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Snow potential for Thursday, January 20, 2022. [National Weather Service]
[Updated 9:15 a.m.] Snow and rain could affect Thursday morning’s commute.

According to the National Weather Service, rain will spread across the region after 4 a.m Thursday, with temperatures hovering about 32 degrees.

As the sun rises, the rain and snow will continue through the morning, eventually tapering off after 1 p.m. The weather service states that the storm should leave behind about an inch of snow.

Thursday night, the snow threat is with us once again, mainly before 1 a.m. Gusty winds and brutally cold temperatures will affect the region, hovering around 18 degrees.

This morning, the Virginia Department of Transportation announced it would begin to apply salt brine to major routes like Interstate 95. The brine helps prevent ice from bonding to the pavement during winter weather, which can reduce the risk of hazardous travel conditions and assists crews with snow and ice removal.

On I-95, crews will have a mobile pretreatment operation underway after 9 a.m. between exit 98 at Kings Dominion exit 150 Joplin Road at Quantico.

Thursday marks the first in a series of snowstorms to affect our region over the next two days. There are snow chances in the forecast on Friday, accompanied by high temperatures that won’t climb too far above 30 degrees.

Forecasters disagree on how much snow our area could see. They’re watching a storm that will move to the east coast from the Great Lakes region. The track of this storm will affect how much snow we will see.

Forecasters posted this message to Washington, D.C. forecast page:

Depending on how far the trough descends southward, it could interact with the stalled boundary over the Carolinas to generate a coastal low which would track northeastward along the Eastern Seaboard. If the low tracks close enough along the coast, our region could see some decent snowfall especially considering the cold air mass that will build into the region Friday into Saturday. Some guidance has been suggesting the potential for a major snow storm affecting our region late Friday night into Saturday, but confidence remains low.

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Community Notes

Former Virginia First Lady Pamela Northam visits a Spostylvaniva County classroom. [Photo: Spotsylvania County Public Schools]
Spotsylvania rescinds mask mandate: The Spotsylvania County School Board voted 4-3 Tuesday to remove the mask mandate for students, staff and visitors to school buildings effective January 24. [Fredericksburg.com]

Put me in coach: The Washington Nationals announced on Tuesday their minor league coaching assignments for the upcoming 2022 season, including the staff of the Low-A Fredericksburg Nationals. [Press release]

Sustainable hire: Fredericksburg welcomes MacKenzie Bellimam as the new Environmental Sustainability Coordinator and is working in the Environmental Programs section of the Public Works Department. [Press release]

Old dogs, cool kicks: Onery Brewery in Bristow will host a benefit to help aging dogs, including live music from local band Scarlett Awakening on Saturday, January 22, from 5 to 8 p.m. [Facebook]

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A new ramp from Route 17 to I-95 north will open to traffic on January 20, 2022. [Image: VDOT]
A new traffic pattern on Route 17 northbound to enter southbound Interstate 95 in Stafford County will go into effect later this week as construction advances on the Interstate 95 Southbound Rappahannock River Crossing project.

Crews will open the Route 17 northbound entrance ramp to I-95 southbound at exit 133 early Thursday, Jan. 20.

Once the loop ramp opens, workers will remove the left-turn lane to enter I-95 southbound from Route 17 northbound. Overhead signs will be removed, and traffic signal timing will be adjusted to accommodate the new traffic pattern.

Here are the details in a press release from the Virginia Department of Transportation:

Starting at 7 p.m. tomorrow, Jan. 19, workers will have alternating single lane closures on Route 17 northbound and southbound near the I-95 interchange to complete various construction activities to open the loop ramp.

Drivers should expect the new traffic pattern to go into effect before the morning rush hour on Thursday.

The temporary traffic signals on Route 17 at I-95 will remain in place. The signals will continue to direct southbound traffic exiting the interstate to Route 17 northbound towards Warrenton or Route 17 southbound towards Falmouth.

In addition to opening the loop ramp, crews will open a second southbound lane near the exit 133 (Route 17) interchange.

When this occurs, the local travel lanes near this interchange will be expanded from a single lane to two travel lanes spanning Route 17. All local traffic will enter into three travel lanes before the bridge over the Rappahannock River to the city of Fredericksburg.

The temporary traffic configurations to enter or exit southbound I-95 at exit 133 was needed as crews phase construction with this project and the 95 Express Lanes Fredericksburg Extension project.

As part of the project, the Route 17 southbound on-ramp to I-95 southbound has been widened to two lanes. Weather permitting, the dual-lane entrance ramp to reduce Route 17 congestion near the interchange will open in its final traffic configuration in Feb. 2022.

View a map of work zone after two lanes open on the I-95 southbound entrance ramp

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and the project contractor, Wagman, Inc., continue to ask drivers for their patience with additional lanes remaining closed near the exit 130 (Route 3) interchange in Fredericksburg.

For motorists approaching the Route 3 interchange in the local lanes, three travel lanes remain reduced to a single lane after the Cowan Boulevard overpass, at mile marker 131, until south of the exit 130 interchange. This temporary traffic pattern will be in place for an estimated 3-4 weeks, at which time a second lane under the Route 3 overpass will open.

While construction is nearly complete, the project is not operating at its intended, maximum capacity yet with the temporary work zone conditions at both interchanges. Certain air and pavement temperatures are required to complete final construction activities. Winter weather storms and below-freezing temperatures have slightly delayed crews from completing the necessary work to open all lanes.

All lanes south of the exit 130 interchange are anticipated to open late winter 2022, weather permitting, along with project completion.

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McCray

Police released the photo of the man wanted connected to the shooting death of 37-year-old Mary Anne Smoot.

After being shot multiple times during an argument with a man with whom her friend once had a relationship, police said, Smoot died in a Manassas-area apartment Monday, January 17.

The suspect, pictured here, Marquan Omari McCray, 18, of the 9800 block of Solitary Place in Bristow, shot Smoot multiple times, police said.

McCray fled the scene after the shooting, and police have not been able to find him. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call police at 703-792-6500.

In the hours leading up to the shooting, police said Smoot and a family member, whom they declined to identify, went to an apartment in the 8100 block of Cobden Court, near the Manassas-area Costco, to meet McCray. The family member accompanying the victim had a previous relationship with McCray, police said.

During the encounter, the victim and McCray got into a verbal altercation that escalated when the accused shot the victim multiple times, police said.

McCray is black, 5 feet 7 inches tall, 160 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. He’s wanted for murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

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Zach Mote and Ryan Sharkey, founders of Waters End Brewery. [Submitted photo]
Lake Ridge-based Water’s End Brewery has announced plans to open a new brewery in downtown Fredericksburg.

The new brewery will be at Fredericksburg Square, a 19,000-square foot property on Caroline Street. The brewery will also be home to a new Hot Chikn Kitchn, a Nashville-style chicken restaurant in Woodbridge.

The owners of Water’s End and Hot Chikn Kitchn, Zach Mote and Mike Sagaro, entered into a partnership that resulted in Fredericksburg Square’s purchase. The duo had been working on this acquisition since Summer 2019, after dealing with setbacks such as the coronavirus pandemic and the passing of the building’s owner Van Perroy they finally completed the sale in December 2021.

Mote first met Sagaro in 2018 when he looked for advice on business expansion. Sagaro mentioned his desire to buy some property and open a bar and restaurant during that conversation. From there, the proverbial light bulb shined, and discussions focused on Sagaro’s idea.

“Our collaboration potential was obvious, and we immediately started working together on ideas. Shortly after discovering Fredericksburg Square, we stopped looking at other options and pursued it with a singular focus,” said Mote.

Originally built as a townhouse in 1854, the building which would come to be known as Fredericksburg Square survived the Civil War and was used as an Elks Lodge in 1905. The building remained in operation until 1996. 

The property was purchased by Van and Deborah Perroy, who operated several businesses from the building during their ownership, including the four-diamond-rated restaurant Augustine’s.

Augustine’s then gave way to Fredericksburg Square, a high-end wedding venue that was noted for its grand ceilings and two stunning ballrooms.

That space will give the new brewery a lot of space. According to Mote, the plans include:

  • A main bar area can be expanded by opening up the main ballroom.
  • An owner’s suite.
  • A top floor bar with its own dance floor and stage.

Including the taproom and restaurant, the building will hold over 300 customers who can dine, dance, and enjoy the building’s decor.

“We were struck with the thought: “How cool would it be to sit and enjoy this upscale, exclusive space for just the cost of a beer?” The bar on the main level, which will be our primary taproom area, is quite simply a great place to have a beer,” says Mote.

No opening date has been set. The co-owners plan to open the location in stages, beginning with the taproom and restaurant.

The Water’s End Brewery and Hot Chikn Kitchn at Fredericksburg Square will be located on 525 Caroline Street in Downtown Fredericksburg.

Hot Chikn Kitchn is also opening a new location in Stafford County, at 50 North Stafford Complex, next to a Walmart Neighborhood Market.

Waters End Brewery opened its first location at Dillingham Square in Lake Ridge in 2016, and later expanded to Potomac Festival Shopping Center across from Potomac Mills mall in Woodbridge in 2020.

Hot Chikn Kitchn also opened its first location at Potomac Festival in 2020. 

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Community Notes

Photo: Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute

New hours: The Smithsonian Institution announced Monday that many of its museums and the zoo will have new hours starting on Tuesday, January 18. [WJLA-TV]

Looking ahead: Virginia’s new Lieutenant Governor Winsome Earle-Sears presided over the Senate for the first time on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Earle-Sears, who is the first woman of color to be sworn into a statewide office, made her debut as debates surrounding race and education are coming to a boil. [WRIC-TV]

College-age substitutes: In the wake of a growing national teacher shortage, Fairfax County Public Schools are turning to local colleges and universities to fill vacant positions. [Insidenova.com]

Cheers for SCOTUS: Members of Virginia’s business community applauded a U.S. Supreme Court decision that temporarily blocked a federal regulation designed to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for workers pending a ruling on the legislation. [The Center Square]

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Allen Sibert is sworn into office as Haymarket Chief of Police at the Prince William County Circuit Court. Sgt. Jake Davis holds a Bible during the ceremony. [Photo: Haymarket Police Department]

Recently hired Chief of Police Al Siebert spends his first 100 days making a full review of the Haymarket Police Department.

Siebert made his report to the Haymarket Town Council which consisted of a review of the department. The newly-appointed chief held audits and inventories of everything from making sure policies were up to date, to inventory of resources and equipment, and making changes to document filing which the chief had found to be problematic.

One of the main aspects of the report was a full review of the department policy to make sure they were up to date, conformed to current practices, and were accredited. Siebert reported that 80 policies were written generally but were hard to read and not easy to follow. The policies followed by the Haymarket Police Department were based on policies followed by police departments in Southwest Virginia which were adopted and accredited in 2016.

According to the chief, the department is currently updating the policies to make them current, easy to read and customized to Haymarket, a town located on Interstate 66 in Prince William County.

A full inventory of police personnel and equipment was also made, the results of which Siebert called “remarkable” in his report. Currently, the Haymarket Police Department has six full time officers and three part time officers that have an average of 15 years of experience which makes the department personnel one of the more experienced in the area. Siebert’s assessment found that all of the officers have certifications in two or more fields of specialties.

The department also did an inventory of its equipment and found it all to be in good shape, Siebert announced that moving forward there would be semi-annual inspections of all police property to make sure that it all stays up to standards.

Siebert also held an inventory and audit of the department’s evidence room as well as their procedures for documenting and labeling all items kept for evidence. The Chief’s report found that all property and evidence were accounted for and standards are being met.

The department plans to procure a safe for extra security of valuables, drugs, and weapons, the department is also currently purging any property and evidence no longer needed.

One issue found by the audit was that the department’s storage of internal documents was found to be problematic. Instead of keeping the documents on a central server, the department was found to instead use external hard drives to hold documents. Siebert reported that a new server would be installed and would be completed by the end of the month.

Siebert also reported that the department would also restart its Drone program, the Haymarket police does own a drone which could be used for assisting officers in search and rescue, traffic collision investigations, crime scene analysis, crowd monitoring, surveillance, town planning needs, structural issues, among other uses.

Siebert had wanted to get the program up and running in his first 100 days but complications such as a certification class officers needed for the program was canceled and damage to the drone itself delayed the program’s relaunch.

Going forward Chief Siebert wants to have plans for department budgets that look towards the next five to ten years and create development plans for the officers for advancement. All these will help to provide quality service and engagement to the community according to the chief.

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