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Prince William employee arrested on suspected embezzlement

From the Prince William police press release:

Felony Embezzlement | Arrest of County Employee – On January 7, detectives from the Property Crimes Bureau began an investigation involving equipment reported missing by the Prince William County Department of Fire & Rescue. The investigation revealed a civilian employee, assigned to the Logistics Section located at 9027 Euclid Ave in Manassas (20110), sold County owned equipment through a personal online E-Bay account for personal gain. Between October 2017 and January 2018, the employee is alleged to have sold approximately $20,000 worth of equipment online. The employee is also alleged to have used the County’s prepaid delivery account to send personal items and stolen items to E-Bay purchasers at an estimated $800 expense. Following the investigation, detectives obtained warrants for the arrest of the employee. On February 14, the accused, Charles Bryan MARCUS, was arrested without incident.

Arrested on February 14:

Charles Bryan MARCUS, 69, of 13238 Kurtz Rd in Dale City

Charged with 2 counts of felony embezzlement

Court Date: Pending | Bond: $50,000 unsecured

At age 37, this soloist has performed in five continents. Now he’s coming to Manassas.

From the Manassas Symphony Orchestra press release on Carlos Ibay:

Internationally-acclaimed piano soloist, Carlos Ibay, to perform with the Manassas Symphony

[Manassas, VA] Piano soloist Carlos Ibay returns as special guest artist for the Manassas Symphony Orchestra’s Silver Anniversary Season in Silver Jewels on Saturday, March 3, 2018 at 7:30 PM, under the baton of Music Director James Villani. Mr. Ibay is performing Piotr Tchaikovsky’s gorgeous Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat minor. He last performed with the orchestra in 2000.  The concert program also includes Antonín Dvorák’s tragically beautiful Symphony No.

Mr. Ibay who have been deprived of sight from birth, has gained a world-wide reputation as both a concert pianist and a singer. His talent has reached the stages of Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., Carnegie Hall in New York City, The Cultural Center of the Philippines, The Rachmaninoff Center of the Arts in Russia, The Teatro Storchi in Modena, Italy, and to the concert halls of Brazil, Australia, Israel and Cuba.  Mr. Ibay is an amazing musician, and his performance should not be missed.

The concert program also includes Antonín Dvorák’s tragically beautiful Symphony No. 7, previously performed by the MSO, as well as the beautiful La Cimarosiana  by Gian Francesco Malipiero, and The Alcotts, an interesting and not often performed piece by American composer Charles Ives.

Season subscriptions and individual concert tickets are available from the Hylton Center Box Office or by calling 888-945-2468. All children and student tickets (through college) are free.

Founded in 1992, the Manassas Symphony is the winner of the 2015 American Prize for Orchestral Performance, Community Division and is a Resident Arts Partner of the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas. The all-volunteer orchestra plays five concerts a year and is involved with many educational and civic events throughout the community. For more information on the Manassas Symphony, visit its website at ManassasSymphony.org.

 

Proposals seek to spur growth in Virginia distillery industry

RICHMOND — Virginia distillers ?may soon be toasting the General Assembly after the Senate passed a bill to let liquor manufacturers keep more of the money from selling their spirits in tasting rooms.

Currently, distilleries must sell their bottles to the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority, then buy them back at full retail price before pouring samples inside their tasting rooms. The markup averages 69 percent and can be as high as 93 percent, according to ABC.

But distilleries could keep the price markup under Senate Bill 803, introduced by Sen. Bryce Reeves, R-Fredericksburg. The Senate voted 23-16 in favor of the measure Friday. It is now before the House Appropriations Committee.

ABC currently takes about 55 percent of the gross revenues that distilleries make in their tasting rooms, said Scott Harris of Catoctin Creek Distilling Company in the Loudoun County town of Purcellville. After overhead and worker pay, he said, most Virginia distilleries lose money on such operations.  

Distilleries are a growing enterprise in Virginia, which considers itself the birthplace of American spirits. After serving two terms as president, George Washington returned to Mount Vernon to brew his own whiskey.

The industry does more than $160 million a year in business in terms of creating jobs, buying agricultural products and selling spirits, according to the Virginia Distillers Association.

Still, that’s just a drop in the bucket compared with neighboring Kentucky. Distilleries there have an annual economic impact of $8.5 billion, the Kentucky Distillers Association says.

Kentucky is one of the country’s largest producers of distilled spirits and, unlike Virginia, the industry is not controlled by the state government. Harris said Virginia distilleries are hampered by a “punitive landscape.”

Curtis Coleburn, a lobbyist for the Virginia Distillers Association, said SB 803 could  spur major growth in the commonwealth’s spirits industry.

“When the distilleries make a sale, half of the money goes to the state through taxes and profits because it’s managed through ABC,” Coleburn said. “Senate Bill 803 would allow the distillers to keep more of the proceeds for sales at the distillery stores and will enable them to hire more Virginians and expand their plans and grow the industry.”

Virginia distillers say they would like to make and sell their products on their premises at the cost of production. This would allow them to have profitable tasting rooms and generate tourism, said Amy Ciarametaro, executive director for the Virginia Distillers Association.

“We have to educate our legislators that, in order for the distilled spirits industry to really be a powerful economic generator for the commonwealth — and it can be — we’ve got to make these distillery stores profit generators for their operators,” Ciarametaro said.  

Belle Isle Moonshine in Richmond does not have a store on premise, but co-founder and CEO Vince Riggi said reducing the regulations on tasting room sales would benefit all distillers in the commonwealth.  

“We want to market Virginia spirits,” Riggi said. “We want to elevate the brand and showcase it to the consumers in the state.”

 

Suspect in fatal Gainesville crash charged

From the Prince William police press release:

Fatal Crash Investigation *DRIVER ARRESTED – Investigators from the Crash Investigation Unit have charged the driver involved in the fatal crash in Gainesville that killed a 38-year-old man of Warrenton on February 12. The accused was located shortly after 1:00PM that afternoon by deputies from the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office walking along a roadway. The accused was not injured and was detained without incident. Speed and alcohol use are believed to be contributing factors in the collision. Following the investigation, the accused was arrested.

Arrested on February 12:

Vicente Martir VIDES VASQUEZ, 21, of the 300 block of Jackson St in Warrenton

Charged with involuntary manslaughter, hit & run causing death and driving without a license

Court Date: Pending | Bond: Held WITHOUT Bond

Fatal Crash Investigation [Previously Released] – On February 12 at 2:42AM, investigators from the Crash Investigation Unit responded to the area of James Madison Hwy and Thoroughfare Rd in Gainesville (20155) to investigate a single vehicle crash. The investigation revealed a 2001 Toyota 4-Runner was traveling northbound on James Madison Hwy in the above area when the driver lost control of the vehicle. The vehicle left the roadway and struck an embankment causing the vehicle to roll multiple times. The driver of the vehicle fled the scene prior to officers arriving in the area. A backseat adult male passenger was not wearing a seatbelt and was ejected from the vehicle. He was pronounced dead at the scene as a result of injuries sustained from the crash. A front seat adult male passenger was wearing a seatbelt and sustained minor injuries. He was transported to an area hospital for treatment and has since been released. A Prince William County police K-9 and helicopter assistance from Fairfax County Police responded to search for the driver who was not immediately located. The suspected driver of the vehicle was located at approximately 1:00PM on February 12 by deputies from the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office. The driver will be interviewed by Prince William County police investigators regarding the crash. The investigation is continuing.

Victims Identified:

The passenger killed is identified as Jose Nelvin ROMERO MALDONADO, 38, of Warrenton

The front passenger is identified as a 30-year-old man of Warrenton.



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Updated: Driver found, charged after fatal crash near Haymarket

Updated 7:35 p.m.

Police said they found their missing driver. 

From a press release:  *DRIVER ARRESTED – Investigators from the Crash Investigation Unit have charged the driver involved in this morning’s fatal crash in Gainesville that killed a 38-year-old man of Warrenton. The accused was located shortly after 1:00PM by deputies from the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office walking along a roadway. The accused was not injured and was detained without incident. Speed and alcohol use are believed to be contributing factors in the collision. Following the investigation, the accused was arrested.

                Arrested on February 12:

                Vicente Martir VIDES VASQUEZ, 21, of the 300 block of Jackson St in Warrenton

                Charged with involuntary manslaughterhit & run causing death and driving without a license

                Court Date: Pending | Bond: Held WITHOUT Bond

Updated 1:55 p.m. 

Police identified the man who was ejected from the car. 

Fatal Crash Investigation *VICTIM IDENTIFIED – Investigators from the Crash Investigation Unithave identified the passenger killed in this morning’s fatal crash in Gainesville as Jose Nelvin ROMERO MALDONADO, 38, of Warrenton. The front seat passenger was identified as a 30-year-old man of Warrenton. The suspected driver of the vehicle was located a short time ago by deputies from the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office. The driver will be interviewed by Prince William County police investigators regarding the crash this afternoon. The investigation is continuing.

We’ve just learned the details of a fatal crash near Haymarket this morning. 

Here’s more in a press release: 

On February 12 at 2:42AM, investigators from the Crash Investigation Unit responded to the area of James Madison Hwy and Thoroughfare Rd in Gainesville (20155) to investigate a single vehicle crash.

The investigation revealed a 2001 Toyota 4-Runner was traveling northbound on James Madison Hwy in the above area when the driver lost control of the vehicle, which left the roadway and rolled. The driver of the vehicle fled the scene prior to officers arriving in the area.

A backseat passenger, identified as an adult male, was not wearing a seatbelt and was ejected from the vehicle. He was pronounced dead at the scene as a result of injuries sustained from the crash. A front seat passenger, identified as an adult male, was wearing a seatbelt and sustained minor injuries. He was transported to an area hospital for treatment and has since been released.

A Prince William County police K-9 and helicopter assistance from Fairfax County Police responded to search for the driver who was not immediately located. Investigators are actively working to identify the driver. The identity of the deceased will be released once a next-of-kin has been notified. The investigation continues.

Bristow man charged with shooting through wall, neighbor’s bedrooms

From the Prince William police press release:

Reckless Handling of a Firearm – On February 6 at 12:30PM, officers responded to a townhome located in the 8800 block of Moat Crossing Pl in Bristow (20136) to investigate a shooting. The investigation revealed that the accused was cleaning his handgun when he allegedly inadvertently discharged a round that traveled through the wall and passed through two unoccupied bedrooms of the neighboring townhome before landing on the floor. No injuries were reported. Following the investigation, the accused was arrested.

Arrested February 6:

Paul Richard ELLER, 69, of 8859 Moat Crossing Pl in Bristow

Charged with reckless handling of a firearm

Court Date: March 20, 2018 | Bond: Released on a $2,500 unsecured bond

House vote aims to disassemble ‘school-to-prison pipeline’

Capital News Service tells us the Va. House of Delegates doesn’t want year-long school suspensions, with some exceptions. Here’s the press release:

House OKs Limiting School Suspensions to 45 Days

By Kirby Farineau

Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Virginia students who break school rules may no longer face the possibility of a yearlong suspension under legislation approved by the House of Delegates to address what some lawmakers call the “school-to-prison pipeline.”

House Bill 1600, which passed 84-15 on Tuesday, would reduce the maximum length of a suspension from 364 days to 45 days. It is one of several measures lawmakers introduced in response to complaints that Virginia schools overreact to minor infractions – and sometimes charge students as criminals for transgressions that should draw a detention.

“At the end of the day, if our students are out of school, they’re not learning,” said the bill’s sponsor, Democratic Del. Jeffrey Bourne, who previously served on the Richmond School Board. “We should not continue to use access to education as a punishment and expect positive results.”

On its way toward passage, the bill was amended to allow school officials to impose a suspension of up to 364 days if “aggravating circumstances exist” or if the student is a repeat offender.

Del. R. Lee Ware Jr., R-Powhatan, said he historically had reservations about limiting schools’ options in disciplining students. However, he called HB 1600 “a responsible middle course.”

“It allows a considerable amount of latitude to educators with the responsibility of maintaining order in schools,” Ware said.

HB 1600 was among a slew of proposals introduced this legislative session to address how Virginia schools discipline students. In 2015, the Center for Public Integrity reported that Virginia has one of the highest rates in the nation for referring students to law enforcement. Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy, D-Prince William, has called the situation “the No. 1 civil rights issue of our modern time.”

Several of the bills never made it out of committee. They included:

  • HB 445, which sought to end a requirement that principals report certain misdemeanor crimes to law enforcement. The bill, proposed by Carroll Foy, was rejected in a 5-2 vote by a subcommittee of the House Courts of Justice Committee.
  • HB 296, which would have prohibited suspending or expelling students in preschool through third grade, except for violent crimes, drugs or other serious offenses. The House Education Committee voted 12-10 vote to kill the legislation. The bill was sponsored by the panel’s vice chairman, Del. Richard Bell, R-Staunton.

Del. Mark Cole, R-Spotsylvania, opposed Bell’s measure, saying it would “make our classrooms less safe.”

“I don’t think it’s up to us to try to micromanage discipline issues in the local schools. That’s why we have local elected school boards,” Cole said.

While such legislation met opposition in the House, the Senate has been more receptive.

On Thursday, the Senate Education and Health Committee approved SB 170, which, like Bell’s legislation, would bar suspensions and expulsions in third grade and below. The committee voted 11-4 in favor of the measure. SB 170, sponsored by Sen. William Stanley, R-Franklin County, now goes to the full Senate for consideration.

Last week, the Senate unanimously passed SB 476, sponsored by Sen. Bryce Reeves, R-Spotsylvania. Like Carroll Foy’s bill, it would give school principals the discretion not to call police on students who commit misdemeanors or other minor crimes.

Reeves’ measure has been assigned to the House Courts of Justice Committee – the same panel whose subcommittee killed Carroll Foy’s proposal.

Heart breaker, hit maker? Uncool. Don’t text and drive.

Prince William police have issued a strong reminder. If you text and drive, you’re endangering lives. From the press release:
Do Not Be a Heartbreaker This Valentine’s Day: Text U l8er!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                           February 8, 2018

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, VIRGINIA . . . This Valentine’s Day do not break your heart, or someone else’s, because you were texting and driving. Statistics show that distracted drivers, which include drivers who text or otherwise communicate on devices, are more likely to be involved in a traffic crash.

To help spread awareness of this dangerous behavior, the Prince William County Police Department reminds motorists about state laws on using mobile phones and personal communication devices while driving.

  • Did you know that under Virginia law, anyone under 18 years old is banned from using cell phones, or any other personal communication devices, while driving?
  • Did you know that texting is banned for all drivers? In Virginia, it is a primary offense, which means police officers can pull you over if they suspect you of texting while driving. The fine is $125 for the first offense, and $250 for subsequent offenses. Those fines are over and above the cost of the citation you will be issued.

    Reckless driving is a criminal violation in Virginia, unlike in most other states where it is a traffic infraction. Using mobile phones and other personal communications devices while driving can fall under the category of reckless driving.

    This Valentine’s Day, the Prince William County Police Department asks that you obey the law. Do not endanger your own life or the lives of others; do not text and drive!

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