Share This Issue on Your Social Media
Stay Connected With Chair Wheeler
Issue 62
Friday, April 23, 2021
Prince William County
Dear Neighbors,

Let me begin by saying how grateful I am to have received my second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine this week. I am thankful we live in a world where science can help overcome some of the health obstacles our society faces. As a breast cancer survivor, I know when we all focus on a solution, and pull in the same direction, great strides can be made in addressing health needs. I believe this can be seen in the effort to not only develop a vaccine quickly, but also use our collective will to make it available to everyone who wants one.

In Prince William County that number is high and I encourage everyone, who has not already done so, to sign up. It is equally important to remember, that even though people are becoming immunized, this virus will continue to take lives for months to come. Since Saturday, we have lost two more in our Prince William County community due to COVID-19. While I know I must continue to follow safety protocols, I do feel a little bit safer in the world today being vaccinated. Please sign up today!
Yesterday was the 51st anniversary of Earth Day. I had the honor of walking around Burnside Farm (pictures below) on a beautiful, albeit chilly, spring day. This year the 2.5 million tulip and daffodil bulbs that were planted drew tens of thousands of people. The economic impacts of an operation like this are far reaching. People come from as far away as Tennessee to visit the farm and participate in our local economy. This represents all that is good with open space preservation.

In Service,
Chair Ann Wheeler
The Environment
Burnside Farm
Burnsides Farm is located at 11008 Kettle Run Road in Nokesville and hosts agri-tourism events throughout the year. Follow them on Facebook to stay up to date on the latest happenings.
Arbor Day
Although some states celebrate at different times of the year to ensure trees are planted in the best environment to thrive, the national observance of Arbor Day falls on the last Friday in April. This year that day is
Friday, April 30. Arbor is “tree” in Latin, and Arbor Day celebrates all things tree related. While tradition is to honor the day by planting a tree, there are lots of additional ways to celebrate, including enjoying PWC's wonderful parks.
Arbor Day's "roots" date back to 1854, when Julius Sterling Morton and his bride, Caroline Joy French, moved to the Nebraska territory and purchased 160 acres. A tree lover, Morton planted a wide variety of trees and shrubs on the desolate stretch of land. But Morton didn't stop there. He became the editor of the state’s first newspaper, Nebraska City News, and used the platform to spread his knowledge of trees and their ecological importance to Nebraska.

On January 7, 1872, Morton proposed a day to encourage all Nebraskans to plant trees in their community. The Nebraska Agriculture Board agreed, and after some debate, used Morton's suggested name to create Arbor Day. The first Arbor Day was celebrated on April 10, 1872 and it is estimated over 1 million trees were planted.

While Arbor Day gained widespread popularity, it wasn’t until 1970 that it became officially recognized nationwide through a proclamation by President Richard Nixon. In 1937, a bronze sculpture of Julius Sterling Morton was installed in the United States Capitol Visitor Center. It is one of two statues donated by the state of Nebraska.
PWC Schools Receive National Award
PWC Public Schools (PWCS) is one of only five districts in the nation to earn the U.S. Department of Education’s 2021 Green Ribbon School District Sustainability Award. The federal Green Ribbon School program recognizes environmentally friendly schools and districts that promote environmental awareness, energy efficiency, community engagement and student wellness. The Virginia Department of Education nominated PWCS earlier this year in recognition of the Division’s sustainability initiative.

PWCS was selected based on high achievement in the program's three pillars:

  • Reduced environmental impact and costs.
  • Improved health and wellness.
  • Effective environmental and sustainability education.
“I congratulate Prince William County for its vision and commitment to embedding green practices and sustainability in all aspects of division operations. An especially noteworthy aspect of the initiative is the promotion of environmental literacy by creating opportunities for students to acquire the attributes and skills known as the Five C’s: critical thinking, creativity, communication, collaboration, and citizenship.”
Dr. James Lane
Virginia Superintendent of Public Instruction
Clean Water and Art
The Service Authority's Water Art Invitational is designed to raise awareness about the value of clean water and to engage students in environmental stewardship through artistic expression. This year's event was named "The Power of Water" and received 106 entries!

The Grand Prize was awarded to Gainesville homeschool senior Priscilla Hatfield. You can view all the pieces submitted by clicking on the virtual gallery links below. Use the buttons at the bottom of the gallery view pane to take a self-guided tour. Click on a piece to learn about the artist and read the artist's statement about their work.

You can also view the virtual award ceremony in the video below. The competition is one of the many ways the Service Authority partners with PWC Schools and encourages students to participate in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) activities.
Supporting Local Farms
Looking to head out to a local farmers market this week or visit a pick-your-own farm? Then the Market Maker Virginia online search tool is for you. The online portal connects local consumers with farmers markets, farm stands, U-pick, breweries, and more! Once you select the service you are interested in, use the navigation section above the list to narrow it by location and other filters. Market Maker also serves local producers with things like educational classes. Learn more on the Virginia Cooperative Extension Market Maker webpage.
Other great sources for local outdoor experiences are:

  • Visit PWC Agri-Tourism webpage provides places to experience farm life first-hand, explore our farmers markets, indulge in local produce and farm-raised meats, and please your palate with a wine tasting or local brew.
  • Northern Virginia Magazine Farmers Markets webpage provides regional locations and links to more things, like how to plant an herb garden or where to see the Bluebells.
Continued Restriction Easing May 15
Governor Ralph Northam announced this week that sports and entertainment venues may begin to operate with expanded capacity. Additionally, social gathering limits will increase. All changes take effect on Saturday, May 15thThe Commonwealth will continue to mandate mask-wearing and social distancing.
Key Changes Effective Saturday, May 15

Social Gatherings
The maximum number of individuals permitted in a social gathering will increase to 100 people for indoor settings (currently 50) and 250 people for outdoor settings (currently 100).

Entertainment Venues
Indoor entertainment and public amusement venues will be able to operate at 50% capacity or 1,000 people (currently 30% or 500 people). Outdoor venues will be able to operate at 50% capacity (currently 30%).

Recreational Sporting Events
The number of spectators allowed at indoor recreational sporting events will increase to 250 spectators (currently 100) or 50% capacity, whichever is less. Outdoor recreational sporting events will increase to 1,000 people (currently 50) or 50% capacity, whichever is less.

Alcohol Sales
Restaurants may return to selling alcohol after midnight, and dining room closures will not be required between midnight and 5:00 am.

Updated guidelines for specific sectors can be found here.
The Virginia Department of Health has launched a grassroots effort to build a network of volunteer Community Ambassadors. As an Ambassador, you'll help share COVID-19 updates and materials from top experts and sources by reaching out to friends and family, sharing content on social media, forwarding a newsletter, or posting a flyer. The goal is to engage those near you in small ways, which will add up to big ways, by reaching neighbors and peer groups to classrooms, faith communities, and businesses next door. Learn more and how you can get involved here.
What is Fully Vaccinated?
This week I received my second vaccine dose. While I am thrilled to have achieved this milestone, it is important to remember:

  • You are considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after your second dose in a 2-dose vaccine series (Pfizer or Moderna) or 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine (Johnson & Johnson)

  • Once fully vaccinated, you should still keep taking precautions in public places and must follow Virginia's mitigation current measures (issue 58).
Vaccine 101

  • Pre-register for the vaccine online or by calling the COVID Vaccine Hotline at 1-877-829-4682 (1-877-VAX-IN-VA). When it is your turn, you will be contacted to make an appointment.

  • Follow the Prince William Health District on Facebook or Twitter for the open appointment and pop-up clinic announcements.
BOCS Upcoming Meeting
TuesdayApril 27
Budget Adoption at 7:30 pm

For Public Comment Time options,
visit SpeakUp! Prince William.
Remote speakers must sign-up by
5:00 pm on Monday, April 26.
In-person speakers can sign up at the meeting.
For Additional Budget Information
You can find an overview of the County's budget process in Issue 53 and more detailed information on the PWC Budget webpage.
The Greater Washington Partnership recently formed an Inclusive Growth Strategy Council. Comprised of 34 business leaders from across the region, its focus is on making the Capital Region a national model for advancing equitable economic solutions. The Council's three major initiatives are:

  • Create an actionable set of regional solutions and actions through a blueprint for inclusive growth that supports regional business, government, and community leaders in making the region the most inclusive economy in the nation within ten years.
  • Define critical issues and identify communities that lack access to opportunity through the creation of a new regional economic indicators dashboard.
  • Drive collaboration among regional organizations to align initiatives and deploy resources at scale toward critical inclusive growth challenges.

Sheila Johnson, Founder and CEO of Salamander Hotels & Resorts, and Jason Wright, President of the Washington Football Team, have been announced as Co-Chairs of the Council.
The Greater Washington Partnership was formed in 2016 by a group of leading CEOs and entrepreneurs to address the critical economic issues facing the region and ensure it remains one of the world’s best places to live, work, and build a business. They advance inclusive, actionable solutions that strengthen the regional economy.
County News
The Future of PWC
In recent issues, you've read about PWC's rebranding efforts, which range from the look of the County Seal to how to create economic development opportunities. On Wednesday, April 21, Chair Wheeler hosted a rebranding community engagement session. With 44 attendees from across the county, there was robust dialogue and it was exciting to hear new ideas. A big thank you to all who participated and shared your thoughts!
An Additional Way to Participate

Now you can also share your ideas in an online survey. If you weren't able to attend one of the online community engagement sessions or would like to express additional feedback, this survey is a great way to be a part of PWC's future. Please note, the contact information section is optional.
Learn More About the Route 28 Bypass
PWC's Department of Transportation is hosting monthly "Transportation Tuesdays" virtual conversations to provide information on specific topics of interest related to the Route 28 Bypass Project. The second one in the series is Thursday, April 27 at 12:00 pm and will focus on the project Design and Timeline.
Register to attend the Tuesday, April 27 session here. A recording of the session will be made available on the Route 28 Bypass Project website. You can submit questions and suggested topics using this form.

The third session will be on May 25 and focus on the Right of Way Process. The June 22 and July 27 topics will be shared closer to those dates.
Give Your Feedback on Future Public Transportation
The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation is conducting a feasibility study of enhanced public transportation services between the Franconia-Springfield Metro Station in Fairfax County and the Quantico Marine Base in PWC. Enhanced transit could include options such as additional express bus services, increased VRE commuter rail expansion, Bus Rapid Transit, or an extension of Metrorail.
Have your voice heard about potential future transit enhancements in Fairfax and PWC by completing this brief online survey by May 15.

An upcoming public meeting on the project will be held on May 4 at 6:00 pm. You can register to attend here.
Five Women Making an Impact in PWC
Prince William Living has announced its five 2021 Influential Women of the Year! The award ceremony will be on Tuesday, May 18, from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm at Sweeney Barn located at 9310 Discovery Blvd. in Manassas. Tickets are $30 and all proceeds from the event go to GiveBackPW, its non-profit, for scholarships and quality of life issues in Prince William, Manassas, and Manassas Park. Tickets can be purchased here.
Prince William Living's five Most Influential Woman for 2021 are:

  • Debbie Jones, President/CEO of the Prince William Chamber of Commerce
  • Dr. Sabrina Brandon Ricks, President of SBR Workplace Leadership Services
  • Joyce Connery, Chair of the Defense Nuclear Facility Safety Board
  • Adelle Settle, Founder of Settle the Debt
  • Helen Zurita, Community Advocate in Greater Prince William County

Read about these outstanding women and their impact on PWC here.
Learn More About Local History
The Sixth Annual Prince William-Manassas History Symposium will be held on Saturday, May 1, from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm. "A County to be Named Hartford," will take place at the Brentsville Courthouse Historic Centre at 12229 Bristow Rd. in Bristow. Co-sponsored by the Manassas Museum, PWC Historical Commission, and Historic Prince William, the symposium will cover a variety of topics. Tickets can be purchased online for $10. At the event, the third issue of the Journal of Prince William History will be released and on sale for the special one-day price of $5. Reservations are required to attend.
Local author Takisha Payne's second children's book, Bitsy Bop Hold Your Head Up High, helps kids learn important lessons when their dream remains just out of reach. The Manassas resident's second book is a follow-up to Bitsy Bop Wants to Hippity Hop and continues the journey of Bitsy Bop, a talented, young hip-hop dancer. In Hold Your Head Up High, Bitsy takes her talent to the reality television dancing contest “Kids on the Groove.” The book, published by Mascot Books, is recommended for ages 4 to 8 years.
Don't Forget!
  • From Friday, April 23, through Saturday, June 5, you can vote early in-person in the primary (details in issue 61 and at PWCVotes).

State News
Governor Ralph Northam has announced five new state historical markers recognizing African American contributions. They were selected from 100 submissions in the second annual Black History Month Historical Marker Contest, which invites students, teachers, and families to submit ideas for new historical markers to the VA Department of Historic Resources (VDHR).

Started in 1927, Virginia’s Historical Highway Marker Program is the oldest in the nation. In January 2020, more than 2,600 markers had been erected of which only 350 highlighted African Americans. Recognizing the need to represent Virginia’s history more completely, the VDHR led a special effort that has resulted in 42 new state historical markers about African American history being approved.
The new markers recognize:

  • Dangerfield and Harriet Newby (Culpeper County) - Dangerfield Newby, who was born enslaved in Virginia and later lived free in Ohio, was killed in John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry as he fought to free his wife, Harriet, and their children from slavery.

  • Mary Richards Bowser (Richmond City) - Bowser, born enslaved, became a missionary to Liberia, a Union spy in the Confederate White House during the Civil War, and a teacher at Freedmen’s schools.

  • John Lyman Whitehead Jr. (Brunswick County) - Born near Lawrenceville, Whitehead served in World War II as a Tuskegee Airman and is credited with being the Air Force’s first African American test pilot and the first African American jet pilot instructor.

  • Edwin Bancroft Henderson (Falls Church) - Henderson, a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame and known as the “Father of Black Basketball,” organized athletic leagues for African Americans, wrote The Negro in Sports (1939), organized the first rural chapter of the NAACP, and was president of the NAACP Virginia state conference.

  • Samuel P. Bolling (Cumberland County) - Born into slavery in 1819, Bolling later became a successful entrepreneur and was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates as a member of the Readjuster Party, a biracial coalition that accomplished significant reforms in the 1880s.
“It was important for us to provide a unique opportunity for our students to get involved with their education by allowing them to think more deeply about Virginia history. This contest elevated the need to integrate Black history into the history taught in our classrooms because Black history is American history. As we launch the ONE Virginia plan, we are providing schools with resources that will guide conversation and promote equity by telling a fuller and more complete version of Virginia’s history.”
Dr. Janice Underwood
Virginia’s Chief Diversity Officer
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 470,000 residents.