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Woodbridge Local

Deep pothole plugged behind Woodbridge Target, Value City Furniture stores

Remember that growing pothole we reported this past summer in Woodbridge? 

The nearly 10-foot deep hole was located behind a Target and Value City Furniture stores in the Parkway Crossing West Shopping Center in Woodbridge.

We received an email today from Prince William County Occoquan District Supervisor Ruth Anderson telling us the that the hole is gone. It also included a photo of the newly patched hole.

From Anderson: 

Photo by Bill Milne today. Sink hole off of Telegraph Road appears to be fixed.

No word yet on who patched the hole. Over the summer, Anderson’s office pleaded with property owners to fix the pothole that had been preventing traffic through a portion of the shopping center’s parking lot.

Anderson also asked Prince William County staff to find out who was responsible for the fix.

 

No snow accumulation expected, but here’s the link to delays/closures list just in case

We’ve got some forecasted snowfall off to our west, but no accumulation expected in our area. 

If you wake up and see snow on the ground, you can check this list for area school and government delays and closings.

From VDOT: 

Virginia Department of Transportation crews are preparing for more winter weather, this time during Tuesday morning rush hour.

Crews reapplied anti-icing treatment on the roads Monday. The storm is currently forecasted to arrive very early Tuesday morning, and crews will mobilize aroundmidnight to treat problem areas with salt and sand as needed ahead of rush hour.

Drivers are asked to:

— Continue to check weather forecasts, as storm timing and intensity can change. Temperatures are expected to hover right around freezing.
— Factor in extra time or consider delaying their morning commute.
— Consider every road to be an icy road, especially in the dark.
— Reduce your speed and always use your headlights.
— Be patient; remember that many fellow drivers are not comfortable driving in adverse weather conditions.
— Take it slow on bridges, ramps, and overpasses, and other known trouble spots.
— Ensure gas tanks and windshield wiper fluid tanks are full.

And the winter fun doesn’t stop there. Arctic air will pour into our region Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, as low temperatures are expected to dip into the single digits. 

 

OWL Volunteer Fire Department responds to warehouse fire

From Occoquan Woodbridge Lorton Volunteer Fire Department:

Woodbridge, VA December 9th, 6:00 a.m. – Occoquan-Woodbridge-Lorton Volunteer Firefighters responded to the report of a two story commercial structure fire at 14339 Jefferson Davis Hwy in Woodbridge. Crews arrived within minutes and reported smoke showing from the roof.

Crews forcibly entered through front door and found fire on the first floor. The source of the fire was found in a storage area and was contained. An additional sweep of the building was conducted. The fire was knocked down in less than 10 minutes.

Several people were inside an adjacent unit evacuated.

The blaze is under investigation by the Prince William County Fire Marshal’s Office. Fire and Rescue units from OWL VFD, Dale City VFD, Dumfries – Triangle VFD, PWCDF&R, and PWCPD responded to the incident.

OWL VFD is one of the largest and busiest volunteer fire departments in the United States with almost 300 members. OWL VFD provides fire suppression, EMS care, and rescue services to 80,000 residents in our 27 square mile area through the operation of three fire stations. OWL volunteer Firefighters and EMTs work the 6 pm to 6 am shift, five days a week, plus 24/7 holidays and weekends.

Santa pays a visit to children on Virginia Railway Express

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Hundreds packed the annual Santa Trains on the Virginia Railway Express.

With snow falling, Santa paid a visit to trains that left stations in Manassas, Woodbridge, Burke, Fredericksburg, and Spotsylvania.

We were on a train that left the Fredericksburg station headed north to Woodbridge to capture the photos in this post.

The popular trains are part of the Operation Lifesaver project. Online tickets for the special event sell out each year in a matter of minutes, while the remainder of the tickets is usually sold in less than 24 hours at VRE stations.

New shoulder replacement procedure gives the gift of movement

Ernie Krapfl is avid table tennis player. But, the 74-year-old’s game was nearly derailed by a severe shoulder injury.

“I had been losing a lot of sleep because of the pain. I had a separation and a torn rotator cuff,” he explains.

Krapfl had been living with the injury since his college days and kept putting off getting surgery because of the fear of a lengthy recovery.

But his primary care physician shared with him the many advances which had taken place over the last several decades and advised him to visit a specialist. That’s when Krapfl met board certified, fellowship trained orthopedic surgeon Cyrus Press, MD.

“The majority of my patients are baby boomers. They’re active and they want to remain active. They’re looking for solutions to their problems that extend beyond pain relief,” explains Dr. Press.

Dr. Press, a specialist at the Sentara OrthoJoint Center®, was the first surgeon in Northern Virginia to utilize stemless shoulder replacement surgery. Dr. Press thought Ernie Krapfl could be a good candidate for the state of the art procedure.

During a shoulder replacement, the ball and socket of the shoulder are removed. The ball is replaced with metal and the socket is replaced with plastic.

“The newer technology, which this patient received, is a stemless shoulder replacement. This minimizes the amount of entry we have to go into the bone in order to put this metal ball on,” explains Dr. Press.

That means less pain for stemless shoulder replacement patients.

And, for Ernie Krapfl, that means he’s been able to return to the game his loves,” I’m now ready to challenge Dr. Press to a match!” he says laughing.

Today will stay dry through the evening commute, but then…

The Virginia Department of Transportation began treating roads Thursday. Even if we don’t get a lot of wintry precipitation out of this storm, treating the roads earlier is a good idea to make sure we don’t end up once again in this nightmare commute scenario from 2016.

OmniRide aims to grow. But first, 12 people must go.

Anonymous letter prompts investigation into discrimination claims 

WOODBRIDGE — An anonymous letter that surfaced less than a week ago has now prompted a two-month investigation into allegations of systemic discrimination at OmniRide.

Chairman of the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission Frank Principi, the group that oversees OmniRide and OmniLink commuter buses, said he would engage the Prince William County Government’s equal opportunity employment office, all in an effort to bring in a third-party to investigate the claims.

The letter has not been made public by the transit agency. It comes as the firm looks to consolidate its dispatch operations, fix inefficiencies, and stop redundancies as the organization looks to evolve from a commuter bus company to a full-fledged transit agency.

Under OmniRide Director Robert “Bob” Schneider’s plan, the jobs of 12 full-time employees and one part-timer, to include seven radio dispatchers, a manager, bus monitor, and transit operations planner employed by OmniRide, would be eliminated. The dispatch and bus monitor jobs would be handed over to First Transit; those employees are potentially going to work for the Ohio-based firm contracted to operate OmniRide and OmniLink buses.

The consolidation would save the transit agency nearly $1 million over the next year. Employees who are let go from the organization would be paid four weeks severance pay and full medical and dental through March 2018. 

Additionally, per PRTC’s personnel policy, employees would receive payment for unused sick leave at 25% for each hour over 450 hours accrued.

The reduction in force, now delayed, was to have taken effect January 13.

More than 50 people, most of them OmniRide and First Transit employees, packed the PRTC Commissioners meeting Thursday night to express their disapproval of the Schnieder’s plan.

“These people who live here and have their big homes, and work at the Pentagon, I don’t know why they can’t get together and solve this,” said bus driver Emory Large. “We provide a great service for this county, and many of us can barely afford to live in this county.”

Others warned that privatizing the dispatch jobs could lead to poor customer service.

“We need control,” one employee told the commission. “When you contract it out, it saves you money, but you lose control. Our people have the experience with the equipment.”

Prince William County NAACP Chapter President Cozy Bailey also spoke, calling for a fair and timely investigation.

Scheider says those whose jobs are on the chopping block perform redundant tasks or ones that could be contracted out to save money.

“For instance, you have a window dispatcher who gives dispatch orders to drivers in the morning, and then has fewer things to do during the day after the buses leave the lot,” he explained.

However, Schneider is taking the discrimination claim seriously.

“We want this to be a great place, where people feel comfortable going to work, so if there has been ‘systemic’ discrimination…, we want to investigate those claims,” he said. “We don’t want future actions to be viewed through an ‘inappropriate’ lens.”

Principi told the crowd his commission would work to address employees concerns, as well as see that a fair investigation is carried out.

“I see that will most likely discuss this again at our February meeting. Interviews of employees need to be conducted, records reviewed,” said Principi. “It’s hard to say it will conclude in February. It may take longer.”

t’s the future that OmniRide is looking forward to with the staffing reductions and by modifying some jobs and adding other new positions.

The cost savings from the 14 staff reductions salaries of those would fund the new positions.

Existing modified positions include:

  • Human resources manager
  • Director of planning
  • Director of mobility services
  • Quality assurance specialist
  • Transit planner

New positions include:

  • Chief development officer
  • Chief financial officer
  • Planning specialist
  • Web designer
  • Support services manager
  • Data analyst

In October, the commission directed Schneider to develop a plan for what OmniRide will look like in 2020. Part of that vision is examining, and making tweaks to the staffing structure at the transit agency.

Breakfast Links: Another trial delay for man accused of slaying Prince William cop

Ronald Hamilton — the man accused of shooting three Prince William County police officers after killing his wife last year — won’t face a jury until August, now that his trial has been delayed a second time. [Insidenova.com]

Prince William Supervisor Frank Principi, D-Woodbridge, is calling on the county to spend an additional $200,000 to expand treatment programs for opioid addicts, though his fellow supervisors are urging caution. [Insidenova.com]

The Prince William School Board made history last week by appointing its first-ever student representative. [Prince William Times]

Dulles Glass & Mirror, Inc., celebrates growth with Governor Terry McAuliffe at ribbon cutting ceremony

Dulles Glass and Mirror, Inc., celebrated the opening of its new facility at a ribbon cutting ceremony featuring Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe as the special guest, as well as Prince William County Supervisor Jeanine Lawson.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony took place on December 5, 2017, at Dulles Glass’s new headquarters at 7610 Doane Drive, Manassas, Prince William County, VA 20109. The new, 84,000 square foot facility will house expanded glass manufacturing operations to solidify the company’s position as the premier nationwide online glass seller and streamline the production process for the company’s line of premium glass shower door enclosures.

“Our move into Prince William County is a great example of a productive partnership between a government and a local business.Our government is delivering on the promise of creating a job-friendly environment where businesses can grow and expand. We’re proof of successful partnership,” said Dr. Bahram Nasehi, CEO of Dulles Glass.

“I am pleased to celebrate the expansion of Dulles Glass and Mirror, a company that has thrived in Virginia for 45 years,” said Governor McAuliffe speaking at the grand opening ceremony. “When a Virginia-headquartered manufacturing company chooses to expand their facility, it is a testament to the Commonwealth’s strong economy and talented workforce. The manufacturing industry continues to gain momentum across Virginia, with more than 240,000 employed in the sector, and small businesses, like Dulles Glass and Mirror, are contributing to that energy and the new Virginia economy.”

The management team at Dulles Glass enjoyed taking Governor McAuliffe and other officials for a tour of the manufacturing facilities. Attendees of the event included officials from the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the Prince William County Department of Economic Development, and the Prince William County Industrial Development Authority and many others.

Dulles Glass & Mirror announced earlier this year that they are bringing $7.5 million in capital investment and 136 jobs to Prince William County. With the expansion of the headquarters, research and development, manufacturing, and warehouse operations, Dulles Glass & Mirror will bring 40 net new jobs with an average wage of $51,092, over a five-year period.

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About Dulles Glass and Mirror, Inc.

Founded in 1972, Dulles Glass and Mirror, Inc. is a privately held company that manufactures glass, mirror and shower doors for residential and commercial uses. The company delivers its products nationally and offers premium frameless glass shower door and other glass installation services in Northern Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. The company also offers a large variety of glass and mirror products that are customizable through its online store. To learn more visit: https://www.dullesglassandmirror.com

Historic Downtown Manassas Holiday Gift Guide

Are you looking for unique gifts this holiday season but not interested in the hustle and bustle found at the major retailers?

Why not shop small in the City of Manassas. You’re sure to find something for everyone on your list at one of the charming shops in Historic Downtown.

All lit up for the holidays, Historic Downtown Manassas is a hidden gem with independently-owned boutiques featuring jewelry, homeware, clothing, original art, candles, and much more. Take a look at these gift suggestions to get a glimpse of what Manassas shopping has to offer. Check out VisitManassas.org for a full list of stores and activities. Better yet, bring the family and enjoy a day of shopping, an amazing meal and perhaps a little hot chocolate and ice skating.  

Fun & Tasty Stocking Stuffers

Bacon treats? Lip gloss? Fidget Spinners? Yup. You can get all three, and even Havana Banana flavored soda at Popcorn Monkey. If they have an oversized stocking, you could also put a tin of delicious popcorn in there…it would not disappoint. Prices on stocking stuffers starting at $3.99.

Popcorn Monkey

For the Person Who Has Everything

There’s at least one person on everyone’s list that you agonize over every year. A great way to approach a gift for the person who has everything is to pick delicious perishable items. Manassas Olive Oil Company will allow you to customize a gift basket with things like artisan olive oils, balsamic vinegar, and pour spouts, and a dipping dish. The friendly staff will even package it up with a pretty holiday bow.

Manassas Olive Oil

For the Kids (No batteries or assembly required)

Give your child the opportunity to discover their music talent by teaching their fingers something useful (other than how to use a Nintendo controller). Prince William String Academy offers music lessons in piano, violin, viola, cello, and bass. Four half-hour lessons with a professional musician, only $140. 

For the Person Who Embraces the Holiday Spirit 

These one-of-a-kind earrings from McCall Studio Gallery (a division of DMVISUAL) will ensure that the person donning these beauties will be sparkling brighter than the tree. Pick up some holiday spirit with these snowman or Christmas tree crystal earrings. A pair starts at $30.99.      

McCall Design

For the Person Who’s Ready to Get Fit in 2018 

Center Street Studio is the perfect place to start or continue your fitness journey. The easiest way to get started is with the Wellness Package for New Students for only $199. The package includes the “Intro to the Pilates Reformer” (three private Pilates apparatus lessons), a three-class yoga pass, two thirty-minute health-coaching consultations.* Give the gift of transformation- a more confident and healthy you in the new year. 

*For new students to Center Street Studios only. One package per person.

For the Hostess with the Mostess 

For the person who loves to host, give them a beautiful serving platter that can suit any occasion, season or holiday. Introducing the Nora Fleming platter- with interchangeable “minis,” you can transform one platter into the ultimate platter for every possible celebration. Platters and minis are available at Love, Charley (along with lots of other charming shabby chic homewares). Prices vary depending on the size of the dish.  

For the Craft Beer Aficionado 

For the lover of craft beer, or the person looking to expand their palate, pick-up a limited or barrel-aged release, available only at the Heritage Brewing taproom. Toast to friendship with the gift that will be the perfect addition to any holiday dinner table. Six packs start at $11.99. 

Working out and keeping fit during the holidays and beyond

During the holidays well, okay most of the time, it sure feels like we are living our lives in the fast lane! Everything all the time, one of the lines from the song by the Eagles, sums up the frantic and often frenetic activities occurring during the holidays. If you are like many people, the time you spend in the gym may suffer because you simply do not have the time or the energy to work out as you would like.

Manassas Park Community Center (MPCC) fitness instructor Kathleen Joubert suggests that you work out with a friend. “Find someone with similar fitness and workout goals to your own, and plan to meet at the gym,” advises Joubert, “Discuss the classes you wish to attend, and plan to be there.

She points out that you are not as likely to miss classes if you know you have someone waiting for you. If you are working out alone, you may find any excuse not to go to the gym, but if you know your friend is there, waiting, and will be annoyed that you did not show up, you are more apt to go.

“I always tell people that is exactly how it began with me,” Joubert explains,When I was trying to get into a workout routine I had a great friend and workout partner who I did not want to disappoint so I went to the gym–even if I really didn’t want tobecause I didn’t want to let my workout partner down.

Joubert adds in order to keep motivated, stick to the classes and work out programs that you and your workout partner both like. It can turn into a competition, but if it gets you to the gym, then you both win!

Another helpful tip is not to stop at home before you go to the gym. Joubert always changes into her gym clothes before leaving work, and drives directly to the gym. “It is harder in the winter because it gets dark so early, but we all know that if you stop at home, you will find your way to the warm, comfy couch, and you will not make it to the gym as you initially planned,” Joubert adds.

If you prefer to work out alone, Joubert cautions not to do something she sees every day, “I always cringe when I see people lifting more weight than they should. Her experience and training reinforce her philosophy that it is more important to use less weight and do more repetitions.

“I am that instructor who will go right over to people and correct them immediately. I do not wish to embarrass anyone, but I know the correct form and if you are trying to lift weights that are too heavy, your form will be less than perfect, and that is how injuries happen,” Joubert explains.

“In my classes, I help people shape muscle, not build muscle,” Joubert clarifies, “If you are in my body sculpting class, and you are having a difficult time finishing the set, you are probably lifting too much weight.Most people are surprised when she tells them that men should only be lifting between 10-20 pounds, and women should probably lift no more than 16 pounds, which is only 8 pounds on each side. “Using lighter weights and increasing the repetition to three sets of twelve is a good way to maximize your workout without inviting injury,” she said.

Joubert likes to talk about diets with her students and stresses the importance of keeping portions small. “A great diet tip I always share is to keep your calorie intake in moderation by eating only a spoonful of whatever you wish to eat! If you are at a buffet, eat everything—but only one spoonful of everything,” she laughs.

Another tip Joubert recommends is to give yourself realistic goals. If your goal is to just get to the gym regularly, once you meet that goal, then give yourself another goal that you can meet such as attending

2 to 3 classes a week. She warns doing too much too quickly can lead to injury. She would rather see you building up to a goal rather than wearing yourself out from doing too much too fast.

“We really are our own worst critics,” Joubert added emphasizing she has heard every excuse for not going to the gym including people who say they are too fat, too old, or too embarrassed. She assures you that once you begin your workout routine, and start meeting your attainable goals, you will want to go to the gym!

Are you motivated to take one of the classes taught by Kathleen Joubert at the Community Center? She teaches Kickboxing on Tuesdays from 7:30 pm-8:20 pm, Body Sculpting on Wednesdays from 6:00pm-6:50 pm, and Boot Camp class on Saturdays from 8:30 am-9:20 am.

See you in class!

The Manassas Park Community Center is located at 99 Adams Street in Manassas Park, Va. Managed by the City of Manassas Park Department of Parks and Recreation, the facility offers group exercise classes, basketball courts, a swimming pool, wellness areas, and recreational programs.

For more information, visit us at www.ManassasParkCommunityCenter.com or call at 703-335-8872.

Two face charges in armed robbery outside PRTC Transit Center

From Prince William police: 

Armed Robbery Investigations *ARREST | Armed Robbery *NEW INCIDENT – On December 4 at 12:01PM, officers responded to the PRTC Terminal located at 14700 Potomac Mills Rd in Woodbridge (22193) to investigate a robbery.

The victim, a 15-year-old male juvenile, reported to police that he was waiting for a bus in the above

Nedd

area when he was approached by two acquaintances. During the encounter, one of the acquaintances brandished a handgun and demanded the victim’s property. The suspects then took the victim’s cell phone before fleeing the area on foot.

A police K-9 responded to search for the suspects who were not immediately located. A short time later, a witness located the suspects in a nearby business and contacted police. Officers arrived and detained both the suspects, identified as Aariq Michael NEDD and a 17-year-old male juvenile, without incident.

Upon further investigation, detectives with the Robbery Unit determined that NEDD and the 17-year-old male juvenile along with a third suspect, identified as Charles Leonard GASKINS, were involved in several other robberies which occurred in the Woodbridge area since October. Following the investigation, detectives obtained multiple warrants for GASKINS who was arrested without incident following a search warrant which was executed at his residence. The investigation continues.

                Arrested on December 4:

                Charles Leonard GASKINS, 18, of 1338 Cranes Bill Way in Woodbridge

Charged with 6 counts of robbery, 6 counts of conspiracy to commit a robbery, and 6 counts of use of a firearm in commission of a felony

                Court Date: January 16, 2018 | Bond: Held WITHOUT bond

 

Aariq Michael NEDD, 18, of 15429 Marsh Overlook Dr in Woodbridge

Charged with 5 counts of robbery, 4 counts of conspiracy to commit a robbery, and 3 count of use of a firearm in commission of a felony

                Court Date: January 16, 2018 | Bond: Held WITHOUT bond

 

17-year-old male juvenile of Woodbridge [Juvenile]

Charged with 6 counts of robbery, 6 counts of conspiracy to commit a robbery, and 6 count of use of a firearm in commission of a felony

                Court Date: Pending | Bond: Held at the Juvenile Detention Center

Man spotted peeping through woman’s window

Police are searching for a peeping tom in Woodbridge. 

From a press release: 

Peeping Investigation – On December 2 at 3:45AM, officers responded to a residence located in the 2000 block of Harpers Hill Way in Woodbridge (22192) to investigate a peeping incident. The victim, a 22-year-old woman, reported to police that she was in her bedroom when she saw an unknown male peering through her window. The suspect fled the area on foot when the victim screamed.

No other contact was made between the parties. Officers checked the area and did not locate the suspect. The investigation continues.

Suspect Description:

Black male, 6’00”, 160lbs, a thin build, long black dreadlocks, and a scraggly beard

Here are your new buses if you’re bound for Ballston, Rosslyn, or Virginia Tech/I-81 corridor

Commuters will have a new option to get around the construction for the Interstate 395 E-ZPass Express Lanes.

Virginia officials are offering $260,000 for a new express bus to serve the I-95 and 395 corridors during the anticipated two-year project to convert the HOV lanes between Duke Street and the Pentagon to E-ZPass Express Lanes.

There are four proposed trips from Dale City in Prince William County to the Ballston/Rosslyn corridor in Arlington. A list of stops, operating timetables, and fares for the bus service has not yet been worked out, according to Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission spokeswoman Christine Rodrigo.

While the Commission would operate the service, the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation will fund the service through its transportation management plan.

PRTC currently operates a similar state-funded bus on I-66 as crews work to add E-ZPass lanes between Gainesville in Prince William County and Dunn Loring in Fairfax County. The Gainesville to the Pentagon and Washington, D.C. buses serve a commuter lot on Limestone Drive and then serves Linton Hall Road before getting on I-66.

Weekday afternoon trips take commuters from the Pentagon and Downtown D.C. home again. 

A one-way fare is $9.60 or $6.90 when paid with a SmarTrip card.

The PRTC Board of Commissioners must approve the measure, and it’s expected to take up the measure at its Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017, at 7 p.m.

The new E-ZPass bus will be the second in a series of new state-funded bus services. On December 1, DRPT launched the Virginia Breeze inter-city bus service between Virginia Tech, Dulles Airport, Arlington, and Union Station in Washington, D.C.

A one-way ticket between Blacksburg and Washington. D.C. will cost riders about $50. The bus will travel I-81 and also serve stops in Christiansburg, Lexington, Staunton, Harrisonburg, and Front Royal.

The northbound route will leave the Virginia Tech Squires Student Center at 8 a.m. daily and arrive at Union Station at 2:30 p.m. A daily southbound bus will leave daily from Union Station at 9:30 a.m. and arrive at Virginia Tech at 3:40.

The Virginia Breeze is the state’s first inter-city commuter bus.

JES Foundation Repair provides FREE inspections to homeowners suspecting damage from recent earthquakes

Regional experts who helped hundreds after the Mineral, Va. earthquake are available to inspect homes damaged from the recent Howard County, Md. and Dover, Del. earthquakes.

After the 2011 earthquake in Mineral, JES Foundation Repair had a busy schedule inspecting and repairing homes from Virginia Beach to Baltimore. Now with the tremors recently in Howard County and Dover,  the Manassas branch of JES is ready to provide free inspections to homeowners in Maryland or Northern Virginia that might wonder if their home’s foundation was affected.

Signs and symptoms of possible damage to a home’s foundation from an earthquake include cracks in brick, cracks in drywall, doors, and windows that stick and uneven floors. Leaning chimneys pulling away from the home is one of the more common damages that occur even with minor tremors.

If there is damage, JES provides a free assessment and estimate on what is needed for a long-term repair solution. Call 877-537-9675 or go to jeswork.com to arrange the free inspection.

About JES Companies

JES Companies specializes in residential foundation repair, crawl space encapsulation, basement waterproofing, and concrete lifting. It is comprised of JES Foundation Repair, JES Evergreen, Indiana Foundation Service, and Mount Valley Foundation Services. JES Companies operates out of five offices in Virginia including Manassas, Virginia Beach, Chester, Appomattox, and Salem as well as Indianapolis, Indiana, and Columbia, South Carolina. JES has been named to the Fortune 5000 Fastest Growing Companies, Virginia Chamber of Commerce Fantastic 50, Inside Business Roaring Twenty and Best Places to Work. JES Companies serves Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, West Virginia, Indiana, South Carolina, and Georgia. For more information about JES, please visit www.jeswork.com.

Bring an unwrapped toy for the annual VRE Marine Corps Toys for Tots collection Wednesday

From a press release: 

VRE will be holding its Annual Marine Corps Toys for Tots collection next Wednesday, December 6th. For those who wish to participate, please bring a new unwrapped toy to your morning train and leave it on the seat. VRE “elves” will then collect the toys and deliver them to the Marine Corps for distribution. If you would prefer to give a monetary donation, please give it to your conductor that same morning.

Toys for Tots is an annual event where VRE and the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve partner to collect toys for those who cannot afford a holiday gift. We are proud to say that VRE riders are some of the largest contributors to the Northern Virginia area and we look forward to continuing that tradition. We thank you in advance and appreciate your continued generosity toward those less fortunate.

Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center leads the mission for women and family-centered care

Newly renovated rooms, family birthing units and an open floor plan is transforming the patient experience for expectant mothers. 

On Thursday, November 30, 2017, Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center officially launched its Women’s Health Center. The hospital recently celebrated 45 years of serving the community. This latest development showcases Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center’s commitment to women and families.   

For decades, we’ve served the community as Women’s and Children’s services.  As we look towards the future, we are focused on the comprehensive needs of women in Northern Virginia. The new Women’s Health Center provides the infrastructure we need to expand our services and care for women throughout their lifetime,” explains Kathie Johnson, President, Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center.

The new Women’s Health Center offers 27 newly renovated rooms. These private rooms feature a contemporary, open floor plan with an ensuite bathroom, infant warming beds and room for family and friends, all in close proximity to nursing staff. State of the art nursing stations allow caregivers to monitor mothers’ labor and symptoms as they occur and allow immediate response. This, coupled with Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center’s level 2 NICU, supported by our partnership with Children’s National Health System, enables us to ensure 24/7, top of the line, neonatology care, all to benefit the tiniest members of our community.

“The location of our NICU allows babies who require extra support to be cared for at a neonatal facility close to home. Our goal is to provide seamless, coordinated care to make this a positive experience for mother, child and family,” explains Johnson. 

This full-service center supports our goal, which is to provide the highest quality of care. An extension of our Women’s Health Center features access to a team of female Nurse Navigators specializing in Obstetrics, Cardiac, Orthopedics, Urology, Bariatrics and Oncology. This group of women clinicians understands and will support you through your health journey, with a full range of preventative health screenings, education program and support groups for every phase of your life. 

“Our new name says to everyone, including the moms, that you and your family are first. It demonstrates our unique needs as women and how we need to make our health a priority,” adds Florence Pullo, RN, Interim Director, Women’s Health Center at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center.

To find a physician to care for you, through every stage of your life, call 1-800-SENTARA.

New traffic signal with turn lanes and pedestrian improvements proposed at Blackburn Road and Rippon Boulevard

From VDOT: 

The Virginia Department of Transportation is holding a public information meeting Wednesday, Dec. 6 on plans to improve the intersection of Blackburn Road and Rippon Boulevard to improve traffic operations and safety.

The project plans include a new traffic signal with turn lanes and pedestrian improvements at the Blackburn and Rippon intersection.

The public is invited to stop by between 6:30 and 8 p.m. in the library at Freedom High School, 15201 Neabsco Mills Road, Woodbridge, VA 22191to view displays, learn more about the project, preliminary design. The project team will discuss signal and non-signal options at the Rippon Boulevard and Blackburn Road intersection and the Rippon Boulevard and Forest Grove Drive intersection. VDOT staff will be available to answer questions. 

A presentation will begin at 7 p.m.

Comments may be provided at the meeting or sent to VDOT by Dec. 16, 2017. E-mail or mail comments to Ms. Angel Tao, P.E., Virginia Department of Transportation, 4975 Alliance Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030.

View the project page for more details.

Tour historic Rippon Lodge this holiday season for ‘Christmas Through the Ages’

What had started as a fast-paced struggle across the Low Countries of Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and finally into France itself, the First World War was already five months old by December of 1914.

In September, the French and British Armies had stopped the German drive short of Paris, at the Marne River. Warfare slowed down as soldiers dug trenches; the ‘front’ facing enemy positions were only the very tip of a system that stretched miles deep.

Infantrymen, in contact with the enemy, did not expect much of a Christmas celebration that year under such desperate conditions. Units rotated periodically, with a day of rest in less exposed trenches to the rear, where they would not be under direct fire. This brief relaxation would be the most men would expect for the holiday.

Ignored by officials on both sides, Pope Benedict XV attempted to arrange a truce between the warring powers for Christmas.

What actually happened came from men in the field, without any apparent organization. It started after men settled into the trenches in November… it began with arrangements (ceasefires) while recovering the dead from No-Man’s Land. Burial parties, from opposing sides, then exchanged information and food with each other.

In many places, the lines were close enough that the soldiers could shout across at each other, whether to taunt or simply chat. Conversing was especially clear among the German and British armies, because many men had visited or lived in both nations, and could communicate with each other in English.

On Christmas Eve, British soldiers reported that German soldiers started singing songs and playing music. Soon, the British responded with their own tunes and songs. The shouts between men took on a festive tone, exchanging seasonal greetings. Who first raised their head above the trenches goes unrecorded, but officers and infantrymen from both sides, began to emerge. And no one fired. Artillery fell silent in some sectors.

Orders, of course, strictly prohibited any of this fraternization, holiday or not. Many company officers and Generals were afraid that it would prevent men from continuing the fight afterward. There seemed to exist among the soldiers in the trenches, a sort of understanding, born from their shared condition, regardless of general orders.

This did not extend to all soldiers, of course. Captain Billy Congreve of the Rifle Brigade wrote in his diary, “We have issued strict orders to the men not to on any account allow a truce, as we have heard rumours that they will probably try to. The Germans did. They came over towards us singing. So we opened rapid fire on them, which is the only truce they deserve.”

On the other side of the issue, Captain Bruce Bairnsfather of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment observed among his men that, “There was not an atom of hate on either side that day; and yet, on our side, not for a moment was the will to war and the will to beat them relaxed. It was just like the interval between the rounds in a friendly boxing match.” While there was suspicion, mistrust, and prejudice on both sides, it was pushed aside for that peaceful meeting.

The high command’s fears came to fruition in some of the battlefields the day after Christmas. Private Frank Richards of the Royal Welch Fusiliers, wrote in his memoirs, “During the whole of Boxing Day (December 26th) we never fired a shot, and they the same, each side seemed to be waiting for the other to set the ball a-rolling.”

In the end, as units rotated back to different positions, and simply as time passed, the informal truces ended. These ‘truces’ became a distant memory, as the first year of a brutal struggle would go on another four years, with 29 million soldiers killed or wounded, over 57% of those serving. There would never be another Christmas quite like the one in 1914.

This December at Rippon Lodge in Woodbridge, Prince William County’s Historic Preservation Division will be presenting Christmas Through the Ages. This special holiday-only program starts off with a tree lighting on the lawn December 2 and continues every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through December 23. The first tour of the day begins at 11:00 am and the last at 3:00 pm.

Each walk through the Lodge with one of the guides takes a visitor through some American holiday-time traditions; from the 1700s celebration of the time between Christmas and Epiphany, known as Twelfth Night, through the Victorian age, 1920s, and 1930s, learn how we came to celebrate Christmas as it is today.

Another special occasion will be a visit from Santa Claus on December 9th from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Parents will be given a ‘Things Santa Should Know’ card before their child meets that right jolly old elf in his temporary residence in Rippon Lodge’s cabin.

PRTC Executive Director Bob Schneider talks transportation on Davis Ford Road

In a follow-up post to our Davis Ford and Yates Ford roads Traffic Think Tank, here’s a video we showed during the event on Oct. 19, 2017.

We asked PRTC Executive Director Bob Schneider about traffic conditions on the two-lane roads and challenges managing mass transit in low population density areas. 

Video transcript: 

For PRTC and OmniRide, our biggest challenge is in the mid-county area and its lack of density.

So we don’t have dedicated transit services in that corridor and instead really rely on road network to get commuters, residents to the park and ride lots.

Some of our top areas are Horner Road. So many of those residents in that community travel to Horner Road to pick up our services, use slugging, or many other means of transportation such as vanpool or carpool.

In terms of safety and transit utilization, there are some big challenges.

First and foremost it’s a beautiful area, therefore, its low density. All that low density makes it really difficult to effectively manage transportation, mass transit issues, and with those being the roads that very little infrastructure in terms of sidewalks, which of course and any pedestrian would want, simultaneously there are not a lot of crosswalks, or very many, if any intersections with traffic signals.

So it makes it very difficult for us in order to manage turns, have that infrastructure that brings pedestrians to the forefront.

One of the best solutions that we’re looking at is two things, one of which is looking at the Horner Road expansion of the parking and ride lot. Is there a chance to improve or increase capacity at the park and ride lot which is a challenge, but all that do is draw more commuters through that corridor or possibly increase congestion.

One of the alternatives would be to look at, is there some way to take advantage of the park and ride lots closer to the interior of the county that are more conducive to travel that we could serve more effectively.

If you think about it, one large commuter bus traveling through an intersection in moves 60 cars at once. That’s the equivalent of what happens when those vehicles move through. Simeltenousuly, that’s the equivalent of 15 cars, four lanes wide four lanes wide on I-95.

That one transit bus removes all those cars, and because we have the occupation of the HOT lanes, we’re able to move residents in and out of D.C. much quicker.

Those are some of the key issues we face along the Yates Ford and Davis Ford corridor.

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