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There are some changes to OmniRide’s Snow Emergency Plan

From OmniRide: 

PRTC’s new Emergency Service Plan brochure is available on buses and online. Please make sure to familiarize yourself with the plan as we enter the winter weather season.

This year’s changes to the plan include:

  • In the morning, OmniRide routes will only operate between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m., with buses departing every 20 minutes.

  • Dale City – Washington/Pentagon/ Rosslyn/ Ballston/ Navy Yard. All AM buses start at the Lindendale Commuter Lot. Bus stops along Minnieville and Caton Hill ARE NOT SERVED. However, if PRTC runs regular service in the AM, and the ESP is implemented for PM service, passengers who need to travel to bus stops on Minnieville and Caton Hill roads should remain on the bus past the Lindendale Commuter Lot.

  • Gainesville – Washington/ Pentagon. All AM buses start at the Limestone Commuter Lot before serving the Cushing Road Commuter Lot. In the AM and PM, buses will follow Linton Hall Metro Direct routing.

  • South Route 1. AM passengers should board a shuttle bus at any PRTC bus stop along Route 1 between Fox Lair and Wayside Drive, and then transfer to a waiting Montclair OmniRide bus at the Route 234 Commuter Lot. In the PM, riders will share a bus with Montclair OmniRide passengers and transfer to a shuttle at the Route 234 Commuter Lot.

‘At one point, the female accused pulled out a knife and stabbed the victim twice to the upper body’

From police: 


Malicious Wounding – On December 27 at 7:00PM, officers responded to investigate a stabbing that was reported to have occurred in the area of Stagestone Way and Adler Ln in Manassas (20109) earlier that evening at approximately 6:20PM. The investigation revealed the victim, a 17-year-old female, and a male acquaintance were involved in an altercation with the two accused suspects. During the encounter, the male suspect struck the victim multiple times with a baseball bat. At one point, the female accused pulled out a knife and stabbed the victim twice to the upper body. The male acquaintance was not injured. The parties eventually separated and the victim sought treatment at an area hospital where police were contacted. Following the investigation, both accused suspects, identified as William Alan GATES and Susan Elizabeth FINZEL, were arrested.


Arrested on December 28:

Susan Elizabeth FINZEL, 26, of 9130 Estates Pond Ct in Manassas

Charged with malicious wounding

Court Date: February 8, 2018 | Bond: Held WITHOUT Bond

William Alan GATES, 19, 14368 Fallsmere Ct in Gainesville

Charged with assault & battery

Court Date: February 8, 2018 | Bond: $3,500 secured


Bullet holes in home, shell casings found in Haymarket area

From police: 

Shooting into an Occupied Dwelling – On January 1 at 8:53AM, officers responded to a residence located in the 4500 block of Dodds Mill Dr in Haymarket (20169) to investigate a destruction of property. The homeowner reported to police that two bullet holes were discovered near the front porch area of the residence. A bullet fragment was also located on the floor inside the home. The homeowner believed the incident took place sometime after midnight when a noise was heard outside. Police were not contacted at that time. Multiple shell casings were found in the roadway near the homeowner’s residence. During the investigation, officers learned of a large party that occurred at a neighboring home the night prior. Upon contact at that residence, officers further discovered a round was fired in the home during the gathering. No injuries were reported and no suspect was identified.

And, in Dale City: 

Reckless Handling of a Firearm – On December 31 at 11:39PM, officers responded to the Sheetz located at 4021 Prince William Pkwy in Woodbridge (22192) to investigate a shots fired call. The caller reported to police that an unknown man fired several rounds in the parking lot. Upon arrival, officers located multiple shell casings. The suspect was last seen leaving the area in a white or light-color sedan. No injuries or property damage were reported.

Suspect Description:

Black male, unknown age, 5’7”, 160lbs with a thin build, medium complexion, black hair and mustache

Last seen wearing a San Francisco 49rs hat, a green jacket with an orange liner, dark pants and black gloves

Crashed vehicle found after carjacking

From police: 

Carjacking – On January 1 at 7:45AM, officers responded to investigate an alleged carjacking that was reported to have occurred in the area of Dale Blvd between Kerrydale Rd and Hillendale Dr in Woodbridge (22193) earlier that morning at approximately 2:00AM. The victim, a 25-year-old man, reported to police that he was stopped a traffic light in the above area when an unknown man approached his vehicle and opened the driver’s side door. The suspect then pulled the victim out of the vehicle and assaulted him before fleeing in the victim’s vehicle. While investigating the incident, another officer was dispatched to the area of Dale Blvd and Hoadly Rd to investigate a single vehicle crash. The vehicle involved in the crash was not occupied and was determined to be the victim’s vehicle. The victim was not able to describe the suspect. No injuries were reported.

Rescue crews pull dog from icy Lake Montclair

Fletcher, a one-year-old Labrador Retriever, took a walk today on a frozen Lake Montclair and fell in. 

The dog was pulled from the water by the Prince William County Fire and Rescue Department which used a boat to brave the cold water to pull the dog to safety about 3 p.m. 

Fletcher, reunited with his owners, is doing fine. He’s dry, jumping, playing, sniffing, and now chewing on his bone. 

His owner tells us this is the first time the dog has seen ice form on the lake behind their home on Fishermans Cove in Montclair. Normally, they let Fletcher out in the backyard to do his business and he doesn’t go into the lake. 

Rescue crews found Fletcher in the ice about 20 feet from shore. The broke the ice and pulled the dog to safety. 


After little rain, population growth, do we have enough water?

Dear, Potomac Local: 

“I’ve been wondering, given the lack of rain for some time and the considerable population growth, is the water supply for this area adequate? If so, why?” 

After we saw this question in our news[at] email, we checked with the Prince William County Service Authority, the largest provider of water to homes and businesses in the county: 

The Prince William County Service Authority purchases water from Fairfax Water and the City of Manassas. Here are their responses to your reader’s question regarding water supply.


City of Manassas

“The City of Manassas is fortunate because we have two reliable water supply sources for our customers. The primary source is the City of Manassas Water Treatment Plant, which draws water from Lake Manassas, an impoundment on Broad Run in western Prince William County. The watershed for Lake Manassas covers approximately 74.5 square miles, with the reservoir covering over 790 acres and holding approximately 5.3 billion gallons of water at full capacity. The second source of water, if needed during peak consumption periods or emergencies, is water supplied from the Prince William County Service Authority (PWCSA). The water supplied to us from PWCSA is treated at Fairfax Water’s Northern Treatment Facility the James J. Corbalis Plant, which withdraws water from the Potomac River. “

Fairfax Water    

We are very fortunate to have an abundant supply of water in the DC area.  Local water utilities, including Fairfax Water and the Prince William County Service Authority, work together at the regional level with the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) to monitor water supply conditions.  Fairfax Water is also looking at future water supply needs with our Vulcan Quarry Reservoir project. This reservoir will provide significant additional storage for use in the event of a prolonged regional drought. The reservoir will be developed in two stages: the northern part of the quarry will be transferred to Fairfax Water by the end of 2035 after quarry operations cease in that portion of the property; and the remainder of the quarry will be transferred to Fairfax Water in 2085 after quarry operations cease entirely.  More information can be found here:  Oct. 25, 2016 press release and here:  Sept. 26, 2017 press release

Weather video: Ice on the Occoquan

With sunny skies and a temperature of 24 degrees when we shot this, there is ice on the Occoquan River. You could hear it cracking and breaking while standing on the shoreline at Belmont Bay. 

Tonight, expect mostly clear skies with a slight wind and a lot of about 14, according to the National Weather Service. 

Wednesday will see partly sunny skies, a bit warmer at 32 degrees. Some snow is expected Wednesday after 8 p.m. Snow chances stay with us through noon on Thursday. 

No winter weather watches or advisories have been posted at this point by the weather service. 


Boundary-change public hearing for Neabsco Elementary School

We’re hearing about a new plan to shift students away from the overcrowded Neabsco Elementary School in Dale City. 

A new plan would move students from Neabsco Elementary School to Montclair and Wilson elementary schools. 

Wilson would pick up 118 new students under the plan. A website shows the streets in the attendance areas of those affected, showing which streets would have students relocate from Montclair and Neabsco.

From Prince William County Public Schools: 

The School Board is scheduled to receive recommendations, known as “Plan 6,” for adjusting attendance areas for Montclair, Neabsco, and Wilson Elementary Schools at its meeting on Wednesday, January 3. A boundary planning committee that met during the 2016-17 school year proposed Plan 6 following several meetings. The attendance area changes are expected to alleviate overcrowding at Neabsco Elementary School, which currently has 12 portable classrooms, and better balance student enrollment.

A public hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, January 17 at 7 p.m. in the School Board meeting room of the Kelly Leadership Center. The Board is scheduled to act on the proposed Plan 6 during its regular public meeting that will follow the public hearing.


Ceres Nanosciences first to graduate Prince William Science Accelerator

A new year brings the first graduate of the  Science Accelerator, Ceres Nanosciences. 

The firm has developed a test for infectious diseases, and for Lyme Disease called Nanortrap.

From a press release: 

As part of this expansion, Ceres is graduating from the Prince William Science Accelerator and moving into 9,100 square feet of renovated commercial wet lab and office space at 9460 Innovation Drive, Manassas, Virginia. This space is being configured to meet the requirements for commercial-scale production of Nanotrap® particles within a quality-controlled manufacturing facility. Additionally, Ceres is outfitting a portion of the space to house one or more life-sciences industry collaborators with the goal of attracting more emerging biotechnology companies into the growing life sciences community at Innovation Park in Prince William County.

Prince William County Economic Development Director Jeffery Kaczmarek tells us: 

  • The space Ceres is leaving will be occupied by other tenant companies plus some new tenants
  • No other Science Accelerator tenants have yet moved into commercial wet lab space (partly because there is none in the immediate area) but we expect that to happen in 2019
  • We are exploring a variety of options to have additional commercial wet lab space available in 2019

 The science accelerator offers between 440 and 1,141 square feet of wet lab space and is located at Innovation Park just outside Manassas.

Ferry update expected this week

First on Potomac Local 

An update on the fast ferry service proposed by Woodbridge District Supervisor Frank Principi is expected this week. 

The update is scheduled to be given at Thursday’s meeting of the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission Commissioner’s Board meeting at 7 p.m., at the OmniRide headquarters in Woodbridge. 

There was very little advanced information about this ferry briefing including in the standard Board information package distributed prior to the meeting. A handout is expected to be distributed at Thursday’s meeting.

Principi in September held a special meeting to discuss the proposed ferry that could operate between Woodbridge and Washington, D.C.

Some of the challenges facing any future ferry boat service operating on the Potomac River would be debris floating in the water, slower speed limits that govern boat wake, icy conditions during winter, funding the construction of boat slips where passengers could board the boat, as well as be working to convince people to take the ferry instead of driving, slugging, or taking other forms of mass transit.

Principi, who serves as the PRTC Board of Commissioners Chairman in addition to his duties on the Board of Supervisors, has long talked about launching a commuter ferry service from Woodbridge to Washington. Other routes could possibly ferry workers across the Potomac River from Virginia to Maryland. 

Renewed talk of the ferry comes PRTC is in the midst of a rebranding effort to get people to think of the agency of more than a commuter bus company, but as more of a transit leader in the region, such as Washington’s Metro system.


SFMC Community Association Management relocates HQ to Innovation Park

SFMC Community Association Management has a new home in Innovation at Prince William.

The firm which contracts with property owners associations around the region relocated its headquarters to 9464 Innovation Drive in Prince William County.

At 12,000 square feet, the new space is more than triple the size of the company’s former location at 12084 Cadet Court in Gainesville.

Representatives from Prince William County Board of Supervisors, Economic Development Department, Prince William Chamber of Commerce and Innovation Business Owners’ Association were on hand to assist with the ribbon cutting. Zandra’s Taqueria catered the event for business leaders, friends, and family.

Jeff Kaczmarek, Executive Director, Prince William County Department of Economic Development said, “SFMC is another quality growing company that calls Prince William County home. We are very excited that they chose to continue to grow in Prince William County by establishing their new headquarters in Innovation Park.”

After the official cutting of the ribbon, there was an Open House celebration with more than 150 guests in the new headquarters location.

The firm helps community associations with dues collection, architecture reviews, and facilities management. A company spokeswoman tells us SFMC continues to expand its customer in Loudoun County.

New Years Eve will be so cold, frostbite possible

Headed outside for New Years Eve celebrations? While the cold weather has prompted the cancelation of some, revelers still headed outdoors should be careful to limit the time they spend outside tonight.

The National Weather Service issued a wind chill advisory starting at 9 p.m. It will feel like zero to 10 degrees, and it won’t take long for frostbite to set in,

From the weather service: 


* WHAT…Very cold wind chills expected. The cold wind chills will cause frostbite in as little as 30 minutes to exposed skin. Expect wind chills to range from 0 to 10 below zero.

* WHERE…Northern and central Virginia and central and southern Maryland including Baltimore and Washington DC.

* WHEN…From 9 PM this evening to 9 AM EST Monday.


A Wind Chill Advisory means that cold air and the wind will combine to create low wind chills. Frostbite and hypothermia can occur if precautions are not taken. Make sure you wear a hat and gloves.


Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! We hope 2018 brings you peace and prosperity, and we’re glad you make Potomac Local a part of your daily local news routine. 

In case you missed it, here’s a look back at the most-read posts on Potomac Local in 2017. 

And, for a trip down memory lane, here are links to the most-read posts on this site broken out by year. It dates back to when we started Potomac Local in 2o10.

2016: Prince William police officer killed the first day on the job

2015: The year of the brewpub

2014: K-Mart closing, road rage stabbing 

2013: Shooting on Quantico base gains national attention 

2012: The great derecho blows through, Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center to alter the landscape

2011: Wild weather: wildfires, neighborhood landslide, tropical storm flooding

2010: Shooter takes aim at Marine Corps museum 


Pedestrian stuck and killed while trying to cross Hoadly Road

From police: 

Fatal Crash Investigation – On December 28 at 6:55AM, investigators from the Crash Investigation Unit responded to the area of Hoadly Rd near Galveston Ct in Manassas (20112) to investigate a pedestrian involved crash. The investigation revealed the driver of a 2012 Toyota Camry was traveling northbound on Hoadly when the vehicle collided with a pedestrian, identified as an adult woman, who was attempting to cross Hoadly Rd between Galveston Ct and Apollo Dr. The pedestrian was transported to an area hospital where she died as a result of her injuries from the collision. The driver of the Toyota remained at the scene. At the time of the collision, the pedestrian was not in a designated crosswalk. No charges have been placed at this time. The investigation continues.


                The driver of the Toyota Camry was identified as a 31-year-old woman of Woodbridge

                The pedestrian was identified as Juanita Nettina MENEFEE, 52, of Woodbridge

Recovered firearms stolen from Stafford and Prince William counties

From a press release:

Deputies with the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office responded to a motor vehicle accident on Tuesday which led to the arrest of a wanted man and the recovery of stolen firearms.

On December 26, 2017, deputies responded to a motor vehicle accident in the area of Route 1 and Route 610. Upon arrival, deputies discovered the passenger of the vehicle, identified as Ishmeal McGriff, 20, was wanted out of Spotsylvania and Prince William Counties.

A subsequent search of the suspect and the vehicle revealed a substance consistent with marijuana and two firearms. Initially, McGriff said he purchased the firearms in Woodbridge, but later admitted to stealing them from unlocked motor vehicles in Stafford and Prince William Counties.

McGriff told deputies that he stole firearms and credit cards with Jaquon Bowles, 18, who was later taken into custody at his residence. Bowles was incarcerated at Rappahannock Regional Jail with no bond on charges of grand larceny, credit card theft, tampering with a motor vehicle, conspiracy to commit grand larceny, and conspiracy to commit credit card fraud.

McGriff was also incarcerated at Rappahannock Regional Jail and held on no bond. He is charged with grand larceny, carrying a concealed weapon, possession of marijuana, and receiving stolen goods.

Two arrested on child neglect charges

From Prince William police: 


Felony Child Neglect – On December 22 at 5:17PM, officers responded to a residence located in the 7600 block of Yellow Lily Dr in Manassas (20109) to investigate a custody dispute. When officers arrived, they attempted to make contact with the accused. After multiple attempts at the front door, officers located an unsecured door to the rear of the home. Officers entered the home after hearing a small child crying inside and getting no response from the accused who was believed to be inside. The accused was found inside the home asleep and intoxicated. Officers attempted to wake the accused several times. The accused was unable to keep her head up or eyes open. Due to her high level of intoxication, the accused was transported to an area hospital for treatment. The child, a 5-month-old baby girl, was not injured. Following the investigation, the accused, identified as Andrea Jean LUCCA, was arrested. The child was released into the custody of a family member.

Arrested on December 22:

Andrea Jean LUCCA, 35, of the 7600 block of Yellow Lily Dr in Manassas

Charged with felony child neglect

Court Date: Pending | Bond: Held on a $2,000 secured bond



Felony Child Neglect – On December 17 at 2:00AM, officers responded to a residence located in the 13600 block of Charles Ct in Woodbridge (22191) to investigate a domestic. The investigation revealed the accused was not properly caring for her child, a 3-month-old baby girl. The child was determined to have been left unattended by the accused on more than one occasion and unkempt and potentially unsafe living conditions. The investigation also revealed the accused may have been smoking marijuana in close proximity to the child. The victim was not injured. Following the investigation, the accused, identified as Sindi Mabel MARTINEZ MEJIA, was arrested. Child Protective Services responded to the scene and released the child into the custody of a caretaker.

Arrested on December 17:

Sindi Mabel MARTINEZ MEJIA, 23, of the 13600 block of Charles Ct in Woodbridge

Charged with 2 counts of felony child neglect

Court Date: Pending | Bond: Held WITHOUT Bond

Here are the most read stories on Potomac Local in 2017

10. Driver killed in I-95 wrong-way crash 

A driver was killed on October 12 when he entered Interstate 95 headed in the wrong direction.

9. Mapledale fatal motorcycle crash

On February 18, we reported on a motorcyclist who was killed while riding on Mapledale Avenue.

8. Heroin seizure in Aquia Harbour 

On October 23, we were told about a large heroin seizure that took place following a drug overdose at Aquia Harbour.

7. Two fights at Downtown Manassas bars

On January 30, we were told of the arrest of two people in connection with two separate fights at as many bars in Downtown Manassas.

6. Stafford deputy frees captive woman 

On September 15, we were told a Stafford County Sheriff’s Deputy approached a truck in a commuter parking lot and found a woman who was being held against her will.

5. Social media fight search 

Police began a search for a 19-year-old woman following an argument on social media.

4. Farm Brew Live prepares to open

On February 22, we reported (the then) soon to open Farm Brew Live project was moving along and had planned to hire 100 employees. 

3. Civil War Weekend canceled 

On August 18, Manassas officials said the annual Civil War Weekend would be canceled following violent and deadly protests in Charlottesville. 

2. Clint Gaskins dies following police pursuit 

On August 6, police pursued 36-year-old Clint Gaskins, of Lake Ridge, during a chase on Interstates 395 and 95. Gaskins was killed when the motorcycle he was riding ran off the road.

1. Security guard stabbed to death at Potomac Mills

On March 4, two loss prevention employees approached a man they suspected of shoplifting outside of a Burlington Coat Factory at Potomac Mills mall in Woodbridge. 

The man stabbed to death one of the employees

Serve Our Willing Warriors Executive Director steps down

Serve Our Willing Warriors Executive Director Jeffery Sapp announced today he will step down by the end of the year. 

Sapp has served in the executive director role for one year. He told Potomac Local today his departure was a mutual decision between him and the charity’s board of directors. 

Sapp sent this email detailing his resignation on Wednesday morning: 

Having helped Serve Our Willing Warriors navigate challenges inherent to organization change. Having been part of aligning us for doing even better at supporting Wounded, Ill, or Injured Warriors and their families and caregivers. And having fulfilled the terms of my contract, I am stepping aside as Executive Director effective December 31, 2017.

To promote continuity, Board Member Mark Shaaber has agreed to serve as Interim Executive Director.

We’ve had an amazing year. It’s been an honor and a pleasure working with and learning from the Board of Directors, Advisory Board, staff, Volunteers, supporters, and others. Their–your–individual and collective spirit, generosity, and commitment to raising the bar of excellence and increasing mission success are the bedrock of our accomplishments.

Sapp said he achieved his major goal of breaking ground this month on the construction of three new homes to house wounded warriors at the charity’s Haymarket-area campus.

The charity’s board of directors followed Sapp’s email with this: 

On behalf of the Board of Directors of SOWW,  I would like to thank you for your contributions to SOWW.  Duly noted is the incredible work you displayed with the recent Groundbreaking Ceremony of our new home with PenFed Credit Union and PenFed Foundation.  The success of this effort along with many others reflect great credits upon you and the passion you have for our warriors and their families.  

Sapp said he plans to remain living in the area following his departure from the charity and work as a consultant and work on his motivational speaking business. 

The Bee Store opens at Tacketts Mill

From an email: 

“We are a brick and mortar retail store specializing in Beekeeping Equipment and Honey Bee Boutique Items. Our goal is to supply everyone from the beginning, backyard beekeeper to the experienced, master beekeeper with the supplies they need to hone their skills in the bee yard. In addition to a full line of Mann Lake Ltd Beekeeping Supplies, we are also stocking the complete catalog of Sweet Sophia LLC products, such as lip balms, sunscreen, deodorant, artisanal soaps, lotions, salves, candles and much more. All handmade by The Bee Store family. Lastly, we will be stocking an ever-evolving quantity of Boutique items for all the bee lovers out there such as stickers, pins, jewelry, notebooks, posters, mugs, keychains, t-shirts, socks, baby clothes, pillows, shoes and much, much more. We hope you’ll fly by to say hi as we’d love to meet the community and spread the bee love buzz!”
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