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Wilson, Jr.

A teacher who works at Rippon Middle School and lives at a nearby elementary school faces a weapons charge.

The suspect lives in an apartment at Covington Harper Elementary School near Dumfries, about six miles from Rippon Middle School, and had guns and ammunition inside the apartment, sources said.

Administrators at Covington Harper Elementary School were tipped to the weapons by a resident near the school. A postal employee dropped a package addressed to the school at the neighbor’s house. The neighbor opened the package to find ammunition and took the package to the school.

Police said they searched the suspect’s at-school apartment and found guns and accessories on Tuesday, August 9. Police confiscated the weapons, which the suspect never brandished on school property.

Robert Wilson Jr., 37, is charged with possessing a firearm on school grounds, police said.

Wilson, Jr. is on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

Most public schools in Prince William County School have someone living inside. Security residents are typically school teachers who work for the county school division, said spokeswoman Diana Gulotta.

The residents monitor the school grounds for alarms and respond to after-hours emergencies.

“For example, if there is a power issue or water leak, the school security resident would proactively alert the Division. Additionally, the school security resident performs routine security checks of the building,” said Gulotta.

Prince William County law enforcement officers may also be school security residents.

Gulotta said residents receive a background check and other specialized training.


Reporter Julie Carey of WRC-TV interviews Stafford County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Thomas Taylor. [Photo: Uriah Kiser]
The Stafford County Public Schools Superintendent said a convocation ceremony on Friday, August 5, should have been an event to unify and excite teachers and school employees for the new year.

"We were not successful," said Dr. Thomas Taylor on Tuesday, August 9, during a School Board meeting on Tuesday, August 9, on the eve of the first day of the new school year.

Over 80 people fell ill due to excessive heat during the Virginia Credit Union Stadium event in Fredericksburg. Emergency crews took at least eight people to a hospital with heat exhaustion.

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Beginning on August 25, Manassas National Battlefield Park will observe the 160th anniversary of the Battle of Second Manassas. For five days, through August 30, events will remember the cost of battle and include the destructive impact on area families and African Americans.

A few highlighted events include:

• Programming on August 27 at Brawner Farm Interpretive center featuring the living history and cannon demonstrations.
• Presentations by National Medal of Honor Museum Chief Historian Dr. Edward Lengel and West Point Curator of Arms and Armor Les Jensen.
• Special exhibit in the Henry House by the former United States Army Chief Curator Lt. Col. David Cole (ret.).
• Concerts by the Fort McHenry Guard Fifes and Drums as well as the 8th Green Machine Regiment Brass Band from George Mason University.

Other highlights include the return of the sword of Colonel Gouverneur Warren to the battlefield for the first time in 160 years. The sword is on loan from West Point Army Museum Collection, United States Military Academy, and is on temporary display in the Henry Hill Visitor Center.

The original wartime home of Lucinda Dogan, restored this past July by the National Park Service, will be open to the public for the first time in over a year on August 27 and 28.

For a complete schedule of events for the anniversary, visit the park website at The visitor center is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., with extended hours on August 27, and is located at 6511 Sudley Road, Manassas, Virginia, 20109.


It’s a bit unusual to have one-quarter of your county supervisors facing recall petitions from their constituents.  It’s also unusual that Prince William County has no Ombudsman or Ethics Office.  So, what other recourse do our citizens have?

In the Navy, when a commanding officer is relieved for cause, it is usually not for specific misdeeds but for leadership failures that adversely affected subordinates or enabled their substandard performance.  You’ll hear terms like “loss of trust and confidence in the ability to command” or “cultivating a poor command climate.”  There is a recognition that bad leadership is unacceptably corrosive to an organization.

Thus, Chair at Large Ann Wheeler’s conflicted financial trading is not only problematic by itself, but as an indication of the shoddy values, she demonstrates to the those she presides over.

Examples of behavior that may not constitute legal violations but are potentially more damaging than those that do, include:

• Setting low ethical standards that invite unscrupulous individuals to exploit them for personal gain
• Using personal wealth or power for electoral advantage or leverage over more vulnerable colleagues
• Using a powerful position to pressure apolitical staff into relaxing professional standards to advance a personally or politically advantageous agenda
• Suppressing legitimate inquiries into improper conduct and performance

The Coalition to Protect Prince William County will be collecting recall petition signatures at the upcoming County fair.  See the livestock and then seek us out to help send Supervisors Pete Candland and Ann Wheeler out to pasture.

Bill Wright


Trey Lipscomb made a big splash in his FredNat debut, smacking a three-run home run off the left field foul pole, Will Frizzell went deep twice, but it was Augusta with a 13-11 road win in a wild, back-and-forth series opener at Virginia Credit Union Stadium.

The GreenJackets wasted no time getting to the sticks as Stephen Paolini hit a leadoff homer off Bryan Caceres, the first of four runs in the 1st inning for Augusta. Justin Janas and E.J. Exposito also drove in runs in the frame for Augusta, and both were making their GreenJacket debuts after being drafted in 2022.

The FredNats answered back with five runs in the bottom of the 1st. James Wood continued his hot start with the FredNats with an RBI double, and he then drove in another run with an RBI single in the 2nd inning. Lipscomb, the Washington Nationals’ third round draft pick out of Tennessee, then blasted his first professional home run off the left field foul pole on his second swing as a FredNat, and Fredericksburg took a 5-4 lead after one.

Paolini hit his second homer of the game in the 2nd, and then Wood’s RBI single made it a 6-5 game after two.

The game remained 6-5 until the 5th, when Frizzell extended the lead with his third homer as a FredNat. Lipscomb then made it 8-5 with his fourth RBI of the night.

A two-run homer for Exposito of Augusta made it 8-7 in the 6th, and the GreenJackets took the lead in the 7th on RBIs from David McCabe and Janas, both in their GreenJacket debuts.

T.J. White tied the game with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 7th, but another RBI from McCabe and a three-run homer from Adam Zebrowski in the 8th put the game out of reach. Frizzell did hit his second blast of the game in the 9th, but it was too little, too late for the FredNats.

The team will look to bounce back tonight at 7:05 p.m. for Bark at the Park night behind Jose Atencio, who will be making his third start for Fredericksburg.


Trees add beauty to the landscaping of any home.

However, poorly maintained trees or trees damaged by storms can die before their time, create personal safety hazards for your family, and even cause costly property damage to your home.

A tree specialist should be called to analyze your trees to determine whether they should be removed or not.

A tree should be looked over with a trained critical eye, and know which risk factors should be considered. Each year thousands of trees in the U.S. are damaged by storms, wind, lightning, and ice, causing millions of dollars in property damage.

When a homeowner notices a tree’s health is in decline, it should be tended to immediately. One should consider tree removal if there are dead limbs, decayed trunks, weak ground conditions, infestations of bugs, or large, uneven weight distribution.

If it’s time to remove a tree from your property, the best methods are those used by a trained arborist.

Dan Ross adds, “While removing a tree might seem like a very simple task, it is important you hire the right professionals to do the job safely and properly so not to cause potential damage to any structures or personal injury.”

Call Ross Tree Service today for a FREE evaluation by a certified arborist. We are fully licensed and insured and have been a family-owned and operated business since 1982. Call 703-583-TREE (8733).


Students at Rodney Thompson Middle School in Stafford County [Photo: Stafford County Public Schools]
Students at public schools across our region today, including Stafford County and Manassas City, are headed back to class.

Manassas will welcome back 7,600 students at five elementary schools, two intermediate schools, one middle school, and one high school.

It’s the first time in two years that students will return to schools without facemask or social distancing requirements due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, in Stafford County, teachers are welcoming back students from all grade levels for the division’s first official day of school. Yesterday, kindergarten, sixth, and ninth-grade students were welcomed to their respective schools to learn the layout, meet up with friends, and attend a pep rally during the division’s first “transition day.”

It’s the first time Schools Superintendent Dr. Thomas Taylor welcomed the division’s more than 31,000 children to class on the first day of school since he took the job in December 2021. Taylor also enrolled his two children in the school division after moving to the area from Chesterfield County.

During a Stafford County School Board meeting on Tuesday, August 9, members remarked that it had been years since a sitting superintendent had children enrolled in the system.

Schools in Spotsylvania County also reopened today, welcoming back about 24,000 students, while Fredericksburg City Public Schools reopened to more than 3,500 students.

School divisions across the region are facing shortages of teachers and bus drivers.

Prince William County Public Schools, the state’s second-largest division, hired 900 new teachers for the new school year. The division is short 300 teachers, states Superintendent Dr. LaTanya McDade.

Prince William County Public Schools reopen on August 22, welcoming back more than 90,000 students.



[Updated 10:50 a.m.] A fire broke out at home on Roundtree Drive in Dale City shortly before 8 a.m.

No one was injured.

Firefighters found smoke and fire showing from a single-family house at the intersection of Rector Drive.

The occupants of the home escaped unharmed before fire crews arrived. The bulk of the fire was in the basement, said Prince William County Fire and Rescue Assistant Chief Matt Smolksy.

The home sustained extensive damage, and the county’s Building Official declared the structure unsafe to occupy, said Smolksy.

The American Red Cross is on the scene to assist the seven adults and 1 child displaced by the fire. The Fire Marshal’s Office is still on the scene, determining the cause of the blaze.

The Fire Marshal’s Office strongly recommends the installation, maintenance, and regular testing of smoke detectors in all homes. A working smoke detector provides adequate warning allowing you to safely escape the dangers of a fire, said Smolksy.

Have photos? Please send by email.


Rep. Abigail Spanberger visits Todos Supermarket in Woodbridge during a campaign stop on August 8, 2022. [Photo: Rick Horner]
Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger (D-Va. 7) says she's focused on preventing federal officials from participating in insider trading.

However, those same safeguards wouldn't apply to locally-elected officials.

Since 2020, Spanberger has sought to ban politicians from trading single stocks. Spanberger introduced the Transparent Representation Upholding Service and Trust in Congress Act. She has also gone so far as to recommend that family members of sitting members of Congress should not be allowed to buy or sell individual stocks due to the privileged information that may find its way into their hands.

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