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Issue 151

Friday, February 10, 2023

Prince William County

Dear Neighbors,

This has been a busy week our office, with lots of things happening in the community and the Board. Then I read an article about a Prince William County resident who traveled to Turkey to check on his brothers and sister, as well as his mother who was still missing, following the devastating earthquake early this week. He also took what supplies he could to help in anyway possible. As I hoped and prayed for him, his family, and everyone impacted by this tragedy, I also had a moment of perspective.

I am grateful to live in a county that has a solid infrastructure, excellent emergency response services, organizations in place to deal quickly with disasters, and a community that I know with certainty would come together when real tragedy strikes. Once again, I am grateful and appreciate how really lucky we are, for all that we have, and all the possibilities.

In Service,

Chair Ann Wheeler

Chair's Calendar

Cultural Festival

Saturday, February 4, Chair Wheeler attended the Pitha Utshob (cake festival) at Freedom High School in Woodbridge. The event was hosted by VA. Friends and Family, Inc., a non-profit organization run by Abu Rumi engaged in community developments dedicated for the Bangladeshi nationals living in the United States. Friends and Family not only helps the people in U.S., but expanded their program into Bangladesh and helps thousands with many needs. At the festival, Chair Wheeler connected with County employee Robiul Islam (top left photo with his family). During the event, Chair Wheeler was presented with an appreciation gift (right photo) for PWC being the county where the event has been hosted over the last seven years.

About the Festival

Pitha Utshob is an exhibition in Bangladesh during the winter season where people gather, set up stalls, and sell their homemade pithas. Pithas are traditionally made with ingredients such as sugar, molasses, milk, palm syrup/ date juice, and sometimes coconut. 

Regional Board Meeting

Wednesday, February 8, Chair Wheeler participated in the Metropolitan Council of Governments (COG) Board of Directors meeting. In addition to serving on the Board, Chair Wheeler elected by COG members the 2023 Corporate President (issue 145).

Innovation Conference

Thursday, February 9, Chair Wheeler attended Bisnow's National DICE Construction, Design & Development Series conference on trends, innovations and solutions to today's data center demands. At the conference, which was attended by people from all across the country, experts discussed that with the expansion of Artificial Intelligence and greater data compilation and analysis, the demand for these facilities is accelerating and they are embedded in our long-term future. Another key topic was that the industry is constantly innovating with respect to environmental impacts, renewable energy use and design standards.

The conference was held at Quantum Park in Loudoun, a state-of-the-art facility with amenities that include lush green grounds with peaceful walking paths and ponds to its centrally located Main Street, a converging common space with a sprawling courtyard, cafeteria, and collaborative coffeehouse.

Road Project Update

Thursday, February 9, Chair Wheeler attended the On the Road: I-66 Express Lanes Update exploring the ripple effects of the major construction project and development projects around the region. The event was hosted by Washington Business Journal at the PWC George Mason University Science and Technology Campus Beacon Hall Conference Center. Christina Winn (top photo far right), Executive Director PWC Department of Economic Development, and Rick Canizales (top photo far left), Director PWC Department of Transportation, were among the panelists. Luis Vazquez Morales (bottom right photo on the right), MBA, MSCE, CEO I-66 Express Mobility Partners, was the fireside chat featured speaker.

Transportation Meetings

Thursday, February 9, Chair Wheeler participated in the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority's (NVTA) Governance and Personnel Committee and monthly Authority meetings.

At the Authority meeting, the NVTA approved PWC’s:

The NVTA has allocated the funding for both projects.

On the Airways

Friday, February 10,Chair Wheeler was on the WAMU 88.5 American University Radio broadcast, The Politics Hour with Kojo Nnamdi. In the wide-ranging interview with Kojo and resident analyst Tom Sherwood, Chair Wheeler discussed data centers, public hearings and public comment time, the upcoming County Budget, congressional infrastructure funding, PWC's Safety Initiative, her 2023 priorities, and more.

To listen to the interview, go to this webpage and click the blue Listen button above the logo. The audio track will then appear on the bottom of the page. Drag the blue progress slider to the 10:45 time mark for the start of Chair Wheeler's interview.

Next Meeting

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

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 13. In-person speakers can sign up at the meeting.

View the Agenda
Register to Speak Remotely

The proposed Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) will be presented during the 7:30 pm meeting. County code requires the preparation of a CIP, which includes both County and Schools projects, ensuring one affordable plan. The six-year CIP is appropriated every year and is included in the Budget adopted by the Board every April.

In addition to the current FY2023-FY2028 CIP adopted in 2022, a CIP Summary and an interactive web mapping tool are available.

The BOCS Tuesday, February 7, Meeting Actions

Proclaimed February Black History Month to celebrate the history, heritage, and accomplishments of African American people. The BOCS encourages citizen participation in the activities recognizing the past and recent accomplishments, history, and heritage of African Americans.

You can find many events honoring Black History Month, including the County's Black History Committee's celebration on Thursday, February 16, in issue 150.

Left to right from the Black History Committee: William Jackson, John Dowdy, Carletta Sims, and Chairman Byron Jenkins

Proclaimed February Benefit Program Specialists Appreciation Month to recognizes the importance of providing a level of economic stability by administering federal and state benefit programs. Benefit Program Specialists have experienced unprecedented implementation of rapidly changing complex policies and procedures, as well as continuing changes in service delivery and technology, while navigating through the Public Health Emergency and the upcoming unwinding of pandemic specific policies.

In PWC, 197 benefit program staff administer federal and state benefit programs to over 100,000 residents providing support in areas that include nutrition, financial stability, health, child care, long-term care, employment, utilities, substance abuse, and more.

Left to right from the Department of Social Services (Talk and Tour issue 121): Advisory Board Chairman Laurie Wilson, Assistant Director of Customer Support and Services Holly Handy, Assistant Director for Public Assistance Division Meron Gebremedhin, and Deputy Director Phyllis Jennings-Holt

County News

One Day a Month

Starting Wednesday, February 15, through Wednesday, December 20, the PWC Tax Administration offices will open at 9:00 am on the third Wednesday of every month. The change is to provide additional training during this time to staff. All other days will adhere to normal operating hours of Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Make a Visible Difference

Last year four bus shelters were transformed in the inaugural Bus Stop Beautification Project (issue 129). Keep Prince William Beautiful is providing the opportunity to add more through its Adopt a Shelter program. Adoptee’s submit artwork themes, designs or concepts to the steering committee, as well as agree to a one-year commitment of at least two clean-ups of the shelter, which takes approximately 30 minutes. The individual, or group, adoptees' $1,200 administrative fee covers application review, including artist's stipend if applicable, and artwork installation.

Keep Prince William Beautiful 2022 community impact included:

  • 21,079 pounds of trash collected.
  • 6,388 total volunteer hours.
  • 185 community and adopt-a-spot cleanups.
  • 5 beautification projects.

Learn more about how you can get involved in 2023 through one of its many programs, events, and volunteer opportunities.

Summer Jobs

The PWC Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism is looking to fill positions for summer jobs. There range from aquatics, recreation, camps, guest services, and food services. Specialty positions include instructor, supervisor, and camp counselor. Learn more and apply here.

Did You Know?

PWC Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism is the largest employer of youth in the County!

County Kudos

PWCS Student Wins National Award

Rania Lateef is one of only four high school students in the nation to receive the national Neuroscience Research Prize which recognizes scientific skill and potential for scientific contributions in the field of neuroscience. This is the first time a PWCS student has received this prize, which includes $1,000 and an all-expenses-paid trip to present her work at the 2023 Child Neurology Society Annual Meeting.

Rania, a sophomore at Charles J. Colgan Sr. High School, credits physics teacher Loriann Pawlik and biology teacher Stephanie Brown, as well as opportunities like science fairs, for supporting her curiosity and love of science.

About the Research

Rania’s research focused on the effects of sleep deprivation and circadian rhythm disruptions on a fruit fly’s lifespan, mood, and addiction-like behaviors. “I found that sleep and circadian disturbances in flies had a measurable and significant negative impact on mortality, innate behaviors...and propensity to caffeine,” said Lateef. The idea came most directly from the enormous disruptions she and the rest of the world faced during the COVID pandemic.

“Divorced from regular social and academic routines, our biologic rhythms were in complete disarray and we saw stress, sleep disturbances, and substance use soaring in our community. I pondered whether they were related phenomena. With each article and website I scoured, it became obvious that the answers to my questions were embedded in complex neurochemical circuits and were influenced both by genes and environment.”

Rania Lateef

Sophomore, Charles J. Colgan Sr. High School

Honored with Inaugural Certification

Occoquan's Chief of Police Adam Linn was one of ten law enforcement executives honored in the inaugural Law Enforcement Executive Certification program by the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police (VACP). Chief Linn met requirements that included formal education levels, professional development training, and service on boards and committees. In addition to Chief of Police, he serves as the Occoquan Town Manager. The VACP has been working on the certification program for several years.

About the Town

The Town of Occoquan, located along the scenic Occoquan River, is home to just over 1,000 residents. It has a variety of historic buildings and an eclectic mix of more than one hundred shops and restaurants. In addition to its free Summer Concert Series, it is well known for its annual RiverFest and Craft Show in June and Fall Arts and Craft Show in September.

The Town of Occoquan's history dates back to Captain John Smith in 1608. The Mill House Museum, was once used as a miller's office, is all that remains of the nation's first automated grist mill. The intriguing beginnings of Occoquan as an 18th century mill town, Colonial and Civil War history are presented through exhibits, presentations, artifacts and memorabilia at the museum.

Heart Health

Ways to Get Heart Healthy

February is American Heart Month and PWC Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism is providing lots of ways to educate yourself about the risks for heart disease and live a more heart-healthy lifestyle. Offerings include Mind-body Workshops, Tai Chi, Active Adults, Aquabilities, Pilates Reformer, and Aikido.

Additional Ideas Include:

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), regular physical activity can positively impact many heart disease risk factors such as:

  • Lowering “bad” LDL cholesterol levels.
  • Increasing “good” HDL cholesterol levels.
  • Managing high blood pressure.
  • Lowering stress and improving mental health.
  • Lowering your risk for other conditions such as type 2 diabetes, depression, and cancer.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States.

Women and Heart Disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women of all ages, races, and shapes and sizes in the United States. Women generally get heart disease about 10 years later than men, but it’s still women’s #1 killer. Women who have gone through early menopause, either naturally or because they have had a hysterectomy, are twice as likely to develop heart disease as women of the same age who have not gone through menopause. Learn more about women and heart disease here.

Women sometimes experience heart disease differently than men, including being:

  • Somewhat less likely than men to experience chest pain.
  • More likely to experience dizziness, fatigue, nausea, pressure or tightness in the chest, and/or stomach pain.
  • More likely than men to have no symptoms of coronary heart disease.

Learn from the Experts

Friday, February 17, at 12:00 pm, experts from the NHLBI's The Heart Truth® program and the CDC’s Million Hearts® are hosting Getting to Know #OurHearts, live dialogue on heart health. They’ll discuss what causes heart disease, what to know about your own individual risk factors, how you can prevent it, and what questions you should be asking your healthcare providers. Following the discussion, you’ll learn about resources available from The Heart Truth® . Join the discussion via Facebook here and the National Institute of Health videocast website here.

Helpful Links


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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