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Issue 99
Friday, January 14, 2022
Prince William County
Dear Neighbors,

My annual State of the County address below reminded me of the many issues the County has faced over the last two years. I am grateful for County staff and how well they have responded and excelled over the last 24 months as they adjusted operations to emergency status. They are the backbone of good governance and we have seen time and time again how well they answer that call. 

I am currently visiting with many different departments throughout the County and will be highlighting them in this and future issues to help give an appreciation of all they do. It is budget season, and I am doing all I can to make sure I know our County departments and what they face each day.  

Throughout this time, The Wheeler Report has been a staple of my office. While it was started as a way to disseminate information about the pandemic, it has become something much, much more. It's been a way to provide upcoming agendas which let people have easy access to what is next on the Board's calendar. It's been a way to highlight our County and community for their achievements. It's been a way to share what our office has been doing. Ultimately, it's meant to help you, the reader, feel more connected to the County Government.

While readers can have different opinions on what they want to see, we try to bring you fair and unbiased information about many items. We also group content into sections to make it easier for each reader to focus on what is of interest to them. Please know that you are always welcome to unsubscribe, there is a link at the bottom. Also know that The Wheeler Report is my office's way of bringing you a variety of topics we think are important, timely and informative. While some newsletters have different goals, that is ours. Enjoy!

In Service,
Chair Ann Wheeler
Annual State of the County Address
Chair Wheeler delivered her annual State of the County address on Tuesday, January 11 at the opening of the first Board meeting of 2022. You can hear her remarks in the video below and read them here.
Chair's Department Visits
Department of Community Services
On Tuesday, January 11, Chair Wheeler visited with the Department of Community Services. Led by Executive Director Lisa Madron, this department is committed to improving the wellbeing of residents of PWC, the City of Manassas, and the City of Manassas Park.

The adult services include programs addressing clinical behavioral health, comprehensive outpatient recovery, vocational rehabilitation, and developmental disabilities. Specific programs include: Get On Track for ages 16-25 who may be experiencing early signs of psychosis, Senior Adult Services for home-bound senior adults, and PATH for individuals with serious mental illnesses and co-occurring substance use disorders who are homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless. 

The youth services include programs addressing infant and toddler early intervention, youth developmental disabilities, and youth mental health and substance abuse services. Within youth services, the New Horizons Program provides an array of services to youth and their families with mental health, substance use, and co-occurring issues. Its offerings include behavioral health and wellness, case management, clinic-based, probation, and school-based services.
Spending time with the Department of Community Services reaffirmed how vital its work is for the people of Prince William County. That has never been truer than the during the last two years as mental health struggles, substance abuse, and homelessness increased. During the pandemic, this department has been on the frontlines. Yet, even with the challenges that brings, it has remained fully dedicated to serving our residents.
Ann Wheeler
Board of County Supervisors Chair At-Large
Human Resources
On Thursday, January 13, Chair Wheeler visited with Human Resources (HR). This agency leads PWC’s efforts to attract, recruit, motivate, and retain high-performing employees in support of achievement of the County’s vision, values, and strategic goals. Led by Director Joe Gilkerson (far right in photo), the HR staff serves over 4000 full-time, part-time and limited-time County employees in over 50 agencies.
The Benefits Division develops, communicates and administers a comprehensive program of high quality and cost-effective employee benefits. Not just important for existing employees, it is a key part of the County's total compensation program and is designed to attract and retain high-performing and dedicated employees who are motivated and excited to serve our community.

Talent management in HR includes attracting and recruiting for both compensated and volunteer positions. Internally, it is responsible for areas like ongoing workforce development as well as succession planning.
The Human Resource Department is an integral part of attracting and retaining great employees for the County government, one of the largest employers in Prince William. Over the last few years, it has implemented streamlining and process improvements that are paying off in the department and for the County.
Ann Wheeler
Board of County Supervisors Chair At-Large
Chair's Calendar
On Tuesday, January 11, Chair Wheeler participated in the ground-breaking for The Rose Gaming Resort. The $400 million gaming and entertainment complex is expected to generate an estimated $59 million in annual tax revenues and more than 600 jobs.
The destination complex is set to open in 2023 and will include:
  • A luxury hotel.
  • Eight restaurants and bars.
  • A cultural venue.
  • A space for meetings and events
  • A park with over 80 acres of open public space, 2+ miles of hiking and fitness trails, historical preservation sites, sport areas, playgrounds and a dog park.

The park will be built atop the Potomac Landfill, a longtime construction debris landfill, which is closing 10 years ahead of schedule at the end of this month.
“I see this in Dumfries as a transformation that will spread across Prince William County. This will bring people to Dumfries and Prince William County.”
Ann Wheeler
Board of County Supervisors Chair At-Large
COVID-19 Snapshot
PWC Community Transmission Rate
The level of community transmission in PWC, as well as all of the surrounding counties, remains high.

Graph from the Prince William Health District (PWHD) COVID-19 Dashboard. As of January 11, there have been 1,549 new cases per 100K persons in the last seven days and a 42.2% positivity rate (on January 3 it was 1,343 new cases and 43.6% positivity rate (issue 98).
Hospital Data
The Virginia Hospital COVID-19 Data Dashboard, developed by the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association, gives daily Virginia updates on COVID-19 patients. Specifics in the dashboard graph below from Thursday, January 13, were:
  • 345 confirmed COVID-19 patients currently on ventilator support.
  • 621 ICU hospitalizations (confirmed and pending).
  • 3722 confirmed hospitalizations.
  • 3899 total COVID-19 hospitalizations (confirmed and pending).
  • 3668 seven-day moving average of current COVID-19 hospitalizations (confirmed and pending).
COVID-19 News
New Testing Center Open
The Prince William Health District announced the new Community Testing Center (CTC) (issue 98) opened on Thursday, January 13, at the Pfitzner Stadium Complex, 7 County Complex Court in Woodbridge. The CTC provides free Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing, is open from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm, Saturday to Thursday, and operates by appointments only. Test results will be automatically sent via text or email message. Appointments can be scheduled here. You may need to increase distance range in the search engine depending on the zip code entered.
New State of Emergency Aimed at Helping Hospitals
On Monday, January 10, Governor Ralph Northam declared a limited State of Emergency in Virginia following a record number of hospitalizations on Friday, January 7. The 30-day order was issued to help ease the pressure on Virginia Hospitals and their staff. The order allows:
  • Hospitals to expand the number of available hospital beds.
  • Hospitals and nursing homes to Increase staffing capacity.
  • Expansion of which professionals can administer vaccines.
  • More use of telehealth.
The 30-day duration is based on modeling that suggests the virus will peak in the next few weeks. The order does not include any new restrictions or mitigation measures.
“Health care workers and hospitals are exhausted, and they are again facing increasing numbers of patients, affecting their ability to provide care. These steps will help ease the strain, giving medical professionals more flexibility to care for people. Ultimately, the best thing everyone can do for our hospitals and their staff is to get vaccinated.”
Ralph Northam
Governor of Virginia
Updated Guidance
Below are the CDC's updated isolation and quarantine recommendations for the general public. Isolation relates to behavior after a confirmed infection. Quarantine refers to the time following exposure to the virus or close contact with someone known to have COVID-19. The CDC has separate updated guidance for healthcare workers.
Vaccination, Testing, and Treatment Resources
To learn where you can get vaccinated:

For information on where to get tested if you have been exposed or think you may have COVID-19, visit the PWHD COVID-19 testing webpage and the VDH COVID-19 testing webpage.

If you are at high risk of developing serious disease, you may be eligible for COVID-19 treatments which can help prevent severe illness and help keep you out of the hospital. Learn more here.
Next Meeting
Tuesday, January 18
at 2:00 pm and 7:30 pm

For Public Comment Time options, visit SpeakUp! Prince William.
Remote speakers must sign-up by 5:00 pm on Monday, January 17. In-person speakers can sign up at the meeting.
January 11 Organizational Meeting
  • Elected Woodbridge District Supervisor Margaret Franklin 2022 Vice Chair.
  • Elected Occoquan District Supervisor Kenny Boddye Chairman Pro-Tem for 2022.
  • Set the 2022 Meeting Calendar.
County News
Finance Awards
Once again, the County has received the Government Finance Officers Association's (GFOA) Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for its Annual Comprehensive Financial Report (ACFR) for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2020.  This is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by the governing body, its management and contributing staff. This marks the 40th consecutive year that the County has received this prestigious award.
The County also received GFOA’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Popular Annual Financial Reporting for its FY 2020 Popular Annual Financial Report (PAFR). The PAFR is designed to meet the needs of a broader audience than that served by traditional financial reporting. This marks the 15th consecutive year that the County has received this award.
"Congratulations to Michelle. Attreed, Director of Finance/CFO and her staff. In so many ways, I am grateful for the financial excellence of our County. The Finance Department is responsible for that, as well as helping the Board make sound financial decisions. It makes the job of being a Board member not only easier, but it is better for all residents. As I said in my State of the County address, there is a 'deep correlation between the financial health of our county government and its impact on the physical health and social well-being of our residents.' On behalf of the Board, thank you."
Ann Wheeler
Board of County Supervisors Chair At-Large
In Observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day
The following will be closed on Monday, January 17:
  • PWC government offices
  • PWC Public Libraries
  • PWC Public Schools and Offices

Weather permitting the Landfill and Ball Ford Road Compost Facility will be open from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm.
Upcoming County Community Meetings
Open House and Public Comment Meeting
On Thursday, January 20, at 6:30 pm the Planning Office is hosting an in-person community meeting on the Data Center Opportunity Zone Overlay District Comprehensive Review at the Beacon Hall Conference Center at 10945 George Mason Circle on the George Mason University SciTech Campus in Manassas. The event will start with an open house by County Agencies at 6:30 pm followed by public comment time after 7:00 pm. This is an opportunity for the public to provide comments prior to the development of draft policies for the district.
Registration is required to attend in person or to speak during public comment. Register for in person attendance here and for public comment here (signup closes Wednesday, January 19, at 5:00 pm). If you would like to view this event virtually and do not wish to speak, a link will be on the project page the night of the meeting.
PW Digital Gateway Community Meeting
On Thursday, January 27, at 6:00 pm, the Planning Office is hosting an in-person community meeting on the PW Digital Gateway Comprehensive Plan Amendment at the Beacon Hall Conference Center at 10945 George Mason Circle on the George Mason University SciTech Campus in Manassas. The event will start with an open house by County Agencies 6:00 pm and will be followed by public comment time after 7:00 pm. This is an opportunity for the public to provide comments on the proposal.
Registration is required to attend in person or to speak during public comment. Register for in person attendance here and for in-person or virtual public comment here (signup closes Wednesday, January 26, at 5:00 pm) This event will be live-streamed and recorded. A link to watch the event will be on the project page.
Updating the Comprehensive Plan
The PWC Planning Office is working in partnership with a consultant team to update the policies of the Land Use, Housing, and Mobility components of the County’s Comprehensive Plan: Pathway to 2040. As part of this effort, the Planning Office has published videos to share updates and draft proposals and policies. Below is an overview video of the project from Acting Planning Director, Rebecca Horner.
Below are links to videos and webpages on the chapters being updated. 
Land Use Update
Housing Update
Mobility Update
Pathway to 2040 Community Meeting
On Thursday, February 10, the Planning Office is hosting an in-person community meeting on the Pathway to 2040 Comprehensive Plan Update at the Beacon Hall Conference Center at 10945 George Mason Circle on the George Mason University SciTech Campus in Manassas. This is an opportunity for the public to provide in-person comments on draft policies for the Plan. Remote participation methods are being developed. Registration information for in-person attendance and remote comment will be provided in the near future here and through PWC Alerts.
Regional News
New App Launched
For over two years, Prince William Food Rescue (issues 23 and 26) has done amazing work in the PWC community. Now it has launched a brand-new multi-county food rescue hero app, Northern Virginia Food Rescue. The new app allows food rescue heroes who create a profile to select which counties they want to serve. By combining technology with last-mile distribution and community engagement, volunteers are empowered to redirect healthy foods quickly and conveniently to food distribution sites instead of landfills. Take a look at their 2021 gee-whiz stats below!
The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments is asking PWC residents, along with neighboring Washington DC, Virginia, and Maryland jurisdictions, to participate in a brief online survey about housing choices in our area. Responses will help housing, human rights, and public housing staff in the area plan investments for the next five years to improve housing choice and reverse segregation. The three-minute survey is open until Monday, January 31, and is available in English and Spanish.
County Kudos
Six Finalists Selected
The oratorical legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. continues in the young voices of six PWCS students selected by a panel of judges to compete in the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Oratorical Competition and Program, on Monday, January 17, at 11:00 am. The event is being hosted by the PWC Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta and audience members will have an opportunity to vote for their favorite orator using a text-to-vote feature. The program will be broadcast here.

This year’s theme, “Beyond Dreams and Mountains: Her Voice-Her Mission,” called on students to speak on the vision of unsung heroines of the Civil Rights Movement past and present; their vision and work and how it aligns with Dr. King's vision.

Congratulations to the following six finalists:
  • Varsha Jyothikaa Palaniyand, Gar-Field High School
  • Kenedi Cheri Wiley, C.D. Hylton High School
  • N’Na-Mayi Akosua Tama, Osbourn Park High School
  • Mahmud Ibn Abdul-rahman Khabi, Bull Run Middle School
  • Makaya Elizabeth Freeman, Graham Park Middle School
  • Shavonne Davis, Marsteller Middle School
Learn more about the event, including its featured guests, in the video below.
An Important Acknowledgement
January 17 marks the 27th anniversary of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Holiday and Service Act, signed into law by President Bill Clinton. Observed each year on the third Monday in January, MLK Day is the only federal holiday designated as a National Day of Service and encourages all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities.

AmeriCorps has been charged with leading this effort for the past quarter century and has a location-based search engine to find volunteer opportunities. Making time to volunteer for MLK Day of Service is a great way to engage with your community while honoring the legacy of Dr. King. Whether cleaning up a public space, mentoring a young person, or assisting those who are food insecure, what you do makes a world of difference.

You can read about the journey to the first official Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration in 1986, and a moving excerpt from Dr. King's Noble Prize acceptance speech, in issue 48.
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.