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Issue 150

Friday, February 2, 2023

Prince William County

Dear Neighbors,

According to the Farmer's Almanac this year, today marks the middle of Winter. According to Punxsutawney Phil yesterday, we are in for six more weeks of Winter. According to our weather forecast, this weekend's temperatures will be extremely cold.

Bottomline, we are going to have to wait awhile for warmer weather. That said, while it may not be as quickly as some would like, the change of seasons will happen. So until then, bundle up, maybe have a cup of hot cocoa, and please check on those who are more vulnerable to the cold.

In Service,

Chair Ann Wheeler

Chair's Calendar

Awards Celebration

Sunday, January 28, Chair Wheeler attended the MLK Drum Major Award Ceremony hosted by the PWC Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. (PWCAC-DST), in affiliation with the PWC Arts Council at Gainesville High School. The event recognized winners and participants of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Youth Oratorical Competition and Program (Chair's Calendar and County Kudos issue 148).

The 4th to 12th grade student winners of the visual arts competition were also recognized and their pieces will be on display in the Open Space Arts Gallery, located at Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center, during the month of February for Black History Month. While at the event Chair Wheeler personally congratulated Featured Speaker Award winner Arhaan Gautam (left photo), a sixth grader at Pennington Traditional School, and connected with Sheila Mitchell (right photo), Chair, MLK Committee, PWCAC-DST.

The program opened with an MLK tribute performance by the Manassas Park City School “Chop Squad” drumline (top left photo), and closed with performances by the B.E.A.M. Steppers from Fannie W. Fitzgerald Elementary School (top right photo) and the Porter Step~N~Dance Team from Porter Traditional School (bottom photo).

Congressional Visit

Monday, January 30, Chair Wheeler was invited, along with other officials in the 7th Congressional District, to attend Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger's (top left photo) Legislative Update Meeting. Topics included community project funding, federal legislative priorities, district outreach, and constituent services. Additionally, Congresswoman Spanberger graciously gave the group a private tour (right photo) of the U.S. Capital.

Department Visit

Tuesday, January 31, Chair Wheeler meet with Mark Buenavista, (County News issue 144) the incoming Director of the PWC Planning Office.

About the Planning Office

The Planning Office is responsible for the review of development applications including rezonings, special use permits, comprehensive plan amendments, Agricultural and Forestal District applications, zoning variances and appeals, and public facility reviews. The office also acts as support staff to the Planning Commission, Board of Zoning Appeals, Historical Commission, Agricultural and Forestal Districts Advisory Committee, Architectural Review Board, and the Trails and Blueways Council. The Planning Office has four divisions: Long-Range Planning, Current Planning, Zoning Administration, and Community Development.

Safety Meeting

Wednesday, February 1, Chair Wheeler attended a Public Safety Town Hall hosted by Potomac Magisterial District Supervisor Andrea Bailey at the Potomac Shores Middle School. PWC Deputy County Executive of Public Safety Dan Alexander (far left photo) (County News issue 98), Town of Dumfries Mayor Derrick Wood (second from left photo), PWC Police Department personnel (second from right photo), and Town of Quantico Mayor Kevin Brown (far right photo) participated in the Town Hall.

Next Meeting

Tuesday, February 7

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, February 6. In-person speakers can sign up at the meeting.

View the Agenda
Register to Speak Remotely

County News

Recycling Program Reopening

The Household Hazardous Waste and Electronics Recycling drop-off program at the Landfill will reopen Wednesday, February 8, and will be open going forward on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm weekly. The program was temporarily closed while the County was contracting with a new vendor (County News issue 146) and is reopening earlier than anticipated.

Important Details

  • The service is free and only available for residents of PWC.
  • You may bring up to three electronic items for recycling per visit.
  • You may bring up to 15 gallons of liquid or 40 pounds of solid in the household hazardous waste category.
  • Hazardous materials should be in the original labeled container.
  • Please have all items in the rear compartment of their vehicle for easy access by attendants.

Funding to Address Two Important Health Issues

Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton has secured funding for two George Mason University health projects that will have an impact well beyond the George Mason Science and Technology campus located in PWC. The almost $2 million in total federal funding for both projects came as part of the federal omnibus appropriations bill that President Biden recently signed into law to fund the government through Fiscal Year 2023.

Addressing the Opioid Epidemic

 The federal investment of $1,037,519, will help establish the future Empowered Communities Partnership Center that will leverage public and private partnerships in addressing abuse among high-risk individuals experiencing substance and opioid abuse disorder.

The center will work to prevent overdose opioid use and limit the burden to the state healthcare system by coordinating care across systems of support and developing new models of community care.

According to the Virginia Department of Health:

Combating Lyme Disease and Other Tick-Borne Illnesses

The federal investment of $820,000 will go to establishing The Center for Advanced Testing: Tick-Borne Disease Diagnostic Clinic to help combat the rising number of tick-borne illnesses throughout Virginia. Mason scientists have developed a technology for patient sample self-collection that does not require refrigerated shipment or storage and can detect all the major known tick-borne pathogens. Results are obtained within 24 hours versus the conventional serology test for Lyme disease which usually takes about 6 to 12 days.

You can learn more about ticks and tick-borne disease in PWC, as well as the proper method to remove ticks here.

New OmniRide Service

OmniRide Connect Microtransit, similar to Lyft or Uber, allows riders to book an on-demand ride through their phone using the "OmniRide Mobility" app or by calling OmniRide's Customer Service office at (703) 730-6664. Upon request, a van would be dispatched to pick-up passengers at designated locations and deliver them to their destination. The service has replaced OmniRide's Local Manassas Park (68) route, which was discontinued on January 30. Rides may be scheduled for same-day travel, but cannot be scheduled days in advance. 

Leadership Program Accepting Applications

Leadership Prince William is accepting applications through Monday, February 20, for its Emerging Leaders Program. The 8-Session program begins in March and continues weekly through the middle of May. Held at the Prince William Chamber of Commerce in Manassas, the program is designed to help you know yourself, increase awareness of critical issues, and connect with community leaders. Learn more and apply here.

Important Details

Eligible participants must be 20 years of age or older and have resided/worked in PWC, the City of Manassas, or City of Manassas Park for at least one year as of March 2023. A $20.00 non-refundable application fee must accompany your completed application.

More Places to Play

The tennis courts at the James S. Long Regional Park in Haymarket are now marked as dual purpose tennis/pickleball. Court time for the four new courts is first come-first served. Picklers can access portable nets through a shed/box right outside the fenced court area. When done playing, please take the nets down and place them back in the storage container. 

Pickleball in PWC

Pickleball's popularity continues to rise and PWC Parks, Recreation and Tourism has plenty of court options. In addition to the four new dual courts above, there are eight dedicated pickleball courts at the Dr. A.J. Ferlazzo building in Woodbridge, six dedicated pickleball courts at George Hellwig Memorial Park in Manassas, as well as four dedicated and two dual purpose tennis/pickleball courts at Veterans Memorial Park in Woodbridge.

Funding to Address Flooding and Erosion

The Northern Virginia Regional Commission has been selected to receive a $286,000 grant for flooding and erosion projects adjacent to PWC's Marine Corps Base Quantico. The funding was awarded through the Department of Defense's Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) Challenge competitive grant program.

NVRC is working with PWC, the Commonwealth, the Virginia Institute for Marine Sciences, and multinational infrastructure consulting firm AECOM to use the REPI funding to identify natural infrastructure solutions for the flooding and shoreline erosion concerns. The design solutions fill be used to apply for Defense Community Infrastructure Program funding later this year.

The NVRC is a regional council of thirteen member local governments in Northern Virginia. Each member jurisdiction appoints a number of representative(s) based on its population from its governing body to serve on NVRC’s Board of Commissioners. Areas of focus include Environment/Energy, Housing/Homelessness, Human Services, and Community/Military Partnerships. Visit the NVRC NOVA Regional Dashboard to learn more about its work.

Candidate Forum

Thursday, February 9, at 7:00 pm, the Prince William Committee of 100 is hosting a candidate forum for this month's Gainesville Magisterial District Special Election (County News issue 149). The forum will be held at Battlefield High School in Haymarket. Bruce Potter, publisher of InsideNova, will moderate the event with candidates Kerensa G. Sumers (D) and Robert B. "Bob" Weir (R).

The Prince William Committee of 100 provides a non-partisan, educational forum to study essential interests, problems and goals of the people of PWC, the City of Manassas and City of Manassas Park. It's hope is to create a common understanding of problems which leads to possible solutions. Membership is open to individuals living or working in the PWC area who are interested in the affairs of the local area through participation in civic, business, cultural, humanitarian or similar activities. Its forums generally consist of a panel of experts on the issue at hand and includes both local, area, and national figures.

Black History Month

The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH®) national Black History Month theme for 2023 is 'Black Resistance' and focuses on examining how African Americans have fought oppression from America's earliest days. Throughout history, this resistance has come in many forms, culminating as a continuous movement created to obtain freedom and equality. It has been fought in the courts of public opinion, courts of law, and on the battlefield.

This year marks the 97th observance of Black History Month, which was originally founded as Negro History Week by Virginia native and historian, Dr. Carter G. Woodson. You can learn more about Dr. Carter and his road to the creation of Black History Month in issue 51.

Throughout February, ASALH® is hosting a virtual festival full of a wide variety of events celebrating Black History Month. Check out the schedule and register to attend here. You can also purchase tickets through ASALH® to the Wednesday, February 22, virtual Marquee Event: A Conversation with Lonnie G. Bunch and the Saturday, February 25, Shirley Chisholm Play - Campaign '72 at the THEARC Theatre in Washington, D.C.

PWC Black History Committee Event

Thursday, February 16, 11:00 am to 12:00 pm, the PWC Black History Committee is hosting its annual Black History Month celebration at the Dr. A.J. Ferlazzo building, located at 15941 Donald Curtis Dr in Woodbridge.

PWC Office of Historic Preservation Events

Saturday, February 4, 11:00 am to 4:00 pm, join local historians at the free Barnes House Open House to explore exhibits highlighting the site's diverse history and amazing story of historic preservation. Built in 1797, the Barnes House was an average PWC residence, but the people who lived there were anything but typical. First used as a tavern, in 1899 Eppa Barnes bought the house where he was born into slavery. Donations are welcome.

Saturday, February 18, 10:00 am to 12:00 pm, and 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm,

Tastes of Home: African American Culture and American Cuisine at the Ben Lomond Historic Site. Participants will prepare and taste African and Southern dishes in the site's historic slave quarter. Please wear appropriate shoes and clothing for the weather. Open to ages 13 and older, the program cost is $10 and advanced registration is required.

Saturday, February 18, 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, Who Were They? The Enslaved People of Rippon Lodge tours will focus on the primary documentation found for both the colonial and early Victorian eras. Space is limited, the program cost is $10, and advanced registration is required.

Thursday, February 23, 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm, the Prince William Historic Preservation Lecture Series: The Preserve: Reconstructing an African American Neighborhood in the Bull Run Mountains will be held at the Old Manassas Courthouse. Historian and archaeologist Patrick O’Neill will share his research on local African American communities in the Bull Run Mountains. Suggested donation is $5.

Saturday and Sunday, February 25 and 26, 11:00 am to 4:00 pm, the reconstructed 19th century Lucasville School will host a free Open House and discussion about schools after the Civil War. Four years before, African Americans had been barred from learning to read and write by Virginia law. During reconstruction, schools would open for the instruction of all who wished to attend. These early schools faced many obstacles, from irregular funding, teacher shortages, political threats, and even open violence. Donations are welcome.

PWC History Trail and Map

PWC's unique and extensive African American history is shared through many of our historic sites and communities. You can explore the history, arts, culture, and contributions of Black Americans along PWC's extensive African American History Trail, as well through its African American Heritage map

County Kudos

PWC Department of Public Works received the Project of the Year Award in the “Environment Less than $5 Million” category from the American Public Works Association Mid-Atlantic Chapter for the Neabsco Creek's Bandalong (Chair's Calendar issue 92). The Bandalong floats in the creek during storm events and catches floatable litter that would otherwise scatter into the 300-acre Neabsco estuary, which is part of the PWC Parks, Recreation and Tourism system. In 2021, Micron Technologies Inc. donated $300,000 (Environmental News issue 57) to PWC, which the BOCS appropriated to the Department of Public Works to fund the Bandalong's manufacture, installation, and a year of operation and maintenance.

Bandalong's Gee Whiz Numbers

In a little more than a year, the Bandalong collected:

  • 5,565 pieces of foam measuring less than 2.5 centimeters in diameter
  • 4,214 foam pieces greater than 2.5 centimeters.
  • 3,553 single-use plastic bottles
  • 647 cigarette butts
  • 37 cigarette lighters.

Some other trash that wound up in the Bandalong rather than the watershed included plastic bottle caps, glass beverage bottles, cardboard, plastic bags, plastic lids, plastic straws, construction materials, balloons, clothing, shoes, fishing gear and more.

In total, the Bandalong collected 16,476 pieces of litter otherwise destined for the estuary!

Helpful Links


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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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