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Issue 178

Friday, September 15, 2023

Prince William County

Dear Neighbors,

At our Board meeting this week, County Executive Christopher Shorter presented some exciting changes to our County's government, designed to let us serve our community better. These recommended changes were the result of excellent work on the part of Mr. Shorter and County staff to ensure alignment with our 2021 - 2024 Strategic Plan, which was adopted by the Board last year. You can learn about these changes in the County Government section below.

As you may be aware, Boards generally set strategic goals and it is up to the county staff to carry those out. We obviously don't have expertise in running the day-to-day operations of our County government, but Mr. Shorter and his team are well-equipped for this task, as stated in County News issue 138. We are lucky to have so many wonderful County employees!

As I said during the Board meeting, before I asked for a motion on the resolution (my comments start at 2:33:47), I am excited about the changes and am grateful for county staff. I know they will help ensure your County government achieves the goals of our Strategic Plan and best meets the needs of all who live and engage with Prince William County government.

In Service,

Chair Ann Wheeler

Chair's Calendar


Monday, September 11, Chair Wheeler spoke at the PWC September 11 Remembrance Ceremony, which included the “Tolling of the Bell,” a custom brought forward from the days when fire departments across the country used telegraph systems to communicate. When a firefighter died in the line of duty, the fire alarm officer would tap out three sets of five measured dashes with a pause between each set to note the fallen hero. Prince William Fire and Rescue Lt. Jeff Howdyshell rang a silver bell during the ceremony.

“We must never forget the sacrifice and suffering of so many and the pain of our nation...let us not forget Sept. 12 and what that meant for the healing and strength of our country. At the end of the day, we are stronger together. We are better together, and we are more resilient together.”

Ann Wheeler

Chair At-Large Board of County Supervisors


Wednesday, September 13, Chair Wheeler's Office spoke at the PWC Department of Fire and Rescue Recruit Class 2023-1 graduation ceremony. The thirty-three graduates each performed more than 1500 hours of training during their 32 weeks at the Department’s Public Safety Training Center.

Park Rededication

Thursday, September 14, Chair Wheeler and her Office attended the Dumfries Brittany Neighborhood Park Rededication Ceremony celebrating the recent improvements and updates. (The park is in the Potomac District and Supervisor Andrea Bailey is in the picture on the right, below.) Recent park updates include the conversion of one tennis court into two designated pickleball courts, freshly painted and paved basketball courts, as well as construction of ADA-compliant walkways. project was made possible through the BOCS support in appropriating ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funds to improve existing parks. The Board has allocated $17 million for these types of projects.

"This project is a great example of how we put that money to good use for elements that are really important to folks, such as being able to access the park if you have a disability, being able to get to different parts of the park with a baby stroller and being able to play safely on a court without cracks.”

Seth Hendler-Voss

Director Department of Parks and Recreation

Transportation Meeting and Ribbon Cutting

Thursday, September 15, Chair Wheeler participated in the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority's (NVTA) monthly meeting. During the meeting, a ceremonial ribbon cutting was held to celebrate its $1 Billion Local Distribution Fund Milestone. In one decade, NVTA has distributed $1 billion to its nine member jurisdictions, which includes PWC, and five towns to tackle their unique transportation needs by creating equitable and sustainable transportation projects that reduce congestion, enhance quality of life and strengthen the economy.

Grand Reopening

Friday, September 15, Chair Wheeler participated in the Showcase Dance Studio Grand Reopening event.

About the Studio

Showcase Dance Studio, relocated to Manassas, encourages kids to be a kid and offers an age-appropriate dance program, inclusive of music, costumes, and choreography. Knowing a small percentage of dancers graduate and pursue a dance career, it strives to equip dancers to use the skills they gain in our studio to excel in any career they choose to pursue.

Regional Meeting

Wednesday, September 13, Chair Wheeler attend the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments' Board of Directors meeting.

Next Meeting

Tuesday, September 19

2:00 pm

Work Session

For Public Comment Time options visit SpeakUp! Prince WilliamRemote speakers must sign up by 5:00 pm on Monday, September 18. In-person speakers can sign up at the meeting.

View the Agenda
Register to Speak Remotely

During the Tuesday, September 19, Work Session there will be a:

  • Parks and Recreation / Public Works / Facilities and Fleet Management presentation.
  • Office of Management and Budget presentation.

BOCS Tuesday, September 12, Meeting

Commended the Accomplishments of Mr. John David Allen, Sr.

A Retired U.S. Army Colonel, Mr. Allen served as the PWC School Board Coles District representative, as well as Vice Chairman. After calls began for defunding Police Departments and negative characterizations of law enforcement were prevalent in the media, Mr. Allen began, and personally funded, a Law Enforcement “Thank You for Your Service” Coin Program. Designed by Mr. Allen, the coins honor and show the PWC Police Department and Sheriff’s Deputies, and Virginia State Police Officers they are respected and appreciated. As of July 1, he has distributed more than 450 coins.

John Allen and his wife of 53 years, Mary Allen, have been residents of Dale City for 33 years.

Commended and Honored the 75th Anniversary of Executive Order 9981 and the Women's Armed Services Integration Act

The Women's Armed Services Integration Act was enacted on June 12, 1948. The next month, on July 26, 1948, President Harry S. Truman signed Executive Order 9981, which desegregated the United States Armed Forces. The impact of these has been profound and far-reaching, transforming the landscape of the United States military and setting a significant precedent for societal progress. These pivotal actions demonstrated the nation's commitment to the principles of equality, diversity, and inclusion, fostering a stronger and more unified armed forces that better represents the rich tapestry of our nation.

(left to right) General Carter Frederick Ham, Lieutenant General Leslie C. Smith, Brigadier General Clara Leach Adams-Ender, and Lieutenant General Arthur J. Gregg accepted the commendation.

PWC is home to thousands of Veteran and Active Service. 

Proclaimed September 10 - September 17, Suicide Prevention Week

 Organizations such as the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

are dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide, through research, education, advocacy, and resources for those who have lost someone to suicide or who struggle. Everyone is encouraged to promote initiatives based on the goals contained in the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention and the 2016 Suicide Prevention Across the Lifespan Plan for the Commonwealth of Virginia.

See County News below for a virtual suicide prevention training offering.

Heather Martinsen with PWC Community Services accepted the proclamation.

Suicide Leading Cause of Death Statistics:

  • 12th in the United States.
  • 3rd among children and teens ages 10-19.
  • 2nd among individuals between the ages of 20 to 34.

Proclaimed September 17 - September 23, Forensic Science Week

 These professionals address critical questions in criminal investigations by providing scientific conclusions relating to forensic evidence and serve a vital role in the criminal justice system by providing scientific information to investigators and officers of the court. The Police Department is committed to the use of forensic science in the investigation of crimes and partners with local, state, and federal agencies to collectively build and

maintain criminal databases relating to latent prints, DNA, and other information relevant to criminal cases. 

Major Kimberly Chisley-Missouri (far left) with the PWC Police Department and member of its Forensic Service Section accepted the proclamation.

National Forensic Science Week was instituted in 2013.

Proclaimed Friday, September 22, Car Free Day

Car Free Day invites residents of PWC and the region to telework and / or try alternative forms of transportation such as transit, bicycling, scootering,

walking, and “car-lite” methods such as carpools and vanpools in a safe and healthy manner. It supports the County’s Strategic Plan Mobility goal to provide an accessible, comprehensive, multimodal network of transportation infrastructure that improves local and regional mobility through the objective of decreasing congestion and fossil fuel vehicle usage. Car Free Day benefits the National Capital Region, including PWC through improved air quality, mobility, energy conservation, and reduced parking demands.

Bryce Barrett with PWC Department of Transportation accepted the proclamation.

Car Free Day is celebrated in 46 countries and over 2,000 cities.

County Government

Structure and Organization Changes

At the BOCS meeting on Tuesday, September 12, County Executive Christopher Shorter presented recommended changes to the County government organization, some department realignments, and the creation of a new office. These changes, which were adopted by the Board during the meeting, align with the County's 2021 - 2024 Strategic Plan.

Renamed Four Quadrants of Government

  • General Government is now Government Operations, Performance and Innovation.
  • Community Development is now Mobility, Economic Growth and Resiliency.
  • Human Services is now Health, Wellbeing and Environmental Sustainability.
  • Public Safety is now Safe and Secure Community.

Realignment Changes Within Quadrants

  • The Office of Tourism is now part of the Department of Economic Development (was in the Department of Parks and Recreation).
  • The Zoning Office is now part of the Department of Development Services (was in the Planning Office).
  • The Procurement Office is now part of the Office of Executive Management (was in the Finance Department).
  • Parks and Recreation and the Office of Sustainability are now a part of the Health, Wellbeing and Environmental Sustainability quadrant.

New Office

A Transformation Management Office (TMO) is being created and will be operational November 1, 2023. The temporary, two-year office will help develop, design and lead strategic initiatives focused on improving the overall experience for residents, visitors, employees, and those doing business in our County. It will be responsible for all efforts related to transformation initiatives and ensure effective monitoring, cross-agency coordination, and strategic execution. The TMO will report directly to County Executive Christopher Shorter. The director and four deputy or assistant directors will be selected through an internal recruitment process and reassigned to these positions for the two-year period.

County News

Tax Deadline Extended

During this week's meeting, based on a resolution brought forward by Supervisor Margaret Franklin of the Woodbridge District, the BOCS unanimously voted to extend the tax payment due date for the vehicle classification of tangible personal property by 90 days. Normally, this tax payment is due by October 5 of the calendar year. The approved extension means the vehicle personal property tax for tax year 2023 will now be due on January 3, 2024. You can read more about the extension here.

Additional Information

More information about personal property tax is available here. Residents may also email the County's Taxpayer Services or call its office at 703-792-6710. NOTE: this extension does not extend the business classification of the tangible personal property tax due date, which will continue to be due on October. 5, 2023.

Vital Training

Saturday, September 16, 9:00 am to 10:30 am, PWC Community Services Behavioral Health Wellness Team is hosting QPR Suicide Prevention Gatekeeper Training. QPR stands for Question, Persuade, and Refer, three simple yet powerful steps anyone can learn to help save a life from suicide. Just as people trained in CPR help save thousands of lives each year, people trained in QPR learn how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to question, persuade, and refer someone to the help they need. Register to attend the free, virtual event here.

Who Can be Gatekeepers?

Gatekeepers can be anyone including parents, friends, neighbors, teachers, ministers, doctors, nurses, office supervisors, police officers, volunteer coaches, youth organization leaders, caseworkers, firefighters, and many others who are strategically positioned to recognize and refer someone at risk of suicide.

Upcoming General Election

Early Voting starts Friday, September 22, in PWC for the 2023 November General Election. Early voting does require that a voter shows an acceptable form of ID. Curbside Voting is available for seniors and voters with disabilities at all in-person early voting locations in designated parking spaces. Drop boxes for those voting by mail are available at all early voting sites during business hours.

Monday through Friday

Friday, September 22, through Friday, November 3

8:30 am to 4:30 pm


Sunday, October 22

Saturday, October 28, and Saturday, November 4

8:30 am to 5:00 pm


Office of Elections: 9250 Lee Ave, Suite 1, Manassas

DMV Woodbridge: Elections Office, 2731 Caton Hill Road, Woodbridge

​Haymarket Gainesville Library: 14870 Lightner Rd, Haymarket

Additional Locations October 24 through November 4

Brentsville Courthouse Historic District: 12229 Bristow Road, Bristow

Dumfries Community Center: 17755 Main Street, Dumfries

Education Fair

Thursday, September 28, 11:00 am to 2:00 pm, the United States Marine Corps Voluntary Education Center is hosting a free Education Fair event at the National Museum of the Marine Corps. Over 30 colleges and universities will be represented. Learn more about degrees, programs, certificates and more. This event is open to the public. For more info, call (703)-784-3308/2375.

Part of the Marine Corps Community Services at Quantico, the Voluntary Education Program provides personal and professional learning opportunities to the Marine Corps community. Services and resources are provided by qualified counselors and advisors in cooperation with education service providers through individual and group counseling, workshops and training opportunities to include testing for college credit and pre-admission

County Kudos

Day of Service

Thank you to the PWC Police Department who helped support Lake Ridge resident Donna Diehl as part of National Day of Service. They combined forces with local vendors and volunteers to renovate Ms. Diehl's home. Ms. Diehl served as a Second Lieutenant and medical surgeon nurse in Vietnam.

Following her military service, Ms. Diehl worked as an Emergency Room nurse and eventually became the Supervising Nurse at the United States Federal Courthouse in Washington, D.C. In that role, she provided aid to the U.S. Judges, physicals for the U.S. Marshals, and assistance to prisoners as required. She is a member of VFW Post 1503.

In appreciation for Ms. Diehl's service, she was presented with a coin on behalf of Chief Newsham and the entire police department.

About Commemorating September 11

By a joint resolution approved December 18, 2001 (Public Law 107-89), Congress designated September 11 of each year as “Patriot Day.”

On April 21, 2009, Congress approved the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, which reauthorized and reform the national service laws. Within the Act Congress requested the observance of September 11 as an annually recognized “National Day of Service and Remembrance."

County Happenings

Harvest Day at Rippon Lodge

Saturday, September 23, 11:00 am to 3:00 pm

Learn the history of harvest day during the colonial era at Rippon Lodge Historic Site. Crafts, picking fresh veggies from the garden, pumpkin painting, farm animals, lawn games, and other fun, family activities planned.

Occoquan Fall Arts and Crafts Festival

Saturday, September 23, and Sunday, September 24, 10: am to 5:00 pm

Features a wide range of 300 emerging and experienced artisans in over 20 categories. Enjoy live music in the Beer and Wine Garden and at Imagination Alley kids can create their own art at the Art Bar.

Fall Festival at Leopold's Preserve

Saturday, September 23, 11:00 am to 3:00 pm

There will be vendors offering unique goods, food trucks, and wine tastings. For nature enthusiasts, embark on guided nature hikes. Fun-filled kid's activities will include face painting, carnival-style games, and raffles.

Keep Prince William Beautiful Fall Festival Fundraiser

Saturday, October 14, 11:00 am to 4:00 pm

The family-friendly event will include pumpkin decorating, a scavenger hunt, haunted bus, popcorn, games and raffles. There will also be adult beverages, live music, and more.

What was Old is New Again

PWC Public Libraries is hosting Upcycled Flea Market Décor at several of its branches through October. In this adult workshop, participants are encouraged to bring a used, shoebox-sized wooden item from home, marketplace, thrift, or yard sale, such as a jewelry or treasure box or tabletop drawers. Find dates, locations, and registration details here.

Important Details

Wood works best in this dynamic program, where you will work on painting techniques, decoupage, stamping, foiling, chalking, and sanding. If you don’t have an item to bring, the instructor will also bring some assorted wooden items for practice.  

Popular Event Alert

Enjoy the last Super Moon of the year Friday, September 29, 8:00 pm to 9:15 pm, at PWC Parks, Recreation, and Tourism's Corn/Harvest Full Moon Yoga Practice at the Neabsco Boardwalk. The fun, creative flow is designed to build heat and strength as well open your body and celebrate all the stimulating full moon energy and together with sound bath waves attain muscles relaxation, reduce anxiety, and improve sleep quality. Register to attend here.

Important Details

Please bring a yoga mat, blanket, and water. Wear appropriate clothing. There is a 30-minute walk from the parking lot pavilion to the south deck of the boardwalk, please arrive early. May be cancelled for inclement weather.

Helpful PWC Links

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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