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A vehicle was found burned to the frame yesterday after a resident reported it stolen, according to reports from the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office. The incident is still under investigation.

Two other counts of larceny — one at the 7-Eleven off Commerce Parkway and one at the Target on South Gateway drive — were reported by the Sheriff’s office.

From the Sheriff’s office:

Old Forge Drive, 9/10, 7:21 a.m. Resident reported her vehicle stolen overnight from the townhome community. Approximately an hour later, the Spotsylvania Sheriff’s Office located the vehicle in their jurisdiction. The vehicle was unoccupied and burned to the frame. The incident is under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to contact Deputy J.W. Kyle at 540-658- 4400.

7-Eleven, 1 Commerce Parkway, 9/10, 11:43 a.m. The air pump at the convenience store was damaged between Monday and Thursday this week and the change inside stolen. There have been several similar cases in Stafford County. The incident is under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to contact Sergeant N. Zotos at 540-658-4400.

Target, 25 South Gateway Drive, 9/10, 3:15 p.m. Loss prevention reported a suspect took two Playstation video games and two Playstation controllers and left the store without paying. Deputy A.W. Sypolt was able to obtain video evidence from the store. The incident remains under investigation.

 

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The Prince William Police Department is looking for a man who brandished a firearm in Manassas on Sept. 7.

From police:

Brandishing of a Firearm – On September 7 at 7:00PM, officers responded to investigate a brandishing that was reported to have occurred in the 7700 block of Sudley Rd. in Manassas (20109) earlier that evening. The victim, a 35-year-old woman, reported to police that she and her family were in the parking lot of the above area when they were approached by the driver in a black Mercedes.

During the encounter, a verbal altercation ensued between the unknown male driver and the victim. At one point, the driver retrieved a firearm from the rear of the vehicle and brandished it. The victim left the area before going to the police station to report the incident. The investigation continues.

Suspect Description:

A Hispanic male between 35-40 years of age
Last seen wearing a black shirt, blue jeans, and brown shoes

The Prince William County Police Department tipline can be reached at 703-792-7000 or www.pwcgov.org/policetip.

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The Prince William Conservation Alliance is giving away Eastern Redbud trees for free on Sept. 25 to the first 200 people that sign up.

More from the Prince William Conservation Alliance:

Several hundred Eastern Redbuds (Cercis canadensis) are looking for new homes to add a little beauty and so much more to your yard.

Would you like two free seedlings for your yard? We’re hosting a drive-thru event to pick up 2 Redbud seedlings per ticket holder. Sign up and get your ticket HERE.

Seedlings are limited to the first 200 people that sign up.

We’ll be set up outside at Tacketts Mill rain or shine from 4:00 – 7:00 pm on Friday, September 25th. Details regarding the pick-up will be included in a follow-up email to ticket holders.

The Eastern Redbud is an important native understory tree that’s pretty to look at and great for wildlife. Small in stature – typically reaching 30 ft – and bright in color, this tree signals the coming of the seasons. Dense pale pink to almost magenta flowers emerge from March to April as early spring nectar sources for our hummingbirds and other pollinators. Heart-shaped deep green leaves unfold for the summer and as the leaves turn in autumn, bean-like seedpods mature in October providing food for birds. These trees provide year-round interest for you and good habitat for our animal friends.

This is a drive-thru pickup event. As you drive up, please remain in your vehicle, and we will hand you your Redbud seedlings.

NOTE: We will be taking safety precautions including wearing masks and maintaining social distancing.

Program Sponsors: Prince William Conservation Alliance, Supervisor Kenny Boddye, Tackett’s Mill, and Dominion.

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Prince William fire and rescue personnel pulled a body from Quantico Creek after a fisherman reported the body to the police, a Prince William Police report says.

More from police:

Death Investigation – On September 7 at 10:24AM, officers responded to the area of the Quantico Creek located near the intersection of Old Triangle Rd. and Milroy Dr. in Dumfries (22026) for the report of an unconscious man. The caller reported to police that they were fishing in the area when they observed a body in the creek.

Fire and rescue personnel removed the body and pronounced the man deceased. The man was reported missing by family members to Prince William County police on September 6 after he was not heard from in a few days. The man was not considered endangered at the time of the report. The body was transported to the Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy and determination of cause of death. At the time, there is no threat to the community concerning the death. More information will be released when available. The investigation continues.

The deceased has been identified as Charles Leon BRYANT III, 35, of Dumfries

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The Stafford County Sheriff’s Office chased a man who jumped off a third-floor balcony to avoid arrest. He was later found hiding in a bush, the Sheriff’s Office reports.

From the Stafford Sheriff’s Office on Sept. 9:

The Stafford County Sheriff’s Office arrested Augustus Lee last night on several outstanding warrants, but not before he attempted to evade arrest by jumping from a third-floor balcony.

On September 8th at approximately 8:50 p.m. the Emergency Communications Center received a 911 call asking for help and then disconnecting. Communications Officers attempted to reestablish contact with the caller as deputies were dispatched to the address on Stonegate Place. Sergeant J.P. Aubry was the first on the scene and learned there was a prior warrant service at the apartment on September 6th, but deputies had been unable to locate the suspect.

Sgt. Aubry began speaking with a female that answered the door and noticed a male on the couch trying to explain that he was allowed to be in the apartment. Deputy A.T. Leckemby arrived and recognized the male as the person that was currently wanted out of Henrico. He had the male step out of the apartment onto the third-floor breezeway.

The suspect provided identification and deputies confirmed he was Augustus Lee, 52, of Stafford. When deputies explained he had active warrants from Henrico, Lee moved to the edge of the breezeway and climbed onto the railing. Deputies attempted to have Lee get down, but he informed the deputies he was going to jump. Lee then jumped from the ledge and was able to grab the second-floor railing as he fell toward the ground. He briefly held on to the second-floor railing before plummeting the remaining distance to the ground below.

Deputies ran down the stairs, but Lee had managed to flee from the immediate area. Deputy J.H. Truslow and K-9 Rip responded and began a track. Lee was found attempting to hide in a nearby bush.

Lee was checked by rescue and taken to the Rappahannock Regional Jail. He was served with warrants from Henrico for breaking and entering, felony conspiracy and petit larceny third or subsequent offense. In addition, he was charged with obstruction for his actions during the arrest. Lee received a $4,000 secure bond on the Stafford charge and was held without bond on the three Henrico felonies.

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Local arts organizations will soon receive $193,000 in grants from the Prince William Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism awards.

From Prince William County:

The Prince William County Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, or DPRT, coordinates a competitive grant program to provide support to non-profit arts organizations in Prince William County and the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park.

The Prince William Board of County Supervisors awarded $193,000 for grants for 16 local arts organizations that serve the community.

The grants are distributed by a six-member Art Grants Panel appointed by the Parks and Recreation Commission. The panel, with a range of experience in financial management, arts education, grant oversight, and non-profit management, evaluates and scores the applications for completeness and compliance with the grant requirements.

The DRPT awarded grants to all 16 applicants, which include:

  • Asaph Dance Ensemble: $20,777
  • Center for the Arts: $43,563
  • Creative and Performing Arts Center (CAPAC): $7,760
  • Lake Ridge Chorale: $3,856
  • Manassas Ballet Theatre: $43,562
  • Manassas Chorale: $16,637
  • Manassas Symphony Orchestra: $8,582
  • National Ballet: $8,204
  • New Dominion Choraliers: $3,565
  • Old Bridge Chamber Orchestra: $4,290
  • Prince William Little Theatre: $12,734
  • Shenandoah Sound: $2,450
  • Woodbridge Community Choir: $1,781
  • Woodbridge Dance Company: $4,733
  • Woodbridge Flute Choir: $733
  • Youth Orchestra of Prince William: $9,773
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Stafford County’s annual 9/11 Ceremony will be taking place at 9 a.m. Friday.

The county tells us:

The ceremony will be available virtually on Facebook live, but in-person attendance will be allowed as well.

“We thought it was important to go ahead with the ceremony despite the pandemic because we knew we could hold the event safely,” said Stafford Fire and Rescue Chief Joseph Cardello. “This is our way of honoring them so that their families and our community know that we will not forget them.”

The in-person ceremony will be held at the entrance to the George L. Gordon Jr. Government Center. Attendees are asked to wear masks and social distance, according to a Stafford County Press release.

From a Stafford County press release:

Order of Events

Welcome – Chairman Meg Bohmke

Benediction – Pastor Paul Toelke of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Stafford

Presentation of the Colors, and Singing of the National Anthem

Swag Laying Ceremony

Remarks – Sheriff David Decatur

Remarks – Chief Joseph Cardello

Bell Ringing Ceremony – Chief Joseph Cardello

Taps

Dismissal – Chairman Bohmke

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Leadership Prince William Signature Program will announce the winner of the Kathy Ellington Alumni Leadership Award on Sept. 24.

The award is given to past graduates of Leadership Prince William who “used their vision, leadership, skills and talents to accomplish something notable,” said executive director Andrea Money.

The first 25 people who RSVP will be able to attend the ceremony in-person from 7:30 to 9:00 a.m. at Beacon Hall on the George Mason University campus. To RSVP, email Money at [email protected].

The ceremony will also be available virtually via Zoom or live-streaming on Facebook.

Normally the award is given at the Evening of Excellence Gala and Awards Dinner in June. It’s being held now at the start of a new class year since the coronavirus prevented this event from taking place as usual, Money said.

The two nominees are class of ’18 Aaron Tolson and class of ’16 Amanda Wagner.

From Leadership Prince William: Aaron Tolson

“How many times have you seen a great idea on social media and then kept scrolling? Luckily for the people of Greater Prince William, Aaron Tolson didn’t do that. He had a passion to help bridge the gap between distribution-in supply and access-by rescuing food that’s about to go to waste and giving it to those in need. After graduating from the LPW Signature Program in 2018, he discovered a program in Pittsburgh that was doing exactly what he aspired to do here. So he traveled to see how their program worked, found local partners and turned that passion in to the Prince William Food Rescue.

He spent months working with Patrick King atIMAGINE on developing the technology that would make rescues possible. Together they developed an app where every day citizens can learn about opportunities to help rescue and deliver food as they go about their day. Then they joined up with ACTS to give the program the strength of a prominent local not-for-profit already working to help get food to people in need. To-date, Prince William Food Rescue volunteers have completed over 6,000 food rescues, equaling over 3,000,000 pounds of food helping feed locals rather than rotting in the landfill.

Last school year Aaron worked with our three local school divisions to set up food-sharing tables in schools so students can share items they don’t want or need. During the pandemic, the Food Rescue, under Aaron’s leadership, has been able to get food to those who can not leave their homes to get to food pantries, shared food with other local not-for-profit organizations and developed additional strategies and partnerships to store and transport food. As the need in the community has increased, so too, has the capacity of the Prince William Food Rescue.”

From Leadership Prince William: Amander Wagner

“Amanda Wagner has put the collaborative leadership style she learned as part of her Signature Program experience in to action. Since graduating in 2016, she has become a school principal, built a brand new school program at Baldwin Intermediate from the ground up, started a family, finished her dissertation, and received her PhD from George Mason University!

Dr. Wagner consistently looks for new ways to build relationships with all manner of stakeholders in the community – from partnering with businesses to going door to door with her staff delivering teacher assignments and schedules for the new year and getting to know the families she serves. She is known as a tireless advocate for those that she works with and for.

Opening Baldwin Intermediate presented a special challenge in its unique gift – a separate, small school in a shared building with a mix of staff from other buildings. Her first year staff was a mix of teachers that she had picked herself – people she had worked with, going back to the very beginnings of her career in the classroom at Weems Elementary to those from other schools within the Manassas City Public Schools system. Dr. Wagner met the challenge of leading a diverse group of students and teachers by building culture in to her school community at every level.

She often draws on what she learned in LPW, including Emergenetics, to help staff and students to grow their collaboration and communication skills. In turn, the building’s educators have come to foster those same skills in the students. In the three years since Baldwin Intermediate opened its doors, Dr. Wagner has leveraged her community connections from heading up the MCPS Education Foundation, as well as her time with Leadership Prince William, to grow a school with community connections and opportunities for students and staff to grow in collaboration with their community. Amanda keeps the focus on her people – students and staff and has been recognized within the division for the unique school she developed and leads. Under her leadership, every person she works with has found renewed passion for their work.”

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Citizens have not been allowed to put comments into the record at a Stafford School Board meeting since April 14.

Now, it appears they will once again be able to do so. 

For three months, the school board has cited “the COVID-19 pandemic and the directives of federal and state governmental authorities” for why no citizen comment time was put in place. 

Residents were encouraged to email school board members, but these emails were never read into the public record at school board meetings. 

Potomac Local News pushed this issue with the Stafford School Board. 

In a July 13 email, PLN asked Stafford school officials when and if the school division planned to resume in-person public comments during meetings.

“Yes. The date will be announced in the near future,” replied public information officer Sandra Osborn-Peters on July 16. 

The next day, July 17, the agenda for the July 21 meeting was posted to the county schools’ website highlighting the now allotted citizen comment period. 

The school board’s July 21 meeting will be held at the County Government Center, located at 1300 Courthouse Road. Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the school board met at 31 Stafford Avenue in Stafford.

The majority of the School Board has been holding in-person meetings at North Stafford High School since May 26. Those meetings were broadcast to the community on local cable TV, and on the web.

“This site [North Stafford] best supports the technology and social distance requirements necessary to host the school board meetings,” said Osborn-Peters. 

With the changes, in-person commenters will have two minutes, as opposed the usual three minutes they used to have, and will be asked to only comment on items that are on the meeting agenda. 

In addition to allowing in-person citizen comments, the board has now announced that it will be allowing emailed submissions to be read into the record. Prior to PLN’s questions, this wasn’t happening.

Comments can be submitted to [email protected] by 4:30 p.m. on July 20 to be read at the meeting. They must include the name and voting district of the individual. 

The new citizen comment policy comes as state law now mandates a quarterly public comment period is now required as of July 1, 2020.

The decision to resume citizen comments comes after school leaders last week voted on a plan to reopen schools in a post-pandemic setting, choosing a hybrid of virtual and in-classroom learning. When it comes to soliciting feedback on the return-to-school plans, a school spokeswoman tells PLN it used multiple methods of online communication to interact with concerned residents. 

“Electronic survey[s] with accompanying paper surveys for families without internet access [were sent]. The superintendent and School Board Chair have hosted two Town Hall meetings, one for staff and one for the community to address concerns and to provide updates and information…we have received thousands of messages from the public and staff in response to our surveys, in addition to regular email and phone conversations with these same stakeholder groups,” said Osborn-Peters.

Despite making its decision for the hybrid model last week, the Stafford School Board is set to once again hear additional plans on reopening the schools in the fall. Details are few, however, the agenda states “[Stafford County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Scott Kizner] will provide an update on COVID-19 and its impact on Stafford County Public Schools, Including the return to school plan amendments and recommendations.”

Having a citizen comment period amidst a pandemic hasn’t been a new thing for most surrounding localities, and it hasn’t been new even within Stafford County. The Stafford Board of Supervisors never stopped allowing citizen comments, even when meeting virtually. Submitted written comments were allowed to be read into the record starting at the first virtual Board of Supervisors meeting on April 7.  

In Prince William during the pandemic lockdown, the majority of the Board of County Supervisors met at its usual location at the county government center and allowed citizen comments to be read aloud into the record, and allowed residents to dial in via a video conference app to have their comments heard via video during the meeting.

While leaders suspended in-person public comments during the coronavirus lockdown, the Prince William Board of County Supervisors resumed in-person public comments on June 2.

For the Prince William School Board, citizens can register to speak either in person or remotely. The school board did temporarily waive citizen comment time from April 1 to May 20, when comments were resumed electronically.

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