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Around Town

A foot bridge at Leesylvania State Park in Woodbridge.

An improved I-95 is important for Virginia’s growth, study says
A new study shows that upgrading Interstate 95, between the Potomac Communities and Richmond, will be vital to Virginia’s growth. There’s also some great commentary about the High Occupancy Vehicle lane merge in Dumfries.

Congressman wants to see Manning at Quantico
Ohio congressman Dennis Kucinich wants to visit Pvt. Bradley Manning, who is accused of leaking state secrets while serving in Iraq. Kucinich in a letter to U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates stated he would like to examine the conditions Manning is being held in.

Have you met the new board of the chamber of commerce?
The Mt. Vernon-Lee Chamber of Commerce has a new board of directors.

Around Town

The rail bridge in Woodbridge as seen from Belmont Bay. (Cindy Jones)

Reward offered in death of black bear
Officials at Prince William Forest Park have put up a $2,500 reward for information in the mutilating death of a black bear found on the park border with Dumfries Road (Va. 234). A clean-up crew working along the side of road Nov. 18 found the bear’s remains in a plastic trash bag.

Stafford looks to cut number of government employees
Stafford County officials want to cut the number of employees in its government by five percent, which equals out to be about 34 employees. The county supervisors are working with officials to include the reduction in employees in their next budget.

A priest celebrates 40 years
A Roman Catholic Priest at Ft. Beloir is celebrating 40 years of serving the cloth. It’s something he wanted to do since he was a child.

Power plant purchase best option, officials say

County Executive Tony Griffin helps to field questions during the informational meeting (Eric Spiegel)

By Eric Spiegel

Lorton, Va. –– The Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Supervisor Gerry Hyland hosted the third of three informational sessions on Thursday night regarding the county’s plan to purchase a waste-to-energy facility in Lorton, currently owned and operated by energy company Covanta.

A mixture of county residents, members of the county’s public works department and representatives from Covanta attended the session.  The meeting was held to share information about the waste-to-energy facility; how it works, its contractual and financial workings with the county, and the county’s purchase proposal.

More to the Story: Fairfax County has leased the facility to Covanta for 30 years. (more…)

Education tops Hyland’s concerns

Mt. Vernon Supervisor Gerry Hyland (right) speaks with constituents at the 24th Mt. Vernon Town Hall Meeting on Saturday.

Mt. Vernon, Va. –– Neighborhood improvement was the topic Saturday at the 24th Mt. Vernon Town Hall Meeting.

The doors at Mt. Vernon High School opened at 7:45 a.m. to exhibitors from businesses from around the region, as well as county agencies. Presentations from county leaders were scheduled to take place inside the school’s auditorium until 1 p.m.

Prior to the meeting, 70 residents previously formed committees and drafted guide plans for the future of the district for land use, public safety, parks and recreation and business development. (more…)

Around Town

Mill Street, Occoquan, Va. (Mary Davidson/

NOVA Idol to win $4,000
Step aside American Idol, Northern Virginia Community College has its own version of the popular talent show. The finalists for NOVA Idol have been selected, and one lucky winner has the chance at up to $4,000.

Slaves’ trials commemorated at Aquia Landing
Aquia Landing is more than just a park in Stafford County where the Potomac River and Aquia Creek. For years before the Civil War and during, it served as a departure point for slaves looking to be freed. Now, new makers have been placed at the park depicting the slaves’ journey to freedom in time for the 150th Anniversary remembrance of the war.

New barber shop follows death of 3 men
Three people were killed early Christmas morning when their car slammed into the Headquarters Barbershop in Dumfries. Since the fatal crash, two employees of the barbershop have reopened a new location nearby.

Hyland will put on political running shoes again
Supervisor Gerry Hyland will make another go of it, announcing Saturday at his town hall meeting he will once more seek the nomination for Mt. Vernon District Supervisor.
Hyland has served in the position for the past 24 years.

Fairfax launches virtual job help

Fairfax County, Va. –– The libraries in Fairfax County want to virtually help you find a job.

The county has launched a Virtual Career Center on the library’s website, which allows users to find what jobs they would be a good fit for, take their career interest inventory, get tips for interviewing, resume writing and with negotiating salaries.

Users will need a Fairfax County Public Library Card.

Holiday for DMV employees

Employees at Virginia’s Department of Motor Vehicles are taking a holiday this month.

All DMV locations in the state will be closed Feb. 21 in observance of Washington Day, honoring the nation’s first president.

Customers may still do business with the DMV online or through an automated phone service by going to or by calling 1-888-377-4782. (more…)

Stafford leader applauds HOT lanes decision

Photo: Mary Davidson

Commuters use a busy Interstate 95 near Woodbridge on a weekday morning. (Mary Davidson)

Update 10:50 a.m.
With HOT lanes on Interstate 395 now out of the overall picture, Virginia state transportation officials now have their eyes set on the prospect of HOT lanes on the 29-mile stretch of I-95, between North Stafford and Alexandria.

As part of the deal, the two reversible lanes High Occupancy Vehicle lanes on I-95 at Dumfries Road (Va. 234) will be extended to Garrisonville Road (Va. 610) in North Stafford, new access points from the lanes to Va. 610, Joplin Road (Va. 619), Prince William Parkway, Fairfax County Parkway, Franconia-Springfield Parkway, I-495 and Edsall Road will be added.

And as the HOV lanes are converted into toll lanes, they will be restriped to include a third lane from Prince William Parkway to Edsall Road. (more…)

95 road work rescheduled

Photo: Mary Davidson

Photo: Mary Davidson

Commuters use a busy Interstate 95 near Woodbridge on a weekday morning. (Mary Davidson)

Lorton, Va. –– What was billed as overnight road work on Interstate 95 on Tuesday night has been postponed until Wednesday.

Crews will close the ramp from I-95 south to U.S. 1 south (at mile post 161 in Lorton) from 10 p.m. Wednesday until 5 a.m. Thursday.

The ramp from the from the High Occupancy Vehicle lanes to U.S. 1 south will also be closed during those hours, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation. (more…)

Rain forecasted as crews prep for ice

Road conditions deteriorated fast was snow fell fast on Jan. 26, 2011, on Garrisonville Road (Va. 610) in North Stafford. (File) (Mary Davidson/

It’s going to rain overnight and into tomorrow morning.

And while there remains a chance for freezing rain to fall, temperatures are slowing expected to rise overnight which would mean a quarter and a half inch of rain could fall over the region, according to the National Weather Service.

Temperatures will remain in the mid-30s overnight and will rise in the low 50s Wednesday.

At 6:30 p.m., a freezing rain advisory was still in effect for the Potomac Communities and was expected to remain in effect until 4 a.m.

Ice or no ice road crews throughout the region were preparing for another long night of treating roads in advance of Wednesday morning’s rush hour. (more…)

VRE changes probed

Virginia Railway Express wants  to change some of its policies, and has invited its riders to comment on the proposed changes.

The commuter railroad would like to eliminate the group fare, which allows passengers who ride in groups of 10 or more a discounted fare. Regular riders have complained about the policy.

VRE also wants to decrease the cost of an Amtrak step-up ticket from $10 to $5 to help ease crowding on VRE trains. The hope would be more riders would opt to ride Amtrak trains, pay a little more than the cost of a regular VRE ticket  and get to their destinations on a less-crowded train. (more…)

Body found in Mt. Vernon apartment

Calvin Johnson, 47, faces a murder charge in connection to the death of his roommate. (Submitted)

Update 4 p.m.
The man found dead inside a Mt. Vernon-area apartment on Monday has been identified as 55-year-old Kenneth J. Russell. Investigators delayed releasing his identification until after the victim’s next of kin had been notified.

Russell’s long-time roommate, 47-year-old Calvin John, has been charged in Russell’s death.

Update 11 a.m.
One man faces a murder charge in the death of a unidentified man who lived in Mt. Vernon.

Calvin Johnson, 47, is charged in connection to the victim. Police say they have been roommates for many years.

Johnson called police Monday afternoon and reported the crime, said Fairfax County police spokesman Bud Walker.

When police arrived at the scene, an apartment at 7554 Audubon Avenue #101, they discovered the victim had suffered multiple stab wounds to his upper body.

Police have not offered a motive for the killing, but say they are having problems reaching the victim’s next of kin. When they do, police plan to release the identity of the victim, said Walker. (more…)

Icy blast eyes region

Road conditions deteriorated fast was snow fell fast on Jan. 26, 2011, on Garrisonville Road (Va. 610) in North Stafford. (File) (Mary Davidson/

Another round of wintry weather is set to move into the region, and road crews will be out treating the roads before conditions worsen and ice forms. Crews in Fairfax and Prince William counties will begin treating the roads at 3 p.m.

In Stafford County, crews will come in and be on standby at 8 p.m.They will not pre-treat the roads as the precipitation forcasted to fall there is expected to start as rain and would wash away any chemicals used to pre-treat road surfaces, said Virginia Department of Transportation spokeswoman Tina Bundy. (more…)

Rain, snow, rain, then more snow?

There’s freezing rain, then snow, then rain and then some more snow in the forecast.

The first round of winter weather that’s expected to impact the area should start about 4 p.m. in the form of some freezing rain and sleet. After the sun goes down, some of that precipitation could changeover to snow though little accumulation is expected.

The wintry mess will hang around throughout the day Tuesday, with freezing rain expected before 11 a.m., according to the National Weather Service.

Tuesday night and Wednesday it’s still all rain forecasted to fall across the area.

Thursday will be sunny, but Friday and Saturday bring with it the possibility for more snow.

Just how much? It’s too early to tell.

VRE’s week off to slow start

Woodbridge, Va. –– Delays this morning have plagued Virginia Railway Express passengers on the system’s Fredericksburg line.

Riders got early word from the transit system that train 308, which departs Fredericksburg at 6:30 a.m., was going to be late because of mechanical issues. It wasn’t long after that the train had been canceled altogether and riders told they could board Metro for free, by showing a valid VRE ticket.

In addition to the Metro option, riders still waiting on station platforms in Quantico and Woodbridge had the option to take an Amtrak train in place of the canceled VRE train as far as Union Station in Washington.

The next VRE train following the one that was canceled, train 312, was rolling along at 8 a.m. albeit 20 minutes behind its regular schedule.

95 lanes closing Tuesday for highway work

Lorton, Va. –– Weather permitting, the Virginia Department of Transportation will be close the ramp from Interstate 95 south to U.S. 1 south (Exit 161) from 10 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 1 to 5 a.m. Feb. 2 for steel beam erection as part of the I-95 Widening Project. The ramp from High Occupancy Vehicle lanes to U.S. 1 south will also close at 10 p.m.

Drivers on I-95 south headed to U.S. 1 south will be detoured to Prince William Parkway exit (Exit 158B), and should then follow signs back to I-95 north to Route 123 east (Exit 160) to U.S. 1. (more…)

Waste center meeting postponed

Fairfax County’s Energy Resource Recovery Center in Lorton is up for grabs, but one official says it will cost too much to buy it. (Fairfax County)

Lorton, Va. –– Residents are going to have to wait a bit longer to get more information about what’s going to happen with the waste-to-energy center in Lorton.

An information session that was scheduled Thursday night at South County Secondary School was postponed until 7 p.m. February 3.

The postponement comes after snow fell across the region Wednesday.

Fairfax County officials are considering purchasing the facility, and staff members from the county are scheduled to be on hand to discuss the potential purchase. (more…)

Closings and Delays for Jan. 28, 2011

Prince William County Public Schools closed. Code Red for Employees. School Age Care Program will not be open. All students should come to school Monday Jan. 31.

Stafford County Public Schools says Friday will remain a workday, no school for students. All staff and faculty should report at 10 a.m. Activities, athletic and other events scheduled this weekend will be held.

Fairfax County Public Schools will be closed Friday. Offices will be open, employees on unscheduled leave policy.

Have a closing or delay? Email it to us at

VDOT to hit streets again tonight

Traffic was light at 7:50 a.m. Thursday Jan. 27, 2011 following the storm that forced many area drivers to abandon their cars on the roads. (VDOT)

Virginia Department of Transportation crews will be out in force once more this evening.

Tonight, 2,200 trucks will continue working to plow and address refreeze issues, with the goal of making all Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William subdivision streets passable for the a.m. rush tomorrow. Crews treating roads with salt and sand will also help prepare for the light snow expected to begin in the early morning.

VDOT reminds residents to shovel driveways to the right (when facing the street) to help prevent crews from plowing them back in. Also, residents should park in driveways if possible, or on the odd-numbered side of the street to give snowplows the most room to clear.


Park on the odd side of the street, please

Mt. Vernon, Va. –– Residents in the Mt. Vernon area should park their cars on of the sides of the streets with odd numbered addresses.

The request from Fairfax County officials comes following the snow that blanketed the region Wednesday night.

Leaving the even-numbered sides free of parked cars will allow snow plows to more easily access areas that need plowed, stated an email from Fairfax County Supervisor Gerry Hyland’s office.

The email also encouraged residents to clear snow from sidewalks, mailboxes and fire hydrants.

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