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Issue 181

Friday, October 6, 2023

Prince William County

Dear Neighbors,

Tomorrow, I will be gratefully participating in a ribbon-cutting ceremony and celebration of the opening of Rollins Ford Park in Nokesville. As I shared in Issue 179, there have been great things happening in our County’s parks over the last four years as well as coming in the immediate future. As you have seen in prior Wheeler Reports, I have the privilege of attending many, many ribbon-cuttings not the least of which are parks. Yet, this one feels a bit extra special. I think that is because there is a component here of the long time it took to get to this into place and how it’s finally come to fruition.  

In the summer of 2009, the Park Authority Board granted approval for the master planning of County land referred to as Rollins Ford Park. It's worth noting that since then, the Park "Authority" has ceased to exist, although we still maintain a Parks and Recreation Commission. Subsequently, Phase I work began on site preparation for the eventual planned five soccer fields, a community open space, restroom/concession building, parking, and soccer turf with bleachers. At that time there were no soccer fields on County-owned land in the Linton Hall corridor but we now have Valley View Park. Then in 2014, the BOCS approved the sale of a 100-foot utility easement over the park to Dominion Power for $1.8 million and in July of 2016, two years later, the BOCS formally appropriated these funds to the Rollins Ford Park Phase II project. 

Without this funding, the wonderful park we are cutting the ribbon for tomorrow, Saturday, October 7, would not have been possible. Rollins Ford Park is a 69-acre park consisting of athletic fields, dog parks, picnic pavilions, and a custom themed destination playground. I invite you to join us tomorrow morning at 9:30 for the ribbon-cutting ceremony. It's going to be a joyful occasion featuring music, the Nokesville Fire Department offering a touch-a-fire truck, a ranger pop-up station, the DonutNV food truck, and of course, the wonderful new park for everyone to celebrate. Enjoy the festivities!

In Service,

Chair Ann Wheeler

Chair's Calendar

Honoring Those Who Serve

Tuesday, October 4, Chair Wheeler spoke at the PWC Police Department Academy Graduation. The 23 graduates completed a 24-week course of training in all aspects of police work, including classes in firearms, use-of-force decision making, driver training, legal training, patrol techniques, criminal investigation, and crash investigation. You can find the names and brief biographies of all the graduates here.

Tuesday, October 4, Chair Wheeler spoke at the PWC Police Department Promotion Ceremony. Since the last promotion ceremony, 18 sworn members have been promoted and were given the opportunity to be recognized by department leadership, their peers, and loved ones at today’s ceremony. You can find the names and their promotion rank here.

Climate Study

Thursday, October 5, Chair Wheeler was invited to participate in a research study being conducted by Dr. Maibach to assess what important community members believe, know, and say about climate change. It also aims to explore the sources of information that community leaders rely on and identify any additional climate change-related information that would be valuable to them. 

Edward Maibach, PhD., is a Distinguished University Professor at George Mason University and is the Director of Mason’s Center for Climate Change Communication. His research focuses on understanding and promoting public engagement in climate change.

Milestone Anniversary

Friday, October 6, Chair Wheeler spoke at Westminster at Lake Ridge 30th Anniversary celebration. Occoquan District Supervisor Kenny Boddye and some of his family (top center photo) also attended the celebration.

Westminster at Lake Ridge is a retirement community that offers a wide range of wellness programs, lifelong learning opportunities and abundant amenities including tai chi, discussions on a wide variety of subjects, technology classes, pond fishing, conversational language offerings, art groups, dances, local travel opportunities, and much more. The facilities include a salon/spa, library, all-day bistro, woodworking shop, fishing ponds, pickleball courts, medical clinic, and more.

Next Meeting

Tuesday, October 10

2:00 pm and 7:30 pm

For Public Comment Time options visit SpeakUp! Prince WilliamRemote speakers must sign up by 5:00 pm on Monday, October 9. In-person speakers can sign up at the meeting.

View the Agenda
Register to Speak Remotely

County News

Department Hosts Open Houses

Saturday, October 14, from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, the public is invited to celebrate Fire Prevention Week (BOCS issue 180) with the PWC Fire and Rescue System during their Open House at various stations throughout the County. Families are welcome to tour the stations and meet the firefighters who serve our community. 

Activities at some stations include vehicle extrication, air care helicopter landing, 18-foot fire truck slide, bounce house, obstacle course, fire extinguisher demonstration, and fire pup picture station. A list of the stations, locations, times, and activities can be found here.

Stations Holding Open Houses on Different Days or Times

  • Station 16, Buckhall Volunteer Fire Department in Manassas: Open House is Saturday, October 7, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm 
  • Station 14, Occoquan-Woodbridge-Lorton Volunteer Fire Department in Woodbridge: Open House is Saturday, October 14, 12:00 to 3:00 pm

It's That Time of Year

Saturday, October 21, 8:00 am to 12:00 pm, Sentara is hosting its annual free Sentara Drive-Thru Flu Event for adults 18 and over at its Northern Virginia Medical Center at 2300 Opitz Boulevard in Woodbridge. No appointment is needed. Vaccines are first come, first served while supplies last. Only the standard dose vaccine will be offered. Public health experts have not recommended one type of flu vaccine more highly than another for people 65 and older. 

There's More

Sentara offers a wide variety of classes, events, and support groups. You can search them all by keyword, location, and category here.

Supporting the Military Community

Wednesday, October 25, 11:00 am to 2:00 pm, the PWC Department of Economic Development is hosting its second annual ELEVATE Career Fair at the National Museum of the Marine Corps. The event connects military veterans, military spouses, and transitioning active-duty members with more than 25 employers from the Fortune 500 and businesses in sectors like information technology, healthcare, the public sector, and more.

Invasive Insect Now Pervasive

The Spotted Lanternfly (SLF, County News issue 125) is an invasive insect that can cause the decline, and sometimes death of more than 100 plant species in the area. The first sighting in PWC was in March of 2021. Since then, the pest has spread to all corners of the County. Females are now dispersing and laying eggs. Check your vehicles and anything being transported before you leave infested areas then Scrape and Squish any eggs you find. You can learn more about the SLF and how to mitigate it in our area from the PWC Public Works and Virginia Cooperative Extension..

Grant to Address Youth Mental Health

PWC Community Services’ Youth Behavioral Health and Recovery Services Division recently received a $4 million grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). It will be used to establish System of Care, a four-year collaborative approach program that provides resources to children and youth from birth to age 21, who are at risk for or have serious emotional disturbances, and their families. Working together across agencies helps ensure the County’s youth safety, as well as success at home, school, and in the community. 

There is Still Time

Early voting for the November 7 General Election is underway in PWC (County News issue 178). In addition to voting in-person, there is still time to vote by mail. Below is some key information on requesting and submitting a mail-in ballot. You can learn more about voting by mail at PWC Votes. Once mailed, you can track your ballot’s journey and status here.

How to Apply for a Mail-in Ballot

Submit the request online through the Virginia Department of Elections with state-issued identification.

Download and print the application and submit it to PWC Office of Elections by:

  • Mailing it in or dropping it off at 9250 Lee Avenue in Manassas.
  • Emailing it to
  • Faxing it to 703-792-4973.

Pick up an application at the PWC Office of Elections at 9250 Lee Avenue in Manassas or at any Prince William County library.

Important Mail-in Ballot Dates

The last day to request that a ballot be mailed to you is Friday, October 27, at 5:00 pm.

Ballots mailed to PWC Office of Elections at 9250 Lee Avenue, Suite 1, Manassas, Virginia 20111, must be postmarked no later than Tuesday, November 7.

Ballots placed in any PWC Dropbox during Early Voting or on Election Day must be received by 7:00 pm on November 7.

Integral Part of a Vital County Resource

Sunday, October 15, through Saturday, October 21, PWC Public Libraries is celebrating its Friends of the Library groups as part of the 18th annual celebration of National Friends of Libraries Week. Seven Friends groups support the 12 library branches throughout PWC and the City of Manassas. They help fund programs and services year-round, as well as promote membership and the value of public libraries. Visit here to learn about becoming a Friends member and its most popular program, used book sales.

More About Friends of the Library

The first Friends group helped establish Prince William Public Libraries in 1952. Each group is an individual 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

In FY 2023, the Friends of the Libraries donated nearly $90,000 to for entertaining and educational programs for all ages!

Speaking of the Libraries

You can check out all the latest PWC Public Libraries programs and upcoming events in its Fall 2023 Explore online magazine. Short paper versions are available at any of the libraries 12 locations. Additionally, you can browse the online events calendar to learn more about upcoming events and register to attend. .

Spooktacular October at the Libraries

There are also lots of Haunted Happenings at the various branches throughout October.

You can find lots more upcoming spooky events across PWC in County Happenings below!

County Kudos

Highest Level of Recognition

The PWC Girl Scouts program has awarded four PWC Public School 2023 graduates with the Gold Award, the highest honor it bestows. Nearly 3,200 Gold Award projects were completed nationwide this year, and 164 members of the Nation’s Capital council received their Gold Award.

To earn the Gold Award, candidates must find an issue in their community, or in the world, they care about. After conducting extensive research about it through extensive research. Next they identify a team of adults in their community who can help them and designate a plan of action. Candidates must submit a proposal for approval, lead their team, carry out their plan, reflect on the outcomes, share their story, and inspire others to action.

Gold Award projects require a commitment from the candidate of at least 80 hours. A project might be completed over the course of a summer—or in the span of a year or more. Students in grades 9-12 who are a registered Girl Scout Senior or Ambassador are eligible to apply to become a Gold Award Girl Scout.

Kaci Atkins, C.D. Hylton High School

Girl Scout Service Unit 80-5

“Rosa Parks Outdoor Learning Garden”

Atkins partnered with Rosa Parks Elementary School to build a learning garden featuring eight raised garden beds, one for each grade level including Pre-K classrooms. The plants, flowers, and vegetables planted in each bed reflect concepts from the Virginia Standards of Learning.

Natalie Korzuch, Charles J. Colgan Sr. High School

Girl Scout Service Unit 80-9

“Opening Eyes to Animal Safety: Pets and Wildlife”

Korzuch partnered with a local animal non-profit to create brochures, a patch program, school curriculum, guided workshop on animal safety, and donated a microchip reader to the Animal Services Center. She is also one of 110 award recipients nationally to receive a $10,000 scholarship. 

Kathryn Layton, Charles J. Colgan Sr. High School

Girl Scout Service Unit 80-5

“Women’s Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon"

Layton initiated a held a Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon so that the historical contributions of women and underrepresented minorities to the United States can be easily referenced on Wikipedia.

Niveda Mahesh, Woodbridge High School

Girl Scout Service Unit 80-6

“Reducing Food Waste in Local McDonald’s”

Mahesh partnered with her local McDonald’s restaurant and Food Donation Connection, an organization that facilitates the donation of surplus food to people in need and reduces food waste. Through her project effort, Mahesh organized a donation from McDonald’s to a homeless shelter.

County Happenings

"Spooky" Good Fun from PWC Office of Historic Preservation and Department of Parks and Recreation

Wednesday, October 18, 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm Take a Sip of History: Ghost Stories of PWC

Grab a pint and enjoy the Halloween season with a night of ghost stories from throughout Prince William County’s nearly 300 year history at Water's End Brewery in Lake Ridge. Civil War soldiers, unknown creatures, duels, killers, victims, and more at least inhabit the memories of PWC’s people. Admission is free, donations are welcome.

A Special "Brew"

Water’s End is brewing Floating Coffin IPA as part of the Sip of History series and is donating 10% of draft beer sales of this brew on October 18 to the Prince William Historic Preservation Foundation. 

Thursday, October 25, 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm

Haunted Gro Trail

Come out to James Long Regional Park for a costume party, Halloween games and activities, and of course trick-or-treating all wrapped into an Adventure Trail experience. Come dressed up in your Halloween costume! For ages 2 to 8, accompanied by a parent or guardian. Cost is $5 per child. Sign up here

Friday, October 27, 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm Campfire Ghost Stories of Ben Lomond

Ben Lomond has a diverse and grim history as a Civil War hospital, a farm, and a private home. Over the years, many have claimed to see ghosts and other spooky happenings at the site. You can also enjoy s'mores at the campfire. Bring your own chair and flashlight. Purchase tickets, $5 per person, here or at door. Children under 6 are free. 

Saturday, October 28, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Spirit of Brentsville Haunted History Tour

In 1822, the small town of Brentsville opened as the County Seat and for over 200 years was the site of trials, war, murder, depression, pranks and more. Participants will take a walk through its most terrifying moments in history complete with ghost stories and surprises. Purchase tickets, $15 per person, here (space is limited, advance purchase recommended) or call 703-365-895. 

Saturday, October 28, and Sunday, October 29, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm

Locust Shade Park Haunted Mini Golf Beware of any frightful weather. This family-friendly event is for ghouls of all ages. Youth (3-16 yrs) are $5.25, adults (17-59 yrs) are $6.00, seniors (60 yrs+) are $5.25. and groups of 10 or more, $4.50 each person. Children under 3 playing with a paying adult are free.

Saturday, October 28, 10:00 am to 12:00 pm

Spooky Shot at Silver Lake Park

Trained instructors will take adults and children through instructions and tactics about how to nail the bullseye or even some pumpkins. Come in costume if it does not prevent shooting safely. Score as a family and get a family prize. Will also include yard darts and cornhole. All equipment is provided. Tickets are $35 per person.

Historic Event Milestone Anniversary

Friday, October 13, through Sunday, October 15, PWC is commemorating the 160th Anniversary of Battle of Bristoe Station.

Friday, October 13, 7:30 pm to 8:30 pm

Prelude to Battle: Voices of the Bristoe Station Campaign

Experience the stories of the participants of the Bristoe Station Campaign through their own words in an immersive program. 

Saturday, October 14, 11:00 am to 5:00 pm

160th Anniversary of the Battle of Bristoe Station

Tour the battlefield, see infantry and artillery demonstrations, and experience an immersive battle demonstration.

Saturday, October 14, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Bristoe Station Luminary

Tour the battlefield and see nearly 1,000 luminary candles placed for the soldiers who died at Bristoe Station during the Civil War. Living history vignettes will be located across the battlefield and guided tours will lead visitors to meet the individuals who made history here.

Sunday, October 15, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm

Bury These Poor Men: The Aftermath of the Battle at Bristoe Station

Nearly 1,700 casualties resulted from the Battle of Bristoe Station. Learn about the process of burying dead soldiers and mending the wounded during this walking tour of Bristoe Station Battlefield Heritage Park.

Helpful PWC Links

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 482,000 residents. 
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