Issue 35
Friday, October 9, 2020
Prince William County
Dear Neighbors,

While I haven't been able to speak on this previously, I am pleased to now share that the lawsuit brought against five members of the Board of County Supervisors, including myself, was dismissed from Court on Wednesday, October 7th. If you aren't aware of the suit, or perhaps only know of it tangentially, let me provide some background.

Following the tragic death of George Floyd on May 25th, people across the nation gathered in public expressions of disapproval. One such assembly occurred in our County on Saturday, May 30th and was declared unlawful. That evening, the Virginia State Police and protestors clashed, property was damaged, and the State Police used chemical agents and rubber bullets on those assembled.

A community meeting was hastily organized for the next day by our County police to review what had happened and hear from the community. Independently and unknowingly, Supervisors Victor Angry (Neabsco), Kenny Boddye (Occoquan), Andrea Bailey (Potomac), Margaret Franklin (Woodbridge), and I showed up at the community meeting to listen.

Subsequently, three citizens filed the lawsuit alleging our attendance was a crime under Virginia FOIA law § 2.2-3707.

People in positions of knowledge and authority never supported the suit:

  • "At no time were there three or more supervisors sitting or talking together or discussing board business or taking votes," Prince William County Attorney Michelle Robl told InsideNoVA "It does not meet the board's definition of a meeting."

  • Alan Gernhardt, Executive Director of the Virginia Freedom of Information Advisory Council, a state agency that helps resolve disputes regarding the state's FOIA law, said in an email to Prince William Times “nothing in FOIA prohibits public officials from listening to matters of public concern.”

Clearly, the judge agreed. Now that this matter has been dismissed, let's get on with seeing to the business of Prince William County and serving its residents.

In Service,
Chair Ann Wheeler

PS: If you are wondering why this background is pink, it is to honor National Breast Cancer Awareness month. There is an article at the end of The Wheeler Report discussing it. As a breast cancer survivor, who has greatly benefited by all the advances in this area, I am working to raise awareness of this important health issue.
Community Conversations
Why Local Matters
 Chair Ann Wheeler joined Virginia Delegate Hala Ayala, and Virginia Senator Scott A. Surovell in Prince William Colors' inaugural podcast. The conversation focused on understanding the significant and many ways county and state government impacts our daily lives. Listen to the engaging 20-minute dialogue on any podcast platform. Learn more about Prince William Colors and their future podcast episodes on their social media pages.
What Are You Waiting For?
Protect yourself and your fellow Virginians! If you haven't already, download the COVIDWISE app. Go ahead, take a quick break from The Wheeler Report and do it now. Remind your family and friends too.
More Help For Schools
Governor Ralph Northam announced a new allocation of more than $220 million in federal CARES Act dollars to help K-12 public schools in Virginia. The funding will support COVID-19 preparedness and response measures for the 2020–2021 school year. The funds will be allocated based on fall enrollment, and PWC Schools will be receiving almost $16 million.
Additional Assistance Available
Governor Northam is directing $12 million additional federal CARES Act funding to Virginia’s Rent and Mortgage Relief Program for households and landlords to avoid eviction or foreclosure due to the pandemic. The initial $50 million federal CARES Act funds allocated to the program when it launched in June has been exhausted. Current state and federal eviction court protections do not prevent rent and mortgage payments from accumulating. 
Thanks to the efforts of Chair Wheeler's Service Authority Appointee, they are distributing a total of $2.7 million to customers as a bill credit. The specific credit amount will show as a separate line item on your current billing cycle between
September 29 and October 29. Use the hyperlink for more information on the Service Authority's COVID-related assistance programs.
Registration Is Open
PWC Government and PWC Schools, through a $2 million grant established by the BOCS from federal CARES Act funds, have created a Childcare Scholarship Program! Families impacted by COVID-19 by job loss, reduction in wages, new childcare expenses due to remote learning, or are teleworking without access to childcare may be eligible. The program is available for up to 1,000 students, Monday through Friday, from 6 am to 6:30 pm, at several Prince William County elementary schools. 
"Prince William County knows the COVID-19 pandemic has hit some families in our area hard financially. We are happy to partner with Prince William County Schools to offer families some financial relief through this childcare scholarship program." 
Ann Wheeler
Board of County Supervisors Chair-at-Large
New To Voting By Mail
Want to utilize vote by mail due to the pandemic, but worried about doing it properly? Then check out this video by PWC Office of Elections. It is just over two minutes and will set you up for success!
Due to the ongoing pandemic, Halloween will be different this year. To encourage the safety, health and wellbeing of residents, Prince William Health District officials recommend that families do not participate in traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating or other activities that risk transmission of COVID-19. 
"We understand that Halloween is usually a joyous time when families venture out to participate in a variety of fun fall activities. After being stuck indoors for months, cabin fever may really be getting to residents, and they may want to venture out. However, we are still in the midst of a pandemic. It is important that everyone exercise prudence and caution. This will help us all stay healthy and well."
Dr. Alison Ansher
Prince William Health District Director
Additional Time Granted
The US Census Bureau has extended the window for self-reporting to Saturday, October 31. Please continue to encourage everyone you know to complete the census.
The BOCS will hold a Work Session
TuesdayOctober 13 at 2:00 pm
at The Kelly Leadership Center
14715 Bristow Road
Manassas, VA 20112

The work session will be followed by a joint evening work session with the PWC School Board. Remote citizen comment time is not available and the meeting will not be broadcast live. The audio will be recorded and posted on the county website.

County News
A Great Trend
For the 13th consecutive year, the on-time graduation rate in PWC Public Schools has continued to increase according to a report released by the Virginia Department of Education. The 93% on-time graduation rate surpasses the overall rate in Virginia of 92.3%. The 2020 graduation rate marks our 13th consecutive year of improvement.
A Great Idea!
Remember PWC's new state of the art compost facility featured in Issue 32? Now through a combination of funding, including a $88,270 grant appropriated by the BOCS from a U.S. Department of Agriculture division, six schools will pilot a system to collect and divert their food waste to the facility. Then, in a true win-win, our Solid Waste Division will provide the schools with finished compost for use in existing school gardens to help students learn about ecological cycles, the environmental benefits of compost, and applying it to gardens.
A Notable Recognition
PWC received two 2020 Annual Achievement of Excellence in Procurement® Awards from the National Procurement Institute, Inc. The award was earned by 188 public and non-profit agencies in the United States and Canada. PWC Government and Schools received two of eight garnered in Virginia! The award serves to recognize procurement organizations that embrace innovation, professionalism, productivity, leadership and e-procurement.
"Prince William County is delighted to receive this national recognition. Our Finance team works hard to ensure we follow best practices related to the procurement process. It is always fulfilling when your efforts are recognized by fellow professionals in your field." 
Michelle Attreed
Prince William County Chief Financial Officer
Each year in October pink is in all sorts of places - NFL football players, airplanes, comic strips, and even The Wheeler Report! While the pandemic has impacted typical, normally in October you would also see a wide variety of walks, vigils, and fund raisers. It's all to put a spotlight on Breast Cancer. Odds are you or someone you know has been impacted by this disease.
In The United States
  • 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime
  • Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women (some kinds of skin cancer are the most common)
  • Black women and white women get breast cancer at about the same rate but Black women die from breast cancer at a higher rate than white women
  • Deaths from breast cancer are the second leading cause of cancer death among women overall and the leading cause of cancer death among Hispanic women
Each Year In the United States
  • About 250,000 women and 2,300 men are diagnosed with breast cancer
  • About 42,000 women and 510 men die from breast cancer
"For this month what we're highlighting is the fact that prevention is getting in and getting your annual mammogram and that's the best prevention."

"The best ways to avoid getting breast cancer for women are to get regular exercise and keep a healthy weight. Limit your alcohol. Talk to your physician."
Christine Doering
Inova contractor working as an employee wellness coordinator for the Prince William County Office of Risk & Wellness Services
Interested In More PWC History
Then Here's The Place For You!
The Prince William Historic Preservation Division YouTube Channel is full of great videos about the diverse history located right here. A division of Parks and Recreation, they bring history to life and light through interpretation, research, living history, special events, lectures, and exhibits. You can also visit their website to learn more about them.
Did You Know?
Prince William Forest Park was home to many Native American people, including the Doeg and Powhatan tribes. Still today, archeologists can find evidence of stone tools, camping sites, and other traces of Native Americans there.
On Monday, October 12, we honor and celebrate Native Americans’ lives and commemorate their rich history and culture. This year on Indigenous Peoples’ day, challenge yourself to learn something new about the Natives, and if you happen to walk the trails of camp, or simply drive by Prince William Forest, cherish that the very firsts were also once walking on these same paths.
Speaking Of History
Looking for something to do with the family this weekend? National Museum of the Marine Corps has extended its display of the two flags raised at Iwo Jima through Monday, October 12. Note, the museum will be open as usual from 9 am to 5 pm on the 12th, Columbus Day.
75th Anniversary
U.S. Marines made an amphibious landing on the Japanese island Iwo Jima on February 19, 1945. The iconic photograph, Raising of the Flag at Iwo Jima, was taken on February 23 atop Mount Suribachi. A 546-foot dormant volcanic cone at the southern tip of the island and tactically one of the most important locations. The first flag, raised in the morning, was captured and a second larger one was raised later that day. This second raising was the subject of the photograph. The ensuing Battle of Iwo Jima lasted for five weeks. Occurring near the end of World War II, the battle is considered some of the bloodiest fighting of war. It is believed all but 200 or so of the 21,000 Japanese forces on the island were killed, as were almost 7,000 Marines. 
Need Something Fixed?
Then PWC's free Fix-It Fair on Saturday, October 17 from 10:00 am 4:00 is for you! You'll consult with the repair person, drop off the item and pick it up when it's ready. Social distancing and masks are required. Repair work appointments and pre-registration are required.

Acceptable items include:
  • Small appliances and electronics
  • Small Furniture
  • Jewelry
  • Clothing
  • Bicycles
  • Small engines (i.e. weed wackers)
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.