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Issue 70
Friday, June 17, 2021
Prince William County
Dear Neighbors,

This Sunday is Father’s Day, a day we celebrate all who are fathers and those who serve as father figures in someone's life. To many of us, fathers and father figures are heroes who wear invisible capes.

This past Saturday, I was honored to once again attend the Flags for Heroes ceremony in Haymarket (see below). There was a lot of discussion about heroes and how they come in many forms. There are the heroes who are actively serving or have served in our military. There are the heroes who paid the ultimate price in service to our country. There are the heroes who helped us through the pandemic and were on the front lines, like healthcare workers and first responders. Then there are those quieter heroes who stepped up in their community to help others. Let's not forget the everyday heroes - those who chose everyday to wear a mask, socially distance and get vaccinated if they were able to, protecting themselves and others from the spread of COVID-19. Many of the aforementioned heroes are fathers or father figures, who, because of their love and respect for others, strive on a daily basis to make a difference.

Please take a moment to thank the heroes, not only in your life, but those around us who keep us safe in so many ways.

And a special salute to fathers and father figures on this Father’s Day.

In Service,
Chair Ann Wheeler
Chair's Calendar
Flags for Heroes
On Saturday, June 12, Chair Wheeler, along with several other local dignitaries, participated in the annual Flags for Heroes event hosted by the Gainesville-Haymarket Rotary Club. This year, the community walk and ceremony's co-beneficiaries were Team Red, White & Blue and Novant Health UVA. The more than 100 flags on display were an incredible sight. A 22 minute video of the moving formal ceremony is below.
The mission of Team Red, White & Blue (Team RWB) is to enrich the lives of America’s veterans by connecting them to their community through physical and social activity.
Electric Bus Demonstration
Tuesday, June 17, Chair Wheeler attended an electric bus demonstration at the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission (PRTC) office in Woodbridge. As it moves into its new fiscal year on July 1, PRTC is looking to prioritize electrification of its fleet. The mission of PRTC, which operates under the name of OmniRide, is to provide safe, reliable and flexible transportation options while helping to reduce congestion and pollution in one of the region's fastest growing areas.
Saying Thank You
At the end of school year School board meeting on June 16, Chair Wheeler thanked Dr. Steve Walts for his service since 2005 as Superintendent of the PWC Public Schools. During his tenure, Dr. Walts was selected twice as Virginia’s Region IV Superintendent of the Year. He led the effort to establish a regional science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) Governor’s School, and increased opportunities for students at all levels to become involved with robotics, placing PWCS on the world stage in numerous robotics competitions. Under Dr. Walts’ leadership, the on-time graduation rate increased from 83% to 93%. In 2017-18, the National School Boards Association named PWCS one of only five first-place winners in the nation in the 2018 Magna Awards for equity initiatives.
Dr. Waltz has propelled Prince William County Schools to success through both good and challenging times in the world. He's led our school system through the economic upheaval of 2008 and, most recently, through the worldwide pandemic that saw our school system innovate to provide continuous education to our students. In his 16 years leading our school system, he has directed the opening of 24 new schools, the implementation of full-day kindergarten, and the progression of specialty programs to serve every child's unique educational needs.
Ann Wheeler
Chair At-Large Board of County Supervisors
Conversations With the Chair
Upcoming Events
Chair Wheeler's Conversations with the Chair are 30 minute, one-on-one, dialogues livestreamed on her Facebook page. If you miss the live event, it will be available to view on-demand on her YouTube channel.
On Wednesday, June 30, at 7:00 pm, Chair Wheeler will be hosting a Conversation with the Chair with Rich Dalton, CEO of Virginia Railway Express (VRE). VRE provides commuter-oriented rail service Monday through Friday between the Northern Virginia suburbs and Washington, D.C. Here from Mr. Dalton about VRE's return to normal and exciting things to come.
Get Vaccinated
Addressing Vaccine Hesitancy
Are you, or someone you, know hesitant to get the vaccine? If so, then please take the time to watch and/or share this 2 minute video!
Vaccination 101

To schedule a Prince William Health District vaccination appointment for:
  • Adults, go to, enter your zip code, select 25-miles” for Distance Range.
  • Adolescents aged 12-15, go to, enter your zip code, select 25-miles” for Distance Range, and search for Vaccine Type “Pfizer.” A parent or guardian, with legal proof, must be present at the vaccination appointment and verbally attest to the age.

To find additional vaccination locations:
  • Go to to find locations near you with your local pharmacies, hospitals, community vaccination, and health centers, and doctors’ offices.
  • Text your zip code to 438829 (GETVAX).
Upcoming Vaccination Event
Help spread the word about the Johnson & Johnson vaccination event on Saturday, June 19, from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm at the Harris Pavilion, 9201 Center Street in Manassas. Pre-register here by entering zip code "20110" and vaccine type "Johnson & Johnson." Walk-ups will be accommodated based on vaccine availability.
TuesdayJune 22
2:30 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, June 21.
In-person speakers can sign up at the meeting.
Tuesday, June 22, at 7:30 pm
BOCS Listening Session on the

The public may comment remotely or in-person. Remote speakers must sign-up here by 5:00 pm on Monday, June 21. The session will follow the same format and process as public comment time at Board meetings.
Several BOSC Actions at the June 15 Meeting
Supervisor Kenny Boddye, Occoquan, and Deanna Bayer, Equality Prince William
Proclaimed June as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning and More (LGBTQ+) Pride Month (issue 68). The community is encouraged to celebrate its civil rights history and to educate the public about the discrimination members of the community face. All are asked to see LGBTQ+ individuals as valued members of society and to celebrate freedom from discrimination, tolerance, and justice for residents and visitors.
Proclaimed the week of June 13 as National Waste and Recycling Workers Week. Through their work, refuse haulers contribute to the health and welfare of County residents. Proper refuse disposal is vital to preventing illegal dumping, litter and disease. All residents and business owners are asked to find opportunities to thank our local waste and recycling workers.
Budgeted and Appropriated $765,000 for Historical Preservation and interpretation at the Thoroughfare and Settlement Communities (issue 65). The motion also included making updates to the PWC Cemetery Database. Additionally, it authorization creation of a full time Archaeologist position to manage the new Historic Communities Program.
County News
Find Out the Latest
On Wednesday, June 23, at 7:00 pm OmniRide's Executive Director, Dr. Bob Schneider, is hosting a virtual Town Hall. He will be sharing future plans and answering questions from participants. Pre-registration is NOT required. To attend the live event and have the ability to ask questions, join using this Zoom Meeting link. The event will also be livestreamed, for viewing only, on PRTC's YouTube channel.
Open for Summer
While for many Labor Day kicks off the Summer season, the first official full day of Summer is Monday, June 21 (see June solstice article below), and PWC is ready! There is so much to do and see. History, sports, music, dining, and more! Checkout the quick snapshot video below and then go to VisitPWC to find your next summer adventure right here in your own backyard.
New Park Ranger Unit
If visiting one of the many PWC Parks is on you 'to do' list this Summer, you may see one of the Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism new Public Safety Cyclists Unit. The new Park Ranger Unit will be led by Ranger Michael “Mike” Wear (pictured), a certified Mountain Bike Public Safety Instructor. Ranger “Bike Mike” is a 23-year member of the International Police Mountain Bike Association, and a certified Instructor since 2001.
Potential Bike Rangers will have to complete a rigorous Public Safety Bike Certification course before they go out with the Unit. The Bike Unit will be utilized for more than just patrolling county trails. PWC Park Rangers have over 60 miles of trails to patrol, along with 81 fitness, recreation and historic properties. The goal is to have the Park Ranger Bike Unit trained, certified and visible in our parks by the end of June.
“Rule #1 in Public Safety is ‘being there.’ We stay on the move and search for the path to our next exciting adventures in the amazing network of trails within the Prince William County Park systems to help wherever we may be needed. A Ranger’s job is never done.”
Micheal "Mike" Wear
Park Ranger Cyclist Unit Leader
Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism
Upcoming Season
Speaking of interesting things to do in PWC, the Hylton Performing Arts Center 2021 - 2022 season is full of great offerings covering a wide array of genres. There is definitely something for everyone. Music choices range from Mexilachian, Chamber, old-school Rockabilly, County, Orchestral, Jazz, Chamber, and more! You'll find Irish Dance, Ballet, and even a Murder Mystery! You can get a great overview in the 2021-2022 season video below or peruse the website's event calendar.
School News
PWC Public Schools (PWCS) will provide meals free of charge for all children this summer at designated school sites during select hours. Meals will be provided on a first come, first serve basis. Meal service is Monday-Friday during the dates listed except as noted. A full list of locations, dates, and times can be found at PWCS Summer Food Service webpage.
County Kudos
Principal of the Year
Congratulations to Amy Schott in being selected the PWC Public Schools’ 2021 Principal of the Year. She has served as principal at Rockledge Elementary School since 2008. During her tenure there, it has been named a School of Excellence, received the National PTA School of Excellence award, and was designated by the Anti-Defamation as a national No Place for Hate school. Mrs. Schott completed her graduate degree at George Mason University and undergraduate degree at Texas Christian University. In the video below, hear from her colleagues and students about the many ways she exemplifies a dedicated and talented educational leader. Mrs. Schott will become the new principal at Henderson Elementary School in the upcoming 2021-2022 school year.
Virginia News
Helping People Get Back to Work
Governor Ralph Northam has announced a new $3 million investment to pilot the Return to Earn Grant Program, which will match payments from eligible small businesses to provide new hires with up to $1,000 to support their transition back into the workforce. The program will serve businesses with less than 100 employees that may not have the resources to provide this financial support. FAQs on the program can be found here.

The Commonwealth also reopened its Virginia Career Works Centers for in-person services to ensure that Virginians making the transition back to the workforce have access to the resources they need to find high-quality jobs. The Prince William Center is located at 13370 Minnieville Road in Woodbridge, phone (703) 586-6800. Jobseekers can continue to access resources virtually through the Virginia Career Works Referral Portal.
Important Acknowledgements
One of our nation's oldest celebrations of the end of slavery is Juneteenth. A combination of the word June and nineteen, the origin of Juneteenth dates back to June 19, 1865, two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation issued by President Lincoln. On that day, U.S. General Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas and read General Order No. 3 (see below). The former slaves immediately began to celebrate and the following year the first official Juneteenth celebrations took place in Texas.
“The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.”
General Order No. 3
Some ways to celebrate Juneteenth in PWC include:

Saturday, June 19 from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm
A historically significant place in PWC, Lucasville was a school for African-American students from 1885 to 1926. In 2007, the school was reconstructed through a partnership with PWC and Pulte Homes.

Saturday, June 19 at 7:00 pm
The parade will begin at the Dumfires United Methodist Church, located at 3890 Cameron St. Dumfries, and end at the Dumfries Slave Cemetery with a candlelight vigil in honor of the ancestors, as well as music and reflection.

Saturday, June 19 from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm
People of all ages are invited to participate by reciting or reading a poem, or by being part of the audience. The Poet Laureate of PWC, Ms. Kim B. Miller, will be one of the featured poets. Also, the Furious Flower Poetry Center at James Madison University will be represented.
Additional PWC historical locations and significant individuals related to African American history around the Civil War leading up to Juneteenth include:
Father's Day
Sunday, June 20, is Father's Day! If your looking for things to do with Dad this Father's Day weekend, VisitPWC has compiled some great Father's Day activities. The list features friendly competition, history, nature, and ways to savor the moment. No matter what you do, be sure to celebrate all those who have filled the role of father for you, be it for a lifetime or a moment in time.
On July 5, 1908, a West Virginia church sponsored the nation’s first event explicitly in honor of fathers. It consisted of a Sunday sermon in memory of the 362 men who had died in the previous December’s explosions at the Fairmont Coal Company mines in Monongah. As such, it was a one-time commemoration and not an annual holiday.

The next year, a Spokane, Washington woman named Sonora Smart Dodd, one of six children raised by a widower, tried to establish an official equivalent to Mother’s Day for male parents. She went to local churches, the YMCA, shopkeepers and government officials to drum up support for her idea. Her efforts led the nation’s first statewide Father’s Day on June 19, 1910.

Over 6 decades later, in the middle of his re-election campaign, President Richard Nixon signed a proclamation making Father’s Day a federal holiday. While many of us may think of Mother's and Father's day as a set - like two sides of the same coin, this isn't the reality. It was 58 years after President Woodrow Wilson made Mother’s Day official in 1914 before Father's Day shared equal status..
June Solstice
In the Northern Hemisphere, the June solstice, often referred to as the Summer solstice, occurs when the Sun travels along its northernmost path in the sky. This marks the astronomical start of summer in the northern half of the globe. In 2021, the June solstice occurs on Sunday, June 20, at 11:32 pm EDT. This is when Earth arrives at the point in its orbit where the North Pole is at its maximum tilt (about 23.5 degrees) toward the Sun. Within the Arctic circle there is continuous sunlight as the Sun is at the most direct angle of the year. While we don't have continuous daylight, we do have the longest day (period of sunlight) and shortest night of the calendar year. The word “solstice” comes from the Latin words “sol” (sun) and “stitium” (still or stopped).
Humans may have observed the summer solstice as early as the Stone Age. Cultures around the world still celebrate the day with feasts, bonfires, picnics and songs. One very interesting piece of solstice trivia comes from Egypt. When looking from the view of the Sphinx, the sun sets squarely between the Great Pyramids of Khufu and Khafre on Egypt’s Giza plateau during the Summer solstice.
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.