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Woodbridge Local

Woodbridge Supervisor claims fast ferry to launch in October

WOODBRIDGE —  Woodbridge District Supervisor Frank Principi on Tuesday did a lot of talking about a new fast ferry service that will supposedly launch in October.

But he was light on details.

The service, he said, would offer passengers rides between Woodbridge and Washington, D.C. A private company will invest $10 million and purchase four new catamaran boats to run the service. He declined to tell Potomac Local the name of the company or provide any other details.

Principi has long championed fast ferry service from Woodbridge to Washington on the Potomac River. Virginia transportation documents state such a service is not a priority.

Prince William County completed a fast ferry study in 2009. Test ferries were run on May 4, 5, and 6 of that year. Shallow water and speed restrictions were cited as two factors that caused the ferries to slow, operating at an average cruising speed of 32 to 34 mph. (more…)

NOVA launches weekend college program

From Northern Virginia Community College:

Beginning in the fall 2017 semester, Northern Virginia Community College students can advance their career at a much faster pace through NOVA’s Express Weekend and Evening College @ the Woodbridge Campus.

NOVA Express Weekend and Evening College @ The Woodbridge Campus enables students to take an entire semester of classes needed to earn a degree or certification, all outside of standard business hours. Adult learners who are busy balancing full-time jobs and family responsibilities can enroll in a 12-credit schedule, selecting from a wide variety of classes, including NOVA’s new business degree.

This new, innovative approach to accommodate the busy schedules of NOVA students offers flexible, hybrid (half classroom learning & half online) courses at 9 a.m. and/or 11 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and after 6 p.m. on weekday evenings. Students can finish a semester in only 14 weeks, instead of the usual 16 and also receive support, advising and instruction from NOVA faculty and staff. (more…)

Update: Alexandria man sought on charges of impersonating a law enforcement officer

From Prince William County police:

The citizen asked the suspect for identification and the name of his supervisor. The suspect then immediately went back to his vehicle and left the area. – On July 31 at 6:41 a.m., officers responded to investigate a suspicious vehicle which was reported in the area of Williamson Boulevard and Duneiden Lane in Manassas. The investigation revealed a citizen was stopped at the traffic light on Sudley Road at Williamson Boulevard, attempting to make a left turn.

A driver of a blue, 2007 Ford Crown Victoria was also stopped at the same signal in an adjacent lane next to the citizen. When the vehicles made the left turn onto Williamson Blvd, the suspect vehicle got behind the citizen’s car and activated red and blue flashing lights which were mounted in the grill and visor area. (more…)

Fire crews called to gas leak

WOODBRIDGE — A gas leak has prompted the closure of Ginseng Way in Woodbridge.

Fire and rescue crews are on the scene of the gas leak near Hoadly Road about 1:30 p.m. 

Ginseng Way connects Websters Way with Baneberry Circle where about 50 homes sit. Police have stopped all traffic from entering the circle. 

At least one person has evacuated from their house.

More as we have it.

2:05 p.m. 

A crew from Washington Gas arrived on the scene and told fire and rescue crews the leak should be contained within 45 minutes, according to initial reports. 

2:28 p.m. 

Washington Gas crews tell fire and rescue repair ETA is now 5 p.m. 

Updated: Pot hole a growing problem near Woodbridge Target store

First on Potomac Local 

WOODBRIDGE — A pot hole at Woodbridge shopping center is getting bigger, we’re told.

The pot hole sits at the intersection of Telegraph Road in Woodbridge and an entrance to Parkway Crossing West Shopping Center in the 15800 block of Telegraph Road, best known for its Target store.

The hole has been there for about three weeks, according to a spokesman for Occoquan District Supervisor Ruth Anderson, who sent us the photos.

Anderson’s office was alerted to the pot hole by two constituents who called to complain about the hole. One of them damaged their car on the hole, according to Anderson’s spokesman.

The Supervisor’s office is working to find out who is responsible for fixing the pot hole. He tells us the buildings in the center, like Target, are individually owned.

Pete McCabe, of the Pruitt Group which owns the building that houses Appliance Connection, tells us they do not pay a fee for regular maintenance or upkeep of the parking lot.

More on this as we have it.

Noon Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017

We’ve heard from the Virginia Department of Transportation, and it says the pot hole is not it’s responsibility to fix.

From a VDOT spokeswoman: 

Our guys verified back in January that it belongs to the shopping center.

Miss Rivershore provides boat rides to Leesylvania park guests

WOODBRIDGE — Capt. Mark Perry is giving boat tours of the Potomac River.

His boat the Miss Rivershore leaves from Leesylvania State Park in Woodbridge every other Sunday. Sightseers are taken on an eight-mile trip that loops from Freestone Point at Leesylvania south to Possum Point, and then back to Leesylanvia park.

The loop takes 75 minutes to complete. Perry makes a stop at the popular Tim’s Rivershore restaurant so riders can stop, get off the boat, eat and drink. When the boat makes a later pass, customers can get back onboard and be ferried back to Leesylvania.

“As you know, the park hosts a number of guests who are interested in a variety of day use pursuits related to the water,” Leesylvania State Park manager Karen Lambey tells Potomac Local. “Not everyone has the space, means, or desire to maintain a boat of their own, so the recreational boating tours provided by the Miss Rivershore allows these park guests to experience the Potomac River from a new perspective. The service also nicely compliments the other concessions operation at the park, Woodbridge Sailing, which provides sailing lessons and sailboat rentals but no actual boat rides.”

The Miss Rivershore began service from Leesylvania in June. Perry, the owner of the boat and the Rivershore Charters company, bid and won a five-year contract to be the exclusive boat concessionaire at the park. The Miss Rivershore is a 50-foot covered pontoon boat with room for 46 passengers.

Trips leave Leesylvania the first and third Sunday of the month at 11 a.m., 12;15 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:45 p.m., 4 p.m., and 5:15 p.m. Tickets for adults cost $20 each, $15 each for seniors, $8 each for children between four and 10 years old. Children under age four ride free.

Everest College goes non-profit, changes name

WOODBRIDGE — A career college in Woodbridge is changing its name.

Everest College, located at 14555 Potomac Mills Road at Potomac Festival shopping center near Potomac Mills mall, offers courses in dental and medical assisting, as well as a medical administrative assistant program.The school’s new name will be Altierus Career College.

More in a press release:

Everest Institute-Chesapeake and Everest College-Woodbridge are changing their names to Altierus Career College. The new name, effective August 8, reflects the college’s updated and expanded offerings in high-demand medical and trade industries, including efforts to ensure that students are well-matched with career choices and develop the soft skills local employers value most.

The Chesapeake and Woodbridge campuses were acquired by Zenith Education Group nearly two and a half years ago and immediately transitioned to non-profit status. Since then, the soon-to-be Altierus campus has undergone many changes geared toward the ultimate vision of becoming a third pathway for nontraditional students for whom community colleges and for-profit schools have not worked, including helping students to develop many of the “soft skills” employers say they value most. Changes include: (more…)

Updated: One dead in early morning fire on Walnut Street


WOODBRIDGE — Police and the fire marshal’s office are investigating a fatal fire. 

Fire and rescue crews were called to 1501 Walnut Street in Woodbridge just before 6 a.m. where they found a body. 

More from a police press release: 

Death Investigation | House Fire – On July 30 at 5:56AM, officers responded to a residence located in the 1500 block of Walnut St in Woodbridge (22191) to assist the Department of Fire & Rescue with a fatal house fire. Fire crews initially responded to the home and discovered an occupant inside. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. The victim’s identity is not known at this time and, when confirmed, will be released once a next-of-kin is notified. The investigations into the death and the cause of the fire are currently under investigation by Prince William County police detectives and the Department of Fire & Rescue, Fire Marshal’s Office. More information will be released when available.

Police tape surrounded the one-story, single family home on Sunday morning. An additional crew was called to deal with a possible collapse of the structure about 9 a.m. 

Fire crews grabbed chainsaws that could be heard running inside the home. All of the windows to the home had been shattered.

An official account from OWL Volunteer Fire Department describes its response: 

Occoquan-Woodbridge-Lorton Volunteer Firefighters responded to the report of a house fire at 1501 Walnut Street in Woodbridge.  Crews arrived within minutes and reported heavy smoke and flames on arrival. 

Upon entering the building, fire crews encountered fire engulfing the first floor. The fire was under control in approximately 20 minutes. 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 VFD, and PWCDF&R responded to the incident.

Investigators expect to remain on scene for the rest of the morning. A special K9 unit from Stafford County was called to the scene to sniff for the presence of accelerants that could have caused the fire.  

This morning’s blaze comes after a suspicious fire Friday night at the Melrose Apartments in Dumfries. 

Crews were called to the 18000 block of Purvis Drive 1t:38 p.m. for a report of a fire. It’s being investigated as a possible arson, and there was little damage done to the apartment where the fire was found, Prince William fire marshal Matt Smolksy told us.


From Prince William County Fire & Rescue:

The fire investigation is continuing, but there are no signs of suspicious activity. The fire is believed to have started in the kitchen/dining area. Only one smoke detector was found in the debris and it was undetermined if it was operational.

Death Investigation | House Fire *VICTIM IDENTIFIED – On July 31, the Medical Examiner’s Office conducted an autopsy on the victim found deceased in a fire which occurred at a residence located in the 1500 block of Walnut St in Woodbridge on July 30.

Based upon the preliminary results of the autopsy, the cause of the victim’s death appears to be accidental resulting from the fire. The cause of the fire remains under investigation by the Department of Fire and Rescue, Fire Marshal’s Office. No foul play is suspected at this time. The investigation continues.

The victim was identified as James Patrick MORROGH, 61

Updated: Dog bites man sought in attempted abduction

WOODBRIDGE — Police are searching a Woodbridge neighborhood after a girl was nearly abducted.

The victim told police she was walking her dog in the area of Rippon Middle School about 4:30 p.m. when a man walked up to her and attempted to abduct her, according to initial reports.

The dog bit the man, who fled toward Rippon Middle School.

We’ll post more information when we have it.

6:30 p.m.

From Prince William police:

Attempted Abduction — At approximately 3:50pm, the victim, a 10-year-old girl, was reportedly walking her dog in the 1800 block of Heather Glenn Ct in Woodbridge when an unknown man approached her and grabbed her arm. During the encounter, the victim’s dog bit the suspect who then released her and fled on foot.

A police K-9 checked the area. The suspect was not located. The victim was not injured.

The investigation continues.

Suspect Lookout:
Hispanic male, unknown age, 5’3″, 145lbs with a thin build, short brown hair and a goatee. Last seen wearing a white stripped shirt and light colored long pants.

Concert, video shoot on Holiday Island canceled

WOODBRIDGE — You can blame the rainy weather for the cancellation of a concert and video shoot on Holiday Island

Island owner Mark Richard’s told Potomac Local the live concert a video shoot of the Stormin Norman Band will not go on as planned. The show was scheduled for 3 p.m. Saturday, July 29, and boaters were invited to drop anchor off of the tiny island on the Potomac River and watch.

The show was going to be a first for the island located near Woodbridge. 

Richards says he hopes to reschedule the show.

“We don’t know what it’s going to be or when it’s going to be,” Richards told Potomac Local

The band at the center of the free show posted this video to Facebook to voice their displeasure about the cancellation.

Heavy rain is expected to fall across the region tonight and into the weekend.

National Night Out activities planned in Prince William, Manassas

Prince William police tell us they will be out on Tuesday, August, 1 in the community meeting with residents. While the department has not told us about any large NNO celebrations, it did encourage neighbors to head outside and gather with each other to build a sense of community.

From Prince William police: 

The Prince William County Police Department will observe the 34th National Night Out celebration this year by encouraging County residents to lock their doors, turn on outdoor lights and spend the evening of Tuesday, August 1, outside with their neighbors as a symbol that they care about their neighborhoods. National Night Out – coordinated by the Crime Prevention Unit of the Police Department in partnership with the Prince William Crime Prevention Council – creates healthy neighborhoods block by block, to help neighbors know one another, to celebrate community, and to take steps to make neighborhoods safer for all residents. Additionally, National Night Out helps build positive relationships between the community and the Police Department.

Neighborhood Watch programs, and National Night Out, help to create a neighborhood network to prevent crime and enhance the quality of life in the County. Watches throughout the County will host motorcade stops and invite police officers and other law enforcement personnel for refreshments. For more information, call the Crime Prevention Unit at 703-792-7270.

From Manassas police: 

Updated: Arrest made in stabbing, victim expected to survive

WOODBRIDGE — Fire and rescue crews were called to a fire in the basement of a house at 12100 block of Randall Drive in Woodbridge for a report of a house fire.

Crews reported smoke coming from on Randall Drive near the intersection of East Longview Drive, as they arrived on scene about 4:40 p.m.

Two children who were reported missing before rescue crews arrived were found with an adult female, according to initial reports.

A dog was found in the basement of the home.

Fire crews on the scene called for a second alarm.

More as we have it.

5 p.m. 

The fire is out.

At least three people suffered smoke inhalation and will be treated at a local hospital.

Second-alarm fire units called to the scene given the all-clear. 

5:23 p.m.

From Prince William police:

On July 27 at 4:24PM, officers responded to a residence located in the 1300 block of East Longview Dr in Woodbridge to investigate a reported stabbing. Officers arrived on scene and located the residence on fire and an adult woman suffering from stab wounds. The victim was transported to an area hospital with life-threatening injuries. Two children were also involved but were uninjured. The Department of Fire and Rescue responded to handle the fire. Three officers who entered the home to check on potentially more victims are being transported and treated for smoke inhalation. The suspect is in custody. More information will be released when available.

6:30 p.m. 

A total of 10 adults, two children, and two pets were displaced from the home when a fire broke out.

The American Red Cross was called to assist the family. 

Police tell us a dog found inside the home after the fire is OK.

Police closed a portion of Long View Drive in front of the house where the victim was stabbed. The closure snarled traffic on multiple neighborhood side streets to include Bayside Avenue and Mount Pleasant Road.

9 p.m. 

From Prince William police: 

Stabbing | House Fire *ARREST – Detectives have charged Noel Antonio QUINTEROS-RAMIREZ, age 30, with 1 count of malicious wounding. Additional charges are pending. Two of the officers remain hospitalized, the third has been released. The victim, an adult woman – no further information at this time, is expected to survive her injuries. The cause of the fire and details surrounding the assault are still under investigation. More information will be released when available as the investigation continues.

Updated 4:30 p.m. July 28, 2017

This just in from the Prince William County Fire Marshal’s Office, more charges for the suspect in the stabbing incident. From a press release: Charged with § 18.2-77. Burning or destroying dwelling house, etc. (Felony)

From a press release: Charged with § 18.2-77. Burning or destroying dwelling house, etc. (Felony)

Charged with § 18.2-77. Burning or destroying dwelling house, etc. (Felony)

‘Brew Republic’ a nation devoid of craft beer snobs

Prince William Beer Trail

Editors note: This is the fourth in a series of posts showcasing breweries in Prince William County, Virginia.

Inspired by familial ties in the industry and an obsession for beer, the Heisey family, and the Frederick family came together in a joint venture to create Brew Republic Beirwerks, a new brewery in Potomac Town Center.

Brew Republic’s roots are embedded in beer culture. The Heiseys had been home-brewing for many years, becoming natural experts on commercial brewing. The Frederick’s pursued a venture to revive an old Yuengling affiliated brewery.

The venture fizzled, but in junction with The Heiseys, the two families joined forces to create an establishment in an unlikely venue. Brew Republic’s edge over its competitors is its unique environment, courtesy of its location.

“We have created a hybrid between full-service brewpubs and industrial package breweries by bringing the production to an upscale retail town center,” said Frederick. “Ordinarily, breweries are located in industrial parks or agricultural areas, far away from the beaten path, or they exist as part of a large restaurant with a full menu and mixed drinks.” (more…)

500 officers will have body cameras by Thanksgiving

WOORBDRIDGE — Taxpayers will begin to see their $2.7 million investment into body-worn police cameras this fall.

Prince William County Police Chief Barry Barnard said up to 500 cameras will be given to patrol officers between Labor Day and Thanksgiving.

Officers who patrol the streets, work traffic enforcement, in the K9 division, and school resource officers will all be trained to use the body-worn camera system.

“The officers are required to turn on the camera whenever they are going to have what would be described as an enforcement encounter which could lead to reasonable suspicion or probable cause that there is criminal activity occurring or that an arrest may likely result,” said Barnard.

The department’s policy requires officers to activate their camera during traffic stops, car, and foot chases while making arrests, when taking suspects to and from jail, when an officer makes a show of force, or whenever else the officer deems a body-worn camera should be activated. (more…)

‘During the encounter, the accused allegedly put the victim in a chokehold’

From Prince William County police:

Strangulation | Domestic Related – On July 25 at 10:33 p.m., officers responded to a residence located in the 3200 block of Berlin Court in Woodbridge to investigate a domestic assault. The victim, a 19-year old woman, reported to police that she and the accused, a family member, were involved in a verbal altercation, which escalated physically.

During the encounter, the accused allegedly put the victim in a chokehold. Once released, the victim fell to the ground. The parties eventually separated and the accused left the home. Following the investigation, officers obtained a warrant for the arrest of the accused, identified as Tony Edward BEST. The warrant on accused was served on July 26. (more…)

Man suspected of domestic related abduction arrested

Michael Kelly Puckett, previously sought for abduction and domestic assault and battery has been located and arrested by police, thanks to an anonymous tip. 

From Prince William County police:

Abduction | Domestic Related *ARREST – On July 25, officers located the accused, Michael Kelly PUCKETT, who was wanted in connection to a domestic altercation which occurred at a residence located in the 10400 block of Lonesome Road in Nokesville on July 23. Police received an anonymous tip, which ultimately led officers to his location where he was arrested without incident.

Arrested on July 25:
Michael Kelly PUCKETT, 48, of the 10400 block of Lonesome Rd in Nokesville
Charged with abduction, domestic assault & battery, and destruction of property
Court Date: Pending | Bond: Held WITHOUT Bond

Abduction | Domestic Related [Previously Released] – On July 23 at 3:30 a.m., officers responded to investigate a domestic call which occurred earlier that morning at a residence located in the 10400 block of Lonesome Rd in Nokesville. The investigation revealed that the victim, a 48-year-old woman of Nokesville, was involved in a verbal altercation with the accused, a family member, which escalated.  (more…)

Police charge man identifying himself as Cowboy’s player Lucky Whitehead

Lucky Whitehead of the Dallas Cowboys was recently charged with petit larceny and wanted for failure to appear in court, or so Prince William County Police thought. According to police, an individual arrested for those crimes, not possessing identification verbally identified himself as Rodney Darnell Whitehead, Jr. to include the date of birth and social security number. 

From Prince William County police:

Upon reviewing the June 22, 2017 arrest of an individual named “Rodney Darnell Whitehead, Jr.”, the police department is confident that the man charged with petit larceny, and who is subsequently being sought on an active warrant for failure to appear in court, is not Lucky Whitehead of the Dallas Cowboys.

The man charged on the morning of June 22 was not in possession of identification at the time of the encounter; however, did verbally provide identifying information to officers, which included a name, date of birth, and social security number matching that of Rodney Darnell Whitehead, Jr. Officers then checked this information through the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) database. The DMV photo on file was then used to compare to the man who was in custody. (more…)

Surovell: Voluntary background check system is a failure

In 2016, the General Assembly enacted a legislation requiring the Virginia State Police to staff gun shows and be available to conduct voluntary background checks upon request by private, non-federally licensed gun sellers as part of a broader compromise on concealed weapon permits. The law has been a total failure.

The legislation required the state to spend $300,000 to hire three new Virginia State Police employees to be present at all gun shows. What have we got for our $300,000?

In January, The Daily Press reported that as of January 1, 2017, one person was denied a purchase at 41 gun shows after thirty-nine checks. (more…)

Call if you can, but Text to 911 is now available in Prince William

From Prince William County:

Calling is still the best way to contact 911 in an emergency, but in certain situations, a text might be better. The Prince William County Office of Public Safety Communications can now accept text-to-911 emergency messages from AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless customers who find themselves needing assistance in Prince William County and the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park. The service should only be used when someone has a physical disability or special need where calling is not possible or when speaking out loud would put the caller in danger.

Certain communities will find text-to-911 particularly helpful, said Prince William Public Safety Communications Director Captain Alfred Miller. People who are deaf or hard of hearing, those with speech disabilities or who are unable to speak, and community service or suicide hotlines will find the service useful.

The texts can be up to 140 characters and should include the location and type of emergency. They should be short, with simple words, and without abbreviations or slang. People should be prepared to answer questions and follow directions provided by the 911 call taker. They should not text and drive. (more…)

Hope for ‘Suicide Hill’ coming with traffic improvements

WOODBRIDGE — It’s a cramped, crowded, and congested intersection in Woodbridge referred to as “Suicide Hill.”

And it was a topic of discussion at a “Conversation with the Chief,” a candid conversation with Prince William County Police Chief Barry Barnard on July 17.

The hill is where East Longview Drive intersects with busy Route 1. There’s also an entrance to Marumsco Plaza, and this all can make for troublesome traffic conditions.

Drivers that turn onto Suicide Hill at East Longview Drive, or continue straight from West Longview Drive onto East Longview, mix in with cars entering and exiting the Marumsco shopping plaza.

Drivers exiting the shopping plaza can also create chaotic traffic conditions as many turn out of the shopping plaza, head down the hill, and then quickly dart across traffic to turn left to head south on Route 1. (more…)

Sell for FREE, shop at the Chick-fil-A Bristow Community Appreciation Yard Sale

Chick-fil-A Bristow will host its first-annual Community Appreciation Yard Sale on Saturday, August 5.

The community-staple restaurant will offer spaces for area residents to sell their wares at no charge — that’s right, FREE!

Each participant will be given a parking space where they can set up to sell their wares. Participants must bring their own table, up to a 10×10-sized tent, as well as bring items to sell, and remove any leftover items.

The yard sale is open to residents, crafters, and the community. There will also be a bounce house set up for children during the community yard sale.

Electricity to the vendor area and spaces will not be provided.

The event takes place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Participants should head over to Chick-fil-A Bristow’s website to register (click on Aug. 5) and RSVP to grab your FREE space.

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