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Issue 141

Friday, November 18, 2022

Prince William County

Dear Neighbors,

With November ending on a Wednesday, Thanksgiving is early this year and right around the corner. Perhaps some of you have already moved into the holiday with travel or the arrival of out-of-town guests. There are probably others who haven't yet decided how they will be celebrating.

Whether your holiday plans fall in the early bird or night owl category, or somewhere in between, I hope you find the time for issue of The Wheeler Report. It is full of articles about so many things that make our County a great place.

Speaking of holidays, be on the lookout for our annual Holiday Guide issue in your inbox next week. Arriving just before Thanksgiving, it will help set you up of success as we move into the next holiday.

In Service,

Chair Ann Wheeler

Chair's Calendar


Sunday, November 13, through Tuesday, November 15, Chair Wheeler attended the Virginia Association of Counties (VACo) (issue 132) Annual Conference. As a member of the Transportation Steering Committee, Chair Wheeler participated in its pre-conference meeting (top photo). During the conference, in addition to the general sessions, Chair Wheeler attended two breakout sessions, Transportation in the Commonwealth and Sports Tourism Booms in Virginia.

At the conference the top three 2022 VACo "Best Achievement Awards" (issue 131) were presented. PWC was awarded the Best Large County Achievement Award, for its Early Diversion Program in Domestic Violence Cases (read submission) (bottom photo).

Since the 2003 establishment of the Achievement Awards PWC:

  • Has earned 26 awards. 
  • Is ranked 4th among the counties in total awards.
  • Has received an award every year for the last nine years.
  • Received sixteen awards during the last nine years.
  • Earned the top honor of Best Achievement Award in 2020.

Grand Opening

Tuesday, November 15, Chair Wheeler's Office attended the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority's Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting for its Silver Line Extension.

See the article in Regional Transportation News below to learn about the Silver Line Extension.


Next Meetings

Tuesday, November 22

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, November 21. In-person speakers can sign up at the meeting.

View the Agenda
Register to Speak Remotely

County News

Department Receives Awards

PWC Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism received two awards at the Virginia Recreation and Park Society’s (VRPS) Annual Conference. Locust Shade Warrior Challenge Course was awarded Best New Parks, Playgrounds, Blueways, Greenways or Trails Renovation/Addition and the Brentsville Jail Museum was awarded Best New Bricks and Mortar Renovation/Addition. Awards were given in fifteen categories.

The VRPS is a private, non-profit professional organization, founded in 1953 and incorporated in 1956. Affiliated with the National Recreation and Park Association, it serves to unite professionals, students, and interested lay persons engaged in the field of recreation, parks and other leisure services in Virginia, into one body. The members work together to promote and improve the profession in all its diversity. 

Schools Recognized

This year, the Virginia Department of Education recognized sixteen PWC Public Schools (PWCS) as 2022 Purple Star schools. Ten of these schools were first time recipients, while six have previously received the designation. Since 2020, a total of 28 PWCS have been designated, and eight of those schools have received the designation more than once. View the list of all PWCS that have received the Purple Star Designation here.

Military children move every two to three years. The Purple Star Designation Program is designed to help schools respond to the educational and social-emotional challenges military-connected children face during their transition to a new school and keep them on track to be college, workforce, and life-ready. These military-friendly schools demonstrate a major commitment to students and families connected to our nation’s military. Upon completing the rigorous qualification requirements, schools submit applications annually.

Keeping You Safe

Through Wednesday, November 30, the PWC Police Department is joining Virginia law enforcement agencies in the “Click It or Ticket” campaign to enforce safety-belt and child safety-seat laws by conducting high-visibility day and night patrols. You can learn more about the Wear Your Seatbelt Everytime! campaign and Virginia laws here.

Seat belts are mandatory in Virginia for all persons riding in the front seat. Additionally, Virginia car seat laws for under 18 years of age include:

  • All children under the age of eight must ride in a federally approved, secured safety seat.
  • Children between eight and 15 must use a safety seat, booster seat, or seat belt, no matter where in the vehicle the child is riding.
  • It is the driver’s responsibility to make sure all children, age 15 and under, are secured properly.

Accepting Nominations

Through Friday, December 2, the PWC Human Rights Commission is accepting nominations for its annual Universal Human Rights Day Awards. Nominees should be individuals or organizations that have fought for and encouraged equality in significant and substantial ways that have enriched our community. Learn more and submit a nomination here. Learn about the 2021 recipients here.

Cold Weather Safety

November 1, 2022, to March 31, 2023, Hypothermia Shelter Services are available when the temperature is 32 degrees or below taking into consideration the wind chill factor. The services are provided by StreetLight Ministries in Woodbridge and Manassas Baptist Church in Manassas. Both programs can serve up to 22 persons, on a first come, first served basis, who reside in PWC, the City of Manassas, and the City of Manassas Park.

Holiday Closings Next Week

Thursday, November 24, and Friday, November 25, in observance of Thanksgiving:

  • PWC Government offices, including the courts, will be closed.
  • All PWC Public Libraries will be closed.

The County Landfill and Balls Ford Road Compost Facility will be:

  • Closed Thursday, November 24.
  • Open normal operating hours of 6:00 am to 6:00 pm, Friday, November 25.

Regional Transportation News

Transforming I-66

The Transform 66 Outside the Beltway Project (issue 132 and issue 124) continues to move forward. Two recent announcements are:

You can learn more about the project on the Transform 66 Outside the Beltway Project and Ride66Express websites, as well as the Interactive Map of the Project Area and Project Videos webpages.

The Transform 66 Outside the Beltway Project is providing 22.5 miles of new express lanes consisting of two lanes in each direction alongside three regular lanes, dedicated express lanes access ramps, and median space reserved for future transit.

Some important I-66 express lane details

  • An E-ZPass transponder is required to use the express lanes. The opening transponder toll balance requirement has been reduced from $35 to $20.
  • Vehicles that meet the free ride occupancy requirements can use the 66 Express Lanes toll free with an E-ZPass Flex transponder set in “carpool mode.”
  • Vehicles that don't meet the free ride occupancy requirements (changing from 2 to 3 December 5) will be charged a toll fee.
  • Toll Prices are dynamic and fluctuate based on traffic volumes to manage the lanes and keep people moving and number of axles.  

Metro Silver Line is Open

Tuesday, November 16, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority opened the Silver Line Extension. The extension adds 11.4 miles of track to the Metrorail system and a new connection to Washington Dulles International Airport. The six stations along the extension are the Reston Town Center, Herndon, Innovation Center, Washington Dulles International Airport, Loudoun Gateway, and Ashburn.

The Silver Line Extension, one of the largest capital construction projects in the United States, includes a brand-new rail maintenance and service yard, located on 90 acres of the Washington Dulles International Airport property. The Dulles Rail Yard is the largest rail yard in the Metro system and employs approximately 450 people.

County Happenings

Tree Lighting

Saturday, November 19, 6:00 pm to 6:30 pm, the Town of Occoquan is hosting its annual Tree Lighting Ceremony at Town Hall, located at 314 Mill Street. Many shops and eateries will be open till 8:00 pm or later. Head to River Mill Park to sing along with our special carolers, as well as firepits ready for your roasted marshmallows and s’mores from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm

Work Up Your Thanksgiving Appetite

Thursday, November 24, the annual Chris Yung Memorial 5K Turkey Trot will be held at 2 Silos Brewery. A 1-mile Kids Fun Run begins at 8:00 am and the 5K Run/Walk begins at 8:30 am. All ages are welcome, as are strollers and dogs on leashes. The 1 Mile Kids Fun Run is free. The 5K is $35.00 for ages 13 and up, $25 for children 12 and under. Same day registration available for $40.00. Learn more and register here.

Proceeds help to fund the Chris Yung Memorial Fund and to support the family’s participation in Law Enforcement United's (LEU) annual Road to Hope with Team Prince William (issue 92). 

Police Officer Chris Yung was killed in a motorcycle crash in 2012 while responding to the scene of a separate automobile accident. Officer Yung was a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and served in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He served with the PWC Police Department for seven years. Officer Yung was a member of LEU and served as a motor escort officer during the annual ride. Chris Yung Elementary School is named in his memory. He was 35 and survived by his wife and three children.

Thursday, November 24, the annual Prince William Turkey Trot 5k and Mashed Potato Mile will be held at the Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center in Manassas. The 5k begins at 8:30 am and the 1 mile at 9:30 am. The 5K is $45.00 and the 1-mile walk/run is $20.00. Learn more and register here.

A portion of the proceeds will benefit Hero's Bridge, that serves elderly veterans of the World War II, Korean, and Vietnam wars, and The Sweet Julia Grace Foundation, that serves families with children who are seriously ill, have special needs, or are currently facing a medical crisis.

Free Learning Series Offering

Wednesday, December 7, 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm, the Mason Vision Series is presenting Real Characters, Imagined Events: Celebrities and Historic Figures as Fodder for the Stage. From ancient Greek myths to Broadway musicals such as Hamilton and Tina, audiences love stories rooted in historic fact. Djola Branner, Director of the School of Theater, will look at how contemporary playwrights and directors are weaving fact and fiction, and creating theater that is at once entertaining, thought provoking and inspiring. Learn more and register to attend here.

The Mason Vision Series is a forum for George Mason University researchers and scholars to share their work with students, colleagues, and the community in an accessible style that inspires lively discussion. This semester, the series is being live streamed through GMU-TV and recorded for on-demand viewing. Topics range from economic forecasts, Native American histories, astrophysics, and climate.

County Kudos

A Successful First Season

Nineteen kids from the age of five to young adults in their 20s played in the 2022 Fall season of the PWC Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism Miracle League. The program serves children and adults who suffer from any physical or mental disabilities, which causes them to be excluded, whether intentionally or not, from conventional baseball leagues. This was the Miracle League of PWC's inaugural season. The only jurisdictions with Miracle Leagues in Northern Virginia are PWC and Alexandria.

About the Miracle League of PWC

Where Games are Played

PWC Games are played on the Miracle Field, at George Hellwig Memorial Park in Manassas. Funded through a public/private partnership with Dr. Richard Tami, Field of Dreams, Inc., and the Miracle League of PWC, the playing field is entirely ADA accessible including dugouts, comfort facilities, and paving. The entire field is constructed of rubber turf and the field's dimensions match those of a regular, youth-size baseball field.  

Who, How, and When

The program is open to all residents and non-residents of PWC ages five to adults. Players are assigned “Angels in the Outfield Buddies” who assist them in hitting, catching and throwing the ball and circling the bases. The 2023 spring season of the Miracle League is set to kick off on April 15 and end on May 20, followed by a joint game with the Miracle League of Alexandria on Saturday, June 3. Registration for the Spring 2023 Miracle League Program begins on December 5 here.

Starting in PWC

Work to bring the Miracle League to PWC began in 2019, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic the program was delayed. This past spring, through a joint effort between the PWC Parks, Recreation & Tourism and the PWC Schools, exhibition games introduced the League to PWC. Over 200 students from six high schools along with administrators, teachers, aides, recreation staff, and volunteers participated. You can watch a snapshot of the exhibition games in the video below.

“This is something new for him. He has never played t-ball before. To see him get excited about hitting the ball, learning how to put a glove on, clapping for the other kids, coming out of his shell and high-fiving people has been a real joy.”


Mother of five-year-old Lincoln who has Down syndrome

The Miracle League serves It is also about making new friends and building self-esteem. The first Miracle League field opened in Conyers, Georgia in April 2000. The program is in over 300 cities in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Puerto Rico.


How to Get Vaccinated (including boosters):

How to get tested:

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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