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Photo: Jurassic Quest on Facebook

Jurassic Quest press release: Jurassic Quest® has been thrilling millions of guests for over 10 years, and Fredericksburg-area residents will soon get the chance to walk among the nation’s biggest herd of photorealistic dinosaurs when it visits the Fredericksburg Expo Center on May 10-12.

Friday, May 10: Noon – 8 p.m., Saturday, May 11: 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. and Sunday, May 12: 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.

This three-day event transports families through 165 million years of the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods to roam among true-to-life versions of the creatures that once ruled the Earth.

Jurassic Quest is filled with hands-on activities, education, and fun for kids of all ages:

  • Lifelike, scientifically accurate dinosaur herd (some move and roar!).
  • Live dinosaur shows all day.
  • Some of the largest rideable dinosaurs in North America.
  • Interactive science and art activities, including a giant fossil dig.
  • Real fossil exhibit featuring T-Rex teeth, a triceratops horn, and a life-size dino skull.
  • “Tricera-tots” soft play area for our littlest explorers.
  • Bounce houses and inflatable attractions.
  • Photo opportunities, face painting, and more.

Advance purchase online is recommended to ensure the desired date and availability at jurassicquest.com, or tickets are available on-site and include a 100% ticket guarantee that in the event of a show cancellation or postponement for any reason, ticket purchases will be automatically refunded for the full purchase amount.

General admission tickets include access to the dinosaur exhibits, arts and crafts activities, and dinosaur shows. Some rides and activities require activity tickets available on-site, or guests can upgrade to the Kids Unlimited Ticket (the best value for children ages 2-10). Entry is free for children under age 2. Guests can walk through the dinosaur experience at their own pace, and strollers are permitted. Socks are required for inflatable attractions. Some venues may have wheelchairs for use, but please get in touch with the venue in advance to make arrangements.

Tickets are available online (Standard, Senior, and Kids pricing available). They are located at Fredericksburg Expo Conference Center (2371 Carl D. Silver Parkway, Fredericksburg).

Learn more about what to expect at the event on their website.

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Runners in the 2023 Stafford Hospital Race.

On Saturday, April 13, the Stafford Race Series (SRS) begins with the Stafford Hospital Spring Fever 5k and Kids ½ mile Fun Run. This race is the first of four races in SRS and one of 12 races in the Coldwell Banker Elite Grand Prix. 

SRS promotes community involvement and general wellness. Each of the four races benefits a different organization. April’s Spring Fever will help fund various programs and services at Stafford Hospital. 

This will be the 7th year of the series. Kristen Loescher has been involved since the beginning. In an interview, Loescher said the idea came from a meeting with her and several members of Stafford’s Tourism Department, including current director Lisa Logan. The group embraced the concept of a race series to encourage the community to stay active while also supporting local causes, she explained.

Loescher and her husband founded Arsenal Events in 2020. Arsenal handles race timing and other event logistics for groups planning a race. During the pandemic, race participation numbers dropped. Loescher said many events had caps and other social distancing rules or offered virtual options. As rules relaxed and numbers increased, she saw  “people want to be around other people, they want to be supporting causes, they want to stay active.”

Loescher said she enjoys working with the “amazing supporters over in Stafford Tourism and Economic Development.” For this race, they anticipate around 700 runners. Each race has completion prizes, and runners who finish all four will receive special series swag.

Brad Rippey, a member of Fredericksburg Area Running Club, has completed the series each year. In an email, he said he began running in college in 1985 and began racing in 1990. He began competing in the Fredericksburg Area Running Club’s Coldwell Banker Grand Prix series in 1997 and “it was a natural extension to add the SRS, especially since there is a slight overlap in races,” he wrote. Rippey is approaching his 1,000th race, and said he has finished in the Top Three each year from 2018 to 2023. Rippey noted one of the best parts of organized races like SRS is “seeing everyone joining together for a common cause: to socialize, compete, stay in shape, and raise money for worthy causes.”

Drea Johnson, Special Events and Development Coordinator at Mary Washington and Stafford Hospital Foundations, said the Stafford Hospital race has been part of the Grand Prix series since 2010, and joined SRS in 2019. In her email, Johnson noted the race has raised over $282,000, which supports the hospital’s training, equipment needs, and operational programs. She highlighted the community engagement in this race shown by local companies, schools, and the county government who create teams who participate. The Stafford public school and school district with the largest number of registered participants receive a special award after the 5k, she said.

The Spring Fever race is at Stafford Medical Pavilion, 125 Hospital Center Blvd. The children’s ½ mile Fun Run begins at 8:00 AM and the 5K Run/Walk begins at 8:30. Runners can register online until April 13.

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The newest addition to Prince William County Public Schools held its groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday April 11. The ‘Woodbridge Area’ Elementary school sits next to Fred Lynn’s Middle School at 1550 Prince William Parkway, Woodbridge.

The ‘Woodbridge Area’ Elementary school was built to help with the overflow of students found at other Prince William County Elementary Schools. The school will serve 631 and have 3 different stories.

They will officially open for students for the 2025-2026 school year.

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Van Metre 5K Run

Participate in the 32nd Annual Van Metre 5K Run, a race that goes further than 3.1 miles, and every stride you take supports Children’s National Hospital. The Van Metre 5K Run donates 100% of proceeds to Children’s National Hospital and

[Photo by Zbynek Burival on Unsplash]
Fredericksburg city press release: In the past 10 years, Solarize Virginia has helped more than 1,400 homeowners make the switch to solar power. This cost-effective program provides local homeowners with a streamlined process for harnessing the sun’s rays.

Solarize Virginia started as a grassroots initiative in 2014 when local nonprofit LEAP recognized a need for solar energy support in Virginia. Transitioning to solar energy helps homeowners and businesses save money and support climate goals. Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act last year, which increased the solar tax credit from 26% to 30%, providing even more incentive for participants.

By switching to solar energy now, Virginians can minimize their carbon footprint, reduce utility bills, and protect themselves from future rate increases. Solarize Virginia offers discounted rates for its program, so homeowners can feel confident that they are getting competitive rates.

Interested homeowners and businesses can sign up for this annual program and receive a free solar assessment until June 30th. LEAP also provides ongoing customer support and education throughout the process to make it as smooth as possible. Signing up is free and requires no commitment until you sign a contract with an installer.

Please visit solarizeva.org for more information. Informative webinars are also available and free to attend. To register for a webinar please visit solarizeva.org/events.

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Historic Manassas press release: Historic Manassas, Inc. proudly announces Liz Barahona as a board member. Liz is a licensed master esthetician, master esthetic teacher, makeup artist, reiki master teacher, and social media influencer with her show “Live with Liz” on all social media platforms.

Liz grew up in Fairfax, and is the Owner and Founder of YES BEAUTY SPA & WELLNESS, LLC with more than 20 Years of experience in the Skin Care and Health Industry.

Liz brings to the Board of Directors a wealth of experience, community involvement, and a commitment to diversity that aligns with HMI’s mission and vision. Ms. Barahona is both a successful entrepreneur and an active member of the Manassas community, with a particular dedication to supporting the Hispanic community.

She currently serves as Talent and Acquisition and Recruiting at SAIC/SCIENCE APPLICATIONS INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION and as a Spanish Translator & Interpreter for FEMA.

Previously, she served as a Family Liaison at Park View High School in Loudoun County and Manassas Park Elementary School, demonstrating her commitment to supporting families and students in the educational sector.

Additionally, Ms. Barahona has experience as an Implementation Project Manager level at Customs and Border Protection within the Department of Homeland Security.

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Department of Justice press release:  A federal judge convicted a Stafford man yesterday on a charge of conspiracy to engage in an animal fighting venture.

According to court records and evidence presented at trial, from at least May 2015 through August 2020, Mark Joseph Rodriguez, aka “Slow Poke,” 45, and other conspirators from Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Maryland used a messaging app private group, which they generally referred to as “The DMV Board” or “The Board,” as a place where they and their associates could discuss training fighting dogs, exchange videos about dogfighting, and arrange and coordinate dog fights, out of view of law enforcement.

Members of the DMV Board also used the app to compare methods of killing dogs that lost fights, as well as to circulate media reports about conspirators who had been caught by law enforcement and discuss methods to minimize the likelihood that they would be caught themselves.

At various times throughout the conspiracy, Rodriguez actively participated in arranging dog fights. Rodriguez officiated dog fights, with one co-conspirator characterizing him as “the most recognized ref on the east coast.” Rodriguez also regularly engaged in the DMV Board private group, providing results and narratives of fights, explanations of his refereeing decisions, and articles regarding the prosecutions of other defendants. Read More

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Virginia State Police press release): The Virginia State Police is investigating a fatal two-vehicle fatal crash that occurred Monday (April 8, 2024) at 3:30 a.m. on Interstate 95 northbound at the 151-mile marker.

A 1986 GMC pickup was driving northbound on I95 when the driver ran off the road left, struck the guardrail, overcorrected and then struck a 2023 Kia Telluride. The Telluride was also travelling north. The GMC pickup then rolled over twice.

A passenger in the pickup, Nora L. Butler, 48, was ejected and died at the scene. She was not wearing a seatbelt.

The driver of the pickup, Kenneth L. Combo, Jr., 59, of Leesburg, was seriously injured. Charges are pending against Combo for failing to maintain control of the vehicle.

The driver of the Telluride, Johnnie Robinson, 73, of Savannah, Georgia, was not injured. The crash remains under investigation.

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Friends of the Occoquan press release: On a windy Saturday morning, 292 FOTO volunteers worked to intercept debris from the shores and water of the Occoquan River/Reservoir before it entered the Chesapeake Bay and ocean.

The Occoquan River is the source of drinking water for one million people in Northern Virginia. Equipped with gloves and trash grabbers, the volunteers collectively pulled out 2.8 tons of trash. Items collected were 272 bags of trash and five large 50 gals. drums, three gasoline cans, 15 pieces of wood with nails, 4 Styrofoam pieces, a lawn chair, two coolers, two gasoline cans, two hubcaps, and one large metal piece.

The River Heroes included the Boy Scout Troops 501B&G, BS Troop 1396, BS Pack 1365, Girl Scout Troop 54063, Woodbridge High School Crew, Lake Ridge Middle School, Alan Starks with American Water and Nikki Bellezza with Fairfax Water employees, the Bull Run Rotary Club and Osbourn Park High School of Manassas, Trail Keepers Coalition, Sandy Run Scullers, Fame Church.

The sites cleaned up in Fairfax County were Bull Run Park/Marina, including the Occoquan Forest area, Fountainhead Park/Marina, the Occoquan Regional Park, Lake Ridge Marina, the Town of Occoquan,
Northshore, and Harbour Brethren in Prince William County.

FOTO expresses gratitude to all the dedicated volunteers who braved the cold and windy weather, including the Park Managers and staff from both Fairfax and Prince William County. We also extend our thanks to our sponsors, site captains, helpers, and our own FOTO Team.

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