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Issue 186

Friday, November 10, 2023

Prince William County

Dear Neighbors,

This slightly abbreviated issue of The Wheeler Report is coming to you a bit earlier this week as our County Government is closed in honor of Veterans Day. Yesterday, we gathered at the Freedom Park Memorial to observe the sacrifices and reflect on the achievements of our many Veterans. There is no doubt that America’s brave men and women have given much to ensure that our great nation stays free.

Today, members of our Armed Services are deployed at sea, in the air, and on land protecting our national interests and ensuring that America’s beacon of light continues to shine. From the war for independence to the battle against ISIS and every engagement in between, America’s brave sons and daughters have willingly come forward to defend our nation and our beliefs.

In addition to their service to our Country, Veterans make significant contributions to our communities. They are our teachers, doctors, lawyers, business leaders, and neighbors. They volunteer their time and talents to make our communities better places to live.

As we thank those who serve, let us also remember our heroes on the home front. The nation's military forces could not carry out their duties without the critical support that families and loved ones provide every day.

So on this Veterans Day, let us recommit ourselves to supporting our Veterans and their families. Let us show them our appreciation for their service and sacrifice. Thank you to all who answer our nation’s call to duty, both past and present, for the land of the free and the home of the brave.

In Service,

Chair Ann Wheeler

Chair's Calendar

Regional Board Meeting

Wednesday, November 8, Chair Wheeler participated in the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments Board of Directors meeting. The Board was briefed on the Capital Area Food Bank Hunger Report 2023, recommendations from the Climate, the Energy, and Environment Policy Committee regional goals on accelerating the deployment of solar energy, and recent developments in the COG Homeless Services Committee’s efforts.

More About the 2023 Hunger Report

The Capital Area Food Bank Hunger Report 2023, published in September 2023, found that 32% of the Washington region – more than 1.2 million people – didn’t always know where their next meal would come from at some point last year. Below are some key findings in the report. You can read the report in its entirety here.

Honoring Those Who Served

Thursday, November 9, Chair Wheeler participated in the PWC Veterans Day Ceremony. According to the 2020 Census, PWC has over 42,000 Veterans.

You can learn more about the history of Veteran's Day in issue 140.

"As I stand here, I am reminded of the sacrifices our Veterans have made throughout the years. By leaving their families and friends for periods of time and serving around the world, they keep us safe at home. This day gives us a chance to reflect and honor veterans for their patriotism, willingness to sacrifice for the greater good, and defense of a nation tested by war. It also gives us a chance to reflect on the cost and blessings of liberty...Prince William County is home to a large and vibrant Veteran community, and we are all the better for it."

Ann Wheeler

Chair At-Large Board of County Supervisors

Next Meeting

Tuesday, November 28

2:00 pm and 7:30 pm

Links to the agenda and to register to participate in Public Comment Time remotely will be shared in the issue before the meeting.

County News

New County Officer

Effective December 1, Lisa Madron will serve as the County’s Chief Transformation Officer. Ms. Madron currently is the Executive Director for Prince William Community Services, a role in which she has served since July 2018. She will hold this new position for a term of two years. Four additional County employees will also be reassigned to the office for a two-year period.

Ms. Madron will lead the newly formed Transformation Management Office (County Government issue 178), which was established by the County Executive within the Office of Executive Management to develop, design, and lead strategic initiatives focused on improving the overall customer experience for residents, visitors, employees and those doing business in PWC. The office will primarily focus its activities on process reengineering and improvement, technology optimization and performance management.

"The Transformation Management Office is an exciting opportunity to have a dedicated and clear focus on customer experience while allowing employees opportunities for career mobility and growth within the organization. To be successful, the office must provide assistance and support to county agencies by putting people first using a human-centered design approach to change. With her background and skill set, I am confident that Lisa will be very successful in this endeavor.”

Christopher Shorter

Prince William County Executive

Be 'Street Smart"

Now that daylight is fading earlier it can be difficult for drivers to notice pedestrians and those on bicycles. This is why the PWC Police Department invites residents to be ‘Street Smart’ and aware of pedestrian and bicyclist safety. The education and enforcement campaign runs through Sunday, November 19, and aims to reduce the number of pedestrian and bicycle crashes with motor vehicles.

More Details

During the campaign, police officers will focus attention on vehicle, pedestrian and bicycle violations that contribute to these types of crashes: speeding, running red lights, running stop signs, and driving without headlights at night or at any time of reduced visibility. The “Street Smart” campaign three main goals are to: 

  • Change motorist and pedestrian behavior, and reduce injuries and crashes.
  • Increase awareness of the consequences of pedestrian and bicycle crashes.
  • Recommend actions to reduce risks, such as using crosswalks, obeying traffic signals, looking left-right-left before turning or changing lanes, slowing down, and stopping for pedestrians.

Funding Awarded to Address Flooding

PWC has been awarded $143,000 in support of Marine Corps Base Quantico to undertake a $572,000 project to evaluate solutions to flooding from Little Creek along Route 1. The funds will come from the Virginia Military Community Grant Program, which was created by the 2022 General Assembly, and was supported by the County in the 2022 legislative agenda. The funding is part of $5 million in military community infrastructure grants that support localities pursuing Department of Defense funding opportunities

Free Shredding Event

The PWC Solid Waste Division is holding a free Document Shred event on Saturday, November 18, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm (or until trucks reach capacity) at 7 County Complex Court in Woodbridge. This event is for residents. No business or commercial shredding will be accepted. Only confidential documents, such as bank statements and tax returns, will be accepted.

Additional Details

  • Paper clips (regular size) and staples do not have to be removed.
  • Heavy binding clips, 3-ring binders, cardboard, media storage items (CDs, cassettes, etc.), and batteries are not allowed.  
  • Non-confidential documents such as junk mail should be recycled at the curb, a Solid Waste facility customer convenience center, or recycling drop-off trailer.
  • Residents may bring the equivalent of up to four boxes (18”x12”x15”) of paper for shredding on-site at no charge.
  • Customers should stay in the vehicle. All items for shredding should be placed in the rear of the vehicle (trunk, hatchback, or truck bed) before coming to the shred location.

Calling All Writers

The PWC Public Libraries is hosting an Adult Writing Contest for poetry and short stories. There will be prizes in each category. Participants must be 18 or older and residents of Prince William County or the City of Manassas. The deadline for entries is Thursday, November 30. Learn more and submit your entry here.

Competition Rules

  • Entries will be judged on creativity, originality, technique, and emotional impact.
  • One entry per category.
  • Entries must be previously unpublished works.
  • Short stories may be no longer than 2,500 words, and poetry may be no longer than one page.

On the Air

PWC Public Libraries has launched a new podcast, "Important Library Stuff" where staff share the inside scoop on all the cool stuff that is happening at our Libraries. Every other week, a new episode hosted by Library media specialist Emily Bickers and guest co-hosts will discuss everything from the vast collection of books, e-books, audio, and digital resources, to special services like the Career Online High School.

The first episode was with Makerspace masters, Delwyn Elizabeth and Jennifer Hendrix. More than 3,500 people have come in the Bull Run and Central Libraries' Makerspace to create stunning quilts, artfully designed shirts, stickers on the Cricut machines, and even recorded their own podcasts in the WhisperRoom sound booth. Learn about upcoming programs in the Makerspaces, and – spoiler alert – the new Makerspace coming to Chinn Park Library next year. You can learn more about Makerspace in the video below.

See Get Creative in County Happenings below for an upcoming Makerspace event.

Transportation Usage Update

The Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission recently provided a usage update on its new OmniRide Connect Microtransit (County News issue 150). Ridership of the Dumfries-Triangle-Quantico Microtransit service, which replaced taxi shuttle service in June 2023, has increased each month, from over 460 in August to almost 560 in October. Ridership of the Manassas Park Microtransit, which replaced an under-utilized fixed route in December 2022, rose from 440 in August to over 480 in September, with a slight decrease to just over 470 in October. More details can be found here.

Similar to Lyft or Uber, Microtransit allows riders to book an on-demand ride through their phone using the "OmniRide Mobility" app or by calling OmniRide's Customer Service office at (703) 730-6664.

County Kudos

Well Deserved Promotion

Congratulations to PWC Fire and Rescue System Battalion Chief Kim Stewart on her promotion to Deputy Chief. Effective November 11, Chief Stewart will assist with the day-to-day management of the Fire and Rescue System, guided by the department’s mission, vision and values of the PWC Government, the Department of Fire and Rescue, and the Fire and Rescue System.

Chief Tom LaBelle congratulating and presenting Deputy Chief Kim Stewart with her badge.

Chief Stewart brings over twenty-years of experience in the Emergency Services field, serving the citizens of PWC in Operations, Emergency Management, HAZMAT, Public Safety Communications, and the Fire Marshal’s Office. For over ten-years, she has served as a Logistics Section Chief with the National Capital Region Incident Management Team overseeing system and support functions, ensuring the availability and deployment of resources, equipment, and personnel for complex incidents and events in the region. 

Chief Stewart completed the Executive Fire Officer Program, the four-year, flagship leadership program of the U.S. Fire Administration National Fire Academy. She graduated from the University of Richmond with a Master of Emergency Management degree and has begun her work on a Doctor of Education degree in Organizational Leadership.

Chair Stewart Joined by:

  • Her family (left photo)
  • Public Education Coordinator Christopher Brothers and Station 526 crew (C-shift) (top right photo)
  • Chief Tom LaBelle (far left), Deputy County Executive of Public Safety Dan Alexander (center), Public Education Coordinator Christopher Brothers (left) and Station 526 crew (C-shift) (bottom right photo) 

County Happenings

Regional Veterans Day Events

Arlington National Cemetery's 70th annual National Veterans Day Observance, honoring the men and women who have served and continue to serve in the U.S. armed forces during war and peacetime, will be held on Saturday, November 11, starting at 11:00 am in the Memorial Amphitheater. The event is free and open to the public with seating on a first-come, first-served basis. Learn more here.

Saturday, November 11, 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, the National Museum of the Marine Corps' is hosting Family Day: Veterans Day. Participants will be invited to create patriotic crafts and participate in Marine Corps birthday-themed activities while learning about the significance of Veterans Day. Children under the age of 5 will enjoy a special story time and sing-along. All Family Days are free and open to the public.

Get Creative

Thursday, November 14, 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm, The PWC Public Libraries is offering Say Cheese – Engrave a Cheese Board. Drop into the Central Library in Manassas and customize your own cutting board using the Glowforge in the Library's Makerspace (County News issue 90). Just in time for hosting for the holidays.

Cooking the Old Fashioned Way

Saturday, November 19, 11:00 am to 1:00 pm, the PWC Office of Historic Preservation is hosting Preparing a 19th Century Thanksgiving Meal at the Ben Lomond Historic Site in Manassas. From roasting meat and dressing using a reflector oven, to baking bread and desserts, boiling vegetables in cast iron pots, learn how food was prepared in the days when wood fires and Dutch ovens were the normal using authentic Victorian recipes. For ages 8 and up, $15 per person, advanced registration here required.

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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