Weapons Ban Sought

Chairman Kathleen K. Seefeldt (D) asked the Board of County Supervisors this week to endorse a ban on concealed weapons in recreation centers and other county-owned buildings, prompting her Republican challenger to accuse her of election-year grandstanding.

Virginia law currently bars carrying concealed weapons into schools, churches and courthouses. Seefeldt wants to lobby state legislators to expand the ban to all public facilities.

"We have zero tolerance for guns and weapons in schools," Seefeldt said. "I think it's only reasonable to expand that a little bit. . . . It's not election driven. It's just thinking about public safety and how we can make it better."

Sean Connaughton, a Republican lawyer running against Seefeldt in the fall election, said he opposed further gun controls and accused Seefeldt of trying to divert attention from growth issues and her financial support from developers. "I think there are serious questions about her motivation," he said.

Seefeldt collected nearly $12,000 in itemized cash donations during the last two months, more than half of which came from home builders and other development interests, according to campaign records filed last week. Seefeldt, a 24-year board veteran, also reported a bank balance of nearly $70,000. Connaughton reported $8,600 in contributions during the same period, including $700 from a construction company and real estate agent. He had $33,000 on hand as of May 26, including a $25,000 loan to himself.

Colgan to Seek Reelection

After a week and a half of "thinking about it and praying about it," Charles J. Colgan III has decided to seek a second term on the Prince William School Board.

Colgan, 25, acknowledged that he had been "waffling" for some time and had even told some people that he would not run again for the Gainesville seat. But Colgan said that with the encouragement of his wife, Wendy, he decided to enter the race.

Colgan, a project manager for a McLean-based businessman, will face Gail Johnson, 55, who runs a home-based graphics and editing company, and Don Richardson, 42, a Lockheed Martin software engineer..

Colgan, of Catharpin, said he wants to push for school improvements and construction in his fast-growing district. The county plans to build a middle school in Catharpin by 2002 and a ninth high school by 2004. That high school originally was slated for the Gainesville District, but its designation was changed to "site to be determined" during a budget workshop this year. Colgan said he also wants to see money set aside to enclose classrooms at Stonewall Jackson and Osbourn Park High schools.

Tuesday is the deadline to enter the race. The election is Nov. 2.

Time to Name That School

The Prince William school system is taking suggestions for the name of the county's 12th middle school, which will open on Hoadley Road in the Coles District in fall 2000.

Geographical or historical names will be considered, as well as the names of people who have made local, state or national service contributions. It is School Board policy not to name a school for living persons.

Suggestions may be sent by June 15 to the Community Relations Office, Prince William County Public Schools, P.O. Box 389, Manassas, Va. 20108; by e-mail to westend@pwcs.edu; or by fax to 791-8842.

Grzejka Wants Revenue Job

In the search for a new revenue commissioner in Manassas, an unlikely candidate has thrown his hat in the ring.

Turns out Vice Mayor John P. Grzejka (R) has had a hankering to be revenue commissioner -- an elected position that was vacated when nine-year commissioner Gary Plauger died last month. Grzejka ran for the spot in 1975 and against Plauger in 1991.

On Wednesday night, Grzejka announced his ambitions in a closed-door session with the City Council, which must make at least one recommendation for an interim commissioner to the five Prince William County Circuit Court judges. The judges will appoint the interim commissioner to serve until a special election in November. The newly elected commissioner then will serve the remaining two years of the term.

Grzejka said that if he is appointed to the full-time position, he will take a leave of absence from his job as a business tax auditor for the Virginia Department of Taxation and leave the City Council. He said he would subsequently run for election.

Council members said they had not yet heard from any others interested in the interim position.

The procedure will be mirrored in nearby Manassas Park, where commissioner William Steele died last month.

A Loan for New School

The Manassas Park City Council approved a $10 million temporary loan Tuesday night to build its new elementary school in Blooms Crossing.

The note, a short-term means of financing, will provide cash to start construction for the school, which is slated to open by spring 2001. Of the total cost, $7.5 million will be reimbursed by the state, and the rest the city will pay back through future sales of commercial and industrial property, said City Manager David W. Reynal.

The new school is meant to hold 600 students and to replace Independence Elementary School, which was built in the mid-1970s as a temporary facility. Eventually, it will be expanded to hold 1,000 students and will take the place of Conner Elementary School. The future elementary school is part of an overall plan to improve schools in Manassas Park. The city's new high school opened in February. The city plans to renovate Manassas Park Middle and Manassas Park Elementary schools in coming years.