manassas journal messenger 10/31/00


Tuesday, October 31, 2000

 Top News

ACLU to appeal moment of silence suit dismissal

By Kevin Killen

Manassas Journal Messenger

     The American Civil Liberties Union will appeal Monday’s ruling by a U.S. District Court judge that throws out the ACLU’s lawsuit claiming Virginia’s moment of silence in public schools is unconstitutional.

     Chief Judge Claude Hilton made the decision Monday afternoon and alerted state Attorney General Mark Earley’s office about the decision soon afterward, according to a press release by Earley spokesman Randy Davis.

     “I am pleased with the court’s decision to uphold the constitutionality of Virginia’s moment of silence,” said Attorney General Mark Earley. “The ACLU has informed us of their intention to appeal the decision and we have informed the ACLU of our intention to defend the statute all the way to the United States Supreme Court.” [more]

Old Town’s ‘friendly ghost’

Some say spirit opens, closes doors

By Chris Newman

Manassas Journal Messenger

     For some who have worked in Old Town Hall, the ghost they have dealt with has been nice. For others, it has made them share its experience of being locked up.

     This building next to City Hall has seen varying uses since it was built in 1914. It doubled as a fire and police station until the 1950s and served as the town hall until 1986, when the current City Hall was finished.

     The ghost operates by opening and closing the door on the right side of the building’s main room.

“It’ll be like that,” said deputy registrar Jeanette Smith last week, pointing to the half-open door, “and whammo, it’ll just slam.” [more]

Internet child abuse defendants waive hearing

By Patrick Wilson

Media General News Service

     MANASSAS A Dale City woman accused of sexually abusing her young daughters appeared in court Monday and waived her right to a probable cause hearing on six charges.

     Jay Larson, a Brooklyn Center, Minn., man also charged with abusing the girls, waived his right to a hearing as well.

     The hearings before Juvenile & Domestic Relations Judge Janice J. Brice would have been for the judge to determine whether the cases should be sent to a grand jury. By waiving their hearings, the defendants automatically sent their cases to a grand jury that will hand up indictments in December. [more]

Armed Forces reunite on the Internet:

Local man’s website offers resources for all military

By Joseph J. McCallister

Manassas Journal Messenger

     In this age of ever-improving technology, it has become very easy for people who have lost touch with each other to reunite through electronic means, be they email, Internet databases or people-finding services.

     Richard Ridgeway, founder of the Armed Forces Electronic Message Center,, has made reuniting even easier for those who have served in the U.S. Military.

Ridgeway, a Manassas resident, began his website in order to “give back the best we can” to those who have served the United States in a military capacity.

     His site is an electronic message center where people looking for other people can post messages in the hopes that the missing party will one day see them and reply. Then, they can be reunited. [more]

Dale city man pleads guilty to shaking baby

By Kate Bissell

Media General News Service

     MANASSAS: Nine-month-old Alan Wiggins has spent all but 10 weeks of his life in a vegetative state. He has lay unconscious with his hands and legs in splints and a feeding tube through his stomach since his father violently shook him in April.

     Cecil Scott Wiggins, 34, pleaded guilty to felony child abuse Monday in Prince William County Circuit Court and faces up to 10 years in prison for shaking his son. He will be sentenced Dec. 21.

     Wiggins takes responsibility for shaking Alan and is deeply sorry for what he did, said defense attorney William Boge.

     “It’s a tragic case, and [Wiggins] wishes he could take it all back,” Boge said. [more]

Planning commission to review special use permits

By Joseph J. McCallister

Manassas Journal Messenger

     The Prince William County Planning Commission will hear a number of requests for special use permits at its Wednesday night meeting, following a continuation of discussion about a proposed crew change office for the Norfolk Southern Railroad.

     The proposed crew change office, which is proposed to be built in the Brentsville District on Milford Road near its intersection with Bristow Road, would replace the current crew change office in Manassas.

     Some residents of Brentsville have vocally opposed the crew change station at both planning commission meetings and at meetings of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors.

     The residents say that if the crew change office is placed in their district, the trains that are stopped for crews changes, which can take five minutes or more, can potentially block traffic at nearby intersections. [more]

Platstation suspects arrested, charged

By Kate Bissell

Media General News Service

     Two men who are suspected of snatching a Sony PlayStation 2 from the hands of a 12-year-old boy at the Woodbridge Toys R Us on Thursday were arrested after an anonymous tipster called Crime Solvers and revealed their identities.

     Edwin Fabricio Montiel, 18, of 133300 Smoketown Road, was arrested Monday and Eric Castro Hernandez, 21, of no fixed address, was arrested Sunday, Prince William police spokesman Dennis Mangan said.

     Both men are charged with robbery and held without bond at the Prince William-Manassas regional jail. [more]

Board to hear update on closure of classrooms, better recruitment

By Kevin Killen

Manassas Journal Messenger

     The Prince William County school board will hear from an architect about attempts to close “open” classrooms at eight county schools at Wednesday night’s informational board meeting.

     The classrooms at the eight elementary and high schools are called open because they have no doors and only three walls, said Bob Ferrebee, associate superintendent of management for Prince William County schools.

     “These classrooms were built in the mid-1970’s when education reforms were big,” he said. [more]

The geography of remembrance: Battlefield is a connection to our national conscience

     Not far from my home lies one of the most significant battlefields in American history Manassas, also known as Bull Run. Here, in July 1861, the Civil War1s first major land battle resulted in a decisive Confederate victory, followed by another on the same spot a year later. Today, despite the fact that an interstate and several strip malls can be found only a few hundred yards away, this battlefield hauntingly retains its 1860s appearance.

     I am grateful. Manassas, like most Civil War battlefields, is the perfect synthesis of natural and cultural history. Thanks to defenders of the battlefield, who have fought repeatedly to protect the site from encroaching development, these lands provide much-needed open space and wildlife habitat, as well as an uncommon opportunity to learn about our nation’s past and to tread softly on hallowed ground. [more]

Conquistadors Conquer

In football it the old saying goes that a good defense always beats a good offense.

     All one has to do is look at today’s NFL for a couple of good examples of this.

     After a few bad weeks, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers dominated the previously undefeated Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. Also, the Redskins went out and spent mucho dinero on an defense to compliment its offense, which was one of the best around.

    In another version of football soccer this strategy is being used to its fullest by Seton coach Dan VanderWoude. [more]

New trout fishery at Mint Springs

Good news, fishermen. Beginning Nov. 1, there will be a new place to hang up lures, to have fish break off and to get into heated arguments with your wife over whether leaves should be raked or trout caught. Actually, the losing of lures and getting into arguments part is not the good news, but the availablility of a new trout fishery at Mint Springs Lake near Crozet in Albemarle County is certainly a bit of welcomed information.

     The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, in cooperation with the Albemarle County Department of Parks and Recreation, recently announced that Mint Springs Lake in Mint Springs Park, a county owned and operated facility, will be stocked regularly with trout. [more]

Hunting with dogs

No matter the sights, sounds, or quarry of an exotic hunting destination, for most it’s the companionship of a cherished canine partner that makes or breaks the hunt. The trials of traveling with your dog, however, can sometimes make that companionship stuff overrated.

     But not if you’ve planned ahead. Freelance writer, book author, and Sports Afield contributing editor Tom Davis travels several times each year to places far and wide with a variety of hunting dogs that just couldn’t stand to be left home. [more]

Keeping comfortable in the uplands

While certain gear items improve our odds of bagging upland birds, most hunters find success in simply enjoying themselves. Nothing helps us have fun more than being comfortable, and today’s upland clothing answers the call.

     Sports Afield’s editor-in-chief, Chris Dorsey, suggests that no matter what or where you’re hunting your clothing keep you warm/cool and the thorns and briars off, yet be loose and light enough so you remain flexible. [more]


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