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Another library in Prince William County will get a makeover.

Bull Run Regional Library will close for six months on Monday, December 13. The renovation will include a new digital media studio equipped for video production, an updated children’s section, a new study room, and new furniture.

To create a more open floor plan, the library will remove an information desk that currently sits in the middle of the building. A new service kiosk will be added, a library spokeswoman states.

The last day to use the Bull Run Library before it closes is Saturday, December 11. Afterward, any books placed on hold to be picked up at Bull Run will be moved to Central Library, five miles away, outside Manassas.

The renovation of the 25,000 square-foot library, located at 8051 Ashton Avenue near Manassas, will cost just under $1 million.

About this time last year, Central Library reopened after a six-month renovation. A new maker space lab was added. The county’s RELIC office focused on local history and genealogy, relocated to Central from Bull Run Libary.

Here’s the full press release from Prince William County Public Libraries about the upcoming building closure:

Bull Run Library is scheduled to close for renovations beginning Monday, December 13. The last day the library will be open to the public before closing is Saturday, December 11.

The renovations are expected to take at least six months. The projected costs for the renovation – covered by proffers – total $965,345.

“Bull Run Library continues to be a hub for local residents, bringing people together in their shared love of literacy, learning, and community,” comments Deborah L. Wright, director. “The upcoming renovations will help make the library even more inviting and welcoming, while also making it more functional for the public to enjoy.”

Bull Run Library, first opened in 1994, is one of two “regional” Prince William Public Libraries. Located at 8051 Ashton Avenue, the 25,000 square-foot building will be renovated to include:

New Makerspace: The state-of-the-art Makerspace will include new technology and craft tools and equipment. A Digital Media Lab will offer a digital graphic design studio suite, animation studio, green screen, video and audio editing equipment, and more. Laptops and iPads will be integrated to provide a holistic maker experience. There will also be a Cricut, sewing machine, 3D printer, and more for residents to learn and express their creativity. The space will be open daily and will have a dedicated Maker Library on-site to help answer questions and provide technical support. There will also be opportunities to learn in both group and individual settings.

Additional Study Room: A new quiet study room will be added for a total of two reservable meeting rooms available to the public.

Updated Children and Young Adult Areas; New Dedicated Tween Area: These inviting, versatile spaces will be perfect for homework, homeschooling, tutoring, and book clubs. The designated areas will also be used for STEAM and craft programs.

Open Floorplan: The Information Desk that is currently in the middle of the library will be removed, allowing for a more open floorplan and natural flow to allow patrons the opportunity to explore all the library will have to offer. Staff will still be available to assist patrons at a single Service Desk.

New Furniture: Café seating will be placed in the lobby, giving patrons more options to comfortably enjoy reading, learning, and socializing.
While the library is closed, the book drop will remain open. Any books placed on hold at Bull Run Library will be sent to Central Library to be picked up. Patrons can change their pickup location from Bull Run Library to the library of their choice through their online account. Updates about the renovation will be posted periodically on

About Prince William Public Libraries:
Prince William Public Libraries consists of 12 branches throughout Prince William County and the City of Manassas, providing free access to books, e-books, e-audio, print and digital magazines, Digital Library, and CDs/DVDs. PWPL also offers free educational and entertaining programs for all ages.


Investigators are looking into a series of brush fires at the former Tims Rivershore restaurant near Dumfries. [Photo: Prince William fire and rescue]
Windy conditions helped to spread a series of brush fires near the old Tim’s Rivershore restaurant.

Fire crews went to the 1500 block of Cherry Hill Road near Dumfries at 11:17 a.m. today and found multiple brush fires. No one was injured, and the cause of the fire is under investigation, a Prince William County Fire and Rescue spokesman states.

The fires delayed several freight trains in the area. As of 1:30 p.m., trains began traveling through the area again, albeit slower than usual, at 10 mph.

Amtrak reports its train 79; the Carolinian is delayed about an hour-and-half due to the fires. Virginia Railway Express also operates trains on the tracks but has not reported any delays.

Tim’s Rivershore restaurant, a staple on the Potomac River for more than 20 years, closed in September after the business lost its lease.



A U-Haul truck smashed into a bridge over Harrell Road in Stafford County on Sunday, November 28; the third to strike the bridge in a week [Photo: Stafford sheriff’s office]
[Updated 4:30 p.m.] A truck struck a railroad bridge over Harrell Road today, and the crash marks the third time a truck hit the bridge this week.

A U-Haul smashed into the low bridge, shearing away the top off of the truck. The Stafford County Sheriff’s Office reports no injuries in the crash, which occurred about 2 p.m.

Authorities closed a portion of Harrell Road to investigate the crash and clear the wreckage from the roadway.

A box truck slammed into a rail bridge over Harrell Road, injuring one person.

At about 11 p.m. Friday, November 26, Stafford authorities were called to the bridge when a box truck hit the structure. One person suffered minor injuries, the sheriff’s office said.

Stafford sheriff’s deputies closed a portion of the roadway as they worked to clean up the crash. A part of the roof on the box truck had been sheered off after striking the bridge.

On Wednesday, November 24, the driver of a U-Haul truck struck the bridge. No one was injured, and the rental truck sustained minor damage.

The bridge carries freight, Amtrak, and Virginia Railway Express train over Harrell Road. Drivers on Harrell Road pass under the bridge, which has a 9 foot, 2-inch height restriction.

Warning signs posted near the bridge notify drivers of the low clearance.

In July, the driver of a U-Haul backed the truck into a ditch. The driver attempted to turn around and avoid traveling under the bridge.

When storms bring heavy rain to the region, Stafford authorities regularly close Harrell Road, as the road often floods at the bridge site.

Stretching for about a mile, Harrell Road links Forbes Street and Deacon Road, near Falmouth.

A box truck strikes a rail bridge over Harrell Road near Falmouth on November 26, 2021. [Photo: Stafford sheriff’s office]
Elijah Johnson (right) congratulates former Prince William County Library Director Connie Gilman on her retirement in 2017.

[Updated November 28] Elijah Johnson will take control of the Prince William County Government on January 1, 2022.

The Prince William Board of Supervisors today appointed Johnson to the role of Acting County Executive during a closed-session meeting.

Johnson will replace Christopher Martino whose served in the position since 2016. Martino announced his retirement last month.

Johnson is a deputy county executive overseeing human services in the county, to include housing and community development efforts. It’s a role he’s been in since 2014.

Johnson improved the county’s community development office, moving it from a federal “troubled” rating to a rank of “high performing.”

Johnson will oversee employees in nearly 50 county government departments in the state’s second-largest jurisdiction in his new role. He’ll report to the Board of County Supervisors.


Just before 8:30 a.m. on Monday, November 22, Stafford County Fire and Rescue units were called structure fire at a home on Kettlebrook Court, about a half-mile from Paddy’s Public House in North Stafford.

Crews reported a fire in a garage on the front of the home. Crews made entry and found the fire had started extending into the home. The fire was marked under control approximately ten minutes after arrival.

One occupant escaped the burning home before fire crews arrived. The victim suffered minor injuries and refused to go to a hospital, said fire and rescue spokeswoman Katie Brady. The occupants of the home also refused help from the American Red Cross, Brady added.

Investigators found working smoke alarms inside the house.

The fire is under investigation by the Stafford County Fire Marshal’s Office. Quantico Fire and Emergency Services assisted Stafford County with this incident.


Stafford authorities said a woman was arrested Sunday, November 21, and charged with public intoxication after throwing several lamps from a motel window.

At 4:06 p.m. Deputy C.S. Harding responded to the Quality Inn at 28 Greenspring Drive for a disturbance. A witness reported that a woman had broken the screen out of a motel window and threw lamps outside. The woman reportedly left on foot, walking toward the Holiday Inn Express.

Deputy Harding located the woman on the sidewalk and identified Ilka Martinez Hoepelman, 41, of Stafford. Hoepelman had glassy eyes and an odor of alcoholic beverages, a department spokesman said.

She was arrested for public intoxication and held until sober at the Rappahannock Regional Jail, a department spokesman said.

The county sheriff also reports:


Courage Lane, 11/20, 3:46 p.m. Deputy B.E. Vaughn responded for a report of an abduction. Upon arrival, the deputy determined the report to be unfounded and the caller was identified as David Kile, 37, of Stafford. Kile was arrested and a controlled substance was found in his possession. He was charged with falsely summoning police and possession of a controlled substance. Kile was held on a $1,000 secured bond at the Rappahannock Regional Jail.

10 block of East Street, 11/20, 8:25 p.m. Deputy T.A. Vasquez responded for a single vehicle accident. Upon arrival, the deputy located the vehicle in a ditch. The driver, Janice Heath, 46, of Fredericksburg, had slurred speech and glassy eyes. Field sobriety tests were administered and Heath was arrested. An open container of alcoholic beverage was found inside the vehicle. Heath was charged with driving under the influence-2nd offense, driving on a revoked license, and drinking while driving. She was held without bond at the Rappahannock Regional Jail.

Liberty Knolls Drive, 11/20, 5:51 a.m. Deputy T.M. Givler responded for a disturbance. Upon arrival, he located Heather Dean-Holder, 28, of Richmond, and discovered she was wanted for two counts of failure to appear out of Chesterfield. Deputies also encountered Brandy Gray, 21, of Richmond. Gray was unsteady on her feet and appeared intoxicated. Dean-Holder was arrested on the outstanding warrants and was held without bond at the Rappahannock Regional Jail. Gray was arrested for public intoxication and held until sober.

I-95 South & Warrenton Road, 11/21, 9:16 p.m. Deputy M.A. Pearce responded for a report of a suspicious vehicle. Upon arrival, the deputy located the suspect, Nicholas Christian Sr., 37, of Locust Grove, in the passenger seat. As the deputy spoke with Christian, he began to roll the window up. Christian then struck the deputy’s arm as the deputy attempted to prevent the window from rolling up. He was eventually removed from the vehicle and arrested for public intoxication and assault on a law enforcement officer. Christian was held on a $5,000 secured bond at the Rappahannock Regional Jail.

Hollywood Farm Road, 11/19, 6:55 a.m. The victim’s Ford Ranger pickup was stolen from his driveway. The vehicle was left unlocked with the keys inside. The vehicle was later recovered on Forest Lane Road where it had been left disabled.
58 Jesse Curtis Lane, Curtis Memorial Park, 11/20, 12:51 p.m. A window on the victim’s vehicle was shattered. A purse containing various items was reported stolen. The theft is believed to have occurred between 11:30 a.m. and 12:50 p.m.

Providence Street, 11/21, 6:27 a.m. Several vehicles in the area had shattered windows. Miscellaneous items were reported stolen from the vehicles. A witness pursued the suspects who were fleeing the area in a vehicle. The suspects were involved in a collision with the witness. They then fled the vehicle on foot. The vehicle was later discovered to be stolen. The suspects are four young black males. The investigation is ongoing.


Police found two people suffering gunshots inside a home in Lake Ridge.

Officers were called at 3:33 a.m. to the 11500 block of Bertram Street to investigate a death. When they arrived, officers found a 36-year-old man and a 34-year-old woman suffering from gunshot wounds.

Both parties were known to one another and were pronounced dead on the scene, police said.

The incident appears to involve the two parties and was isolated to the home, police add. A firearm was recovered on the scene by officers.

There is no threat to the community, police said. An investigation continues.

The deceased are identified as Mariam Yusefi, 34, and
Moneer Nasafi, 36, both of Woodbridge.

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A Stafford man faces charges following a strong-armed robbery in Dumfries.

Meanwhile, police are searching for a Woodbridge man in connection to the crime.

On Thursday, November 18, at 8:25 p.m., officers were called to the 15000 block of Bridgeport Drive. in Dumfries to investigate a robbery. The victim, a 26-year-old man, told police that while outside of a home, he was approached by two acquaintances who pushed him to the ground.

The men struck and kicked the victim before taking his wallet, police said. Eventually, the men fled the area in a vehicle. The victim called the police.

The victim suffered minor injuries. During the investigation, officers identified both suspects. Later that evening, officers located one, Vincent Michael Soto, and took him into custody without incident, police said.

Following the investigation, officers obtained arrest warrants for the other suspect, identified as Harold Robert Hawkes III, of the 12800 block of Valleywood Drive in Woodbridge.

Attempts to locate Hawkes III, 29, have been unsuccessful. He is described as a white male, 5 feet, 10 inches tall, 165 pounds, with brown hair and eyes. He is wanted for robbery.


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