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Issue 94
Friday, December 3, 2021
Prince William County
Dear Neighbors,

Officially Small Business Saturday was November 27 (issue 93), but you can support Prince William County businesses everyday this shopping season (and year-round!). As you'll read about below, I recently trimmed my house, filled a few stockings, and even picked up something for myself from local shops. I also enjoyed some great local food along the way.

As shared in my November 23 InsideNoVa op-ed, Shopping small: An act of Thanksgiving, these businesses shape the character of our County. When you #ShopSmall, you’re not just supporting neighborhood favorites – you’re supporting our whole community. Alongside our dedicated first-responders and brilliant health professionals, our county's small businesses, who fought against the odds to stay in business, deserve our praise and support this holiday season.

Before I close, tragically we recently lost one of our young residents due to a syndrome associated with COVID-19 and the new Omicron variant is dominating the news (see articles below). Please, get fully vaccinated. Please, have adolescents in your family 12 and older fully vaccinated. Please, if you are 18 or older and fully vaccinated, get the booster as soon as you are eligible. In this season of giving, it is the best give we can give ourselves and others.

In Service,
Chair Ann Wheeler
Supporting Local Businesses
Burnside Farm's Christmas Tree Market in Haymarket Place has premium Virginia grown Frasier and Douglas Firs, as well as some Balsam Firs, which Chair Wheeler bought. Trees range from table-top size to 12-13 feet. There is also a little Christmas Shop with fresh wreaths, roping, tree stands, and other adorable items.
Needles in the Haymarket has come through the pandemic partially because people were doing more crocheting and knitting while they were home. The owner said they adjusted to the new normal and Chair Wheeler bought some beautiful yarn for her daughter, who has just decided to take up crocheting.
Comics & Gaming Gainesville, tucked away on Gardner Park right off of Route 29, sells tons of things related to gaming and comics. It adapted during the pandemic to get its products out to its customers and gaming community. Chair Wheeler bought something for her other daughter, who happens to love the Avengers. 
Two Guys Antiques and Collectables in Dumfries worked hard to stay open throughout the pandemic. The shop is filled with memories featuring an eclectic mix of antique furniture, artwork, jewelry, and more. Chair Wheeler found another lucky duck for her office.
Dixie Bones in Woodbridge is known for its hickory smoked pork, chicken, ribs and beef, along with its homemade sides. Chair Wheeler had the pulled pork sandwich, which was piled-high, and coleslaw. Its reputation is well deserved, it WAS delicious.
La Neveria Michoacana in Dumfries was busy with a steady stream of customers standing in line for its wonderful ice cream and popsicles. While it all looked good, Chair Wheeler opted for yummy vanilla, with chocolate swirls and caramel ice cream.
Some ways to find local businesses:
Chair's Calendar
Sunday, November 29, Chair Wheeler, along with U. S. Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton, Gainesville Magisterial District Supervisor Pete Candland, Virginia Delegate-elect Briana Sewell, and Brentsville Magisterial District Supervisor Jeanne Lawson, joined Chabad of Greater Gainesville & Manassas in lighting the menorah in celebration of the start of Hanukkah.
Omicron Variant
On November 26, the World Health Organization designated the Omicron variant a variant of concern. This week several cases have been identified in the U.S. and additional possible cases are being investigated. Omicron is unusual because it has a high number of mutations. As the science and medical community learn and provide information about the variant, it will be shared in future issues.
  • It is unknown how efficiently Omicron can spread from person to person.
  • It is unclear if Omicron infection is associated with more severe disease.
  • There are no data available to assess the ability of sera from vaccinated persons or those with previous infection to neutralize Omicron.

If you would like to learn more about the Omicron variant, you can read the full December 2 CDC Science Brief. The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) is closely monitoring developments related to the Omicron variant. You can visit the VDH’s webpage about variants for additional information about the Omicron variant.
Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome Case in PWC
On Friday, November 26, the Virginia Department of Health confirmed the first death from Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) associated with COVID-19. The child was between 10 and 19 years old and resided in the Prince William Health District. To protect privacy and out of respect for the family, no other patient information was disclosed. The first reports of this rare syndrome came from the United Kingdom in late April 2020 and were first reported in New York City in early May of 2020. Virginia has reported 111 cases to date.
MIS-C may cause problems with a child’s heart, lungs, kidneys and other organs. Most children with MIS-C have an ongoing fever, plus more than one of the following: stomach pain, diarrhea, vomiting, skin rash, bloodshot eyes, and dizziness or lightheadedness.

Parents should go to the nearest hospital/emergency room for medical care if a child is showing any severe MIS-C warning signs such as:
  • Trouble breathing.
  • Pain or pressure in the chest that does not go away.
  • Confusion or unusual behavior.
  • Severe abdominal pain.
  • Inability to wake or stay awake.
  • Pale, gray or blue-colored skin, lips or nail beds, depending on skin tone.

You can learn more about MIS-C here.
The Virginia Department of Health has advised that now, any adult, 18 years and older, who is six months or more out from the second Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna dose can request and receive a booster dose. CDC continues to recommend that people aged 18 years or older who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine receive a booster dose at least two months after being vaccinated.
“VDH stands ready to provide boosters to any Virginia adult who wants one today. Supply is not an issue, and there are multiple venues open to you to get your booster: pharmacies, your healthcare provider, your local health department, Community Vaccination Centers (CVCs) strategically located around the Commonwealth and other community vaccination events. We urge you to do so in order to move forward and out of this pandemic.”
Dr. Danny Avula
Virginia State Vaccination Liaison
Vaccination and Testing Resources
To learn where you can get vaccinated:

For information on where to get tested if you think you may have COVID-19, visit the PWHD COVID-19 testing webpage.
Next Meeting
Tuesday, December 7,
at 2:00 pm and 7:30 pm

For Public Comment Time options,
visit SpeakUp! Prince William.
Remote speakers must sign-up by
5:00 pm on Monday, December 6.
In-person speakers can sign up at the meeting.
COVID-19 Grant Portal Now Open
On November 9, the BOCS approved the Lift Up Lodging and Restore Retail grant programs to cushion the ongoing crunch felt by hotels, restaurants, event spaces, and storefront retail businesses. Funded from the County’s allotted $91.4 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) relief, the program opens $4 million for the Lift Up Lodging program and $6 million for the Restore Retail program.
Each program will run until December 2022 or until the funds are exhausted. Awardees must use grant funds for general operating expenses or adaptive costs related to COVID-19. The Department of Economic Development and Office of Tourism staff will review applications, and funds will be distributed through the Industrial Development Authority of PWC. Any questions related to the grant application process can be emailed here.
How to Apply
The Lift Up Lodging online application portal opened Wednesday, December 1. The grant program includes hotels, motels and inns, yet excludes short term rentals. It offers $750 per guest room with a required minimum of 10 guest sleeping rooms.
The Restore Retail online application portal opens Tuesday, December 14. Businesses must either own or lease their facility and grant levels are determined by size of commercial space, with grants up to $25,000 based on a business’ square footage.
"These grants add to our community’s determination and resilience in recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Board is committed to helping the hospitality and tourism industries bounce back to generate much-needed spending for our small business community."
Ann Wheeler
Chair At-Large
Prince William Board of county Supervisors
County News
Acting County Executive Appointed
The BOCS has appointed Deputy County Executive Elijah Johnson as the acting county executive effective January 1, 2022. This comes after the County Executive Chris Martino announced his retirement (issue 87), which will be effective December 31, 2021. Mr. Johnson currently serves as the Deputy County Executive for Human Services. Johnson is the first African American to serve in this capacity in PWC.
Appointed Deputy County Executive in 2014, Mr. Johnson provides oversight of PWC’s Human Services agencies, including Community Services, Area Agency on Aging, Office of Criminal Justice Services, Department of Social Services, and the Office of Housing and Community Development. He serves as the liaison with the state-supported Prince William Area Public Health District, Juvenile Court Service Units, and Virginia Cooperative Extension. Additionally, he works with the many community organizations who provide invaluable services for PWC residents.
"It is an honor to continue to serve the staff, public, and stakeholders of Prince William County at this level. I will work to ensure a smooth transition of county services to continue to move the county forward."
Elijah Johnson
Deputy County Executive
Phase I of New Animal Shelter is Open
The new 28,000-square foot PWC Animal Shelter is now partially open and housing animals. This phase of the $16.7-million facility is where the animals are examined and housed. It includes a veterinary suite with a state-of-the-art surgical area and administrative offices. The new shelter features skylights to provide natural lighting that contributes to the health of the animals.

In addition to its size and amenities, the new shelter will be safer for the animals. Wall and floor surfaces are made of impervious, easily cleaned materials. The heating, air conditioning, and ventilation system is designed to help keep the shelter clean. There is a true isolation area for animals who are sick to minimize the spread of illness. Even in the routine housing, the ability for disease to spread throughout the building is greatly minimized.

Phase II is scheduled for completion in March 2022. It will include dog and cat adoption housing, adoption dog play yards, adoption cat and dog visiting rooms, a small mammal room, a bird room, a reptile room, and three cat group housing areas.
Permanent Solution to Disposing of Unused Drugs
Residents can now safely dispose of unwanted or unused pills, patches, ointment, or other medications at one of three drop boxes at PWC Police Stations. The permanent medication drop boxes are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Safely disposing of unused and expired medications limits access, which helps fight the opioid epidemic. The purchase of the disposal drop boxes was made possible by a SAMHSA State Opioid Response grant awarded to PWC Services Behavioral Health and Wellness program.
The drop box locations are:
  • Western District Police Station at 8900 Freedom Center Boulevard in Manassas.
  • Central District Police Station at 5036 Davis Ford Road in Woodbridge.
  • Eastern District Police Station at 15948 Donald Curtis Drive in Woodbridge.

Please Note: Liquids, needles, vape devices, or vape cartridges are not to be disposed of in the permanent drop boxes.
Big Changes Coming to Library
Starting Monday, December 13, the Bull Run Regional Library will be closed for at least six months for renovations. The 25,000 square-foot library, one of two regional libraries in PWC, opened in 1994.

The renovations will add a state-of-the-art Makerspace studio (issue 90) with new technology, craft tools and equipment to include:
  • A digital graphic design studio suite, animation studio, green screen, video and audio editing equipment.
  • Integrated laptops and iPads to provide a holistic maker experience.
  • A Cricut Maker, sewing machine, and 3D printer.

The renovations will also include an open floor plan, new furniture, an additional study room, updated adult and children's areas, and a new dedicated tween area. The projected cost for the renovation is $965,345 and will be covered by proffers.
County Happenings
The Night of Lights is at the PWC Fairgrounds in Manassas through Sunday, January 9, from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm nightly (closed December 25). The walk-through Christmas Village features activities for the whole family. Visitors can join in holiday sing-a-longs, take a photo with Santa, shop local artisans, get lost in the unique mazes, enjoy an amusement ride and more. When you need a break, there is a custom-designed Gingerbread Café as well as food trucks onsite. Tickets are $12.00 for ages 3 and up.
Saturday, December 4, from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm, the Town of Haymarket is hosting its Christmas and Holiday Celebration. Come and enjoy hot cocoa, cider, a free cookie decorating station for the children, and roasting marshmallows over the bonfire in front of Town Hall. There will be holiday carols and musical performances. Don’t miss Santa and Mrs. Claus as they ride through town and visit with the children! The Town Museum stays open all day with a Christmas Craft Market, and the tree is lit at dusk. Bring your family, friends, and even pets!
Pet Photos with Santa
Some of this Weekend's Holiday Markets

Hylton Center for the Performing Arts
County Kudos
State Champs
Congratulations to Coach Keith Mesa and the Charles J. Colgan Sr. High School girls varsity volleyball team on wining the Virginia Class 6 volleyball state championship! The Colgan High Sharks won three of four sets against the hard-hitting Herndon Hornets from Fairfax County Public Schools at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Sigel Center. Colgan is the first PWC high school to win a state volleyball title in 18 years.
Those Who Serve Serving Others in Need
Saturday, December 4, and Saturday December 11, the Fraternal Order of Police, Battlefield Lodge 43, will embark on its annual Santa Cops event. Uniformed law enforcement and corrections officers from PWC Police, Prince William-Manassas Regional Adult Detention Center, PWC Sheriff's Office, Dumfries Police, Virginnia State Police, City of Manassas Police, City of Manassas Park Police, and George Mason University Police will donate their time to take over 100 underserved children of our community shopping in hopes of making their Christmas special.

The shopping experience is made possible thanks to business and community donations, and long-standing partnerships with Potomac Mills Walmart and Manassas Mall Walmart. Before heading home, officers escort the children to breakfast in a convoy of lights and sirens. The December 4 breakfast is donated by Outback Steakhouse of Woodbridge and the December 11 breakfast by Park West Lion's Club. The Participating children range from 5 to 10 and are selected by the PWC, City of Manassas, and City of Manassas Park school systems.

The photos below from prior years shows what a special event this is for both the officers and children.
Greatly appreciated donations are tax-deductible and can be mailed to:
Battlefield Charitable Foundation, Inc
P. O. Box 195
Woodbridge, VA 22194
An Important Season
Sunday, November 28, was the first Sunday of Advent. The season of Advent begins on the fourth Sunday prior to Christmas Day, or the Sunday which falls closest to November 30, and lasts through Christmas Eve, or December 24. The word advent comes from the Latin term adventus meaning "arrival" or "coming," particularly the coming of something having great importance.
During Advent many Christians make themselves ready for the coming, or birth, of the Jesus Christ. Often an Advent Wreath with four candles is used to mark each Sunday by lighting a candle. Some have a fifth, white candle that is lit on Christmas Eve. For Eastern Orthodox churches that use the Julian calendar, Advent begins earlier, on November 15, and lasts 40 days rather than four weeks.
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.