: Wil Gravatt – Gravatt Entertainment, Steve Jarrell & Sons of the Beach
10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.: Ferry Farm’s Let Freedom Ring Sponsored by George Washington Foundation $1.00 admission Catch a bus or trolley from downtown or from the Eagle’s Lodge on Cool Springs Road. Ferry Farm parking will be handicapped only. Patriotic, Family Activities, Re-Enactors
1:00 p.m.: Flag Retirement Ceremony with Anthony Campbell
12:00 p.m.: Presentation of Colors — American Legion Post 290 Welcome — Matt Kelly – Councilman at Large
4:30 p.m.: Pratt Park Opens for the July 4th Spectacular Bring lawn chairs & picnic dinners Food Vendors available
6:00 p.m.- 7:00 p.m.: Quantico Marine Corps Rock and Roll Band
7:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Special Appearance by the cast of: The Wedding Singer from Riverside Center Theater 
8:00 p.m. – through the Fireworks: Quantico Marine Corps Band
9:15 p.m.: Fireworks Sponsored by City of Fredericksburg & Stafford County
View fireworks from Pratt Park or Old Mill Park. No alchoholic beverages. No sparklers. No grills. Dogs must be on leashes.


Stafford school board concerned about class size, communication


At a work session on June 27, the Stafford school board established some of their priorities for the next year.

The school board had an efficiency study for the school system conducted by Evergreen Solutions, LLC, which led to 16 recommendations that the school board reviewed.

Of the 16, two items in particular were selected as top priorities for the coming school year – one related to strategic planning, and another being a communication plan.

More from a Stafford school board release:

The Board would like Superintendent W. Bruce Benson to develop a plan to review and revise the division’s vision, mission, and goals, and identify measurable outcomes and strategies connected to desired outcomes. The Board requested that a Superintendent’s Strategic Planning Committee be developed. The committee representation shall include School Board members, parents, teachers, administrators, and government and community leaders.

The second area identified was communication. It was noted that the division does not have a formal communication plan and division-level communication often appears reactive.

Additionally, during the work session, school board members voiced their concerns about class size. An analysis of class sizes from 2014 to 2015 showed numbers were higher than school board members felt comfortable with, according to a release.

Members of the school board advised the Superintendent to draft staffing and class recommendations for the next year’s 2016-2017 budget to address the issue, said a school release.

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