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Dumfries Local

Church Wants to Meet in Office Building, Town Council to Hear Request

Dumfries officials hear a request from North Stafford church now meeting at a hotel.

Grass Roots Christian Fellowship church wants to move its services from a Wingate Inn on Garrisonville Road in Stafford County to a space inside Elwye Building in Dumfries. The Town Council must grant a special use permit to the church to permit them to use the building, which houses commercial business.

A public hearing on the matter is scheduled at 7 p.m. Tuesday when members of the Town Council are slated to hear from the church, the town’s zoning administered Laura O’Dell, as well as business owners and residents.

A contact number listed on the Grass Roots Christian Fellowship website was not working Monday morning so we were unable to reach a representative for comment. 

O’Dell was not immediately available for comment on Monday

According to a report written by O’Dell and presented to the Town Council, the church will meet at 11 a.m. on Sundays and at 7 p.m. on Thursdays, as well as services twice a month on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. and Saturdays at 10 a.m.

The church serves about 60 members who make up their congregation.

This wouldn’t be the first time a church has occupied a commercial space in Dumfries.

In another office building next to the Eleye Center, another church — The Greater Love Cogic Anointed Ministries – is advertised on the marquee of the building. When dialed, a phone number listed for the church on the marquee did not work.

Black History Event to Honor Dumfries Residents, 50th Anniversary of Civil Rights Act

This year’s Black History Month Celebration will honor several town residents, and mark the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act.

Here’s more about the annual celebration from Dumfries Director of Community Services Cydny Neville:

This year’s “Annual Black History Month Celebration” will be very special, as the Town will focus on honoring our unsung heroes, during the event. Our Town is full of history, and prides itself on the diligence of our citizens. The honorees, Mr. & Mrs. Lillian B. and Carroll F.Porter, Mr. Claude C. Thomas, Mr. Clyde N. Washington, and Mr. John Wilmer Porter volunteered their time, talents, and efforts to the Town, and have made significant contributions and accomplishments; they deserve to be celebrated, and we will do so, on February 8th!

In addition to celebrating our honorees, we will also celebrate the “50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

This event will also have a performance from the Dumfries Elementary School Chorus, the Little Union Baptist Church Men’s Choir, a performance by Divine Beauty Pageant, and a local children’s author, Mr. Brian Washington, will be delivering the keynote speech.

The event will take place Saturday from noon to 2 p.m. at the Little Union Baptist Church at 17150 Mine Road in Dumfries. Anyone with questions about the event is encouraged to call Neville at 703-211-3400, or email cneville[at]dumfriesva.gov.

 

Updated: Fredericksburg Man Killed in I-95 Crash

8 a.m. Saturday

Here’s the latest information on the fatal crash at Dumfries on Friday: 

At 11:15 a.m. Friday (Jan. 24), a Nissan Versa was southbound on I-95 when it ran off the left side of the road and struck the Jersey wall’s crash attenuator near Exit 152 (Dumfries) in Prince William County. The impact caused the Versa to become airborne, overturn and land on a Honda Civic that was also headed south on I-95.

The driver of the Civic, Matthew Wilkerson, 37, of Fredericksburg, Va., died at the scene.

The driver of the Versa, Greg S. Hall, 24, of Fredericksburg, Va., and his mother, Lesa Hall, 53, of Fredericksburg, Va., were both flown to Inova Fairfax Hospital for treatment of serious injuries.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation at this time. Charges are pending.

All southbound lanes of I-95 were re-opened by 3:45 p.m.

3:50 p.m.

Here’s the latest from Corinne Geller with Virginia State Police on this afternoon’s fatal crash on I-95 south in Dumfries.

State police are in the final stages of clearing from the wreckage of a fatal crash on Interstate 95 near Exit 152 in Prince William County. One southbound lane has been open since 12:15 p.m. The remaining lanes should be re-opened by 3:45 p.m.

At 11:15 a.m. Friday (Jan. 24), a Nissan Versa was southbound on I-95 when it ran off the left side of the road and struck the Jersey wall’s crash attenuator. The impact caused the Versa to become airborne, overturn and land on a Honda Civic that was also headed south on I-95.

The driver of the Civic, Matthew Wilkerson, 37, of Fredericksburg, Va., died at the scene.

The male adult driver and adult female passenger in the Versa were flown to Inova Fairfax Hospital for treatment of life-threatening injuries.

The cause of the crash remain under investigation at this time.

12:20 p.m. 

Police  now report the crash on I-95 south at Dumfries claimed a life. Here’s more in a statement from Virginia State Police: 

All southbound lanes of Interstate 95 near Exit 152 (Exit for Route 234) are closed as Virginia State Police investigate a fatal two-vehicle crash. At 11:15 a.m., state police were called to the scene in Prince William County. Two vehicles collided in the southbound lanes. One driver died at the scene. The driver and passenger of the second vehicle have been flown to Inova Fairfax Hospital for treatment of serious injuries. (All individuals involved are adults.)

The Virginia State Police Crash Reconstruction Team is on scene conducting its investigation into the cause and circumstances of the crash.

Southbound lanes will be closed for at least the next hour. Southbound traffic is currently being diverted to the HOV lanes.

012414 helos

11:55 a.m. 

Two helicopters have been called for a crash on Interstate 95 in Dumfries.

The crash happened on the southbound lanes of traffic just after 11:30 a.m. and involves multiple victims, and emergency crews were in the process of triaging patients. The southbound lanes of the highway were closed following the crash and delays backed to Dale Boulevard in Dale City.

Both helicopters were told to land on the highway to pick up the patients. There’s no word on what caused the crash or how many are injured.

 

 

Caldwell Expected to Lead Dumfries Business Association

DUMFRIES, Va. — The Dumfries Business Association is expected to elect new leadership in February.

The association made up of business owners is expected to elect Chris Caldwell, owner of Dumfries-based Caldwell Consultants technology firm, as its new president. Caldwell is the only candidate on the ballot as of today and, if elected, will replace Rodney Cahow of Commutations in Action as the DBA President, who was previously appointed to the job.

“The business association should be a mechanism for business owners to get together to have a voice, and use it as a method to report to have dialoge with the town council and the town’s elected leaders,” said Caldwell.

A review of the organizations bylaws and ensuring the organizations’ status with the Virginia State Corporation Commission is current will be some of the first things Caldwell said he would tackle as the DBA’s new leader. The association would later address the town’s Business and Professional Licensing Tax – a tax on gross receipts that nearby Stafford County abolished – would be addressed, and the DBA would also explore options to present to town leaders how to offer more tax incentives to businesses looking to locate to Virginia’s oldest, continuously chartered town.

Caldwell as been a lifelong resident of the area and graduated from Gar-Field High School in 1980, according to the association’s newsletter.

The association has about 150 members on its mailing list and as many as 20 active members that could vote in the election. The organization has not collected member dues for several years, but the DBA’s bylaws permit both businesses in Dumfries and outside the town are eligible for membership.

The DBA is also looking to fill other roles on its board including vice-president, secretary and treasurer. Interested candidates are asked to send a short biography to rodney.cahow@my-cia.com or runrman7@aol.com.

 

Dumfries Mayor Seeks Second Term

DUMFRIES, Va. — Dumfries Mayor Jerry Foreman wants another term.

The Republican elected Mayor in May 2012 following the death of Mayor Fred Yohey says he wants four more years to continue his work on reducing the town’s Business and Professional Licensing tax, and focus on improving the water quality of Quantico Creek.

More in a press release:

These past 18 months, Council and Staff have worked to review and update our governing instructions in order to improve our ability to operate and respond to transportation, economic, environmental, and governmental regulatory, and budgetary requirements.

I am very proud of where we are today and excited about where we are headed. I have been and will continue to be, an advocate for fiscal responsibility, transportation, economic development waterways restoration, BPOL alignment elimination ofthe Equalization initiatives of 2010, and write a vision statement that is achievable and aligns with governmental documents.

Foreman, once known for issuing statements only through his own website, has become more vocal over the years during his term as town mayor. In 2012, Foreman brought federal and state officials to Quantico Creek to get first-hand look at the waterway overgrown with a hydrilla – an invasive seaweed that clogs boat motors making many parts of the water navigable in a place once known as Virginia’s largest port.

Foreman has also been vocal about the plan to construct Bi-County Parkway from Dumfries to Dulles Airport by saying planners overlooked the small town when planning the major highway. He’s also and has drawn ire from Potomac District Supervisor Maureen Caddigan who serves on the Prince William County Board of Supervisors.

Foreman is the only elected official to publically announce his candidacy. Vice Mayor Willie Toney, a Democrat, is said to also to through his name into the ring as a candidate for mayor.

Dumfries Gas Station Reopened Under New Management

DUMFRIES, Va. — A BP gas station in Dumfries that was closed for weeks late last year has now reopened under new ownership.

The gas station at the intersection of U.S. 1 and Va. 234 sits just inside the town limits and across from an overcrowded commuter parking lot. The station’s new owner, Khalid Cheema, said he’s hopeful this new location will be both busy and profitable.

“After 25 years in the business, things in this business aren’t what they used to be and it’s not easy for new guys to get into this business,” said Cheema.

It’s more than just creating contracts with the oil companies, there’s is also the products that he sells inside the shop that need to be priced competitively. Cheema fears a tax on cigarettes in Dumfries might make customers drive to a convenience store across the street just outside the town limit, in Prince William County that currently does not collect a cigarette tax, to buy there.

Cheema relocated to this new location in Dumfries after it’s previous owner closed up shop, and after state transportation officials notified him that his BP gas station in Woodbridge will be razed to make way for a wider U.S. 1 and a new interchange at Va. 123.

Some of the biggest challenges Cheema faced during his opening week were making sure all of the gas pumps worked properly, he said.

Car Slams into Evolution Auto in Dumfries

DUMFRIES, Va. — A car ran off Mine Road and into a business in Dumfries.

The driver hit Evolution Auto sometime after 9:30 a.m. Fire and rescue crews, as well as county police were called to the area of Mine Road and Fairfax Street for the incident.

It’s unclear if anyone was injured. Units from as far away as Gainesville were called to the scene, according to initial reports.

“Sometimes specialized units are called in for incidents like these to assist crews,” said Dumfries Town Manager Daniel Taber.

Crews expected to take at least an hour to shore up the damaged building, according to initial reports.

According to their Google Plus page, Evolution Auto is an full-service body shop.

Prince William police are handling the investigation, Taber said.

 

New Video Claims Ghost Hunters Touched at Weems-Botts Museum

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DUMFRIES, Va. — A new video posted to Dumfries’ Weems-Botts Musuem Facebook page appears to chronicle the experience of a group of paranormal investigators at the museum, an old home that dates back to the 18th century.

The Weems-Botts Museum has gained national attention from TV shows on major networks. The center also holds annual ghost walks every October.

 

OmniLink Bus will miss 4 Dumfries Stops Today

DUMFRIES, Va. — OmniLink buses in Dumfries today will miss some stops after a tree fell onto Fuller Heights Road.

According to the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission, the following stops will be missed:

Missed stops:

–Fuller Heights before Kerill Rd. (northbound and southbound trips)

–Fuller Heights after Perry St. (Quantico Court Apartments)

–The Lofts at Little Creek

–Fuller Heights at Bethlehem Church Rd.

Alternate stop:

–Fuller Heights near Old Triangle Rd (7-11)

 

Water Main Break Closes Possum Point Road in Dumfries

DUMFRIES, Va. — A water main break has closed a portion of Possum Point Road in Dumfries.

Fire and rescue crews, as well as a crews from the Prince William County Service Authority, were at the intersection of Possum Point Road and Summer Duck Drive where water was seeping through newly formed cracks in the street. The force of the water pushing up against the road’s surface made the once level ground uneven, and caused asphalt to buckle.

Police on the scene had closed a portion of Possum Point Road at the area of the water main break, and said the road closure area could be expanded to block all traffic from nearby U.S. 1 from accessing Possum Point Road.

The break comes two and half weeks after another water main break near Dumfries, at U.S. 1 at Wayside Drive.

 

After Criticism from Dumfries, Prince William Won’t Manage U.S. 1 Widening

DUMFRIES, Va. — If U.S. 1 is going to be widened in Dumfries, Prince William County officials will not have anything to do with it.

County Executive Melissa Peacor sent an email stating her county’s government has no interest in managing the $1.6 million project for initial survey work and right of way cost to expand a 2-mile section of the heavily traveled north-south commuter route from Brady’s Hill Road to Wayside Drive, near a Walmart store.

“At your Town Council meeting on Tuesday, members of your Council made it very clear they are not interested in the County administering this project and the Council has directed you to find an alternative to administer the project that is not the County. Due to the discussions at your Council meeting and their direction to you to seek an alternative, I have directed the Transportation Department to notify VDOT that we will not be administering this contract. VDOT understands our position on this; we believe this is in the best interest of all parties.”

– Prince William County Executive Melissa Peacor

Dumfries’ — which lies in Prince William County but has a separate town government — public works officials admit they are too small of a department to manage the widening project. Elected officials on the Town Council had some not-so-nice words about the county.

“They’re not always the most cooperative, and they seem to enjoy taking over and running the show with whatever we’ve got going on,” said Councilwoman Kristen Forrester.

Town officials, including Town Manager Daniel Taber, said Dumfries “still holds the purse strings” when it comes to the project, would direct the county on how to carry out the project, and would have a spot at all meetings related to the widening. VDOT tapped  Prince William County’s Transportation Department to manage the project instead the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) because of “their exemplary track record” of delivering other road projects, including the widening of U.S. 1 in neighboring Triangle and Prince William Parkway.

Taber said he has no plans of going back to Peacor to ask her to reconsider. Now VDOT must manage the project, according to a Prince William County spokesman.

Still, other members of the Dumfries Town Council still want to see the county manage the project.

“There is no way Dumfries should do this project without Prince William County. The letter from Melissa Peacor is very disappointing, and it shows a lack of willingness to work together,” said Mayor Jerry Foreman.

The project will see the widening of U.S. 1 from four to six lanes on each side, and it will reroute the southbound portion of the highway to run alongside the northbound side of the road. That would create a new, less heavily-traveled main street that would carry traffic past Town Hall.

Town officials had hoped to have a signed agreement by Nov. 1. The widening project does not include a separate project to improve the intersection at U.S. 1 and Va. 234, which is being managed by Prince William County, ahead of new homes being built in the nearby Potomac Shores neighborhood.

Dumfries Mulls Discount Card

DUMFRIES, Va. — If you had a card that would allow you discount at local businesses, would you use it?

That’s what Dumfries officials want to know, and they’ve asked the town’s business association to solicit feedback from business owners to see if they would like to be listed on such a card that could be used at merchants in the small town.

If created, the discount card — which was included on a vision plan on what Dumfries would look like in 2020 — would be able to be presented for markdowns at several businesses in Dumfries.

Only businesses in the town could be listed on the cards and, because the town would offer to pay for the creation of the cards, they would only be made available to town residents.

“We want to see if there is enough interest for a card, and then we will proceed on how to do it,” said Town Manager Daniel Taber.

For the card to work, about 15 to 20 businesses would have to agree to offer discounts for card users for the initiative to be successful, added Taber. At least one computer services company, Caldwell Consultants, has expressed interest in offering a discount for card users.

The cards would be printed on a machine at the town’s police department currently used to make official ID badges. If officials decide to produce a card, Taber estimates 250 to 300 people would want one, and that they could be printed for $1 per card. 

The Dumfries Business Association has asked businesses who would like to participate in a discount card program to email the Town Manager.

Providing school scholarship money and making the town more environmentally friendly.

Stanley ‘Pepper’ Johnson, Veteran Firefighter, to be Buried at Quantico

Greeting family and friends one final time, Stanley “Pepper” Johnson hugs one of the many who came to say farewell to the long-serving,terminally ill Dumfries volunteer firefighter. [Photo: Dumfriesfire.com]

DUMFRIES, Va. — A firefighter who spent years in the Dumfries-Triangle Fire Department passed away after a battle with cancer.

Captain Stanley “Pepper” Johnson died Monday, Aug. 26 and will be buried on Wednesday at Quantico National Cemetery.

Before his death, Johnson visited a firehouse in Dumfries during a tearful reunion one last time to thank his friends and family, and those he served with while in the fire department.

More on the funeral arrangements in a press release:

Lifetime Operational Member Captain Stanley Johnson (MSgt USMC Ret.) passed away this morning after a battle with cancer. Known as “Pepper” to many in the Fire and Rescue communities across Northern Virginia, his legacy of Fire and EMS based training was experienced by many in both the Career and Volunteer services over the past two decades. He will be greatly missed by all.

Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones across the country.

UPDATE – 8/27/2013

The following funeral arrangements have been made for Captain Stanley “Pepper” Johnson.

Date: Wednesday September 4, 2013

Location: Mt Bethel Baptist Church, 75 Rhode Island Ave, NW, Wash DC 20001

Viewing: 10am – 11am

Service: 11am – 12:30pm

Burial: Quantico National Cemetery – 2pm

Repast: Immediately After Burial at Dumfries –Triangle Vol. Fire Dept. Social Hall, 18321 Jefferson Davis Highway, Triangle VA 22172

Sanders Leaving Dumfries, Headed to Arlington County Attorney’s Office

DUMFRIES, Va. — Christine Sanders accepted a new job with the Arlington County Attorney’s Office. She’ll step down as the Town Attorney in Dumfries Sept. 8.

During her tenure in the town, Sanders has advised elected leaders and town staff on a host of issues including the opening of Ginn Memorial Park, wranglings over adding a silent moment of reflection at the start of each Town Council Meeting, and during ongoing talks with the Potomac Landfill that wants to keep piling construction debris upward instead of outward.

Sanders said zoning ordinances are being enforced more uniformly, and that overall she leaves the town government better than when she found it.

“Meetings and government are more efficient, open and accessible to the public. The tone of public discourse is more professional. Violations of Town ordinances are being addressed in a uniform and citizen-sensitive fashion,” stated Sanders in an email.

Only recently did town officials move to reverse a decision to not televise each meeting of the Town Council. That move made the discussions had during each session made available on cable TV for viewers who live inside the town, as well as online.

Sanders also said she’s worked closely with town officials to see that taxes and back taxes are collected, and has worked with a reorganized police department to help prosecute traffic offenses and misdemeanors.

Sims Newest Member of Dumfries Police Force

DUMFRIES, Va. — Dumfries has a new police officer on its force — Recruit Police Officer Travis “Deshawn” Sims.

Earlier this month, Dumfries Police Chief Rebecca Edwards told the Town Council a little bit about their new police officer.

Here is the text of her unedited speech she delivered to elected officials:

Good Evening Mayor, Council Members, and Staff.

It is my pleasure to introduce to you the newest member of the Dumfries Police Department, Recruit Police Officer Travis “Deshawn” Sims.

Recruit Sims grew up in Union, South Carolina. He was raised by his grandparents, who raised hunting dogs to include blue tick hounds. He attended school through high school in Union as well.

After he graduated from high school, Recruit Sims enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. He served fifteen years in the Marine Corps and is a veteran having served three tours in Iraq, a tour in Kuwait and Somalia. While in the Marine Corps, he served as an Aircraft Maintenance Administrative Specialist and as a Supervisor. He also served as a Drill Instructor, Martial Arts Instructor, and Officer Candidate/Physical Training Instructor. His assignments and duties enabled him to gain experience in leadership, mentoring, training, supervision, and managing programs and subordinates.

When he left the Marine Corps, Recruit Sims entered the field of armed security as a supervisor and trainer. In this capacity, he occaisionally worked in the Town of Dumfries. As part of his duties while working in Dumfires, he had an incident where the police were called. When a Town of Dumfries Police Officer arrived; Officer Sims looked at the officer and commented, “Dumfries has a Police Department?”. He was interested in entering law enforcement and had recently applied at other departments; but he had not applied to Dumfries as he did not know we had a police department. After speaking with the officer that day, he decided to apply. He is interested in working in Dumfries as he grew up in a small community, likes that type of environment, and has a desire to serve in a small community.

In addition to his extensive military service and work experience, Recruit Sims is currently enrolled in Strayer University and is working toward his bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and Computer Forensic Science. Recruit Sims also speaks and understands some Spanish.

During Recruit Sims’ background investigation, everyone we spoke with commented they felt he would make a great law enforcement officer and each gave their positive recommendation “without hesitation”. Persons we spoke with described Recruit Sims as an honest, reliable, trustworthy person.

Officer Sims’ first day with the Town was yesterday. He is scheduled to begin the Prince William County Basic Law Enforcement Academy tomorrow.

We are very fortunate Recruit Sims chose to apply with our agency and know he wil be an positive, valuable asset to the Police Department and Town.

An additional note; Recruit Sims is the third Former Marine currently employed by our department.

Elementary School Police Officer Plan Moves Ahead

DUMFRIES, Va. — Dumfries officials will vote on whether or not to install a Police School Resource Officer, or SRO, at Dumfries Elementary School.

Police Chief Rebecca Edwards on Tuesday asked town officials to place a memorandum of understanding with the town police department and Prince William County Public Schools on the consent agenda for the Aug. 7 meeting of the Dumfries Town Council. If it’s approved, Dumfries Elementary School will be the first and only elementary school in Prince William with a dedicated police officer offering protection to students and staff. The officer would be stationed at the school in time for the start of the upcoming school year. 

Town officials in February cleared the way for police officials to explore the requirements of adding a police school resource officer. The newly created position within the Dumfries Police Department comes after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn. where 20 children and six adults were shot and killed last December. It was the second deadliest school shooting following a shooting at Virginia Tech in 2007.

SROs are common in middle and high schools in Prince William County, but a lack of funds have prevented them from being as common at the grade-school level.

Dumfries’ SRO will be provided a computer workstation, to access to data and school records, and will investigate “any criminal incident involving the student population,” according to an agreement between the town and school division.

The implementation of the SRO was expected to cost town taxpayers as much as $100,000 to implement the specialized police officer. The memorandum of understanding that details the duties of the officer states the position will remain in place for one year after the agreement is signed.

Dumfries Elementary School houses more than 500 students as is the only elementary school in the town.

 

‘No Left Turn’ Quad Intersection Could Negatively Impact Dumfries

DUMFRIES INTERSECTION 

DUMFRIES, Va. — Dumfries officials want to ensure proposed changes to the intersection of Va. 234 and U.S. 1 won’t negatively impact the town.

This week, Mayor Jerry Foreman and Dumfries staff met with the Virginia Department of Transportation to discuss concerns about a new quadrant intersection, or quad, to be built at Va. 234 and U.S. 1.

With a rezoning already recommended for approval last month by the Prince William County Planning Commission, builders of the nearby Potomac Shores neighborhood of 3,000 new homes want to change a nearly decade-old plan to build a flyover at the intersection of Va. 234 and U.S. 1 and instead build the quad.

The plan now must go to the Prince William County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.

If the quad is constructed, left turns would be prohibited at the intersection but drivers would gain easier access to Potomac Shores via a new road aptly named Potomac Shores Parkway.

The current intersection is already known to be a traffic trouble spot, and half of the new proposed quad will be located in Prince William County and the other half in Dumfries.

In addition to the quad, town officials also fear that an service road called for as part of the plan, to be constructed in front of a McDonalds, Taco Bell, 7-Eleven, and a gas station as part of the quad, will limit access to businesses that contribute significantly to Dumfries’ tax coffers.

Earlier this year, officials at Potomac Shores met with elected officials in Dumfries and showed them what the plans are for the new road and intersection.

“The Potomac Shores presentation shows no weaknesses in their plan… their plan didn’t take into account for the anticipated 3,000 cars that will travel Potomac Shores Parkway… or the 54,000 that will travel north and south [on U.S. 1] through the intersection,” said Dumfries Mayor Foreman. “This will be the busiest intersection in Prince William County [on U.S. 1].”

Also as part of the plan, the current Old Stage Coach Road in Dumfries that currently intersects with Va. 234 at U.S. 1 will be turned into a cul de sac to make way for Potomac Shores Parkway.

But the design of the roadway has already went through the public comment period, where residents can voice their concerns about the project, said VDOT’s Maria Sinner at the meeting.

The applicant [Potomac Shores] feels like they have adequately met with the town, they have provided the traffic plans, and they have received the comments on the plan,” said Sinner.

She also clarified who would own the quad intersection once built.

“It’s two primary roads, so VDOT owns the road,” said Sinner.

Conflict, Safety Issues Debated as Innaugural Dumfries Parks Commission Rolls Out

DUMFRIES, Va. — Councilman Derek Wood has been tapped to lead a new Parks and Recreation Commission in the Town of Dumfries.

Wood served as the catalyst for creating the new commission and helped to secure $25,000 of un-appropriated funds that will be used for events to be held at the town’s three parks in the coming year. Wood will serve as the elected official appointed to lead the commission made up of five town residents who were also appointed Tuesday night.

While Prince William County has a parks and recreation department, it is not permitted to plan activities at the town’s parks.

Wood’s appointment did not come without debate, however, as some council members feared the appointment would lead to a conflict of interest if Wood — who works as barbeque chef on a mobile food truck during the day — is allowed to select vendors for upcoming events at town parks.

“This is like the fox in the hen house,” said Mayor Jerry Foreman. “If he’s in charge of the commission, his business should not be allowed to participate in events.”

Councilman Charles Brewer agreed.

“It’s a matter of if you’re getting any monetary gains, and if the commission will be voting on individual vendors, then you’re right, it’s a conflict of interest,” said Brewer.

Foreman and Brewer were the only dissenting votes on the measure to approve Wood to lead the commission, and Wood voted for himself.

Councilwoman Kristen Forrester took a different view.

“I don’t see a conflict of interest. In this role, the members of the commission are like consultants, and if you’re a consultant, and we’re going to be asking you how to conduct events like these,” said Forrester.

The members of the newly formed commission must determine how long each member will serve. It was recommended at Tuesday’s meeting that members of all-male group serve staggered terms, some for one year and some for three.

But it was the all male makeup of the commission that didn’t sit well with Councilwoman Helen Reynolds.

“Why does it have to be all males? Did no females apply?” asked Reynolds. “There’s things that females think about that males don’t, like safety, that males don’t think about.”

Vice Mayor Willie Toney, who served on the town’s Ginn Park Commission and was integral in the selection and recommendation process for the new parks commission members, said one woman did express interest in the job but did not complete the application process.

Forrester reminded the Council that the application process, while formal, does not hold the final say as to who serves on the commission.

“These people serve at our pleasure, so if we have a particular person we wanted to appoint we could do that. We don’t’ have to follow this particular process,” she said.”

Wood Finds New Home in Dumfries

DUMFRIES, Va. — Councilman Derek Wood found his way home Tuesday night, back to his seat on the dais at Dumfries Town Council.

The Council met for the first time this month after postponing a meeting last week due to the Independence Day holiday, and Wood addressed questions that arose in June about his resident status in the town in which he is elected to serve.

“I have moved into a new home in Port O Dumfries and am living there with my family,” said Wood.

The home Wood was renting in Dumfries’ Williamstown neighborhood was sold last month, and the new owner told Potomac Local News that he have Wood notice to vacate the house in early June.

With Wood no longer living in the home, and town officials having no official address on file for Wood, questions arose on whether Wood would legally be allowed to continue serving as a councilman if he did not live in the town, which is required by law.

“I took a vacation and spent some time with family in Silver Spring [Maryland] while they were painting, and getting our new house ready,” Wood told Potomac Local News.

During the transition time, Wood said he did not conduct town business, but rather focused on his own business, working as a barbeque chef.

2 Arrested in Dumfries Hotel Robbery

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — Two men suspected in a Dumfries hotel robbery have been arrested.

Jonathan Davon Coleman, 21, of 4537 Knolle Drive in Woodbridge, was arrested in connection to a June 26 robbery at a Comfort Inn on Old Stage Coach Road.

Coleman is charged with robbery in use of a firearm in the commission of felony. He was apprehended by members of Prince William County’s bike team July 7. His court date and information were not released.

A second man believed to be involved in the robbery, 24-year-old Jauoquim Lequan Young, of 6161 Edsall Road #510 in Alexandria, was arrested June 28 and charged with conspiracy to commit a felony, according to police.

The victim in the robbery — a 23-year-old woman — was not injured. A third man who was at the hotel when the incident took place was not charged.

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Coleman [Photo: Prince William police]

Wood Residency a ‘Funny Situation’

DUMFRIES, Va. — Dumfries officials are playing a game of wait and see when it comes to the living arrangements of Councilman Derrick Wood.

The freshman council member was forced to move out of his rented Williamstown townhome in mid June when the owner sold it. Wood told Potomac Local News last week, as well as Dumfries officials, he hopes to reestablish residency in the town by July 9.

According to Virginia law concerning elected officials serving in their respective jurisdictions, “a person must live in a particular locality with the intention to remain.”

Town Manager Daniel Taber said this issue has not come up before during his time at the helm.

“We were notified by a resident that Mr. Wood was no longer living at his house, and that’s when we approached him about his residency and he told us he was trying to move his family into a new home in the town,” said Taber.

There is no rule that requires Wood or any council member to notify town staff if they move, and Wood was open about the subject when Taber approached him about it, said Taber. It’s clear that Wood has not broken any rules, officials said.

Wood has not returned a request for comment for this story.

But if he doesn’t establish residency before the next Town Council meeting on Tuesday, it’s possible that Wood may not be allowed to participate in the session, or represent the town during outside meetings attended by elected public officials, according to Taber.

“This is a funny situation,” said Dianna Dutton, with the Prince William County Elections office.

Only members of the U.S. Congress are permitted to live outside of their respective districts, she said.

Dumfries’ Town Ordinance, too, has rules about who can serve in elected office on the Town Council. Most notably, candidates must be able to vote for the office in which they seek to serve, and that rule would require them to live inside the town.

 

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