Hampton Inn Growing as Stafford’s U.S. 1 Corridor Thrives

Construction and renovations are underway at a Hampton Inn in North Stafford. [Photo: Mary Davidson / Potomac Local News]


NORTH STAFFORD, Va. – Located in a row of new hotels springing up along Stafford’s U.S. 1 corridor, the 16-year-old Hampton Inn can be sometimes get lost in all of the new construction.

It sits in a sort of crevasse at the entrance to three major roads: Interstate 95, U.S. 1, and Va. 610. Nearby, three new hotels have opened, and another is under construction at Quantico Corporate Center. All of them cater to business travelers and federal employees who stay for extended periods of time.

But Hampton Inn North Stafford owner-operator Amal Lambaraa refuses to be outdone, so she lobbied the parent company of her hotel, Hilton Hotels and Resorts, for funds to renovate inn and she won. Now, a nearly 10,000 square foot renovation of the Hampton Inn is underway, and planned are new meetings spaces, a game room, a larger swimming pool area, and probably most innovative of all, a new banquet hall and ballroom that will stand in an adjacent so that parties and events held there do not disturb hotel guests.

Of the three hotels Lambaraa owns a share of, including two Wingate Inns in Stafford County, she favors her stock in the Hampton the most. The Moroccan native said many of the departments, including housekeeping, the front desk, and marketing, run themselves thanks to a trusted staff of 25 people whom she’s cultivated and promoted from within.

“People have to move up in life, so when you have a chance to give back to people who have helped you, it’s important that you give back to them,” said Lambaraa.

The $9 million hotel renovation will mean 19 new rooms – three of them complete with jacuzzi spas. Lambaraa said those spas, coupled with a larger 1,420 square foot pool deck, should bring in more local residents who would to get away from their houses for a weekend“staycation.”

The hotel once hidden by trees is also now more visible thanks to the 95 Express Lanes Project which has taken many trees around the hotel for the construction of toll lanes that will connect with HOV lanes in Dumfries. New highway lanes and new nearby hotels will should also mean more business for the Hampton Inn.

“It’s a competition… it’s a race… one of us is going have to win and one of us is going to have to lose, but through competition, it’s the thing that makes you stronger,” said Lambaraa.

The renovations are expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Construction and renovations are underway at a Hampton Inn in North Stafford. [Photo: Mary Davidson / Potomac Local News]

Construction and renovations are underway at a Hampton Inn in North Stafford. [Photo: Mary Davidson / Potomac Local News]

Performances Set for Stafford’s Fine Art Festival

082711 Brooke Point High School

STAFFORD, Va. — Art, jazz, African drum ensembles, choirs, and dramatic performances – organizers said there is something for everyone at Stafford County’s Fine Art Festival.

The annual spring show features work from 5,000 students from kindergarten to seniors in high school. It’ll be held Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Brooke Point High School in Stafford.

“Our visual art teachers put on stunning exhibitions, collecting student art work from the beginning of the year, matting, and labeling each piece carefully to prepare for the festival. Many volunteers help to make the event a success, including parent volunteers, students, and staff members,” said Annamarie Bollino, fine and performing arts coordinator.

The show is not a competition so there will be no judging happening. It’ll just be a place where the community can come appreciate the artistic talent of Stafford’s public school students.

“Stafford County has outstanding arts programs, thanks to the support of the community, our parents, and our talented teachers. Because of the strong commitment to the arts in our community our students are privileged to have the opportunities to pursue their artistic goals, said Bollino.

The show is free and is made possible by many parents, teachers, and community volunteers.


Burning Smell Blamed on Quantico Brush Fire

[Photo: Quantico Marine Corps Base]

QUATNICO, Va. — What’s that burning smell? Officials at Quantico said it’s a brush fire crews are working to contain.

More from the Marine Corps Base:

Quantico Fire Department and Emergency Rescue Services responded to a fire crawling through the woods in Training Area 11 on the west side of Marine Corps Base Quantico on April 9, 2013.

The affected area was too large to extinguish outright so emergency responders limited the spread of the fire by bulldozing a “no burn” zone around it. After the zone had been crafted, firefighters fought fire with fire by “back-burning”, a controlled burn designed to rob the fire of fuel so it can be managed safely.

An official with the Prince William County Fire and Rescue Department on Wednesday attributed the burning smell to the brush fire.

Picture 1 of 3

[Photo: Quantico Marine Corps Base]


Teacher to Stafford Leaders: ‘Ya’ll Got to Give Us a Little Bit of Sometin’’

021011 Stafford Courthouse

For Potomac Local News

STAFFORD, Va. — Applause isn’t allowed during discussions and meetings in the Stafford County Board of Supervisors chamber, so a room full of teachers held up little signs, with flat wooden handles and waggled them above their heads when they liked something they heard.

Judging by the sign waggling, the teachers liked hearing their fellow teachers talk about pay raises, overcrowded classrooms and teacher retention during citizens’ time at the evening Board session.

Many of the teachers told board members that Stafford County schools loses about 10 percent of its teachers each year to school districts that offer better pay.

Eric Herr, one of about 25 who spoke to the Board, brought along a visual aid which consisted of two mason jars, a rock, and some pebbles.

Herr’s rock was too big to fit into the smaller of the two jars.

Herr told board members that the rock represented the needs of Stafford County residents.

“The rock is appropriate because this is the rock that our children, our students and society is built upon,” Herr said.

Herr went on to say that the smaller jar represented the school budget and the rock represented the needs of the school system.

“If we can’t fit this rock into the budget, we’ve got a problem” said Herr, a former U.S. Air Force fighter pilot.

So Herr put the rock in the larger glass along with a handful of pebbles representing students to illustrate the need for more money to support the school system.

“We can take care of our students. We can take care of our teachers. My message is, let’s put our teachers first. Let’s do our job, take care of our students,” Herr said.

The signs, which bore messages written in red, with felt-tip markers, waggled.

This year’s school board budget include a request for $18.8 million more last year’s $244-million budget.

In a board meeting last month, School Board Chairman Stephanie J. Johnson, told the county board that, among other things, the extra money would be used to hire 15 special education teachers, to reduce class sizes for kindergarten through third-grade students at Ferry Farm Elementary School, and reinstate remedial summer school.

During that meeting, Aquia District Supervisor Paul Milde told Johnson that scarcity of money prevented more finding for schools.

“You know as well as I do that we don’t have $18 million,” Milde told Johnson. “I know you need money, but you know that we literally don’t have it.”

Art Jackson dissented from most of the speakers Tuesday and told the Board he is taxpayer who “puts my hand in my pocket and gives you money.”

Jackson said he has a personal stake in quality education since his grandchildren attend Stafford County Public Schools.

Jackson went on to say that he thought the supervisors and school board members should talk with each other to resolve budgetary issues.

“I don’t think we can afford to have the lack of communication between the school board and this body. I think this body should be congratulated for the work that it’s done on the economic picture,” Jackson said.

Still, Jackson said he was worried about the quality of education in county schools.

“As I go around and talk to children in this community, I’m amazed at the lack of knowledge that they have on basic things,” he said. “History is an unknown quantity to them. When I grew up in the schools, all the classrooms had a picture of George Washington in there. Now we are lucky for them to know who George Washington was.”

Robert Thomas, a Stafford County physical education teacher who has a son who graduated from Stafford County Public Schools and a daughter who attends Mountain View High School, told the Board that teachers needed help if they were to continue giving students a quality education.

“Ya’ll got to give us a little bit of sometin’” said Thomas, who has taught in Stafford County schools for 20 years.

Laughter accompanied the sign waggling.

Stafford Students Win Buckle Up, Drive Sober Challenge


Submitted News

STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. — Two Stafford County High Schools recently received awards for their participation in the state wide 2013 Buckle Up, Drive Sober Challenge sponsored by the Youth of Virginia Speak Out youth leadership program.

These students, members of the Stafford High School YOVASO Club and the Mountain View High School YOVASO Club, developed various activities and programs directed to their classmates that dealt with the importance of always wearing seat belts when in motor vehicle, car safety seat checks at a local fire station, being on a local radio station and students signing a banner at the school pledging to “BUCKLE UP & DRIVE SOBER.”

Each YOVASO Club has a teacher sponsor as well as a deputy from the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office Traffic Safety Unit.

Mountain View High School was awarded a $100 check for their regional YOVASO Award in the presence of Haley Glynn, YOVASO Marketing and Project Manager, numerous school administrators as well as Major David Decatur and several members of the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office.

Stafford High School was awarded a winner banner, plaque and recognition as the YOVASO Winner for the entire State of Virginia. Sheriff Charles Jett joined YOVASO’s Project Manager, school administrators, parents and Sheriff’s Office Traffic Safety Unit deputies at the award ceremony. Due to winning the YOVASO State Award, Stafford High School will have the use of an impaired driver simulator for an entire day that the students at Stafford high School may utilize.


Second Rabid Cat Found, Officer Scratched


NORTH STAFFORD, Va. – Authorities say a second rabid cat has been found in the North Stafford area. An animal control officer was scratched when they picked up the cat, which has been euthanized.

More in a press release:

On Wednesday, April 3, 2013 a citizen contacted the Stafford County Sheriff’s Animal Control Office about a sick or injured cat that was on her porch on Bruce Street in the Stowe of Amyclae subdivision in North Stafford. The cat was picked up by an Animal Control Officer and taken to an area veterinarian’s office. While placing the cat in its carrier to go to the Animal Shelter the Animal Control Officer was scratched.

As the Health Department was notified the cat was quarantined at the Animal Shelter. The cat was euthanized in the following days due to its deteriorating condition. The cat was then sent to the state lab for rabies testing. The Animal Control Office received word today that the cat tested positive for rabies.

This is the second report of a rabid cat in Stafford County in the last two weeks. In the last incident reported on March 24, 2013, a group of feral cats was identified with one of the cats being found to have rabies. All of those cats in the feral group have been captured.

Citizens are reminded to not approach or try to capture stray or wild animals. This message should be shared with children especially with the weather turning warmer and more children outside playing.

Animal owners should always maintain the appropriate vaccinations for their animals and, if possible, keep animals confined to the premises to avoid the threat of rabies.

Stafford County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Bill Kennedy said the animal control officer is OK and is receiving rabies shots. The first rabid cat found recently was reported on March 24 in the area of Eustace Road.

Mega Mike: When to Expect Summertime I-95 Road Work


Virginia Megaprojects 

This coming summer is going to be very busy along the Interstate 95 corridor in Prince William County.

During the day, Monday – Thursday, 95 Express Lanes construction on I-95 north will be from 9:30 – 3 p.m. On Fridays, closures are picked up by noon. These times are the same for I-395 north and south too.

However, on I-95 south from Edsall Road to Garrisonville Road (Route 610), the daytime closures begin earlier from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. allowing crews to get in and out before the afternoon rush hour. On Fridays on I-95 south closures are picked up by 11 a.m.

At night, Monday -Thursday from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. and Friday night from 11 p.m. to 9 a.m. the southbound HOV lanes, between Edsall Road and Dumfries Road (Route 234), will be closed and motorists must use the general purpose lanes.

In general, the best time to travel on I-95 South through this area during the week would be after the afternoon peak rush hours, around 7 p.m. and before overnight closures start, about 9:30 p.m. During the day, there might be single-lane closures that will have minimum impact to traffic.

Area Students Named MVPs at Randolph-Macon Academy

Submitted News

Several local students attending Randolph-Macon Academy in Front Royal, VA, have been recognized for athletic achievement during the 2012-13 winter sports season:

Sotirios Beavers, the son of Eleni Sokos of Dale City, received the Most Valuable Player Award for the Randolph-Macon Academy middle school boys’ basketball team. Sam is an eighth grade student at the Academy.

Neil Dutton, the son of Pat and Connie Dutton of Dumfries, received the Most Improved Player Award for the Randolph-Macon Academy varsity boys’ basketball team. Neil is a senior at the Academy.

Natalie Pendie, the daughter of Marie Pendie of Stafford, received the Most Valuable Player Award for the Randolph-Macon Academy varsity cheerleading team. Natalie is a sophomore at the Academy.

Randolph-Macon Academy (R-MA), founded in 1892, is a college-preparatory, coeducational boarding school for students in grades 6 through 12. Students in grades 9-12 participate in R-MA’s 91st Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC), and have the opportunity to participate in a unique flight program. R-MA is affiliated with the United Methodist Church and is located in Front Royal, VA.

Deputies Called to Hit & Run on Brooke Road


STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. – The Stafford County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a hit and run incident that sent one man to a hospital.

A man walking along Brooke Road at 4:45 p.m. Saturday was struck in the elbow and knee by a gold Kia automobile. After the victim was struck, the driver fled the area and turned onto nearby Courthouse Road, said Stafford sheriff’s spokesman Bill Kennedy.

The victim went to a nearby church and flagged down an sheriff’s deputy who called for an ambulance to take the victim to a hospital, where he was treated and released.

Kennedy said the car’s side-view mirror and possibly the turn signal struck the man due injuries to the victim’s knee and elbow. The driver was said to have been a male wearing sunglasses.

The sheriff’s office is also looking into a breaking and entering at a home in the 1000 block of Kellogg Mill Road sometime between March 29 and Sunday afternoon. The homeowner told investigators he was out of town during that time, and someone broke into a house and stole jewelry, a laptop computer, a Play Station, pvc pipe, and alumnium wires from an air humidifier, said Kennedy.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call Stafford County Crime Solvers.

Virginia State Parks Recognizes Earth Day with a Week of Events & Programs

Submitted News

April 22 marks the 43rd celebration of Earth Day, the grassroots environmental awareness event celebrated in 175 countries. To mark the occasion, Virginia State Parks will offer programming and volunteerism events and introduce a new recycling program in all state parks during “Earth Week,” April 16-22. The 35 award-winning Virginia State Parks are managed by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.

Scheduled activities include self-guided and ranger-led programs as well as volunteer opportunities such as trail and shoreline cleanups.

The new statewide recycling program was developed when Dominion Virginia Power awarded a $25,000 grant to Keep Virginia Beautiful for 250 rolling recycling bins and educational signs in Virginia State Parks. Keep Virginia Beautiful also provided portable cigarette-butt ashtrays and larger disposal units to help with cigarette litter, which is unsightly, costly to clean up, and harmful to waterways and wildlife.

The program was introduced in three state parks last fall, in conjunction with Virginia Green, Virginia’s program to encourage green practices throughout its tourism industry. Units will be in place statewide for Earth Week.

“Our partnerships demonstrate the power of businesses, nonprofits and government working together to make a difference,” said DCR State Parks Director Joe Elton. “We are committed to bringing a recycling message to our more than 8 million annual visitors who already appreciate nature’s bounty in our parks and other public lands. Quite frankly, a visitor’s experienced is significantly enhanced without trash and cigarette butts marring the beauty of the outdoors.”

SFor more information concerning green attractions, green lodging and green meeting facilities, visit

Examples of state park Earth Week events and volunteer opportunities include:

Caledon in King George County, Hungry Mother near Marion, Leesylvania in Prince William County and Smith Mountain Lake in Bedford County, will sponsor trash-to-treasure programs, demonstrating that one person’s trash could be another person’s treasure or useful item.

Mason Neck State Park’s Eagle Festival is a great celebration of America’s success protecting the national symbol; the festival will be held April 20 at the park, located in Fairfax County.

For more information on these and others programs, visit:, or search the events section of the Virginia State Parks website .

Assembly Approves Anti-abortion Amendment

The Virginia Capitol in Richmond. (Photo: KJ Mushung)

Capital News Service

RICHMOND, Va. – The General Assembly on Wednesday narrowly approved an amendment by Gov. Bob McDonnell that will prohibit certain health insurance companies in Virginia from providing coverage for women seeking an abortion.

McDonnell added the anti-abortion amendment to House Bill 1900, sponsored by Delegate Thomas Davis Rust, R-Herndon. The assembly passed the bill in February to comply with the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Under the system, Virginians who cannot afford health insurance will participate in a federally operated health insurance exchange.

McDonnell’s amendment will prohibit insurers participating in the exchange from covering abortion except in the case of rape or incest or if the mother’s life is in danger.

Legislators reconvened Wednesday to vote on the Republican governor’s recommendation and other matters. The Republican-dominated House voted 55-37, with one abstention, to approve McDonnell’s recommendation. But the vote was much closer in the Senate, which is divided evenly between Democrats and Republicans.

After more than an hour of deliberation, the Senate voted 20-19 to approve McDonnell’s amendment. Democratic Sens. Phillip Puckett of Tazewell and Charles Colgan of Manassas joined 18 Republicans in voting for McDonnell’s recommendation. The other 18 Democrats and Republican Sen. John Watkins of Powhatan voted against the measure. Sen. Frank Wagner, R-Virginia Beach, abstained from the vote.

Watkins said publicly that he did not support the governor’s amendment. On the Senate floor, Watkins questioned whether the anti-abortion amendment was germane and urged the Senate to block it.

“I don’t believe adequate attention has been given to its potential impact,” Watkins said.

Democratic senators also voiced opposition to the amendment.

“This is just a further attempt to expand the assault on women’s reproductive health rights in this commonwealth,” said Sen. Ralph Northam, D-Painter. “It needs to stop.”

Sen. Mark Herring, D-Loudoun, agreed. “Women should be able to make decisions about their own health care without interference from politicians here in the state Capitol,” he said.

The governor’s amendment states:

“No qualified health insurance plan that is sold or offered for sale through an exchange established or operating in the Commonwealth shall provide coverage for abortions, regardless of whether such coverage is provided through the plan or is offered as a separate optional rider thereto, provided that such limitation shall not apply to an abortion performed (i) when the life of the mother is endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself, or (ii) when the pregnancy is the result of an alleged act of rape or incest.”

The General Assembly passed a similar measure in 2011 when Virginia was planning to operate a state-run exchange for health insurance coverage. But the assembly had to vote on the issue again after McDonnell opted for an exchange operated by the federal government.

In the House on Wednesday, Delegate Bob Marshall, R-Manassas, said he voted “present” on the amendment because he believes it is not strict enough to prevent abortion. Marshall called the language of the bill “pathetic.” He objected to making exceptions for victims of “an alleged act of rape or incest” or women whose lives are threatened by their pregnancy.

“It’s designed to get people off the hook,” Marshall said. “It doesn’t stop abortion … You don’t need any life-of-the-mother exceptions in the United States.”

Late Wednesday, the Virginia Society for Human Life, an anti-abortion group, praised the General Assembly for supporting McDonnell’s amendment.

“Without this amendment, starting in 2014 Virginians would have been forced to pay for all abortions on demand done in the Commonwealth through the new federal health care law. Virginia taxpayers owe a debt of gratitude to Gov. McDonnell and the General Assembly for taking this reasonable action today.” said Olivia Gans Turner, the society’s president.

State Budget Increases Funding for Education

North Stafford High School sits on Garrisonville Road in North Stafford (Photo: Mary Davidson/

Capital News Service

RICHMOND, Va. – During the final hours of Wednesday’s reconvened session, the General Assembly approved a state budget that boosts funding for Virginia’s public schools next year.

Legislators considered changes that Gov. Bob McDonnell wanted them to make to House Bill 1500, which lays out the state budget for the 2013-14 biennium. The assembly had passed the bill in February, but McDonnell recommended 52 amendments.

The House and Senate approved most of the governor’s recommendations, including three that provided $2.35 million in additional funds for education.

For example, the General Assembly adopted McDonnell’s recommendation to add $2 million to his Strategic Compensation Grant initiative, increasing that pool of money to $7.5 million for next year. The governor said the additional funding “will allow more school divisions to participate in this program, which rewards effective teaching.”

The initiative allows school districts to provide additional compensation to teachers who take jobs at more challenging schools and help students succeed academically.

Legislators also approved McDonnell’s request to boost funding for the Virginia Community College System by $100,000 next year. The additional money will help develop the Governor’s Academy for Student Apprenticeships and Trades. The academy will target high school students looking for full-time employment after graduation.

Besides helping high school students establish careers, the General Assembly also approved more funds for medical education.

As part of the state’s community development and revitalization efforts, the General Assembly approved McDonnell’s amendment for $250,000 to plan the construction of a medical college in Abingdon.

Delegate Joe Johnson, D-Abingdon, said he supports the amendment because the proposed medical facility will bring economic growth to less prosperous areas of Virginia.

“Southwest Virginia is the poor part of the state, so to speak; there’s not a lot of opportunities down there,” Johnson said before the House voted on the amendment Wednesday. Johnson said the facility will generate more than $100 million and about 500 jobs.

The General Assembly rejected two of McDonnell’s education-related budget amendments.

One would have provided $450,000 next year for the Opportunity Educational Institution, a new state-level unit to oversee public schools that have received accreditation warnings for three consecutive years.

Legislators also rejected McDonnell’s recommendation to award $1 million to the Hampton Roads Proton Beam Therapy Institute at Hampton University. The university is a private institution that has historically served African Americans.

“We ought to give the money to public institutions, not private institutions,” said Delegate Johnny Joannou, D-Portsmouth.

Milde: New, Unnecessary Stafford High School Takes Priority Over Teacher Raises


Stafford Aquia District Supervisor 

Last fall, the Board of Supervisors narrowly voted to tear down the current 285,000 square foot Stafford High School and replace it with a new 275,000 square foot Stafford High School. The estimated cost to Stafford’s taxpayers for this proposal: $66 million.

At the time the Board of Supervisors was considering this venture, two of my Board colleagues and I argued for a different approach. We promoted renovating Stafford High School instead of tearing it down and rebuilding. To us, this made sound economic sense. Why tie up $66 million in County borrowing capacity to build a new school when renovating the existing facility would fulfill our needs for about a third of that?

Believing and trusting in the wisdom and sound judgment of the people of Stafford County, I even proposed putting the question to the people in a referendum. The reaction to my proposal – as voiced in letters and a lead editorial in The Free Lance-Star – was negative. I responded by submitting an opinion piece detailing my reasons for supporting renovating over demolishing and building a new Stafford High.

Now, just a few months after the decision was made to build a brand new Stafford High School, we are seeing one of the downsides of that choice.

As Stafford County has been working through the process of preparing its budget for Fiscal Year 2014, there have been calls for teacher pay raises. In some cases, school system employees have submitted letters to the editor in The Free Lance-Star calling for pay increases. Their arguments for higher pay are substantive and persuasive. But, the decision to build a new Stafford High School clearly demonstrated that teacher pay was not the school system’s top priority.

The teacher pay debate – and the scarcity of resources to fund it – is the first real consequence of the costly decision to rebuild instead of renovate. Stafford County has effectively prioritized having a brand new facility over strengthening the compensation for the people charged with the responsibility of delivering a quality education for our children inside that facility.

In my view, those priorities are entirely backward.

Although Stafford has one of the best economic environments in Virginia, we still are in the midst of a tenuous and struggling recovery. And with many of our residents directly affected by the consequences of the federal sequester, County government must tread cautiously when it comes to setting tax rates. Now is not the time to raise taxes. We should instead be looking for ways to make our tax code more effective in aiding the growth of our local economy, as the Board is doing.

Submit your open Letter to the Editor by emailing it news[at]

Graffiti Artist Targets Brooke VRE Station


STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. – Stafford deputies on Tuesday were called to the area of the Brooke Point Commuter Lot at the Brooke Virginia Railway Express station on Brooke Road in to find graffiti spray painted on signs.

About eight to 10 signs were spray painted, said Stafford sheriff’s spokesman Bill Kennedy.

Further south on Brooke Road at a business near Potomac Creek, more graffiti was found in the form of curse words that had been spray painted on a building.

Black spray paint was used in both instances, and both incidents are related, said Kennedy.

Also on Tuesday, deputies were called to a home in the 600 block of Rocky Run Road in south Stafford for to find jewelry missing from a home. The homeowners said they came home to find a door kicked in and items like rings, earrings, and necklaces missing from the house.

The break in happened sometime during the daylight hours, said Kennedy. Anyone with information on either case is encouraged to call Stafford Crime Solvers.

Stafford Students Cast in Mary Washington’s ‘The Tempest’

Submitted News

The following area students are among the cast of the University of Mary Washington’s upcoming production of “The Tempest”:

Jen Furlong of Stafford, Va., has been selected to play Caliban. Furlong is a 1989 graduate of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts. Furlong is a senior theatre major in the bachelor of liberal studies program. She is an instructor at the Stafford House of Yoga. (22554)

Scott Houk of Stafford, Va., has been selected to play Sebastian. Houk is the son of John and Tammy Houk of Stafford and is a 2012 graduate of Mountain View High School. Houck is a freshman at UMW. (22554)

“The Tempest” tells the story of Prospero and his daughter, Miranda, who have been exiled to a majestic island by Prospero’s brother, Antonio. Prospero, seeking revenge, uses the help of a mischievous spirit, Ariel, to summon a storm to shipwreck his brother on the island. The passengers on the ship are separated and believe each other to be deceased. Magic and love interfere as the ship’s crew wanders the island seeking justice.

Produced in 1611 by English poet and playwright William Shakespeare, “The Tempest” is believed to be inspired by Michel de Montaigne’s work, “Of Cannibals.” In its more than 400 year history, “The Tempest” has been performed internationally countless times and has been adapted into several feature films.

Performances will be held April 11-13 and April18-20 at 8 p.m., and April 14 and 21 at 2 p.m. in duPont Hall’s Klein Theatre. Tickets are $18 for general admission and $16 for students and senior citizens. For more information or to purchase tickets, call the Klein Theatre Box Office at (540) 654-1111.

The University of Mary Washington is a premier, selective public liberal arts and sciences university in Virginia, highly respected for its commitment to academic excellence, strong undergraduate liberal arts and sciences program, and dedication to life-long learning. The university, with a total enrollment of more than 5,000, features colleges of business, education and arts and sciences, and three campuses, including a residential campus in Fredericksburg, Va., a second one in nearby Stafford and a third in Dahlgren, Va., which serves as a center of development of educational and research partnerships between the Navy, higher education institutions and the region’s employers. In recent years, the university has seen its academic reputation garner national recognition in numerous selective guidebooks, including Forbes, the Fiske Guide to Colleges and the Princeton Review’s 2012 edition of 150 “Best Value Colleges” and the 2013 edition of “The Best 377 Colleges.”

Rabid Cat Found in North Stafford


NORTH STAFFORD, Va. – A rabid cat was found in North Stafford, and now authorities are warning residents and school children on spring break to stay away from stray animals.

More in an unedited press release:

The Stafford County Sheriff’s Office is reporting that a cat with rabies has been confirmed in the North Stafford area of Stafford County.

 On Sunday, March 24, 2013 a citizen contacted the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office Animal Control Office and informed the office that she and a friend had been scratched by a stray cat that they were trying to capture. This incident occurred in the area of the 100 block of Eustace Road and Northampton Blvd. The cat was picked up by an Animal Control Officer and held at the Stafford Animal Shelter for a 10 day rabies observation confinement as required by sate law.

After several days at the shelter the health department was notified that the cat was exhibiting symptoms of an unknown illness which were getting more significant. Due to the deteriorating condition of the cat the animal was euthanized by shelter staff and sent to the state lab for rabies testing which resulted in a positive finding for rabies.

The women who found the rabid cat advise that they feed several other cats in the area where the rabid cat was found. Animal Control Officers will be attempting the trap the 6 stray cats that have been seen in the same area due to the possible exposure of these cats to the rabid cat and the need to prevent the further spread of the rabies virus. Animal Control Officers will be targeting the 6 specific stray cats but citizens need to be aware that if other cats are captured in the traps they will be taken to the animal shelter.

Citizens are reminded to not approach or try to catch stray or wild animals. This message should be shared with children especially during this spring break week from school. Animal owners should always maintain the appropriate vaccinations for their animals and, if possible, keep animals confined to the premises to avoid the threat of rabies.

 Rabies is a common but serious virus in the U.S. Here’s more about the virus in a video produced by


Stafford Civil War Park to Open This Month

(Photo: Mary Davidson/

STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. — The Stafford Civil War Park is set to open later this month to a special celebration.

According to Civil War News, the park will feature guest speakers and living history reenactor from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 27.

More from Civil War News:

The day will begin with a ribbon cutting by Stafford County officials, contractors and representatives of the Virginia Army and Air National Guard units that helped with site construction.

Speakers will include Dr. Christian B. Keller, a scholar on the history of German-Americans in the Civil War, and historian Al Conner who will speak about the winter encampment.

The grand opening will include tours of the park’s historical sites and fortifications, an encampment of living history interpreters and reenactors portraying infantry and artillery regiments, a military staff headquarters, a field hospital, period music and “Junior Soldier” programs for children.

At the conclusion of the event, the living historians and reenactors will march out of the site in recognition of the 150th anniversary of the 11th Corps heading south on April 27, 1863. The Corps fought at Chancellorsville, returned to this area and left again on June 12, 1863, for Gettysburg.

The effort cost donors at nearly $200 million to make the park a reality. The park will feature historic sites between the present day R-Board Regional Landfill on Eskimo Hill Road and the Accokeek Creek.

The site was home to three Union batteries including troops from Ohio, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York.

In the works since 2006, officials broke ground for the project on a hot summer day in 2011.

New Steel Erected Over Russell Rd. as Part of Express Lanes Project

New steel is erected as part of a project to build a new bridge over Russell Road at Quantico, as part of the 95 Express Lanes Project. [Submitted photo]

QUANTICO, Va. — Last week, the 95 Express Lanes crews hung these beams over Russell Road at Quantico for the new overpass for the lanes when they open in late 2014.

Last night, work began on nearby Telegraph Road, where a two-lane bridge will be demolished to make way for a new bridge to carry traffic over I-95. The project is expected to take nine months to complete.

Go to for more information.

The Express Lanes Project isn’t the only effort underway to improve the drive on I-95 in Prince William County. Crews with the Virginia Department of Transportation are also widening the shoulders of the highway and adding auxiliary lanes – a project that is expected to last two years.

The improvement project began yesterday, and at the same time massive delays formed on both sides of I-95. Drivers quickly jumped off the highway and onto U.S. 1 as a bailout route, though traffic on it quickly slowed thereafter.

4 Escape Blaze in Widewater


NORTH STAFFORD, Va. – Fire crews on Sunday were called to a blaze in the Widewater section of Stafford County.

More in a press release:

On Sunday March 31, 2013 at 1:33:38 a.m., Stafford County Fire and Rescue Department units responded to a reported structure fire at 31 Bloomington Lane in the Stonebridge at Widewater Subdivision. The first unit arrived on scene within six minutes reporting fire through the roof of a two story single family. Firefighters mounted an aggressive interior attack, after partial roof collapse crews were forced to evacuate. Once all personnel were accounted for firefighters re-entered the home and the fire under control within forty minutes.

The home was occupied by 4 adults who were home at the time of the fire and escaped prior to the arrival of fire and rescue units. One firefighter was transported to an area hospital with minor injuries as a result of the roof collapse; there were no other reported injuries. The cause of the fire was is under investigation and damage was estimates are not currently available.

Jimmy the Greek Restaurant: Family Friendly Greek Fare

Greek plate lunch special and a side of sweet potatoes at Jimmy the Greet Restaurant in North Stafford. [Stephanie Tipple / Potomac Local News]


NORTH STAFFORD, Va. — When you hear “Jimmy the Greek” you may be picturing the renowned sports commentator, but instead think tasty and affordable authentic Greek dishes.

Located off of Garrisonville Road in Stafford, this restaurant is part experience and part food. If you’re on your lunch break and looking for a bite to eat, then you’ll likely have two immediate impressions before you enter the front door; the restaurant is situated on it’s own Boulevard, and they have free wifi.

A blending of authentic Greek décor and Americana trinkets, Jimmy the Greek Family Restaurant is a popular local destination, and was fairly crowded on the afternoon when I sat down to try out their Greek fare for myself.

The menu, which covers breakfast, American favorites, traditional Greek fare and lunch and dinner specials, can make it very difficult to decide on one dish. Making the decision to tread new waters and try Greek cuisine, I settled on the Greek plate lunch special ($8.95) and a side of sweet potatoes; I am admittedly a sweet potato addict.

I found the television and the menu and place setting overly laden with advertisements to be a little distracting, but my server was attentive and I got my food quickly: a must when you have a short window to eat.

The tzatziki sauce paired well with the pita and the cucumbers, which balanced out the rice and pork that took up a large portion of my plate. While the rice was on the blander side, a scoop of the sauce mixed in makes all the difference.

Never being one to say no to dessert, I settled on the turtle cheesecake ($4.95), after selecting from several contenders in the glass display case in the front of the restaurant. The slice was huge, so have a glass of water or your leftover beverage ready.

When you’re in Stafford, you need to stop in and give the Jimmy the Greek Family Restaurant a try. It’s affordable, quick and offers delicious Greek food and a long menu of choices that will keep you coming back for more.

Two Accidents on 610 Add to Saturday Traffic Woes

A car ended up off the road at the corner of Garrisonville Road and Raintree Boulevard this evening during rush-hour traffic in the westbound lanes of Va. 610.  [Photo: Mary Davidson / Potomac Local News]

A car ended up off the road at the corner of Garrisonville Road and Raintree Boulevard this evening during rush-hour traffic in the westbound lanes of Va. 610.  [Photo: Mary Davidson / Potomac Local News]

A car ended up off the road at the corner of Garrisonville Road and Raintree Boulevard this evening during rush-hour traffic in the westbound lanes of Va. 610. [Photo: Mary Davidson / Potomac Local News]

Police respond to the scene of an accident  on Garrisonville Road, west of Onville Road. The white SUV shown here is facing westbound in the eastbound lanes of Va. 610.  [Photo: Mary Davidson / Potomac Local News]

Police respond to the scene of an accident on Garrisonville Road, west of Onville Road. The white SUV shown here is facing westbound in the eastbound lanes of Va. 610. [Photo: Mary Davidson / Potomac Local News]

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