By MARY DAVIDSON
STAFFORD, Va. – For the first time, Stafford County officials lit the county’s Christmas Tree.
The ceremony for the illumination took place in front of the county’s courthouse in Stafford. Santa and Mrs. Claus were in attendance, and so were many residents who came to share in the holiday cheer.
STAFFORD, Va. – The Stafford County School Board has a new member.
More in a press release from the county school system:
The Stafford County School Board appointed Holly Hazard to fill the vacated Hartwood District seat at a special meeting this evening after interviewing five candidates for the position. Ms. Hazard currently serves as president of the Margaret Brent Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization. She will complete the term of office for the Hartwood seat which ends on December 31, 2013.
Board Chair Stephanie Johnson expressed her appreciation to all 17 residents who submitted their applications for the position.
The appointment comes after Doreen Phillips stepped down from the seat Nov. 1. She left after her residency came into question from the county registrar.
A total of 17 people submitted applications to join the Board.
By JOCELYN DAVIDSON KISER
NORTH STAFFORD, Va. – A guy known for carrying a possum on his shoulder will be in North Stafford to sign copies of his children’s books.
A Possum’s Christmas tale follows the possum “Opie” as he begins an adventure in search of the meaning of Christmas.
Long is a faculty member at George Mason University and was nominated for the Northern Virginia Community College Alumni Federation Faculty of the Year Award. He currently lives in Virginia, according to his website.
Bella Café is located at 3871 Jefferson Davis Highway in North Stafford.
STAFFORD, Va. – If you take a short trip down Spring Lake Drive in Stafford, you’re in for a long holiday lights show.
The house at 79 Spring Lake Drive is once again lit up for the holidays. And if you tune your car radio to 95.1 FM you’ll be able to listen to the Christmas music that accompanies these dancing lights.
Homeowner Randy Shumate begins setting up the light show in October. He says it’s a labor of love that he does for the neighborhood each year.
New for 2012 is a large sign with “Merry Christmas” lit up on the roof of the house. Shumate said what started out as a small project has grown into a family holiday tradition.
Neighbors were invited to his house to see the light show Saturday night where they were greeted with hot drinks, snacks, and camaraderie. The evening light show will run through Jan. 1.
STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. – The Stafford County Sheriff’s Office reports the arrest of Montreus Peterson, age 18, of Woodford, Virginia. Peterson has been charged with 1 Count of Shooting at an Occupied Dwelling and 1 Count of Reckless Handling of a Firearm. He is currently incarcerated at the Rappahannock Regional Jail under no bond.
Peterson was charged as a result of an incident that occurred on the evening on Saturday, November 24, 2012, where deputies responded to a residence in the Olde Forge subdivision in Stafford. The Sheriff’s Office investigation has indicated that Peterson shot several times into a residence and then fled the scene after being spotted by a Stafford deputy.
Montreus Peterson was arrested at approximately 11:50 pm on the evening of Wednesday, November 28, 2012. Members of the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office Special Problems Unit, Criminal Investigation Division and Patrol Division with assistance from members of the Regional Violent Crimes Safe Street Task Force located Peterson at an address on Brown Circle in Stafford. Peterson was taken into custody without incident.
The investigation into this incident is ongoing and additional charges are possible.
STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. – Two men are under arrest and a Stafford County supervisor’s family has come together to offer support for their son.
Grant Reid Weber and Travis Christopher Milde, both 20-years-old, have been tied to a case involving breaking and entering, assault and batter, and vandalism that occurred in Stafford County.
Milde is the son of Aquia District Supervisor Paul Milde.
According to Sheriff’s spokesman Bill Kennedy, a home on Matthew Lane in southern Stafford was broken into late Tuesday. A man told police that he was getting ready for bed when he heard someone coming down the hall toward his 19-year-old son’s room.
The father said he saw Weber, who was a former friend of his son, and told him it was late and to leave.
Kennedy said the intruder continued into the son’s room and began beating the 19-year-old. He ignored the father’s repeated demands that he leave and continued fighting even after the father retrieved a handgun.
Meanwhile, a second intruder jumped on the father’s back as he was screaming at the other intruder. The gun fell to the floor during the skirmish, but the father regained control of the weapon and told police he accidentally fired off a round that struck no one.
The intruders left the home in Kendallwood Estates off White Oak Road at that point, and while fleeing pushed the 19-year-old’s mother across the hallway and into another room. The intruders had apparently broken out a back window to get inside.
Paul Milde was shaken up by the incident, and on Thursday said he stands by his son.
“Our family has come together to support Travis and to provide him whatever he needs,” said Milde.
Travis Milde lives with his mother in south Stafford County.
Both Milde and Weber are being held at the Rappahannock Regional Jail under no bond and are expected to appear in court Jan. 24.
WOODBRIDGE, Va. – There are some very special VIPs among us at area Chick-fil-A restaurants.
The fast food chain asked each Chick-fil-A store in the Washington area to seek written submissions from members of the community stating why they should be chosen as a Chick-fil-A VIP. The winners have been announced, and they will be flown to company headquarters in Atlanta for a private tour.
More about the winners in a press release:
On Tuesday, Dec. 4, the Chick-fil-A franchise Operators, “VIPs” and their guests will fly to Atlanta for a one-day tour of the Chick-fil-A corporate headquarters and historical company landmarks.
To participate in the contest, guests submitted a written story via Facebook explaining why they should be elected “VIP” of their local Chick-fil-A restaurant. Each restaurant selected up to five “candidates,” and customers and friends voted for their favorite finalists. Election results parties were held to celebrate the five candidates and “VIP of My Chick-fil-A” contest winners at each restaurant.
Gainesville, Va. – Theresa Bickers (Chick-fil-A at Virginia Gateway)
Manassas, Va. – Angela Yeh (Chick-fil-A at Sudley Manor Drive), George Ashley (Chick-fil-A at Bristow) and Carolyn Koeppel (Chick-fil-A at Signal Hill)
Woodbridge, Va. – Kristina Schnack (Chick-fil-A at Woodbridge)
Fredericksburg, Va. – Brian Creed (Chick-fil-A in Fredericksburg), Edgard Collazo (Chick-fil-A at Spotsylvania Town Centre Mall), Suzanne Medina (Chick-fil-A at Southpoint), Kathy Truslow (Chick-fil-A at Celebrate Virginia) and Elody Shojinaga (Chick-fil-A at Central Park)
The names of all 45 people who won were announced at a party on Nov. 5. They will be flown to Atlanta on Dec. 4 where they will tour the company’s historical landmarks, according to a press release.
STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. – It’s been three weeks since 17-year-old Evan Newsom was shot and killed by police. And during that time no new official details about the shooting have been released.
We don’t know what led to a Stafford sheriff’s deputy walk inside the home, draw his gun, and kill the teenager.
At a series of press briefings the day of the shooting, the public was told the teen was armed with a knife and sliced a deputy causing a superficial wound. He was was treated at the scene.
Last night, a woman who answered the door at the home where the shooting took place declined to speak with PotomacLocal.com.
Stafford sheriff’s officials have also been silent on the details of the case pending a Virginia State Police probe. They have also declined to say if the deputy who pulled the trigger was placed on any sort of official review or paid leave following the shooting.
The only new details in the case come from Newsom’s mother, Angela, who penned a long letter to Fredericksburg.com.
She states in the letter she and her son got into an argument the night of the shooting, that he hit her, and then he took the keys of the family’s Hyundai Elantra. A novice driver with only a learner’s driver’s permit to his name, and then later crashed it in a ditch about a quarter mile away from the house.
The letter states Evan walked from the from crash site, and slept on a couch. The mother states she received a phone call at 3:30 a.m. Nov. 2 from a neighbor who told her Fauquier deputies knew about the Elantra in the ditch, according to the letter on Fredericksburg.com:
He had walked home after the car accident. They were trying to talk Evan into going to the car and letting them help get it out of the ditch and back home in the driveway. Apparently Evan did not want to do that and said something about how much trouble he was going to be in and wanting to run, at which time he went outside and got in the older car.
The husband told Evan to give him the keys but Evan wouldn’t so the husband started trying to physically take them from Evan. That is the time I was woken up by the wife and came outside to help. The husband was able to take the keys from Evan but Evan bit his thumb in the process. At that point, the wife called Fauquier deputies back.
Deputies arrived at the house a short time later and were told Evan was still inside. Newsom states she told police her son was not violent, but that he held the door shut and and refused to let in his mother or police into the house.
Then he went into the kitchen and grabbed a steak knife. He held it up and showed it to police and yelled it was over, she stated.
The letter goes onto state deputies then told Newsom to get back from the door. She then describes a second police unit arriving on the scene who began taunting the teenager, calling him names, and urging her son to make a move.
More now from that letter as it appeared on Fredericksburg.com:
This went on for two to three minutes which would have been about the time it would take to get thru the mother- in-law apartment, up the back stairs, and thru the upstairs of the main home to the stairway at the main entryway. Then I heard pop, pop, pop, then glass breaking. There was no delay between any of that. No one heard police announce their entry to Evan or any warning to put down the knife or they would fire and no one heard sounds of a physical altercation. I later learned from the neighbor that the deputies refused the suggestion to guard the door and entered the main house with guns drawn.
Evan Newsom would have turned 18-years-old in January, according to his mother’s statement.
STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. – Drivers on Courthouse Road now have some help knowing when other cars have come to a stop on the two-lane road.
The Virginia Department of Transportation on earlier this month planned to activate a new flashing warning system to alert drivers to stoped cars near Winding Creek Road.
More in a press release from the agency:
On Thursday, Nov. 15, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) plans to activate the recently installed Advance Warning Flasher on Route 630 (Courthouse Road) near Winding Creek Elementary School in Stafford County.
The Advance Warning Flasher will provide advance warning to motorists travelling east on Courthouse Road just west of Ramoth Church Road (Route 628) that vehicles are stopped and waiting to make a left turn onto northbound Route 628 (Winding Creek Road).
VDOT conducted testing of the warning system today in preparation of the full activation.
Transportation officials estimate Courthouse Road carries some 11,000 cars per day.
Winding Creek Elementary School sits at the intersection of Courthouse and Winding Creek roads.
11:30 a.m. Monday
The pedestrian struck Sunday night on Va. 610 died.
Police said 71-year-old Alexander Smith, of Stafford, was struck when crossing the right lane of Garrisonville Road (Va. 610) and later died at the scene.
He was struck by a 2007 Suzuki SUV driven by a 33-year-old Stafford man. No charges have been filed in the case, said Virginia State Police Sgt. Les Tyler.
The crash was investigated by Virginia State Police Trooper E.S. Frye.
10:30 p.m. Sunday
NORTH STAFFORD, Va. – A man was struck Sunday night while crossing a busy four-lane highway in North Stafford.
Fire and rescue crews were called to a Valero gas station on Va. 610 just past Eustace Road about 8:50 p.m. after a man was struck while crossing the road. Witnesses said the man was headed toward the gas station and had crossed the street from the area of Norwalk Drive.
Emergency crews arrived and began CPR on the victim and later placed him in the back of an ambulance. The ambulance was not quick to leave the scene once he was inside.
The man who was hit was black and had gray hair. Stafford County Deputy Fire Chief Kirk Clayberg said the victim was about 50-years-old.
The driver of the striking vehicle appeared to have remained at the scene.
Virginia State Police arrived on the scene and took over the investigation. They were unable to release any other information.
Two shoes that witnesses described as belonging to the victim laid on ground at the gas station about 100-feet apart from where the victim was found.
We’ll have more on this as it develops.
Today is Small Business Saturday. It’s a chance for the spotlight to switch from yesterdays deluge of deals at malls and big box chain stores to mom and pop stores across the region.
While there is nothing small about American Express – the sponsor and largest promoter of Small Business Saturday – lots of small businesses are taking part today.
In the small village of Occoquan in Prince William County, Mayor Earnie Porta in an email stated various shops will participate.
Stores like Quinns Goldsmith, 13 Magickal Moons, and Glory Be are just some of the stores participating. Cock and Bowl and the Pink Bicycle Tea Room are just some of the businesses listed on 20 pages of stores said to have deals on Saturday.
Stafford Music, 610 Pawn, and Stafford Technologies are some of the businesses listed in Stafford County.
A survey conducted by the National Federation of Independent Business and American Express, it shows 67 percent of those they spoke with will patronize a small business today. Many do it because they value the contributions small businesses make to the community.
In a press release, the survey results show where shoppers will go:
Additional findings from the Small Business Saturday Insights Consumer Survey include:
• The top five places that consumers plan to shop on Small Business Saturday are restaurants (52%), bakeries (35%), clothing stores (34%), gift shops (31%) and book shops (29%).
• The number one reason that consumers plan to support small businesses on November 24th is they value the contributions small businesses make to their community (76%), while the number two reason was better customer service (59%).
• 50% of those planning to shop on Small Business Saturday plan to “shop small” with a friend.
• 67% of consumers plan to eat out at small, independently-owned restaurant on Small Business Saturday this year.
• Word-of-mouth is the top way that consumers find small, independently-owned shops and restaurants in their communities (79%).
Shopping is quickly becoming synonymous with Thanksgiving. The National Retail Federation in a press release stated millions packed stores at midnight Thursday:
NRF estimates that holiday sales will increase 4.1 percent this year to $586 billion. NRF’s holiday sales forecast is based on an economic model using indicators like housing data, unemployment and previous monthly retail sales reports and includes retail industry sales from November and December.
STAFFORD, Va. – Stafford County will light its Christmas Tree at the county courthouse this year.
More in a press release:
All citizens are invited to the lighting of the County Christmas tree on Tuesday, December 4, 2012, at 5:00 p.m. Santa and Mrs. Claus, who are local Stafford citizens Dale and Trish Parris, are renowned for their realistic portrayal of the merry couple. They will join the Board of Supervisors and County staff at the lighting ceremony and be available for pictures. Duane DeHart, the music minister of Ferry Farm Baptist Church, will lead guests in carols.
This is the second year for the official lighting of the tree, which is located on the lawn in front of the Stafford Courthouse at 1300 Courthouse Road, Stafford, VA 22554. Parking is available to the rear of the Courthouse.
This marks the second time the county has lit an official Christmas Tree.
All lanes have been reopened after a truck spilled sewage on U.S. 1.
The crash involved two vehicles – a car and a large truck. Both collided near Va. 610.
No one was injured, and no charges had been filed in the crash as of Tuesday afternoon, saidStaffordsheriff’s spokesman Bill Kennedy.
The Virginia Department of Transportation reports the sewage has been cleaned up.
NORTH STAFFORD, Va. – A large truck carrying sewage spilled its contents onto U.S. 1.
Stafford fire and rescue spokesman Mark Doyle said one northbound lane of traffic on U.S. 1 is moving, and traffic is being re-routed through the Aquia Park shopping center just before Va. 610.
It’s unclear what caused the crash. A clean-up contractor has been called to the scene, said Doyle.
By KJ MUSHUNG
STAFFORD, Va. – On Nov. 14 at Wawa gas stations all over Stafford County, people could plaster police cruisers with dollars for Special Olympics.
The event was organized by the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office. Chief Harman of the Aquia Harbour Police Department, who donated her time and was off duty during the event, raised $173 on her cruiser.
WOODBRIDGE, Va. – The fifth and final film adaptation of the Twilight book series was released in midnight showings Thursday. As our Kristina Kotlus shows us, fans lined up at AMC Theaters at Potomac Mills mall to see the Breaking Dawn Part II.
The parking lot was full well before midnight, and fans lined up inside for the movie.
Dubbed the “Twilight” series named after the first book, the books and films tell the stories of teenage vampires and werewolves.
WOODBRIDGE, Va. – Santa will ride the rails once again this year on Virginia Railway Express’ Fredericksburg Line.
But a Civil War reenactment in Fredericksburg will bring changes to where children and families board the trains.
The popular Santa Trains will run Saturday Dec. 8 and will serve Leeland Station in Stafford County instead of Downtown Fredericksburg because of the reenactment scheduled to take place at the same time.
Riders will also be able meet board trains and meet Santa at VRE’s Woodbridge station.
Tickets for the trains will go on sale online Nov. 26 and normally sell out fast, according to a statement from the commuter railroad:
Tickets go on sale Monday November 26th at 9 a.m. More information about ticket sales and trains can be found on the “What’s New” section of our home page at www.vre.org.
The tickets sell out fast, both online and in person. Last year, VRE sold 7,500 tickets.
Both the Leeland Road and Woodbridge stations will also serve as drop-off points for the Marine Corps Toys for Tots donation program. Riders can bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to a child who will receive it this holiday season.
While this is known as a fun event, the commuter railroad states the trains are meant to call attention to important safety issues:
Again, the event, taking place on Saturday, December 8th uses this opportunity to remind people of the importance of rail safety. So remember, that this event is not just for fun, but it also has a serious and important message: “Look, listen and live!” from Operation Lifesaver.
STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. – A sinkhole appeared on U.S. 17 in at Interstate 95 in Stafford County.
A water main broke about at 8 a.m. today, about the same time the sinkhole appeared and that prompted officials to close two northbound lanes of U.S. 17 underneath the I-95 overpass.
“We’re not sure at this point whether or not the water main break caused the sink hole, or if the sinkhole caused the water main break – it’s like the chicken or the egg question,” said Stafford County spokeswoman Shannon Howell.
The water main has been repaired and now crews are working to fill in the hole with dirt. That operation could take place well into the evening, she added.
STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. – Law enforcement officers found a baby strapped to a car seat inside a motel.
Officers were called to Motel 6 at 401 Warrenton Road in Falmouth at 10:46 p.m. Tuesday after guests said they heard the incessant cries of a baby coming from a nearby room.
The manager knocked on the door of the room where the child was crying and no one answered. Stafford sheriff’s deputies were then called and they too tried knocking, but after no answered were let into the room by the manager.
They found a six-month-old baby girl left alone strapped to a car seat turned upside down on the bed, said Stafford sheriff’s spokesman Bill Kennedy.
Officers called an ambulance which came to examine the child who suffered bruises after being strapped in the chair, said Kennedy.
While it’s not known how long the child was left alone, hotel guests said they could hear the child crying for two hours prior to police arriving, said Kennedy.
An hour after deputies got there, a woman who identified herself as the mother showed up and asked to see her daughter. She told police she had been away from the room, upstairs inside the same motel, for one hour. Detectives were called to the scene and an arrest was made.
Christine Clark, 34, of no fixed address, is charged with child endangerment, child abuse, and with obstruction of justice, said Kennedy.
She was taken to the Rappahannock Regional Jail. The child was placed into child protective services.
STAFFORD, Va. – There’s a low-cost alternative for animal lovers who want to care for their household pets.
The Thomas Beath Animal Spay and Neuter Clinic is now accepting patients of the four-legged persuasion.
Here, dogs and cats can be spayed and nurtured for a fraction of the cost at other animal hospitals. Owner Jeanette Allard said it’s a cost-effective way to fix their animals.
It’s become too expensive for many people to spay and neuter their pets,” said Allard.
The clinic charges $95 for large female dogs 50 pounds and over, and $75 for small female dogs. Owners of male dogs 50 pounds or over pay $75, and owners of smaller male dogs pay $60.
Preventive care is also offered at the clinic, where animals can also low-cost vaccinations for things like rabies and distemper.
The location of the clinic is convenient for residents of Stafford County, and Prince William County where few low-cost pet services like this are currently offered, said Allard.
Open for the first time last month, the clinic took its roots in April 2002 when Allard began rescuing animals from owners who neglected or mistreated them. It grew into 3,100 square foot operation it is today.
“I rescued animals for seven years and realized there are way too many of them to try and save,” said Allard.
After formulating a plan to open the clinic, Allard raised over $50,000 to open it. It wasn’t easy, she said.
The clinic’s top donor, Jessica Beath and her Richmond-based Jessica Beath Foundation, had a husband named Dr. Thomas who enjoyed animals. The animal medical center is named after him.
STAFFORD, Va. – There will be more places to play in Stafford.
The county has approved construction of an indoor recreation facility at what will be Embrey Mill Park.
The park will sit off Mine Road near the interchange of Interstate 95 and Courthouse Road. It’ll include an indoor recreation center with a 50-meter swimming pool with locker rooms. Outside, visitors to the park will see rectangular fields for soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, and football, said Stafford spokeswoman Shannon Howell.
The park’s cost is estimated at $12 million for the fields and $8 million for the indoor facility. It’ll be paid for with park bonds approved by voters in 2009, and from contributions from land developers.
The park is slated to open in September 2014.
Plans for the park come as developers have begun work on a massive new residential community also known as Embrey Mill. The more than 800-acre subdivision is expected to bring new residents and new life to the central portion of Stafford County.
More than 1,800 new homes are planned for the neighborhood.
The neighborhood will sit in the county’s Garrisonville District.
STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. – Delegate Mark Cole (R- Fredericksburg, Stafford) will hold a series of upcoming town hall meetings to discuss the upcoming General Assembly session in Richmond that begins in January, and to raise money for his upcoming campaign.
More in a press release from the Delegate:
I want to invite you and your family to a town hall meeting and Holiday Reception. I will be holding two town hall meetings, to discuss the upcoming General Assembly session, followed by Holiday receptions. I hope that you will be able to attend one of these meetings/receptions:
November 17, 2012, Saturday
Town Hall Meeting followed by a Thanksgiving Reception
2:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Faith Baptist Church
4105 Plank Road
Fredericksburg, VA 22407
December 15, 2012, Saturday
Town Hall Meeting followed by a Christmas Reception
2:00 PM – 5:00 PM
1026 Warrenton Road
Fredericksburg, VA 22406 (south Stafford County)
If you plan to attend, please let me know to allow us to be able to prepare properly.
I also need to raise funds to pay the costs of the receptions and prepare for next year’s campaign. I hope that you will help!
There is no charge to attend the reception, and you are welcome regardless, but I need to raise support in preparation for next year’s election and hope that you will consider making a contribution.