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Issue 169

Friday, June 16, 2023

Prince William County

Dear Neighbors,

Today I participated in a PWC Department of Economic Development roundtable luncheon focused on the Future of Advanced Manufacturing in Northern Virginia. The event, was held in partnership with NCS Technologies (NCST). When NCST (County News issue 76) hosted its groundbreaking in October 2021 (Chair's Calendar issue 89), it announced instead of a ribbon cutting it would host a roundtable to catalyze collaboration with other advanced manufacturing companies to help grow our economy.

Today's roundtable featured a panel of experts from George Mason University and Northern Virginia Community College, as well as key business executives from our region's manufacturing sector. U.S. Senator Mark Warner was a featured speaker at the event. As a former businessman and former Governor of Virginia, Senator Warner understands the climate and opportunity for manufacturing growth.

The event underscored for me, once again, how the business landscape in Prince William County has evolved. Since 2020, The Wheeler Report has been full of articles on businesses that have chosen to make our County their home, existing businesses that have expanded, and small businesses that have opened doors and grown their footprints. Innovation Park is full of state-of-the-art innovators, and entrepreneurs are supported by a vast array of incubator, accelerator, and grant programs to name a few.

Prince William County business community is truly a vibrant ecosystem! It furnishes jobs and revenues that benefit our community.

In Service,

Chair Ann Wheeler

Chair's Calendar


Saturday, June 10, Chair Wheeler attended the graduation ceremonies of C.D. Hylton High School and Potomac High School.

Sunday, June 11, Chair Wheeler attended the graduation ceremonies of Gar-Field High School and Osbourn Park High School.

Click the school hyperlinks to see highlights from the ceremonies.

Grand Opening

Sunday, June 11, Chair Wheeler's staff attended the ribbon-cutting and grand opening of the Beautiful Creation Events Center in Woodbridge. The venue can accommodate a variety of events including weddings, Quinceañeras, corporate meetings, and any other social gathering. Its team of experienced DJs and Master of Ceremonies are dedicated to creating a fun and unforgettable experience. Additionally, its team of experienced designers and seamstresses can create dresses that reflect your style and vision.

Wife and husband, Karen and Mario, opened the doors of their first event venue in 2020 in Remington, VA. Their business grew and they decided to open the larger venue in Woodbridge. Karen has more than seven years of experience as an Event Planner and Decorator and Mario more than fifteen years as Master of Ceremony and DJ.

Focusing on Transportation

Wednesday, June 14, Chair Wheeler attended the Prince William Chamber of Commerce Economic Breakfast on Transportation. At the event, PWC Department of Transportation Director Ricardo Canizales gave an overview of the department and the Comprehensive Plan Mobility Report.

Regional Meeting

Wednesday, June 14, Chair Wheeler participated in the Washington Metropolitan Council of Governments Board of Directors meeting.

Flag Day Ceremony

Wednesday, June 14, Chair Wheeler attended American Legion Post 364, located in Woodbridge, Flag retirement ceremony. Members of the Post, Boy Scouts, Fire Department, and the community were in attendance. During the event, Auxiliary President Jessica Wangner (far right) read Howard Schnauber's poem "My Name is Old Glory".

Annual Meeting

Thursday, June 15, Chair Wheeler attended the Prince William Chamber of Commerce annual meeting and installation of the 2023-2024 Board of Directors. The Chamber's theme for this year is "Get Your Business in the Game." The Chamber also unveiled its new logo (bottom left) at the event.

Next Meeting

Tuesday, June 27

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 issue prior to the meeting.

County News

Safety Initiative Director Hired

Wesley Dawson is joining PWC as the first Office of Community Safety Director. Mr. Dawson comes to the County from the City of Baltimore's Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement, which focuses on violence prevention using holistic and public health-oriented strategies to improve community safety. He most recently served as the Community Engagement Manager responsible for establishing and maintaining healthy, trauma-informed, and supportive community relationships for the agency.

Additionally, Mr. Dawson was responsible for developing, implementing, evaluating, and monitoring programmatic, grant management, and budgetary matters associated, including approaches to address gun violence and the root causes of health-related matters. Before working in Baltimore, he was a special assistant and program analyst with the Department of Transportation, and as a constituent services coordinator with the Council of the District of Columbia. While there, he developed and implemented community engagement and outreach strategies in partnership with communities, from conceptualization to implementation. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Master of Public Administration from George Mason University. He will start on Monday, June 26

The BOCS gave staff approval to move forward with the new CSI program in December 2022, to include creating two new positions, a director and a community safety administrator/data analyst, which is currently open for hire. The Board approved two additional positions in the Office of Community Safety as part of the FY2024 Budget.  

PWC’s CSI program (County News issue 144) will focus on prevention, intervention, education and diversion strategies to be more proactive in addressing community safety. This approach will involve four key elements:

  1. Stakeholders from multiple sectors drive the CSI process.
  2. Trusted messengers and practitioners to ensure effective citizen engagement and service delivery.
  3. Approaches to safety that are driven by data.
  4. Practices which are rooted in an understanding of how trauma affects all people and the larger community.  

Primary Election Day

Tuesday, June 20, 6:00 am to 7:00 pm, is Primary Election Day in Virginia for several PWC and Virginia seats. When voting in the primary, you will need to request a Democratic or Republican ballot. You can only vote in one party's primary, not both. Voters are require to show an acceptable form of ID. Learn more at PWC Votes.

Helpful Information

  • PWC Office of Elections has a list of candidates and sample ballots (scroll down) for each PWC precinct here.
  • Find out your voting precinct location using the Virginia Department of Elections website here.
  • Find out your current and new (due to post Census redistricting) Virginia Senate and Delegate Districts here.

Free Meals During Summer School

PWC School System is providing meals free of charge for all children this summer at designated school sites as part of the Summer Food Service Program. Meal service is Monday through Friday and meals are served on a first-come, first-served basis. Stop and start dates by school, as well as a few closures, can be found here.

Join the Conversation

The PWC Office of Equity and Inclusion is hosting a Community Partners in Equity and Inclusion virtual meeting Thursday, June 22, 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm. The dialogue will focus on PWC Schools' diversity, equity and inclusion implementation with special guest Dr. Lucretia Brown (School News issue 87), Chief Equity Officer, PWC Schools. You can become a community partner and register for the meeting here.

Appreciating Nature

PWC Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism is holding a Wildlife Photo Contest. Residents have through Monday, July 31. Photo(s) must be taken at a PWC Park or Recreation Facility. Learn more, including all eligibility requirements, prizes, and how to submit your entries here.

Images may be submitted in any of these categories:

  • Birds
  • Mammals
  • Baby Animals (young of any species)
  • Other Wildlife (underwater life, reptiles, amphibians, insects, spiders, macro and more)
  • Young Photographers (ages 7-17)

Note: Leesylvania State Park and Prince William Forest Park are not managed by PWC Parks, Recreation & Tourism

Helping Small Businesses

Mason Small Business Development Centers use business experts from George Mason University to provide no-cost business counseling and training services to the small business community. Training and workshops cover business formation, marketing, pitch preparation, financing, SEO, cybersecurity, government contracting, and more. Services include counseling, workshops, and resources. Discover more here.

New Searchable Databases

The Washington Metropolitan Council of Governments (COG) has developed two searchable databases on new infrastructure grant funding programs available to area governments and partners. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) database provides information on more than 400 funding programs and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) database provides information on more than 100 funding programs.

The IIJA and IRA expanded the number of transportation, energy, and technology grants or financing programs available to support entities like state and local governments, as well as metropolitan planning organizations. COG will continue to enhance and update the databases will be updated as notices of funding opportunities are announced in the Federal Register.

County Kudos

Providing Critical Help

PWC’s award winning Co-Responder Unit (County Kudos issue 73) and Crisis Intervention Team (County Kudos issue 153), along with the newly open Crisis Receiving Center (Chair's Calendar issue 164) are vital efforts in diverting individuals suffering mental health crisis from jail. However, when arrest does occur, the PWC Adult Detention Center (ADC) Mental Health Team and Community Services (CS) Forensic Services Program work collaboratively to support individuals with mental illness and co-occurring disorders throughout their incarceration and return to the community. 

The ADC Mental Health Team offers a myriad of mental health services. These include, but are not limited to, crisis intervention, trauma-informed care, co-occurring therapy, grief therapy, discharge planning, community transition planning, psychoeducational groups, and medication management. Additionally, it is one of six pilot sites in Virginia awarded the Jail Mental Health Program grant through the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services. An integral part of mental health services is continuity of care. An individual is provided and participates in mental health treatment, and their symptoms are stabilized. 

...the Mental Health Unit “provides a therapeutic environment, within a correctional setting, to emulate community mental health interventions in a jail setting. In my experience, often times, the correctional setting is the first real opportunity someone has to engage in mental health services.”

Katherine Archer

Supervisor, ADC Mental Health team

The CS Forensic Services Program, established in 2018, initially consisted of various pre-existing forensic positions within the agency, including forensic discharge planning, restoration to competency services, and oversight of Not Guilty By Insanity Acquittees. In 2021, the program expanded to provide re-entry therapists who complete the intake and enrollment process, develop release plans, and can apply for benefits, all prior to an individual’s release. In 2022, the program further expanded to include a Forensic Peer Specialist who provides non-clinical services to individuals, such as outreach and linkage to resources, as well as support throughout the criminal justice process. 

“The individuals we serve are often homeless, have limited to no support systems, and lack access to basic resources, such as phones or transportation. I can imagine that without support or assistance, engaging in mental health services following release is not high on the priority list. That’s where we step in to help.”

Kristen Durbin

Supervisor, CS Forensic Services Program

County Happenings

Juneteenth Event

 Poetry Ending Poverty (P.E.P.) is collaborating with five other nonprofits to host the 2nd Annual Juneteenth Celebration Monday, June 19, 1:00pm to 6:00 pm at 4379 Dale Boulevard in Dale City. The free event will include BBQ, Games, community vendors, a raffle, giveaways, and more.

P.E.P. was formed to creatively help underserved individuals meet basic needs. By providing multiple interactive platforms, it enables the sharing of its message; lends hope and compassion; and reveals the wide reaching impacts of poverty. It offers adult and youth programs, including creative writing workshops with where individuals can identify obstacles that prevent mental stability and affect achieving financial goals.

Competition for a Good Cause

The PWCPD Community Engagement Unit has partnered with the Nova Bulls Semi-Pro basketball team for a basketball matchup of the Bulls versus the PWC Police Department and PWC Fire and Rescue. The game will be on Saturday, June 24, 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm at Gainesville High School located at 13150 University Boulevard. In addition to the game, the event will have food, prizes, music, and more. While tickets are free, donations are greatly welcome and will go to programs related to mental health awareness, anti-violence, anti-drug, anti-bullying, health and wellness, and social responsibility.

The NOVA Bulls nonprofit organization is centered around its semi-professional basketball team, AAU program, and recreational league. Its semi-pro basketball players act as mentors for youth in the community, focusing on anti-bullying, anti-violence and anti-drugs. The Boys AAU Basketball and Girls AAU Basketball teams will soon be joined by Youth Football, as well as a Cheer and Dance Program.

Library of Virginia is Coming to PWC

The LVA On the Go, the Library of Virginia's custom-made vehicle with state-of-the-art technology, is coming to the Chinn Park Library Saturday, June 24, 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. It will bring the vast resources and staff expertise of the Library to discuss research resources, regional and family history, educational materials, children's activities, and more. All ages are welcome.

Scheduled Activities Include:

  • 11:30 am – History Roadshow
  • 12:00 pm – Genealogy 101
  • 12:30 pm – History Roadshow
  • 1:00 pm – Genealogy 101

The Library of Virginia, one of the oldest state libraries in the nation, is turning 200 this year and celebrating with a series of events and programs. Its 200 Years, 200 Stories exhibition and multimedia experience celebrating Virginians whose fascinating narratives are housed in the Library's collections and together reflect the stories of Virginia. The free exhibit is on view through October 28 in the Gallery.

A "Hopping" Good Time

Tom Lilly and Beowulf T. Wonderbunny are coming to select PWC Libraries with their "Books Are a Blast" family audience comedy-magic show. Combining magic and Tom's keen interest in reading, the show has introduced thousands of children to the world's fastest bookworms, including Tom's take on Lady Liberty and Uncle Sammy, Seemore the Psychic Snake, and Beowulf T. Wonderbunny appearing in his very own bookmobile.

Show Locations and Dates

  • Dale City Library: Tuesday, June 20, 10:30 am
  • Potomac Library: Tuesday, June 20, 2:00 pm
  • Dumfries Library: Wednesday, June 21, 10:30 am
  • Chinn Park Library: Wednesday, June 21, 2:00 pm
  • Independent Hill Library: Thursday, June 22, 10:30 am

All ages are welcome!

Show Focused on Anti-Bullying

Blue Sky Puppets - Super Pig will perform its anti-bullying production dedicated to the National Library Summer Reading Series: “Every Hero Has a Story!” at the Jean C. Smith Amphitheater at Locust Shade Park on Thursday, June 29, 10:30 am to 12:00 pm. Chester dreams of having superhero powers, but he comes to a better understanding of what real heroes are when he helps a friend out of a bullying situation. For ages 2-12.

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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