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Issue 153

Friday, February 24, 2023

Prince William County

Dear Neighbors,

For the past few weeks, the entrance to my office has been flanked with a moving display honoring Prince William County’s “Courageous Four” (County News issue 132). As we approach the end of Black History Month, I am reminded that Prince William County ranks as the 10th most diverse County in the United States. This fact serves as a testament to our ongoing efforts of inclusivity and equality in our community.

It is important to recognize and celebrate the contributions of individuals who have played a significant role in advancing these efforts. Maxine Coleman, Mary G. Porter, Fannie W. Fitzgerald, and Zella Brown played a pivotal role in the integration of the our school system during the Civil Rights Movement, breaking down racial barriers and paving the way for future generations. Their legacy serves as a reminder of the ongoing struggle for racial equality and the importance of recognizing and celebrating the contributions of Black individuals throughout history.

As we transition into Women's History Month in March, we will have the opportunity to reflect on the countless contributions of women throughout history. From civil rights leaders and suffragettes to groundbreaking scientists and artists, women have played an integral role in shaping our society and making progress toward a more equitable future. I look forward to honoring and celebrating the achievements of women past and present, and to continue working towards a world where all individuals are recognized and celebrated for their contributions.

In Service,

Chair Ann Wheeler

Chair's Calendar

Community Forum

Monday, February 20, Chair Wheeler's Office attended the Youth Empowerment Dumfries Town Hall. A panel of five (left photo), ranging from 5th graders to High School seniors, talked about a wide range of topics including mental health, bullying, crime in the area, drug use, and school/community events and programs. They also spoke about what they would like to see happen in the community such as school career fairs, local government internship opportunities, and more school/community events. Attendees met with panel members to hear more about their concerns and explore ways to assist them. Speakers included Potomac Magisterial District Supervisor Andrea Bailey (right photo) and School Board Member Justin Wilk, as well as Town of Dumfries Mayor Derrick Wood and Police Chief Vernon Galyen.

Community Forum

Tuesday, February 21, Chair Wheeler attended the PWC and OPAL Fuels Inc. Community Information Forum on the state-of-the-art Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) Facility (County News issue 152) that is currently under construction at the PWC Landfill in Manassas.

Regional Luncheon

Wednesday, February 22, Chair Wheeler participated in a Community Leaders’ Luncheon hosted by Col. Joseph V. Messina, Fort Belvoir Garrison Commander. The event provided a forum for the Garrison Commander and his staff to connect with community leaders and discuss common goals and collaborative opportunities. Col. Messina took command of U.S. Army Garrison Fort Belvoir in August of 2022.

Award Event

Wednesday, February 22, Chair Wheeler attended the 2023 Northern Virginia Technology Council Data Center Awards Celebration, a statewide business community and public sector event. The PWC Department of Economic Development was a sponsor of the event.

Prince William Chamber Business Awards

Thursday, February 24, Chair Wheeler attended the PW Chamber of Commerce 2023 Business Awards. Former George Mason University administrator Dr. Randall Edwards (photo below) was awarded the Charles J. Colgan Visionary Award. Chair Wheeler presented the 2023 Prince William County Business Partnership Award to the Villagio Hospitality Group President and CEO Marcus Silva for their team's commitment to placemaking, historic preservation, economic development, and community engagement, which has had a transformative effect on PWC. Innovative Practice or Partnership of the Year was awarded to PWC Department of Economic Development, Amazon, and Marine Corps Base Quantico. Colonel Michael L. Brooks (right photo, second from left)) and Sergeant Major Collin D. Barry (right photo, far left) accepted the award on behalf of Quantico.

Next Meeting

Tuesday, February 28

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

View the Agenda
Register to Speak Remotely

During the February 28, 7:30 pm meeting, County Executive Christopher Shorter will present the PWC Proposed FY2024 Budget.

New Supervisor Elected

Bob Weir won the

special election to fill the Gainesville Magisterial District BOCS seat, which was vacated last December with the resignation of Pete Candland (County News issue 145). Mr. Weir will serve for the remainder of the year. All the seats on the BOCS are up for election to a four year term this November.

County News

You're Invited

Tuesday, March 2, 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm, the PWC Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism is hosting its annual State of the Parks at the Kelly Leadership Center in Manassas. The event will celebrate the transformative power of parks in our community and share findings from the department's 2022 annual report.

Police Department Seeking Feedback

In coming weeks, the PWC Police Department is initiating a Community Satisfaction Survey on its services, including animal services. During the 45 day survey period residents will be contacted via phone and are encouraged to participate to share opinions. The survey will be offered in English or Spanish. All responses will be kept anonymous and will only be used in combination with those of others for statistical purposes. Responses are not associated with survey participants in any way.

The Police Department conducts these surveys every two years to comply with national accreditation requirements in accordance with the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. The independent research company Logit Group was selected to administer the survey and is one of North America’s largest executors of phone-based research.

The scope of this survey research is to assess how residents feel about provided services and to meet the following objectives:

  • Understand resident perceptions of the overall quality of life in Prince William County.
  • Quantify the satisfaction levels with the Police Department.
  • Gauge residents’ perceptions of and attitudes toward various aspects of police services.
  • Identify areas of improvement as well as subgroups which may be underserved.

Park Rentals Now Online

Planning a picnic, company outing, family reunion, baby shower, birthday party, or other celebration? PWC Parks, Recreation & Tourism has a variety of pavilions, picnic shelters, and tents available for rent from April 1 through October 31, which can now be reserved online here. You can search by date, approximate headcount and/or location to find site availability along with amenities, fees and any options. Step-by-step instructions on how to use the new rental system are provided in the video below.

Important Additional Information

  • It is recommended that you visit the park to ensure the pavilion and the surrounding amenities will meet your needs.
  • Any requests outside the amenities listed within the facility description may require additional documentation and approval. Please send requests to
  • A Special Event Application is needed for certain events including those that are commercial in nature, fundraising, open to the public, have admission fees, involve selling of food or goods, or exceed the capacity or limitations of the pavilion.
  • PWC also has over 50 parks and community spaces available year-round for free and without a reservation. Many of these range from small playgrounds to large green areas and contain several uncovered picnic tables that can be used.

Burning Law in Effect

Through Sunday, April 30, Virginia's 4 P.M. Burning Law is in effect limiting approved burning between 4:00 pm and 12:00 am. Open air burning is prohibited before 4:00 pm if your fire is in or within 300 feet of the woodland, brushland or fields containing dry grass or other flammable materials. During the approved time the burner must take proper precautions, including constantly attending the fire with a method of extinguishment. The ban applies to all open burning, including campfires with the exception of fires completely contained and covered by a metal screen with ¼” or smaller openings such as commercially available chimineas or fire pits. You can learn more about Virginia's 4 P.M. Burn Law here and PWC Burn Regulations here.

County Happenings

Youth Art Contest

"Window of Freedom"

Brantley Murphy

4th Grade

1st Place 2022 Contest

Wednesday, March 1, the National Museum of the Marine Corps’ Fifth Annual Marine Corps Student Art Competition will open to all U.S. students in grades K-12. This year's theme is “Leatherneck Legends.” Student artists are asked to create a piece of 2D art inspired by the life, stories, and/or achievements of an individual Marine, or “Leatherneck.” Artwork entries must be submitted via digital copy no later than March 15. The first 50 submissions in each category will be accepted for consideration. More information on the contest and how to participate can be found here.

A Taste of Ireland

If you are looking forward to all things celebrating Ireland, then the PWC Parks, Recreation, and Tourism has just the offering for you. Tuesday, March 18, program participants will prepare and taste traditional Irish dishes in the historic slave quarter at Ben Lomond. Cooking a Traditional St. Patrick's Meal is being offered two times, from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm and again from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Class fee is $10 and is open to ages 13 and up.

Calling all History Buffs

PWC Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Historic Preservation Division is offering two history themed educational events in March. Both events below will be hosted at the Old Manassas Courthouse. You can find more PWC Historic Preservation events here.

Saturday, March 23, 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm the Prince William Historic Preservation Lecture Series Rise of a Region a Developmental History of Northern Virginia will focus on how Northern Virginia developed into the places we live, work, and entertain in today. Andrew Painter has researched and written articles examining the region’s land development history. The free event is for ages 10 and older.

Saturday, March 25, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm the 8th Annual Prince William County/Manassas “Historic Communities of Change" Symposium will focus on the County's history and its early pioneers. Lecture topics include Parson Weems, George Carr Round, and railroads of Prince William County. The Fifth issue of the “Journal of Prince William History” will be released and on sale for the special one-day price of $5. Symposium fee is $10 and for ages 13 and older.

County Kudos

Emergency Response Recognized by Governor

The PWC Department of Fire and Rescue, Dumfries-Triangle Volunteer Fire Department, and Occoquan Woodbridge Lorton Volunteer Fire received the Outstanding Department Response award in the 2022 Governor’s Fire Service Awards. The award is given to the organization that demonstrated mutual aid, integration of multiple system components, interagency interfacing and cooperation, or complex assessment or rescue. 

During the winter weather event in January 2022, the departments responded to Interstate 95 and established an ad-hoc rescue and public service effort to handle motorists who were stranded, some for over 18 hours. They established an incident command and dispatched assets from their task force to respond to and treat several medical emergencies. Through the combined efforts of the members of the PWC Fire Rescue System they provided food, water, medical attention, blankets. and other aid. Using station assets, they cleared exit ramps which allowed motorists to exit the Interstate. 

The Governor's Fire Service Awards were established in 2002 as a formal recognition of excellence in Virginia's Fire Services. The awards are presented annually to recipients in eight categories. Each award has its own criteria. Nominations are accepted in each category, which are then reviewed, scored and selected for recommendation by the Executive Committee of the Virginia Fire Services Board. The recommendations are forwarded to the Governor through the Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security for final approval.

Crisis Team gets Statewide Recognition

The Greater Prince William Crisis Intervention Team (GPWCIT) has been awarded Program of the Year by the Virginia CIT Coalition. The team trains police officers to recognize people in a serious mental health crisis, understand various mental health diagnoses, be familiar with medications, know how to verbally de-escalate a situation, and use community and regional resources to help those in crisis. The GPWCIT is comprised of PWC and the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park police departments along with the PWC Sheriff’s Office, Community Services Board, and Adult Detention Center.

The GPWCIT trainers have provided roughly 54% of police officers with 40 hours of CIT training to become better equipped to deal with sensitive calls. Refresher, advanced and train-the-trainer courses are also part of the program. In 2020, the police department and the PWC Community Services Board added one full-time police department position and one full-time mental health coordinator (County News issue 54) to the GPWCIT program. A 2022 federal grant administered through George Mason University provided $1.1 million (County News issue 108) for the team to hold six classes annually.

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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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