Email signup
Some geese float on the Occoquan River (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

A committee in the Virginia House of Delegates on Friday advanced to the House floor a bill that would require localities to conduct water studies prior to approving data centers.

The bill, introduced by Del. Josh Thomas, a freshman Democrat who represents western Prince William County in the 21st District, would encourage local governments undergo site assessment to examine the effect of data centers on water usage, carbon emissions and agricultural resources.

Groups in Northern Virginia have long called for water studies to be conducted at the sites of proposed data centers, which use large amounts of liquid to cool the thousands of computers found within.

Data centers’ impact on local water sources was most notably questioned prior to the recent approval of the PW Digital Gateway tech corridor when the Fairfax County Water Authority sent a letter to Prince William County officials in 2022 asking that one be performed. To the dismay of anti-data center activists and environmental advocates, the county never performed a comprehensive study of the potential impacts on water quality in the Occoquan Reservoir from the Digital Gateway.

“This vote is a wake-up call to the data center industry,” Thomas said in a statement. The citizens of the Commonwealth, especially those in western Prince William County, have demanded more transparency in the data center siting process, and this bill is a critical first step. HB338 will encourage localities to analyze the impact of data centers on the community before projects are approved – not after.”

He continued, “While these centers can be an important source of tax revenue for localities, we cannot allow unrestrained development to harm our communities. I’m pleased to see that the General Assembly is weighing in on the issue of data center development. My colleagues and I will continue to push this legislation all the way to the Governor’s desk.”

The House Counties, Cities, and Towns Committee on Friday sent the bill to the House floor for a vote. Should the House approve the legislation, the Virginia Senate and Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin must also sign off for it to become law.

Del. Ian Lovejoy, a Republican member of the committee who represents western Prince William, voted in favor of reporting the bill to the House floor.

“As co-patron of HB338 I was happy to see it move forward,” Lovejoy said in a text message. “As we await the outcome of the data center [study], any incremental gain in adding reasonable accountability to the data center siting process in a win.”

Democratic Sen. Danica Roem, a data center critic who also represents western Prince William and is a patron of the bill, also called the legislation a “win” and a step toward encouraging “local governments to complete work on application reviews prior to voting.”

Roem continued, “My hope is that this will lead our new Board of County Supervisors and staff to work collaboratively together to serve the best interests of Prince William County residents. This is the first step on the road to reform.”

Other Northern Virginia Democrats who are patrons of the bill championed its advancement to the House floor.

“The most important thing about sustainable development is to listen to our communities, and this bill makes progress in ensuring that big businesses listen to our communities as they develop technologies for the 21st century,” Democratic Del. Dan Helmer of Fairfax said in a news release from Thomas’ office. “We’re proud to be working with leaders at the local, state, and federal level to protect our climate and ensure our communities are heard.”

Del. Kannan Srinivasan, a Loudoun County Democrat, underscored the importance of evaluating the environmental impacts of data centers. “I am excited to support my fellow classmate as a Chief Co-Patron on his bill,” Srinivasan said in the news release.

This article was written by FFXnow’s news partner InsideNoVa.com and republished with permission. Sign up for InsideNoVa.com’s free email subscription today.

0 Comments
A Fairfax County police mugshot for Zaire Davis, a suspect in two shootings and a robbery (via FCPD)

Forensic evidence has led to arrest of a suspect in a shooting in Woodbridge last year that left one man dead and another injured.

Prince William police on Monday served warrants for murder, malicious wounding and use of a firearm in a felony on Zaire Lee Davis, 21, of no fixed address, at the Fairfax County jail, said county police Lt. Jonathan Perok.

Davis has been incarcerated since last summer in connection with a robbery in Annandale and a Father’s Day shooting in Reston.

Perok said recent forensic results linked Davis to the Jan. 16, 2023 shooting in Marumsco Plaza that left a 27-year-old man dead and another wounded.

Police were called to the 13900 block of Richmond Highway at 8:50 p.m. that night and found a 22-year-old man suffering from a gunshot wound to the lower body. He was taken to the hospital where his injuries were determined to be non-life threatening, police said.

A short time later, security officers from a nearby shopping center notified officers of a second man suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. Officers provided first aid to the victim, identified as Akeem Rashaud Williams, until rescue crews took him to the hospital, where he died of his injuries.

The investigation revealed a group was in the area when gunshots were fired, striking the two men. While investigating, officers learned that an occupied car traveling on U.S. 1 was also hit by gunfire.

Perok said the shooting is believed to have stemmed from a previous altercation and ongoing dispute between the men involved.

Mugshot via FCPD. This article was written by FFXnow’s news partner InsideNoVa.com and republished with permission. Sign up for InsideNoVa.com’s free email subscription today.

Fairfax County police (file photo)

A Woodbridge man died Tuesday (Dec. 12) after getting shot in the Kingstowne area earlier that afternoon.

Fairfax County police officers were called to the 5300 block of Harbor Court Drive at 1:47 p.m. for a report of a shooting. A 911 caller said they saw someone pull out a gun and shoot at a black Dodge Charger, which drove off, according to the dispatch on Open MHz.

Officers didn’t find a victim or suspect while searching the area, but the Prince William County Police Department later received a call about a man with a gunshot wound at a local hospital. The Fairfax County Police Department says it was notified around 2:30 p.m.

Identified as Bryant Anthony Gillis, 23, the man died at the hospital.

“Detectives determined a friend who was with Gillis at the time of shooting drove him to the hospital,” the FCPD said, noting that he had arrived at the hospital in a black Dodge Charger.

As of 6:30 p.m. yesterday (Wednesday), police were still searching for a suspect. Based on evidence gathered so far, detectives believe the shooting was “isolated in nature,” an FCPD spokesperson said.

“Detectives are still looking into several leads. The suspect is still at large at this time,” the department’s public affairs bureau told FFXnow.

0 Comments
Occoquan has been proposed as a possible starting point for a Northern Virginia commuter ferry (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

A proposed commuter ferry system for the Potomac River in Northern Virginia has gained attention from regional officials, but the price tag has dampened enthusiasm.

With budget shortfalls looming and a projected recession ahead, local and state leaders have turned their attention elsewhere, leaving it to the private sector to consider investing in the costly project.

“There’s not a lot of money on the public sector side available to make these substantial investments in equipment and places for the boats to dock,” said Robert Lazaro, executive director for the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, which recently received the latest report on the commuter ferry idea. “It’s a doable project, but it’s going to require private sector involvement.”

Since the early 2000s, leaders in Northern Virginia and the rest of the Washington metropolitan area have sought alternative transportation options to address ever-growing road congestion and conducted multiple studies. One idea was to operate a ferry along the Potomac River between Virginia and Maryland, south of Washington, D.C.

More than 200 people and groups spanning the government, military, higher education and private industry sectors have studied the idea.

The proposal isn’t unprecedented for a public service. Virginia operates three ferry systems, of which the largest is the Jamestown-Scotland Ferry that runs from Jamestown in James City County to Surry County.

In 2018, the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission, which also operates bus system OmniRide, was close to launching a pilot that would run two daily boats on the Potomac, but plans were derailed when the Virginia Department of Transportation and NRVC failed to qualify for a necessary federal grant, InsideNoVa reported last year.

On Sept. 28, the Northern Virginia Regional Commission received the latest report on the commuter ferry proposal from Nelson\Nygaard Consulting Associates.

Cost

Planners outlined four possible routes along which the commuter ferry could operate. Two of the four would originate in Woodbridge, with one route terminating at Joint Base Anacostia Bolling and the other going to Southeast and Southwest Waterfront in Washington, D.C. A third route branded the DC River Circulator would run from Georgetown to Poplar Point, and the fourth would go from Charles County, Maryland to Joint Base Anacostia Bolling.

Project costs for the Virginia route to Joint Base Anacostia Bolling range from $23.5 million to $53.5 million depending on the type of vessel, necessary terminal upgrades and dredging needs. Fare prices are proposed to be $10.

“I think over time some of this will happen, maybe not in my lifetime, because I think it makes a lot of sense, but not for right now,” said NVRC member Libby Garvey at the commission’s September meeting.

Payne said the project will likely be tabled indefinitely until another group takes over.

“There is great hope that there is project leadership who is going to step up and carry this project forward, but how that happens remains to be seen,” Payne said. Read More

0 Comments
Park Valley Church in Haymarket (via Google Maps)

A Bailey’s Crossroads resident has been arrested after allegedly threatening violence at a church in Haymarket.

Rui Jiang, 35, posted multiple “threatening” messages to his Instagram account on Sunday (Sept. 24), including ones where he pointed a gun at pictures of churches, according to the Fairfax County Police Department.

The messages led a community member to alert the Anne Arundel County Police Department, whose officers determined that Jiang lives in Fairfax County. The FCPD says it was asked to conduct a welfare check at 9:22 a.m.

“Mason Patrol officers responded to his home in the 5600 block of Seminary Road,” the FCPD said in a news release. “They determined Jiang was not home. Based on the messages shared on Instagram, officers believed Jiang was at the Park Valley Church in Haymarket.”

Fairfax County officers then contacted the Prince William County Police Department at 10 a.m., suggesting that it check Park Valley Church to see if Jiang was there.

Police said church staff had been “monitoring a suspicious person on the premises” at the same time that an off-duty Prince William County officer handling traffic outside found Jiang’s car in the parking lot, Inside NoVA reported.

Jiang arrived at the church at 10:12 a.m. and was promptly taken into custody by Prince William police, according to the FCPD.

“The accused apparently entered the building through a separate door and had been inside the location prior to being stopped,” the Prince William County Police Department said in a news release. “Church services were going on at the time, no injuries were reported. The accused was found to be in possession of a loaded handgun, an additional magazine, a folding knife, and a folding ‘credit card’ style knife.”

Jiang has a concealed weapon permit, and the firearm was not reported stolen, according to the PWCPD.

Jiang has been charged in Prince William with threats of bodily harm and carrying a dangerous weapon to a place of worship. He’s being held at the county’s jail without bond.

The FCPD says its new threat assessment managment unit, which launched earlier this month, has been assisting with the investigation.

“TAM detectives assisted with the execution of a search warrant at Jiang’s home,” Fairfax County police said. “Evidence supporting Jiang’s intent to cause harm was recovered from the scene. Detectives will work with our multidisciplinary team to determine the appropriate resources for threat mitigation and management of the case.”

Photo via Google Maps

Virginia State Police patrol SUV allegedly rammed during a pursuit on Richmond HIghway (courtesy VSP)

A 27-year-old man from Maryland has been arrested following a police pursuit on Route 1 (Richmond Highway) that extended from Prince William County into Mount Vernon.

Based on a preliminary investigation, the man was driving a GMC Yukon that had been reported stolen from a Koons dealership on Richmond Highway at 10:30 a.m., a Prince William County Police Department spokesperson said.

When a Prince William County police officer approached the man and told him he was under arrest, the driver fled. Since the situation didn’t meet the department’s standards for pursuing a suspect, the officer instead alerted Virginia State Police and Fairfax County police to the fleeing vehicle.

A Virginia State trooper located the vehicle around 10:49 a.m.

“The GMC was on Route 1 in Prince William County heading north towards the Fairfax County line,” the VSP said. “The trooper activated his emergency lights and siren to initiate a traffic stop, but the GMC refused to stop and sped off.”

According to scanner traffic, the GMC drove the wrong way on Richmond Highway, heading north in the southbound lanes. During the chase, the driver “rammed” the pursuing trooper’s marked patrol SUV three different times, ultimately disabling the vehicle, the state police said.

Prince William County police officers, who were staying in sight of the chase to provide support, saw the GMC “make intentional contact” with the trooper’s cruiser, the Prince William police spokesperson said.

At 10:56 a.m., the driver bailed out of the GMC at Pole Road and Highland Lane in the Mount Vernon area, where he was taken into custody with the help of Prince William County police and a Fairfax County sheriff’s deputy.

The driver and the trooper were both taken to Inova Mount Vernon Hospital for medical evaluations “as a precautionary measure,” but no injuries were reported, state police said.

Charges from state police and Prince William County are pending, as an investigation into the case continues.

0 Comments
Virginia State Police vehicle (photo by John Calhoun/JC Photography)

(Updated at 6:10 p.m.) A woman who was allegedly abducted in New York died last night (Wednesday) after a police chase that started on I-95 in Springfield ended in gunfire near Quantico.

According to Virginia State Police, at 9:40 p.m., one of its troopers attempted to stop a Jeep Cherokee traveling south on I-95 near the Backlick Road exit for having the wrong license plates on display.

“When the trooper activated his lights and sirens, the Jeep pulled to the shoulder of I-95 near Exit 167 in Fairfax County,” police said. “The trooper made contact with the driver and returned to his patrol car.”

While checking the driver’s identity, the trooper learned that the driver — a 34-year-old adult man from North Chesterfield — was wanted in New York for allegedly abducting a woman — now identified as Tatiana David, 34, of Ithaca — earlier that day.

As the trooper returned to the Jeep to investigate, the vehicle “pulled away at a high rate of speed,” prompting a pursuit that extended into Prince William County, police said.

The fleeing vehicle initially crashed near the 152 mile marker, when it struck the guardrail, but kept going south on I-95. State police vehicles positioned around the Jeep to contain it and bring it to a stop. Near Exit 148 in Prince William County, the Jeep ran off the right side of the road and crashed into the woods. As troopers approached the SUV, the driver began shooting at them. State police returned fire.

During the shootout, the driver and David, a passenger in the Jeep, were both injured. The driver was transported to Inova Fairfax Hospital with injuries considered life-threatening, while David died at the scene.

“Her remains have been transported to the Office of the Medical Examiner in Manassas for examination and autopsy,” VSP said.

None of the police involved in the pursuit, including Fairfax County police officers who assisted, were  injured. Also not injured were the Fairfax County Police Department helicopter and K9 officers called to assist.

One of the K9 officers fired their gun, according to the FCPD, which identified the officer as a seven-year veteran of the department.

“Per policy, that officer has been placed on modified restricted duty,” the FCPD said.

All the state troopers involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave while the incident is under investigation, the VSP said.

According to police, a firearm was found in the Jeep.

“State police is working with New York authorities in regards to the abduction investigation,” the VSP said. “Charges are pending.”

Southbound I-95 was closed to traffic in the Quantico area for the police investigation. As of 8:20 a.m., just two lanes had reopened, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation, which advised drivers to find an alternate route.

0 Comments
×

Subscribe to our mailing list