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Updated: Marine Corps museum MRE Cookoff looking for contestants


The National Museum of the Marine Corps will once again pit would-be chefs against the infamous MRE (meal ready to eat) in the fourth annual MRE Cookoff, Saturday, Feb. 4.                       

The challenge is simple: make the tastiest meal (or at least the most palatable) out of two MRE packs “blindly” pulled from a box and whatever ingredients each chef can fit into his or her “cargo pocket” (the big pocket on the trousers of field uniforms, about the equivalent of a quart-size plastic bag). With a cooktop fueled by a Sterno can, contestants will work their magic, hoping to be awarded the coveted Golden Canteen Cup.  Contestants can cook alone or in two-person teams.


School closings and delays for Thursday evening Jan. 5, Friday, Jan. 6, 2017

Check our Schools and Local Governments Twitter lists below for the most up-to-date closings posted by the respective school division or government agency.

For the open status of the Federal Government, click “OPM website” below.

Government closings and delays

Federal Government Operating Status

(OPM website)

Occoquan VFW lays “Wreaths Across America” at Quantico

Submitted by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7916 in Occoquan: 

On December 17, 2016, Quantico National Cemetery hosted “Wreaths Across America,” a holiday wreath-laying ceremony to honor and remember our nation’s Veterans. With the wreath laying scheduled to begin at 9:00 AM Saturday morning, a handful of veterans and patriots braved the cold, freezing rain to begin.

We have all seen, and have been awestruck by, the somber sight of hundreds or thousands of precisely aligned rows of stark headstones at one or another of our Veterans cemeteries. But seeing the awe-inspiring images of hundreds — thousands — of beautiful, red-ribbon-adorned, fresh, green wreaths gracing the graves of our fallen heroes is humbling.

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7916, from Occoquan, VA, led the way. One of the first to arrive at the cemetery VFW Post 7916 Commander, Chuck Wilson, Colonel, USAF, Ret, began laying wreaths at on some the headstones at Quantico National Cemetery. Wilson is also Chairman of the Potomac Region Veterans Council made up of 26 Veterans Service Organizations and represents as many as 15,000 veterans in Northern Virginia.

As the temperature slightly rose and road conditions improved, a steady stream of automobiles carrying carloads of veterans and patriots arrived at Quantico National Cemetery.

At approximately 12:00 PM, the memorial ceremony began. The Marine Color Guard posted the Colors. Representatives from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marines laid wreaths to honor the fallen, as well as Prisoners of War and those still Missing in Action (POW/MIA).

An estimated 2,500 great Americans came for this event. The line of cars was backed up to I-95 to get in to the cemetery. Well over 8,000 wreaths were laid to honor our veterans at Quantico National Cemetery

“Wreaths Across America,” began donating holiday wreaths in tribute to Veterans laid to rest at VA’s national cemeteries and state Veterans cemeteries in 2006.

‘The President’s Own’ play at Marine Corps museum at Quantico

QUANTICO, Va. — The “President’s Own” Marine Corps Band had the night off from performing at the White House and came to the National Museum of the Marine Corps.

The band that plays for presidents played a free show in front of a packed crowd inside Leatherneck Hall. Underneath hanging airplanes, the band played traditional Christmas carols, five movements from Nutcracker Suite, a piece of the “Polar Express” movie soundtrack, and a sing-along with audience members helped to ring in the Christmas Spirit.

This year marked the third time the President’s Own played during the Christmas season at the Marine Museum. When not at the White House, the band can be performing throughout the year at venues like Northern Virginia Community College’s Alexandria Campus, as well as locations in Maryland and Washington, D.C.

Gingerbread cookies, cupcakes, and cake lollipops were sold at a concession stand before the start of the show. The hot apple cider quickly ran out, but there was plenty of eggnogs — regular and alcoholic versions — to go around.

Those who didn’t get a seat on the floor of the gallery went to the second floor of the museum to watch from a balcony. Others went to the top of the gallery’s observation deck for a birds-eye view of the concert.

The show lasted about an hour and a half, starting a 7:30 p.m. and wrapping up about 9 p.m.

Updated: I-95 Quantico crash involves Howitzer artillery cannon

QUANTICO, Va. — A portion of Interstate 95 south at Quantico was closed at 6:55 a.m. for a fuel spill clean up following a crash involving two trucks.

More from VDOT: 

All lanes of Interstate 95 southbound have closed again near Quantico Marine Corps Base in Stafford County to allow crews to remove a tractor-trailer, truck and spilled diesel fuel from an earlier crash.

All lanes of I-95 southbound are closed at mile marker 147, just south of Exit 148/Quantico. Additionally, the on-ramp to I-95 southbound from Exit 148/Quantico is closed.

I-95 southbound traffic is being detoured to Route 1 southbound at Exit 148/Quantico. Traffic can re-enter I-95 southbound from Route 1 at Exit 143/Garrisonville.  

8:43 a.m. 

The left lane of Interstate 95 southbound has re-opened at mile marker 147 in Stafford County, just south of Exit 148/Quantico.

8:55 a.m. 

The left lane of Interstate 95 southbound has re-opened at mile marker 147 in Stafford County, just south of Exit 148/Quantico.

11 a.m.

From Quantico Marine Corps Base Capt. Joshua Pena: 

The military vehicle and M777 Howitzer artillery cannon involved  in the incident this morning on I-95 were part of a Marine Corps convoy in route to Fort Pickett for training from The Basic School aboard Marine Corps Base, Quantico. The remainder of the vehicles, equipment, and all uniformed personnel assigned to the convoy have returned safely to base. There are no serious injuries reported.

Commandant of the Marine Corps Speaks at Veterans Day ceremony

The Chairman of the Potomac Region Veterans Council (PRVC), and Commander of VFW Post 7916, Chuck Wilson, Colonel, USAF (Ret), was the Master of Ceremonies at a Veterans Day ceremony at Quantico on Friday.

General Robert Neller, 37th Commandant of the US Marine Corps Was a keynote speaker. “

Veterans Day first began as Armistice Day with the commemoration of the armistice which ended World War I, on “the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month,” 1918.” This ceremony is held to honor all of America’s veterans past and present.

Quantico National Cemetery has hosted this event since 1983. Both the Veterans Day and Memorial Day Ceremonies such as this are sponsored by the Potomac Region Veterans Council that represents 26 Veterans Service Organizations, and 15,000 across Northern Virginia.

Sponsored by the Potomac Region Veterans Council partnering with Marine Base Quantico and Quantico National Cemetery, A Veterans Day National Ceremony is held each year on November 11th. Over 1,000 Soldiers, Sailors, Airman and Marines, along with many families and distinguished guests came to commemorate National Veterans Day, at the Ceremony at Quantico National Cemetery this year.

4 displaced after Quantico appliance fire

From Prince William County Fire and Rescue Department: 

On Sunday, November 13th, at 7:58 p.m., fire and rescue crews were dispatched to an appliance fire in a single family home located in the 200 block of 3rd Avenue in Quantico.

Upon entry, fire and rescue crews discovered the fire had extended to the kitchen cabinets and immediately upgraded the incident to a structure fire. Firefighters quickly extinguished the fire.

The occupants, one adult and three children, were alerted to the fire by the sounding of the smoke alarm allowing them to safely evacuate the home. They were transported and treated for smoke inhalation at a local medical facility.

Red Cross was on scene to assist the family displaced by the fire.

According to the Fire Marshal’s Office, preliminary damages are estimated at $5,000.00.

The origin and cause of the fire was a cooking fire on a kitchen stovetop and has been determined as accidental.

Veterans Day ceremony planned at Quantico National Cemetery

QUANTICO, Va. — A Veterans Day Ceremony will be held at Quantico National Cemetery on Friday.

Commandant of the Marine Corps General Robert B. Neller will be the keynote speaker for the event to honor the men and women in who serve, and have served their country in uniform.

The ceremony will take place at the flagpole, near Committal Shelter A, at 11 a.m., according to a press release.

More from a press release:

Veterans Day is intended to thank and honor all those who served honorably in the military – in wartime or peacetime. World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” – officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month – November 11, 1918.

In November 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory …”

Potomac Local Voter Guide 2016: What’s on my ballot?

It’s been a long election season, and in it will be all over in about 48 hours.

We crafted this local voter guide for residents in Prince William and Stafford counties and the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park. This handy guide will tell you who is on your ballot, from presidential candidates, city council, and school board.

Also in the Guide: Links to profiles for the two candidates running in the special Manassas City Treasuer election, and links to the two constitutional amendments all Virginia voters will see when they go to the polls on Tuesday.’s Project: Election sent candidate surveys to all of the candidates listed this post. We have linked to the responses submitted by the candidates. 

If there is no link provided for a candidate for local offices, that candidate did not provide Project: Election questionnaire. 

For Presidential and Congressional candidates, we linked to their campaign websites. An asterisk notes incumbents. 

U.S. President 

Prince William County

1st Congressional District 

10th Congressional District

11th Congressional District

City of Manassas 

10th Congressional District

Manassas City Mayor 

City of Manassas Park 

Manassas Park City Mayor 

Governing Body 

Stafford County 

1st Congressional District 

Griffis-Widewater District School Board Representative 

Now for the two Constitutional Amendment questions that all Virginia residents will see.

Here is the first Constitutional Amendment question on the ballot: 

Should Article I of the Constitution of Virginia be amended to prohibit any agreement or combination between an employer and a labor union or labor organization whereby (i) nonmembers of the union or organization are denied the right to work for the employer, (ii) membership to the union or organization is made a condition of employment or continuation of employment by such employer, or (iii) the union or organization acquires an employment monopoly in any such enterprise?

Here is the second Constitutional Amendment question on the ballot: 

Shall the Constitution of Virginia be amended to allow the General Assembly to provide an option to the localities to exempt from taxation the real property of the surviving spouse of any law-enforcement officer, firefighter, search and rescue personnel, or emergency medical services personnel who was killed in the line of duty, where the surviving spouse occupies the real property as his or her principal place of residence and has not remarried?

See more 2016 election coverage

Quantico seeks Paracanoe Athletes for event

From Town of Quantico: 

The Town of Quantico, in cooperation with the American Canoe Association (ACA), USA Canoe/Kayak (USACK), and Adaptive Expeditions are looking for eligible disabled Veterans to participate in an upcoming Paracanoe athlete development project being held on Saturday August 27th and Sunday August 28th. This is a rain or shine event. Registration is required to participate in this FREE event.

This project is being funded through the Veterans Administration’s (VA) Adaptive Sports Grant (ASG) and managed and led by Adaptive Expeditions. The Paracanoe athlete development project is an adaptive sports outreach program to introduce disabled Veterans and disabled members of the Armed Forces to introductory through elite levels of paddlesports.

On Saturday May 27th the project will focus on introducing disabled Veterans to the whole-life health benefits of using a kayak as a recreational activity. This day of training will be led by ACA Adaptive Paddling Instructor Trainers teaching beginner adaptive paddling best practices to twenty (20) Veterans or active duty military with Paralympic classifiable disabilities along with up to five (5) local coaches. This training will be broken into a morning and afternoon class .

Concrete pad at Track 3 at Quantico VRE station being demolished

From Virginia Railway Express: 

Beginning August 8th, the concrete pad on the west side of the station (Track 3), will be demolished. As a result, all trains can only use the east side platform closest to the station building (Track 2) and will be single tracking north and south of station which may lead to delays. We will work with all stakeholders involved to minimize any delays that do occur. The anticipated completion date of this phase is August 13th.

We appreciate your patience during this time as this work will improve the flexibility and operation of our service area.

We will keep riders up to date about delays to our trains because of this issue.



Coal ash water treatment process ‘unprecedented’

At the top of the hill overlooking the Possum Point Power Station you get a clear view of the Potomac River.

Helicopters are buzzing in the air near Quantico Marine Corps Base.

There’s also a large pond below the hilltop, one of five that contain the deadly heavy metals arsenic, boron, and chromium to lead, mercury, selenium, and zinc, all sitting at the bottom of the pond. The heavy metals combine to form coal ash — a byproduct created when coal was burned at Possum Point to generate electricity from 1947 to 2003. (more…)

Town of Quantico needs veterans for Racer Quest for Veterans with Disabilities project

Are you a disabled Veteran interested in canoeing or kayaking?  Or a disabled Veteran already experienced in kayaking? 

The Town of Quantico, in cooperation with the American Canoe Association (ACA) and USA Canoe/Kayak (USACK), are looking for eligible disabled Veterans to participate in their upcoming Racer Quest for Veterans with Disabilities project being held on May 27 and 28. 

This project is being funded through the Veterans Administration’s (VA) Adaptive Sports Grant (ASG) Program. The Racer Quest for Veterans with Disabilities project will create an adaptive sports outreach program to introduce disabled Veterans and disabled members of the Armed Forces to introductory through elite levels of paddlesports.

On Saturday May 27 the project will focus on introducing disabled Veterans to the whole-life health benefits of using a kayak as a recreational activity.  On Sunday May 28th the project will allow disabled Veterans to participate in the Racer Quest program which is a gateway to competing at the national and international levels in paddlesport as an elite athlete.

Please go to to find out how to participate.

Questions and comments should be directed to Sean McCarthy, Director of Sports and Recreation

Live Well Festival to feature health and wellness activities, farm to table brunch

Spring has sprung and it’s time for the year’s first festival in historic downtown Manassas! The 10th Annual Live Well Festival, formerly known as Spring Cleaning Day, will be held Saturday, April 16 from 9 a.m. – 2 .p.m in the Harris Pavilion and along West Street. Health and wellness information, exercise classes, a farm-to-table brunch, and more will be available. (more…)

Manassas Farmers Market has more vendors, ‘Take-Out Tuesdays’

The City of Manassas Farmer’s Market is back for its 25th peak season. Running from April through early November, the market is open on both Thursdays and Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. The Thursday market will be housed at the Harris Pavilion beginning April 7, while Saturday shoppers can find all their market necessities in Parking Lot B, across from the Train Depot beginning April 9. (more…)

National Museum for the Marine Corps reopens Friday

After temporarily closing its doors nearly three months ago, the National Museum for the Marine Corps will re-open to the public on April 1, 2016 at 9 a.m. Visitors will discover a recently restored World War II SBD Dauntless dive bomber and Vietnam-era Sikorsky UH-34D helicopter which were installed during the closure. The Dauntless now hangs from the soaring glass of the Museum’s central gallery, while the UH-34D is positioned in a ground-level display recreating a scene of Marines disembarking under enemy fire. (more…)

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