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Issue 60
Friday, April 9, 2021
Prince William County
Dear Neighbors,

When we are young, we are often asked what we want to be when we grow up. The future is a blank slate and the world is our oyster, so options seem limitless. Yet, fundamentally, we share the same wants when we look ahead. Self-sufficiency to provide for our needs, a healthy and vibrant place to live, and a happy environment with friends and family. This is the same future we want for our county.

For self-sufficiency, it's essential to recognize the expansion of our commercial and industrial tax base is the key to achieving this goal. There are many ways we can accomplish this and an Economic Development article below highlights a recent success in this area. I'm excited SES chose Prince William County for its headquarters and what this represents for the future of attracting business to locate here.

An important facet of a healthy and vibrant place to live is sustainability. It's important to understand what sustainability is, and what it isn't. Sustainability focuses on meeting the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs. The concept of sustainability is composed of three pillars: economic, environmental, and equity—also known informally as profits, planet, and people.

Sustainability does not mean we don't continue to grow our available housing or road network. It does not mean we halt all progress. It means we do so with the idea of balancing all the three pillars of economic, environment and equity as we plan for the future. This isn't always an easy task, but fortunately in Prince William County we have already established a solid foundation. In the Environmental Sustainability article below, you'll learn about the gains we've made and how we're looking to take our efforts up a notch for the future.

On a final note, I'm excited to share we are continuing to make great strides in our vaccination efforts! With over 200,000 doses administered, 30% of Prince William County has now received at least one dose of the vaccine.

In Service,
Chair Ann Wheeler
Economic Development News
The PWC Department of Economic Development announced that SES, a leading global content connectivity solutions provider, will be consolidating its offices into a new facility in PWC. Located at 8050 Piney Branch Lane, the facility will serve as the U.S. technology and operations hub for SES and create more than 200 new jobs with a $17 million expansion investment.

The PWC Department of Economic Development successfully competed with Maryland and Washington, D.C. for the project. Tom Birnbach, President and Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors, and Samuel Heiber, Principal at Cresa, the commercial real estate firm representing SES, determined that Prince William County met all of SES’s goals and objectives for future growth of its U.S. technology and operations hub.

As the leader in global content connectivity solutions, SES operates the world’s only multi-orbit constellation of satellites with the unique combination of global coverage and high performance. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with PWC to secure the project for Virginia. Governor Ralph Northam approved a $500,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist PWC with the project.
“We landed on the ideal location of Prince William County as it provides SES with the space to continue providing seamless services to our customers and aligns with our goal to deliver future-proof and innovative solutions for customers, while adapting how we will work in a post-pandemic world."
Steve Collar
The Northern Virginia Bioscience Center, a 30,000 square-foot commercial wet lab space, will be opening in December 2021. Designed to build and grow promising life science-based companies, the center will offer access to infrastructure, equipment, expertise, and startup support services. The facility will offer multiple spec plans available to accommodate tenants of all sizes, with labs starting at 980 square feet. PWC's life sciences sector has emerged as a center of discovery, development, and innovation.
"Being in the heart of Innovation Park, within close proximity to Mason's Science and Technology Campus and related research institutes, will only enhance our work going forward."
Dr. Cohava Gelber
CEO Serpin Pharma, LLC
Environmental Sustainability in PWC
At their April 6 meeting, the BOCS heard a detailed presentation on environmental sustainability in PWC. The presentation provided historical context and highlighted the County's achievements to date. It also outlined potential future options the Board could consider for even greater impact. Key components of the presentation are captured below. The full presentation can be viewed here and key components are highlighted below.

In 1994 the Environmental Management System (EMS) was introduced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). As part of its implementation, in 2000, Virginia's Department of Environmental Quality introduced the Virginia Environmental Excellence Program (VEEP), a robust application program with three certification tiers for facilities:

  • Environmental Enterprise (E2) - early stages of implementing EMS
  • Exemplary Environmental Enterprise (E3) - fully implemented EMS
  • Extraordinary Environmental Enterprise (E4) - third party verification of fully-implemented EMS with a commitment to measures for continuous and sustainable environmental progress and community involvement

In 2003, the BOCS adopted the EMS in PWC. Four years later, in 2007, PWC Solid Waste Division was certified as an E4 facility and in 2012 the Police Department and Libraries were certified as E2 facilities. The BOCS in 2013 adopted its own environmental policy statement.

From 2000 to 2014, several PWC facilities received Governor's Awards for their environmental accomplishments and four additional facilities have been certified by VEEP. Public Works, Facilities & Fleet Management (FFM), Fire & Rescue, and Parks, Rec & Tourism are all now E3 certified facilities.

Multiple initiatives by County facilities have had significant impacts on environmental sustainability to include:

  • Reduction of single-use water bottles by over 500,000 a year through the installation of water bottle station units.
  • 154 Million kWh of energy generated from landfills along with a 2.1 Million kWh reduced consumption in buildings.
  • A 5,900-lbs reduction in hazardous waste and 19,200-lbs recycled.
  • 64,461-lbs reduction in pollution.
Potential Future

 PWC's successes demonstrate its commitment to environmental policies and regulations. Innovation is the key to moving from compliance to achieving impactful and lasting environmental sustainability. Recommendations by the PWC Environmental Council, which is comprised of six departments, include:

  • Establishing an Office of Sustainability
  • Budgeting and Appropriating for a Community Energy Master Plan/Sustainability Plan
  • Creating a Sustainability Commission

A funding mechanism for these could include enacting the $0.05 local tax on each disposable plastic bag provided at grocery, convenience, and drug stores. Localities are enabled to impose this tax through legislation passed by Virginia's General Assembly during their 2020 session.
Vaccination Updates
Expanded Eligibility
Effective Monday, April 5, the Prince William Health District officially moved into Phase 1c eligibility. Moving into Phase 1c means that additional essential workers are now eligible to get their free COVID-19 vaccine.

If you previously signed up in Virginia's pre-registration system, are in an eligible group, and have not been contacted for an appointment, please visit the online registration system to confirm and update your information. If you cannot locate your information in the system, please register again. Another option to confirm if your information is correct is by calling the COVID Vaccine Hotline at 1-877-829-4682 (1-877-VAX-IN-VA).
Additional Eligibility to Expand Later this Month

During his visit on April 1 at the First Mount Zion Baptist Church vaccination center in PWC (issue 59), Governor Ralph Northam announced that all individuals in Virginia age 16 and older will be eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine starting on Sunday, April 18.

This news comes as nearly every Virginian in the highest risk groups, who has pre-registered for a vaccination, has received an appointment, and those still on the pre-registration list are expected to receive appointment invitations within the next two weeks.
How You Can Help in Vaccination Efforts
Virginia is now administering an average of almost 80,000 COVID-19 vaccines a day. As vaccine availability continues to increase and eligibility expands, more volunteers are needed to administer doses. Virginia has recently taken the two actions outlined below to help ensure there are enough vaccinators.
Expanded the pool of health care providers eligible to administer the COVID-19 vaccine. These include, but are not limited to, dentists, dental hygienists, veterinarians, optometrists, and health professions students enrolled in an accredited Virginia program.
Established the Virginia Volunteer Vaccinator Registry (VVVR) COVID-19 emergency program that serves as a pathway for eligible providers who only wish to serve as vaccinators. The VVVR is temporary. Once the COVID-19 pandemic is over, there will be no ongoing volunteer opportunities.
Becoming a member of the Virginia Medical Reserve Corps (VA MRC) is another way to assist in COVID-19 vaccination efforts (issue 48). The 22 local MRC units are comprised of teams of medical, public health professionals, and non-medical community members who volunteer their skills, expertise, and time. The VA MRC was established in 2002 and will continue to serve during emergencies after the pandemic.
Vaccine 101
  • Pre-register for the vaccine online or by calling the COVID Vaccine Hotline at 1-877-829-4682 (1-877-VAX-IN-VA). When it is your turn, you will be contacted to make an appointment.

  • Follow the Prince William Health District on Facebook or Twitter for announcements of open appointments and pop-up clinics.

  • You are considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after your second dose in a 2-dose vaccine series (Pfizer or Moderna), or 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine (Johnson & Johnson).

  • Once fully vaccinated, you should still keep taking precautions in public places and must continue to follow Virginia's mitigation current measures (issue 58).
BOCS Upcoming Meeting
TuesdayApril 13
at 2:00 pm and 7:30 pm

Budget Public Hearings and
Budget Recap Presentation begin at 7:30 pm

For Public Comment Time options,
visit SpeakUp! Prince William.
Remote speakers must sign-up by
5:00 pm on Monday, April 12.
In-person speakers can sign up at the meeting.
Upcoming Budget Meetings
TuesdayApril 20
7:30 pm - Budget Markup

TuesdayApril 27
7:30 pm - Budget Adoption

For Additional Budget Information
You can find an overview of the County's budget process in Issue 53 and more detailed information on the PWC Budget webpage.
Important BOCS Proclamations
Child Abuse Prevention Month
The BOCS recognized April as Child Abuse Prevention Month. In Federal Fiscal Year 2020, 37,266 reports were made to child protective services in Northern Virginia. Of those reports, 5,845 were made to child protective services in PWC.

The PWC Department of Social Services is participating in a Pinwheels for Prevention campaign and sharing the message that all children should be raised in healthy nurturing homes, free from abuse and neglect. You can show support for preventing child abuse by wearing blue, the official color of prevention, on April 13. Individuals can plant a pinwheel garden to raise awareness, share resources with families who need them, volunteer their time, or mentor a parent or child in their family or community.

If you suspect child abuse or neglect:
Call the PWC Protective Services Hotline at 703-792-4200 or the 24-hour Virginia Child Abuse Hotline at 800-552-7096.
This year's theme in PWC is "Strengthening Families." In support of this theme, the Department of Social Services invites residents to have fun with children in their family or neighborhood by painting words, phrases, or symbols related to Child Abuse Prevention on rocks. Once the rocks are complete, hide them throughout your neighborhood or community for other families to find.
The blue pinwheel, representing the whimsy and innocence of childhood, is a national symbol for child abuse prevention. Its shape calls to mind the positive cycles of love and support. The pinwheel's reflection of light shows the bright future all children deserve and serve as a reminder of the role we all play in children's lives.
Sexual Assault Month
The BOCS recognized April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Sexual assault is a widespread crisis with public and personal health implications. It affects people of every age, race, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, socioeconomic background, and religion.

The BOCS will continue partnerships with local organizations that provide protective and empowering environments for all and encourage law enforcement agencies to make sure victims of sexual assault are heard and validated. They will also strongly support national, state and local partners to engage the public on how to support sexual assault survivors.

According to a 2018 National Crime Victimization Survey:
  • Every 73 seconds someone in the U. S. is sexually harassed, sexually abused, sexually assaulted, or raped
  • One in six women and one in 33 men are victims of attempted or completed sexual assault in their lifetimes.
  • One in nine girls and one in 53 boys under the age of 18 fall victim to sexual assault at the hands of adults
  • 47% percent of transgender people are sexually assaulted at some point in their lifetime.
Woodbridge District Supervisor Margaret Franklin (left), and Chair-at-Large Ann Wheeler (far right), presented a certificate recognizing April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month to advocates Angela Henz and Katelyn Page at the April 6 BOCS meeting.
National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week
The BOCS recognized the week of April 11-17 as National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week. Very often, the first contact people have with the County in cases of emergency is when they call 9-1-1 and get a public safety telecommunicator on the line. Emergencies require a prompt response. Telecommunicators contribute substantially to apprehending criminals, fire suppression, and patient treatment.

Public safety telecommunicators provide important instructions and moral support to distressed callers, while field responders and equipment are being dispatched to the scene. Telecommunicators are under pressure, yet must do their jobs with compassion, understanding, and professionalism.
County News
There is Still Time to Help Shape the County's Brand
Register for Chair Wheeler's Countywide online community engagement session, Wednesday, April 21, 7:00 to 8:30 pm, to share your feedback and ideas on how the County can best adapt, differentiate, and expand economic growth as we move out of the pandemic (issue 59). These sessions, held by the Chair and District Supervisors, will help craft important messaging blueprints for County government staff and leadership.
Drug 'Take Back' Day
Saturday, April 24, from 10 am to 2 pm, the PWC Police Department joins the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and community partners in its semiannual drug 'Take Back' event at Novant Health UVA Health System Prince William Medical Center, Novant Health UVA Health System Haymarket Medical Center, and Sentara Lake Ridge.
Providing Equity
PWC has collaborated with NAKASEC Virginia and Asian American communities to ensure greater language access for residents. The County is offering more language support such as paper and digital applications in Korean, Vietnamese, and Dari, along with a multilingual language phone line to individuals eligible for the Emergency Housing Assistance Program (EHAP). The partnership provides an opportunity to improve services and allows for creating systemic processes of equity and inclusion.
"Prince William County will continue to improve the language process and plant seeds of trust in the community that we are an action-oriented government and with the access of their voice to resources we will continue to improve."
Maria Burgos
PWC Equity and Inclusion Officer
School News
One Teacher Making a Difference
Faith Thompson, a first-grade teacher at Yorkshire Elementary School, couldn't recall her teachers reading books that had characters who looked like her. That's why, in the summer of 2020, she presented a vision for a program to share books with diverse characters to teach diversity and inclusion through storytelling.

Thompson’s original idea was to have people donate books to her and her fellow teachers at Yorkshire Elementary. When word got out NBC Washington and “CBS This Morning” shared her idea. Then SPARK, the education foundation for PWCS, heard about Thompson’s quest for book donations and introduced her to Radhika Bajaj, the founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Bookworm Central.

Bookworm Central customized an existing, similar program to create “Book Connect: Celebrating Diversity and Inclusion.” The materials include a copy of 10 books, student activity handbooks, and a teacher’s guide. Other program sponsors include Koons Auto Group, Lockheed Martin, Micron, Novant/UVA Health Systems, Sandy Spring Bank, Walmart, and Watermark Risk Management, LLC.

The program is currently in 117 classrooms in seven schools in PWCS. Thompson hopes to share the program across Virginia and nationwide. 
What's Happening at PWC Public Libraries
Prince William Public Libraries is expanding its great programs, as well as adding innovative services thanks, to the support of several local and national partners. Learn more about the funding sources, associated programs, and the branch locations where they are being offered below. Contact the branch to learn more.
Potomac Library
Grow Remote Program will provide tips to improve work skills, especially those needed for working remotely.

Central, Nokesville, and Haymarket Gainesville Libraries
Learn about pollinators by building gardens, as well as, viewing special displays and participating in programs.

Montclair and Manassas City Libraries
Learn about composting by building bins to promote sustainability, as well as, viewing special displays and participating in programs.
Funding: Dominion Energy's Environmental Education and Stewardship Grant from ChangeX, a nonprofit supported by Microsoft
Independent Hill Library
Great Stories Club, a community engagement program on topics relevant to young adults, provides the opportunity to learn, interact, work collaboratively with peers, read a book, watch a film, and explore a topic of their choosing.
Funding: Libraries Transforming Communities: Focus on Small and Rural Libraries grant from the American Library Association
Potomac and Dumfries Libraries
Seed Libraries give patrons up to five packets of organic seeds for fruits, vegetables or herbs per visit.
Funding: Community Grant from Transurban
Purchase of new materials for classes and programs, such as American Ways: An Introduction to American Culture.
Funding: TESOL and Tina B. Carver Fund's Teaching Materials Grant
It's Springtime!
The spring weather typically brings with it the urge to get active. From to-dos to fun, PWC has lots to offer. Whether you're looking to clean out the garage, do some landscaping, spruce up your lawn, or looking for something fun, you will find something in the programs and events below.
Springtime and spring-cleaning typically go together. The PWC Solid Waste Facilities offers an environmentally appropriate space for almost everything in their A to Z Disposal Guide.
Check out Prince William Cooperative Extension’s Environment and Natural Resources' wide variety of online educational programs on lawn care and landscaping. Teaching videos are available on its YouTube channel.
Speaking of lawn care, property owners in PWC, the City of Manassas, and the City of Manassas Park can sign up for the BEST Lawns Program. For a fee of $40, a Master Gardener volunteer can come to your home, measure the total lawn area, and collect a soil sample to test. After the soil is analyzed and tested, you will receive a BEST Lawns Care Handbook and a customized lime and fertilizer plan for your lawn. Additional soil tests are $15 each.
With 38 square miles of parkland and green space, PWC offers an array of outdoor activities, farms, parks, outdoor dining spots, and more. Learn all about the April socially distant in-person and virtual events.
Ann B. Wheeler was elected Chair At-Large of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors during the 2019 General Election and assumed office on January 1, 2020. Prince William County is located 25 miles south of Washington, D.C., and is the Commonwealth of Virginia’s second-most populous county with approximately 470,000 residents.