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Stafford

Anne Kadis Wins Stafford County 350th Art Competition

Local artist Anne Kadis envisioned marrying Stafford’s rich history with modern day life in her award-winning work “History Lessons.” Ms. Kadis won the Commemorative Art Piece Competition sponsored by 350th Anniversary partner The Professional Artists and Artisans Association of Stafford County (PAAASC). Limited edition prints of “History Lessons” will be offered as a thank you to the many volunteers who have helped make the 350th Anniversary a success.

“Without our many volunteers, we would not have been able to pull off the events and programming this year,” said Chairman of the 350th Anniversary Blue Ribbon Committee Harry Crisp. “We wanted to do something special for them and I think this lovely print will remind them of this special year and their important role in it.”

Ms. Kadis said this is the first painting she completely staged. She wanted to depict the strong roles of African-American women in the lives of children like the young George Washington as well as pay tribute to the role of Stafford County as being part of the “Freedom Trail” slaves used to escape. The quilt in the painting is an heirloom belonging to Ms. Kadis’ family. The setting for the painting is the front porch of Concord, a home built in 1790 in Stafford that belongs to local historians Rick and Jerrilynn MacGregor. The original painting is on display in the lobby of the George L. Gordon, Jr., Government Center, 1300 Courthouse Road, Stafford, VA 22554.

Stafford’s 350th Anniversary Celebration is still going strong! The Wings and Wheels Festival takes place on Saturday, October 18, 2014, where Stafford will honor its strong military heritage. The Trail to Freedom Tour and the Rowser African-American History Wall dedication follow on Saturday, November 1, 2014. Personalized bricks are still available to support these two events as well as other 350th Anniversary programming. The bricks will be placed at the Rowser Building. For more information, visit www.stafford350.com. 

It’s Too Hot Outside This 1st Day of School for Outdoor Activities

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STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. – It’s the first day of school and already some activities are already canceled. 

This is what SCPS posted to their Facebook page: 

 All Outdoor Activities Canceled at Stafford Schools for Tuesday, September 2 All outside activities at all Stafford County Schools have been canceled due to heat index/temperatures. This includes elementary school recess, all physical education classes, and middle and high school after-school athletic and after-school activities. High School games will be rescheduled and afternoon and evening practices may be moved indoors. Please contact the individual school with any questions regarding rescheduling or practices.

At 1:30 p.m., the temperature in Stafford County was 90 degrees with scattered thunderstorms in the forecast, according to the National Weather Service. I’ll be hot again tomorrow with highs in the upper 80s. 

Stafford County Parents Greeted by New Security System at Schools

It’s the first day of school across the area today. For nearly everyone — especially those with children — summer has come to a close.

Students in Stafford County are going back to school today, and the school division wants parents to know their child is a bit safer thanks to precautions put in place at the front door of the school. 

Here’s more in a press release:

In an effort to increase the security of its schools and facilities, Stafford County Public Schools is installing a video intercom entry system at each of its 30 schools and 4 operating sites.

The system, called AIPHONE, will be installed at the main school entrance and allow the main entrance doors to be locked during the school day and still permit visitors to enter (all exterior school doors are locked during the school day).  Visitors will push a button on an intercom located on the wall by the main front door of the school.  A security camera at the door will allow a school staff member to view the visitor on a screen inside the building.  The visitor will be asked for identification and the reason of the visit.

Once the visitor is approved by the staff member, an electronic door lock will be released so that the visitor may enter the building.  As is current practice, upon entry into the school, visitors will sign-in at the office and obtain a visitor’s badge. A photo identification card (driver’s license, state ID card or military ID) is required to sign-in.  In the event school staff believes the person requesting entry is a danger to the students or staff, entry into the building will not be allowed.

Installation of this system is taking place this summer for the majority of schools and facilities.  Several schools will have the system installed in 2015 and 2016 as part of ongoing or planned construction projects.  

SCPS asks for the cooperation of all parents and school visitors as this security enhancement is implemented.  We encouraged parents to visit their child’s school prior to the school year to become familiar with this new security feature.  

Stafford Spending $101,340 on Modems for Waste Water Pump Stations

One of Stafford County's 89 pump stations. [Photo: Stafford County Government]

STAFFORD, Va. – Computers, your cell phone and, yes, even waste water pump stations rely on transmitting data wirelessly.  

Stafford County is giving $101,340 to Sterling Engineering Solutions – the sole bidder on a project, according to county documents — to replace modems on 89 waste water pumping stations at various locations around the county.

The radio modems currently in use transmit information from the stations back to a central computer. But, those modems are over 10 years old and are no longer compatible with newer equipment purchased in recent years, according to county documents.

At the cost of about $1,139 per new modem, the county will pay about 27% more for the modems than they did 10 years ago. The winning bidder will install the modems and help Stafford County’s utilities department workers bring them online.

Prior to the modems, utilities workers had to collect data the old-fashioned way: they actually had to drive out to wastewater collection stations for maintenance, stated county spokeswoman Cathy Vollbrecht in an email.

The Stafford County Board of Supervisors approved the contract at their August 19 meeting.

North Stafford’s Brafferton Center Sells for $22.3 Million

[Submitted photo]

NORTH STAFFORD, Va. – That shopping center you drive by on Garrisoville Road — you know the one with Sport and Health gym, restaurants like Mainstreet Grill and Bar, and North Stafford’s late-night staple Dunkin Donuts – we bet you didn’t know it was called Brafferton Center. We also be you didn’t know it just sold for $22.3 million.

Mosaic Realty Partners, based in Baltimore, bought the new center. We were tipped off to the sale in the press release from Larry Lichtenauer, president of Lawrence Howard & Associates, Inc., in which this information was included:

Located at the intersection of Garrisonville Road (Route 610) and Brafferton Boulevard, the retail center is currently 98% occupied and anchored by Sport & Health, a health and fitness club which occupies approximately 50% of the project. Additional tenants include Dunkin’ Donuts, Massage Envy, Avis Car Rental and Sweet Frog. The center is within close proximity to North Stafford Plaza, Walmart, Target and Lowe’s Home Improvement and is less than one mile from the Garrisonville Road exit of Interstate 95.

Brafferton Center is comprised of a retail strip of stores containing approximately sixteen separate retailers, as well as two free-standing out parcels that house an additional eight retailers. Approximately 70,000 consumers and 23,000 households reside within a five-mile radius of the project with an average household income of more than $112,000.

 “Brafferton Center is positioned within a high density residential section of Stafford County, and the entire retail group has established a loyal and consistent consumer following in the community,” explained Neil Markus, Principal of Finmarc. “The new owner acquired an excellently-maintained and visible asset contained within an environment that features among the most recognizable retail brands in the country.”

“Our team was able to identify a number of viable buyers for this asset with Mosaic Realty Partners, a locally-owned and managed real estate company, emerging as the most suitable purchaser,” stated Mat Adler, of the KLNB Retail Investment Sales Group. “This property, which represents the firm’s initial acquisition in the Virginia area, complements the company’s existing portfolio.”

The photo we used in this post is, we’ll admit, kind of polished, but we used it anyway since we don’t have a file photo of Brafferton Center. It was also submitted to us by Lichtenauer.

Bum Gun Used in Robbery Outside North Stafford Gas Station

STAFFORD, Va. – On August 27, a 51-year-old man, originally from North Carolina, was hospitalized at Stafford Hospital Center with non-life threatening injuries after being robbed at a Kangaroo Express on 34 Prosperity Lane in Stafford. 

Major David P. Decatur said that deputies went to the Suburban Extended Stay Hotel where the victim was staying at located on 3097 Jefferson Davis Highway. The victim said that he was involved in a fight as he was bleeding from multiple places on his face and body, said Decatur. Between 10 and 10:30 pm, the victim went to the Kangaroo Express to put air in his tires and upon putting money in the air machine, someone approached him and shouted at him to empty his pockets, said Decatur.

The victim turned around to see that the suspect had a handgun pointed at his face as he kept shouting demands, said Decatur. A fight started between the victim and the suspect, causing the gun to fall on the ground, when another suspect came with a revolver, said Decatur. The revolver did not go off as the suspect was pulling the trigger because the victim kept hearing clicking noises which indicated it was not loaded or shooting correctly, said Decatur.

Once the victim got on the ground, the suspects dragged and assaulted him before leaving the scene on foot, said Decatur. After the incident, the victim blacked out and upon regaining consciousness, drove back to the hotel, said Decatur. There at the hotel the victim discovered more injuries, as well as his cash and cell phone missing, said Decatur. 

The victim could not give any description of a car present and a very limited description of the total of three suspects, said Decatur. The victim was able to recall the weapons as a black semi-automatic handgun and a smaller black revolver, said Decatur.

Children Given to Mother after Serious Road Rage Case

STAFFORD, Va. – On August 20, a man was charged and arrested following a road rage incident on Interstate 95 near Courthouse Road Commuter Lot. 

Stafford County Sheriff spokesman William Kennedy said that the victim of the road rage incident told a deputy that while he was traveling south on I-95, a car began to tailgate him. Kennedy then said the victim slowed down his car by releasing the gas but not pressing the brakes until the car decided to pass him.  

The driver of the car passed the victim on the right lane and as the driver was passing, the driver slowed down so he could be side-by-side with the victim, said Kennedy. Kennedy said that the driver then pointed a handgun at the victim’s direction and mouthed something. When the victim saw this, the victim slowed down at the nearest exit and immediately called the police, said Kennedy.

Kennedy further said that while speaking with the deputy, the victim gave the description of the driver and the car and later on two deputies found the suspect driving south on I-95. The deputies stopped the car that matched the description given and identified the suspect from the road rage incident, said Kennedy. While in custody, deputies identified the suspect as Maurice Knight, 27, of Sterling, Va., and they found two small children in the back of the car, a 2-year-old boy and a 4-year-old girl, said Kennedy.

The children were turned over to the mother while Knight was taken in to speak with the Deputy at the scene about the incident and when police searched him they also found marijuana, said Kennedy.

Knight was charged with 2 counts felony child neglect, brandishing a weapon, carrying a concealed weapon, and possession of marijuana and was sent to Rappahannock Regional Jail under a $2000 secured bond, said Kennedy. 

Aquia Harbour Rescue Squad Station 9 Building, Land to be Conveyed to Stafford County

NORTH STAFFORD, Va. — The Aquia Volunteer Rescue Squad building and the land it sits on will soon belong to Stafford County.

A deal brokered between the gated community’s Aquia Harbour Property Owners Association and local government officials will lead to the 22-year-old building, known as Station 9, being upgraded within the next 10 years, according to county documents. Volunteers and career fire fighters from Stafford County will continue to use the building for fire and rescue operations.

County officials say this is one of many fire and rescue stations owned and operated by the county. Most of the volunteer-related expenses, such as continued training, will continue to be paid for by the volunteers themselves.

The fire station is staffed by volunteers between 18 to 25 percent of the time, primarily on nights and weekends, and the rest of the time by a paid career crew made up of county firefighters. There are no plans to add additional staff at this time and, though the contract stipulates the building will be improved, county officials did not have information outlining what those improvements would be.

Aquia Harbour resident Mike Shepherd said the building sits on coveted land inside the neighborhood next to the main, guarded entrance to the subdivision. The roadway in and out of the neighborhood, Washington Drive, may need to be widened at some time in the future, said Shepherd, and that may be harder to do now that the county owns the building.

“Why should we give up that spot right there? It’s on the main road and it’s adjacent to the guard shack where people come in and out of,” said Shepherd.

According to the agreement between the county and property owners association, the building and its land will be conveyed back to the association if fire and rescue operations ever cease at the site, and the county cannot amend the current lease of the building to the Aquia Harbour Volunteer Rescue Squad without the approval of the property owners association.

A check of the property under county records shows the land and building value as zero as property taxes are not levied on the station.

This is not the first fire station in Stafford County to have its ownership conveyed to the county government. Potomac Hills Station 10 has also been conveyed to the county.

The county owns outright Stafford Station 2, Berea Station 12 in south Stafford, and Station 14 on Shelton Shop Road in North Stafford.

Residents inside Aquia Habour also pay to fund their own state-accredited police force.

KJ Mushung contributed to this report.

Updated: Expect Road Work, Delays on U.S. 1 in Boswell’s Corner Postponed

U.S. 1 at Telegraph Road in Stafford County [Photo: Uriah Kiser / Potomac Local News]

Updated Thursday, Aug. 21

From the Virginia Department of Transportation:

Lane closures at Route 1 and Telegraph Road in Stafford County scheduled for this weekend have been postponed due to forecasted weather conditions. The work will be rescheduled for a later date.

All lanes of Route 1 and Telegraph Road will remain open this weekend. 

Original post Tuesday, Aug. 19

NORTH STAFFORD, Va. – Drivers who take U.S. 1 on weekends should prepare for some delays in North Stafford. 

The Virginia Department of Transportation says roadwork in Boswell’s Corner area will cause minor delays this weekend: 

Motorists may experience minor travel delays Friday evening and Saturday at the Route 1 and Telegraph Road intersection in Stafford County’s Boswells Corner area due to road construction.

Between 10 p.m. Friday, August 22 and 10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 23, southbound Route 1 will be reduced to one travel lane for several hundred feet at the Telegraph Road intersection.

Also, Telegraph Road will be reduced to one travel lane between Route 1 and the Interstate 95 overpass. Traffic will alternate driving in the remaining open lane, directed by a flagging crew.

This project is adding turn lanes at the intersection of Route 1 and Telegraph Road. It is being administered by the Federal Highway Administration-Eastern Federal Lands Highway Division. This weekend, lane closures are needed so workers can build a right turn lane from Telegraph Road to southbound Route 1.

Construction work is expected to conclude in fall 2014. For more information, please visit the EFLHD project webpage

Boswell’s Corner is just south of the Prince William County line and the rear entrance to Quantico Marine Corps Base.

With Indoor Pool, Rec Center & Fields, Stafford Aims to Bring Fitness to the Center of the County

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STAFFORD, Va. – The shovels are ready and Stafford County leaders have been summoned to toss dirt to herald the construction of a new $12 million indoor / outdoor recreation center.

The 76,000-square foot center will be located at the county’s new Embrey Mill Park, located in the new housing development of the same name just off Mine Road.

Here’s a description of the new facility, according to county documents:

…the Embrey Mill Indoor Recreation Facility to include three pools, one of which is a competition class, 50-meter deep water pool capable of attracting major regional swim meets to the county.

The 76,000 square foot facility will also include a shallower pool suitable for family activities, and a therapy pool, along with exercise, physical conditioning, instructional rooms, and locker room facilities.

The Facility is to be located on the same 50- acre site as a rectangular field complex, with shared parking, utilities, and stormwater management. The field complex is planned for eleven rectangular fields, including up to four artificial turf fields, capable of hosting major regional tournaments in a variety of sports. 

Stafford’s parks and recreation Director Jamie Porter says the new centrally-located facility just off Interstate 95 will provide a place for year-round swimming lessons for children, and will help to ease the burden on already crowded swim lanes in the county.

“We don’t have the capacity to manage the high school swims teams that we have. We hold meets at Woodlands and Curtis [the only publically-maintained swimming pools in the county] but parking is an issue,” said Porter.

Providing more swimming lanes will also open up opportunities to attract new, private swimming leagues as well as ones that have been turned away in the past due to lack of space, she added.

As for the 11 new fields, a county study found that more parents want county parks that have a variety of fields serving sports that catering to multiple age groups. Right now, many younger teams play on fields at one park while other teams with older children play at other parks, said Porter.

And, while the project is all systems go, there isn’t any money in the current county budget to hire the needed parks employees that will work at the new facility. The parks department requested two maintenance workers for the new recreation center but elected officials decided not to fund the positions.  

In all, Porter says three full-time positions, as well as a few part-time staff will be needed to operate the center.

Construction on the new center is expected to be complete by fall 2015.

Stafford Locals say Brewing is an Everyday Adventure

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STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. – At 150 degrees, the enzymes inside begin to break down and sugars start to separate from the grains. What remains is poured into a boil kettle where the batch begins to boil at 210 degrees. Hops are added for flavor and then removed.

In the end, there will be 85 to 90 gallons of Backpack Wheat – it will be the only batch made this week, and it will last them just as long.

“Everything we do is done here… beer is brewed here… it’s served here,” said Stan Johnson, co-owner of Adventure Brewing Company in Stafford.

“Backpack” is a refreshing beer meant to quench thirsts and is one of at least five brewed here in this warehouse just off U.S. 1, by a group of guys who work by day in technology and are beer craftsmen by nights and weekends.

The beer makers also pride themselves on their IPA, stout, and “Super Power Pale Ale.” Each batch made is like a small science project as the crafters try to get the brew to measure up to the last batch. But science didn’t always come easy.

“I was terrible at chemistry,” said Adventure Brewing Company co-owner Tim Bornholtz. “I’m now going back to take graduate-level courses on chemistry – it’s hard.”

Never planned on opening a brewery

Johnson, Bornholtz, and John Viarella are the brew masters at “Adventure.” Johnson, Bornholtz say they’re from Stafford County, and they all began brewing beer together in the late 1990s for friends at parties and barbeques.

Later, “life happened,” said Bornholtz, and the guys had children and raised families.

“It was purely a hobby, something that we did and then we got a batch beer at the end of end of it. Never did we have plans to open a brew house,” said Bornholtz.

They guys got back together in 2011 and began brewing again and decided to make their dream of a production brewery and tasting room a reality. A new law passed in 2012 allowed Virginia breweries to have a tasting room and that, and a rezoning order passed by Stafford County officials, were the catalysts to spring Adventure Brewing into life.

Bar a sycamore cut down nearby Stafford Courthouse

The guys tele-commnute to their day jobs which allows them to work out of the brewery during the days. At nights and on weekends they open the tasting room so beer enthusiasts can sample some local brew.

There are several beer taps connected to several cold kegs all containing genuine Stafford County brewed beer. The bar is a 186-year-old sycamore tree cut down nearby the Stafford County Courthouse.

And, just like those who go to wineries, brew house customers are discerning.

“People go from brewery to brewery, come in and want to try something they’ve never had before,” said Bornholtz. “If they come in and nothing is new, they’ll say ‘OK, see you next week.”

Plans to expand to restaurants

“Adventure” opened in May and is one of two breweries in Stafford County. A third is in the works.

While they perfect their beer, unlike wineries, don’t look for food to be served here anytime soon. Food trucks park sometimes outside the brewery on weekends and sell food to beer drinkers.

“We’re a production brewery. Getting beer out to people whether in kegs or bottles is what we do. We make beer. Period,” said Bornholtz.  

Drinkers may one day within the next two years see Advenutre’s beers on taps at area restaurants – most likely at a craft beer bar, the kind of place that has at least 30 taps, said Bornholtz.

While customers wanting tastings fill the brewery on Saturdays, Thursday nights are quickly becoming popular for a “geeks who drink” trivia night. If you want to go, it costs $6 for a growler and $12 to fill it. A pint costs $6 and $2.50 for a six-once taster.

The tasting room is open Thursdays and Fridays from 6 to 10 p.m., Saturday noon to 10 p.m., and Sunday noon to 6 p.m. 

The Five Costly Mistakes of Car Ownership (Promoted Post)

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If a modern car is treated with care, it can last for over 100,000 miles without needing major costly repairs. However, neglecting you car’s maintenance needs can leave you with a large bill that could have been avoided. Do you really want to be spending extra money?

Here are five commonly-made mistakes to avoid. Doing so will not just save money, but keep you and your passengers safe as well.

 

 

Putting off an Oil Change

While oil technology has improved dramatically over the past couple of decades, it is still important to change your oil as recommended by your car’s manufacturer. Motor oil gradually breaks down as it is circulated through your engine. After a certain number of miles, the oil doesn’t provide adequate lubrication. In modern engines, many manufacturers use some form of variable valve timing or hydraulic pressure from the oil pump to help make the cars more powerful and efficient. Not changing the oil greatly affects these systems. Changing your oil is one of the kindest, simplest things you can do for your vehicle to insure your engine performs like it is supposed to for a very long time. Skipping this simple task can shorten the life of your car.

oil change

Regular oil changes are one of the easiest ways to maintain the life of your vehicle.

Changing Tires without an Alignment

An alignment ensures that the wheels of your car are positioned properly on the road. When a car is out of alignment, the tires wear out prematurely or in places where they’re not supposed to. If you are replacing two or more tires it is important to have this checked to get the most life out of the tires.

Installing Oversized Aftermarket Wheels

While some aftermarket wheels are carefully designed to be compatible with certain vehicles, getting the wrong wheels can harm your vehicle’s suspension and ride comfort. Also, if you buy wheels that are too large for your car, you can damage your fenders and wheel wells. Even though, the wheels and tires may technically fit on the vehicle it puts more force on the wheel bearing and brakes and can make them wear out prematurely although it looks cool, (and I agree) be prepared for some extra repairs.

jump start kit

A portable jump start device is great to keep with you in your vehicle.

Buying a Cheap Battery

A dead battery is a huge hassle. Often times, it means waiting for a jump start, or having to wait for a ride to get a battery to put in your car. And it’s important to find the exact battery for your car. A less expensive battery generally has fewer cells and less reactive material in it then a higher end battery so therefore the cold cranking amp ability and the longevity will generally be less. Going to a garage with ASE certified technicians with the right battery test equipment can help you avoid an inconvenient break down.

Getting Cheap Body Work

If you have a dent on your car, sometimes you can be approached by a “professional” in a shopping mall parking lot, or a friend might offer to take care of the problem. Beware, because sloppy body repair can cost more to correct than the original damage. Once an amateur has damaged the paint, a dent that could have been repaired by a professional for $100 dollars or (3 egg laying hens, and 5 pounds of bacon) * according to google July 29th, 2014, might now cost five times as much to be fixed.

At HomeTowne Auto Repair and Tire we perform auto and truck repair service such as brakes, alignments, oil changes, shocks and struts, electrical work, check engine light diagnostics, tires and much more.  We are SWAM (small woman and minority certified).  We are locally owned and operated.  Learn more at www.HomeTowneTire.com

This content was written and produced by Hometowne Auto and Tire, which supports PotomacLocal.com’s mission to cover news in the communities we serve.

Stuck Truck Closes Portion of Shelton Shop Road

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NORTH STAFFORD, Va. – Drivers on Shelton Shop Road in North Stafford were turned around by sheriff’s authorities on Wednesday. 

The driver of a tractor trailer apparently misjudged how much space he had on the small two-lane road when he tried to turn around. 

The portion of Shelton Shop Road between Oakwood Drive and Winding Creek Road was closed to traffic about 3 p.m. Sheriff’s authorities were seen assisting the driver. 

No injuries were reported. 

Trucks Banned from U.S. 1 Cut-Through Route

STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. – Trucks have been banned on a neighborhood street in the Falmouth area of Stafford County.

Here’s the latest information from the Virginia Department of Transportation: 

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has approved a through truck restriction for two residential streets in the Falmouth area of Stafford County, Route 1040 (Spring Valley Drive) and Route 1042 (Springknoll Circle).

Through trucks will no longer be permitted to use Spring Valley Drive and Springknoll Circle to travel between Route 1 and Route 627 (Forbes Street).

Spring Valley Drive and Springknoll Circle have a posted 25 mph speed limit. Due to the narrow width of these roads, and the limited turning radius at each intersection, trucks must exercise caution at intersections. Under this restriction, only trucks with business along these routes will be permitted to travel these streets.

Signs communicating the through truck restriction will be posted on Route 1, and at the intersection of Springknoll Circle and Forbes Street. 

Stafford Marketplace to Host National Night Out Tonight

(Photo: Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

NORTH STAFFORD, Va. – Stafford County residents will once again particpate in National Night Out to be held tonight at Stafford Marketplace shopping center. 

The county’s sheriff’s department holds the annual celebration each year at the shopping center, located at 1220 Stafford Marketplace.

Here’s more about what to expect during tonight’s celebration: 

The Stafford County Sheriff’s Office will once again be participating in the Annual National Night Out event on Tuesday, August 5, 2014.  15 different neighborhoods have signed up to host a National Night Out event in their neighborhood with most events starting in the late afternoon and going to the early evening. 

The Sheriff’s Office, in partnership with the Aquia Harbour Volunteer Rescue Squad, is also participating in a community wide National Night Out event at the TARGET parking lot of the Stafford Market Place.  This is an open event that is also being held on Tuesday, August 5 from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm.  Everyone is invited to come by and enjoy numerous family fun activities.  143 different vendors, community organizations and businesses will be participating.  This year, for the first time, a Kid’s Scavenger Hunt, complete with prizes, will be held.  The Sheriff’s Office will be providing live demonstrations for everyone’s enjoyment and the Stafford County Fire & Rescue Department will also have numerous apparatus on display.

National Night Out is designed to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness, generate support for, and participation in, local anti-crime programs and strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships.  National Night Out sends a clear message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and participating in active crime prevention.

Under Review: Are Politics at Play When it Comes to one of the Region’s Largest Transportation Projects?

 

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STAFFORD, Va. – Cord Sterling is no longer on Virginia’s Commonwealth Transportation Board where he oversaw funding for many road projects in and around Fredericksburg.

But that doesn’t mean the Stafford County Supervisor no longer thinks about transportation. In fact, the Republican is fuming mad that the once fully-funded, $184.4 million project that he championed – building a new interchange at Route 630 [Courthouse Road] in the heart of Stafford County – is now short $5 million.

House Bill 2, new legislation signed into law this year, requires highway projects to be reviewed by a newly formed committee that will ultimately recommend to the overseeing Commonwealth Transportation Board [CTB] which projects should move forward to the construction phase. The $5 million has been moved into a special trust fund and could be restored by the CTB after the committee’s recommendations are made in October.

The Courthouse Road interchange project will improve a now antiquated diamond interchange and carries drivers from Interstate 95 onto 2-lane Courthouse Road and to nearby U.S. 1.

“They cut funding in order to force it through this process of which they control,” said Cord Sterling, of the Commonwealth Transportation Board.

This is one of more than 30 projects that have been placed under review since Gov. Terry McAuliffe took office in January.

A game changing project

Sterling

Sterling

A public hearing for the new interchange was held back in 2012, and the project, which has been called a game changer for Stafford County, is now in its right-of-way-acquisition phase. Transportation officials are in negotiations with property owners to take needed land for the interchange.

“It is a dramatic change is the center of the county, and it is what was needed to handle the projected traffic growth for the county,” said Virginia Department of Transportation spokeswoman Kelly Hannon.

Futrell

Futrell

Compared to what the interchange looks like today, dramatic might be an understatement. The new interchange will separate the lanes of Courthouse Road at the interchange, converting it into a loop road for drivers exiting and entering I-95, as well as using nearby Austin Ridge Drive.

New commuter lots will be built on Austin Ridge Drive and Courthouse Road, joining a lot that already exists on Courthouse Road near the current interchange. And, Courthouse Road east of I-95 will be turned into a cul-de-sac, and drivers will use a new Hospital Center Boulevard as the main access road to U.S. 1 to central Stafford.

The improved interchange is expected to open up the area around Stafford’s iconic courthouse, the closest thing the community has to a walkable downtown, with the exception of Falmouth just outside Fredericksburg.

The new interchange was also designed with the 95 Express Lanes in mind. Though the current effort to extend the high occupancy / toll lanes south from Prince William County ends north of Courthouse Road at Route 610 in North Stafford, Hannon says the express lanes could one day reach Courthouse Road.

Politics at play?  

The Courthouse Road interchange sits just outside Delegate Michael Futrell’s 2nd House District. The Democrat represents voters in North Stafford and eastern Prince William County, and the interchange is not in Futrell’s district.

Cord Sterling, who says transportation infrastructure should be viewed as a network that serves all, has demanded that his Delegate in Richmond, Micheal Futrell, to do more to get the project back on track.

“Is it [the lack of funding] frustrating? Naturally it is, but I’m confident that when it goes through the review process it will come back fully funded,” said Futrell.

While he recognizes the interchange would serve everyone in Stafford, Futrell said Sterling should talk with Speaker of the House Bill Howell who oversees the district in which the interchange sits. But Howell has been a vocal opponent of expanding Medicaid in the state, something Governor McAuliffe has vowed to do since before taking office.

Sterling says that his pet project in Howell’s district has now become a political pawn.

“The cutting of these funds when looking at other projects, it looks a little suspicious given what is going on with Medicaid and then the conversation turned to [Route] 630. It is the speaker’s district, but it will also serve Futrell’s district,” said Sterling.

Emails urge support of project

In a series of emails sent to Futrell in June, Sterling urged the freshman Delegate to speak out in support of restoring full funding the interchange. He later goes on to chastise Futrell for what he says has been a lack of dialogue between the Delegate and officials in Stafford County and at the Commonwealth Transportation Board in Richmond. “I am no longer requesting your assistance. I am telling you,” penned Sterling.

“I have a very big district. I can’t be every place all the time… we do our best to be everywhere we can be and we accommodate every meeting we can,” said Futrell.

Additionally, he doesn’t see politics at work here.

“You’ve got to realize there are 30 to 50 projects that had this happen to them, so we’re talking about up to $500 million, so this wasn’t anything that was specifically targeted at the interchange. This just happened to be one of the affected projects,” said Futrell.

Sterling says he will invite Futrell to a meeting of the Stafford County Board of Supervisors in early September in hopes to speak with him. Futrell says he will speak with members of the Board to hear their concerns.

Man Robbed and Shot in the Hand in Stafford

STAFFORD, Va – Around 11 p.m. on July 30, a man was shot in the hand and robbed and was later hospitalized at Stafford Hospital Center.

Stafford sheriff spokesman Bill Kennedy said that an unknown male dropped the victim off at the hospital and left soon after. The victim told authorities that he went to meet friends in the 1100 block of Providence Street, said Kennedy. Afterward the victim was walking to visit a relative in the 1500 block of Providence Street when two men robbed him, one of whom had a hand gun, said Kennedy.

Authorities are searching for two black men, one of whom was darker skinned who pulled out a gun, walked up to the man, said nothing and started to pistol whip the victim and stole the victim’s watch, said Kennedy. Kennedy then said that during the incident the pistol went off and victim was shot in his left hand. The victim said the lighter skinned male did not participate and wore a white t-shirt, said Kennedy.

Kennedy said the men left in an older model, gray-colored Jeep Cherokee and were described as similar height, 170 – 180 pounds, low cut hair and facial hair on the darker skinned male. The victim did not know why he was approached and then robbed, said Kennedy.

 

2 Adults, 4 Children Escape Blaze

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STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. – Two adults and four children fled a house fire in Stafford County on Tuesday.

Here’s more in a press release:

On Tuesday July 29, 2014 at 11:28 p.m., Stafford County Fire and Rescue Department units responded to a reported structure fire at 215 Sleepy Hollow Trail. The first arriving unit from the Falmouth Station reported a two story, single family residential structure with fire in the garage, on the first floor, second floor and extending to the attic. Firefighters mounted an aggressive attack and the fire was brought under control within thirty-five minutes.

The home was occupied by two adults and four children who exited the home unharmed prior to the arrival of the Fire and Rescue Department. There were no reported injuries during this incident. The cause of the fire is under investigation and damage estimates are not currently available. The family did not need assistance from the Red Cross.
The following stations responded: Falmouth, White Oak, Berea, Stafford, Rockhill, White Oak Rescue, Fredericksburg and Quantico

Former Stafford Hospital Medicine Chief Indicted

STAFFORD, Va. – The person once in charge of dispensing medicine at Stafford Hospital now faces charges after a federal grand jury indicted her.

Here’s more in a press release from the U.S. Eastern District of Virginia:

Nibedita Mohanty, 56, of Stafford, Virginia, was indicted on one count of participating in a drug trafficking conspiracy to distribute and dispense controlled substances; one count of distributing and dispensing a controlled substance resulting in the death of a patient; two counts of distributing and dispensing controlled substances resulting in serious bodily injury (nonfatal overdoses); thirty-eight counts of distributing and dispensing controlled substances; two counts of aiding and abetting health care fraud; and one count of aiding and abetting money laundering.

Mohanty faces a mandatory minimum sentence of twenty years in prison, and a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and a $10 million fine, if she is convicted of the major drug trafficking charge relating to the death of a patient after consuming oxycodone.

According to the indictment, Mohanty was a physician and served as the Chief of Medicine at Stafford Hospital from June 2009 to February 2013.  Starting in 2008, Mohanty represented herself as a chronic pain management doctor and treated over 100 patients.  In April 2013, the Virginia Board of Medicine suspended Mohanty’s medical license, and in September 2013, Mohanty surrendered her license for a period of three years.

According to court records, Mohanty distributed controlled substances, often for excessive dosages, to patients outside the bounds of professional practice and with no legitimate medical purpose, in exchange for cash sums paid by these patients for visits.  Mohanty also issued a number of prescriptions for controlled substances—such as oxycodone, fentanyl and morphine—despite knowing that her patients were abusing, misusing, distributing or selling the controlled substances.

Mohanty is no longer employed with the hospital.

Vandals Hit Porter Library Twice this Month

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NORTH STAFFORD, Va. – For the second time in a month someone vandalized Porter Library.

A glass door was found shattered Monday evening by security guard. The vandalism was reported to the Stafford sheriff’s office, and a spokesman said the door was last seen intact about 5 p.m., on Sunday.

The library’s branch manager reportedly told the sheriff’s office that this is the second incident of vandalism at the library in the “last three to four weeks.” The branch manager declined to comment to PotomacLocal.com about the incident.

There were no reported injuries. Officials with the sheriff’s office said they did not have an estimated cost of repair for the door.

The library is located at 2001 Parkway Boulevard in the Park Ridge neighborhood.

Anyone with information about this case is encouraged to contact Stafford County Crime Solvers.

Commercial Ambulance Collides with 2 Cars

NORTH STAFFORD, Va. – A commercial ambulance collided with two vehicles Monday on U.S. 1 in North Stafford.

The collision occurred at 3:45 p.m., in the 3800 block of Jefferson Davis Highway in the area of El Gran Charro restaurant and Aquia Towne Center, said Stafford fire and rescue spokesman Mark Doyle.

Two people inside the ambulance refused to be taken to a hospital. A total of three occupants inside the two other vehicles involved in the crash were taken to a local hospital for treatment, said Doyle.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation with the Stafford sheriff’s office, said Doyle.

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