Archive for September, 2015

Animal Shelter Celebrates 40 Years of Service to the County

The Prince William County Animal Shelter is turning 40! To mark this anniversary, a public celebration is planned for Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015, from Noon to 4 p.m. at the Animal Shelter, 14807 Bristow Rd., Manassas (20112).

Enjoy free food and free activities for children. Meet local veterinarians and rescue groups. Enter the look-alike contest with your pet, or compete in the best trick contest!

Additionally, rabies shots will be just $10 during this celebration and micro-chipping will be just $20!

Help us celebrate 40 years of service by joining us on September 27th!

DEA Prescription Take Back

The Drug Enforcement Administration is working in partnership with the Prince William County Police Department, Manassas City Police Department, Prince William Crime Prevention Council, Sentara Lake Ridge and Novant Health Prince William Medical Center to make communities safer. If you have unused and/or expired medications you can turn them in for safe disposal on Saturday, September 26, at Novant Health Prince William Medical Center, 8700 Sudley Road, Manassas, VA 20110 or Sentara Lake Ridge, 12825 Minnieville Road, Lake Ridge, VA 22192 from 10 am-2 pm. It is important to dispose of your medications properly for the following reasons: 

• Unused or expired prescription medications are a public safety issue, leading to accidental poisoning, overdose, and abuse.
• Pharmaceutical drugs can be just as dangerous as street drugs when taken without a prescription or a doctor’s supervision.
• The majority of teenagers abusing prescription drugs get them from family, friends, and the home medicine cabinet.
• Unused prescription drugs thrown in the trash can be retrieved and abused or illegally sold. Unused drugs that are flushed contaminate the water supply. Proper disposal of unused drugs saves lives and protects the environment.
• Take-back programs are the best way to dispose of old drugs. But if a program is not available:

  1. Take the medications out of their bottles
  2. Mix them with something unappealing such as used kitty litter or coffee grounds
  3. Seal them in a bag or disposable container and throw that away



Voting Rights Act 50th Anniversary Celebration

The Prince William County Human Rights Commission and the Office of Elections, will host a community celebration in honor of the 50th Anniversary of the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. That legislation banned poll taxes, literacy tests and other devices that had been used to deny voting rights to millions of citizens, primarily African-Americans. The event will take place at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 26, at Little Union Baptist Church, located at 17150 Mine Rd. in Dumfries, VA.


“The Voting Rights Act is a landmark piece of legislation that makes certain every American citizen is able to participate and actively engage in the democratic process by guaranteeing their right to vote,” said Corey Stewart, Chairman of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors. “We celebrate the passage of the Voting Rights Act and also remember the struggles many in our nation had to overcome to secure and preserve that right.”

Speakers at the event will include: Congressman Gerry Connolly, Delegate Richard Anderson, and Karl Brower, President of the PWC Branch of the NAACP.


The event is free and open to the public, and made possible through sponsorship by: Prince William County Human Rights Commission; Prince William County Office of Elections; League of Women Voters of Virginia, Prince William Area; National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Prince William Chapter, Inc.; Prince William County Branch of the NAACP; Omicron Zeta Sigma Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc; Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Omicron Chi Omega Chapter ; Prince William County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.; Pi Lambda Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.; and Creative and Performing Arts Center (CAPAC).


For more information, please contact the Prince William County Human Rights Office at 703.792.4680 or

Doves Landing Park Grand Opening

This Saturday, September 26, is the Dove’s Landing Park Grand Opening Celebration and National Public Lands Day! Volunteers are needed for tree planting and trail work beginning at 9:00 a.m. The Grand Opening Ceremony will be held at 12:00 noon with a ribbon cutting at 12:30. To volunteer to assist with tree planting please contact Gary Rzepecki via email at To volunteer to assist with trail work please click HERE. Doves Landing Park is located at 9307 Doves Lane, Manassas, VA 20112. 

Absentee Voting Available for Those Who will be Out of the Area on Election Day

​Won’t be in the area on Election Day, but still want to vote? No problem. Residents who won’t be in the area on Election Day on Nov. 3 will still be able to vote by absentee ballot beginning Sept. 18. College students, commuters, military members or their spouses, people who will be out of the county on business or leisure travel, first responders or people caring for an ill or disabled family member are just some of those who will qualify to vote absentee, said County Registrar Michele White. “An absentee is meant for anyone who will be away on Election Day.”

There are several ways to vote by absentee ballot. Voters who wish to vote absentee by mail will need to mail an application for a ballot to the Prince William County Office of Elections at 9250 Lee Ave., Suite 1, Manassas, Va. 20110. Ballot applications, which can be found online at the Office of Elections webpage, must be mailed to the Office of Elections and postmarked no later than Oct. 27, according to White.

Another way to vote absentee is to vote in person at one of several locations across the county. In-person absentee voting begins Sept. 18 and ends on Oct. 31, White said. “You can either get an absentee ballot by mail or in person. The easiest way is to come by one of our locations and vote with in-person absentee.”

People who wish to vote in-person absentee will need to fill out a simple application and present picture identification when they go to vote.

Locations for in-person absentee voting are the main Office of Elections on Lee Avenue, the satellite office at the Woodbridge Division of Motor Vehicles at 2731 Caton Hill Road in Woodbridge, the Haymarket Town Hall at 15000 Washington St. in Haymarket and in the Occoquan Room at the James J. McCoart Building at 1 County Complex Court.

Visit the Office of Elections website for a schedule of hours for in-person absentee voting and a complete in-person absentee eligibility list.

Update on Route 28 Construction

Construction to widen Va. 28 and realign Vint Hill Road will have a “minimal impact” to motorists since most of the road building will take place in the northbound shoulder of Va. 28, outside the travel lanes, said Laurence Farrell, the Capital Projects Division Chief for the Prince William County Department of Transportation.

Widening Va. 28 from two to four lanes for roughly a mile between Infantry Lane and Linton Hall Road will ease congestion for morning and evening commuters, Farrell said. “What this project will mean, once it’s done, is … increased capacity on this road. This road is a primary feeder to I-66, and you have a lot of people using this road to get to points north and south.”

Realigning Vint Hill Road and widening it from two to four lanes for about a mile between Schaeffer Lane and Va. 28 will ease travel to and from Sudley Manor Drive, Farrell said.

While the $23.85 million project is part of the 2006 Road Bond referendum to widen Va. 28 between Linton Hall Road and Fitzwater Drive, no bond money was used to pay for the project, said the county’s Transportation Planning Division Chief, Rick Canizales. “We were able to get outside – federal, state and Northern Virginia Transportation Authority – funding to pay for the project.”

Currently, sound walls are going up. As work progresses, travelers on Va. 28 will see paving along the route and a signal light going in when the realignment of Vint Hill Road finishes. The project is on schedule to be completed by the end of July in 2016, Farrell said.

Visit the county’s transportation website for more information on current road projects.

Family-Friendly Event Scheduled for Public Safety Day on September 12

Children who are enamored of police cars and fire trucks will have the opportunity to climb into them and look around during the Prince William County Public Safety Day between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Sept. 12 at the Sean T. Connaughton Community Plaza located at 1 County Complex Court in Woodbridge.

Displays at the free event will include a ladder truck, a medevac helicopter, a SWAT armored personnel carrier and K-9 units. Star Wars characters are scheduled to show up along with a clown and a balloon artist. Sparky the Fire Dog will come patrol the grounds around the plaza and meet children. There will also be an obstacle course set up at the event and children will be able to play games and more, said Nita Lapihuska, Training Coordinator for the Public Safety Communications Center.

At 1 p.m., visitors will be able see a demonstration of how 9-1-1 calls are handled when they come into the Public Safety Communications Center. Lapihuska said the event will teach people how the system works from the time they call in an emergency until the first responders arrive.

“People need to know what to do when they have an emergency. This will give them the chance to interact with police officers and firefighters, and even the people who answer 9-1-1 calls.”

Lapihuska said the aim of the event is for people to have a good time. “We’re going to have a hands-on event. Come see us. Come talk to us. Come interact with us. Come see what we do. We just want to have a family-friendly fun event.”

Public is Invited to Attend 9-11 Remembrance Ceremony

The 22 Prince William County residents who lost their lives at the Pentagon and at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, will be honored and remembered during a ceremony on Friday, Sept. 11, 2015, at 9:30 a.m. The public is invited to attend the ceremony, which will be held at the Liberty Memorial, and will include remarks from the Board of County Supervisors, bagpipes playing Amazing Grace, a moment of silence, the reading of the victims’ names, the tolling of the bell and laying a wreath in memory of those who died in the attacks.

The Liberty Memorial, which is located between the Prince William Parkway and James J. McCoart Administration Building, was dedicated on May 9, 2006, to honor those who died on 9/11. The shape of the reflecting pool and walkway recall the 184 lost at the Pentagon. The single stone to the left of that plaque is an original limestone block from the collapsed portion of the Pentagon. The two columns of water represent the 2,749 lost at the World Trade Center in New York City. The stone that encircles the fountain is Pennsylvania flagstone, a tribute to the 40 lives lost in Pennsylvania.

The flag pole standing at the Liberty Memorial is the flag pole that James T. Lynch, Jr., who was killed during the attack on the Pentagon, erected at his home in Prince William County. The names of those killed from the Prince William area are inscribed on the west wall of the fountain’s pool. A sculpture of three pieces of steel from the World Trade Center stands across the street from the Liberty Memorial. The sculpture represents the resilience of the people of the United States even when faced with attacks on the homeland.

Check out Activities at the Libraries This September

Prince William County Public Libraries have some noteworthy events for library patrons to take advantage of this September.

On Saturday, Sept. 26, Chinn Park Regional Library will host a celebration to go along with Hispanic Heritage Month with songs, games and crafts. “Prince William County has a diverse population, and we like to align our programs and events with special events that celebrate the county’s diversity,” said Deborah Wright, the Assistant Library Director of Public Service.

Bull Run Regional Library will host “Viewing our Region through Geology-Colored Glasses,” a lecture where award-winning Northern Virginia Community College Professor Callan Bentley will talk about geological cataclysms that shook the region eons ago. The event begins at 7 p.m. on Sept. 15.

Wright said people like to hear about nature and history and combining the two doubles up on the fun. “Natural phenomena are always popular. People want to read about tornados, earthquakes, hurricanes. So, natural events are always popular for readers young to old.”

The “1,000 Books before Kindergarten” program is ongoing and is aimed at creating young, avid readers. The program, which is supported by the Prince William County Library Foundation, is also geared at getting children ready for school. “Reading with children from birth to pre-school helps grow lifetime readers,” Wright said.

Visit the library system’s calendar of events for a complete list of September activities, including Friday Flicks at Central Community Library, Family Friday Storytime at Bull Run Regional Library, Crafty Critters and Insect Exploration at the Dumfries Neighborhood Library and Reading with Rover at Chinn Park Regional Park Library, among many others.

County Receives Four Achievement Awards for Model Programs

The Virginia Association of Counties recently released its list of 2015 Achievement Award winners and three Prince William County agencies garnered four awards from the organization that, according to its mission statement, “exists to support county officials and to effectively represent, promote and protect interests of counties to better serve the people of Virginia.”

The Prince William County Department of Fire and Rescue, the Risk Management Division of the County’s Finance Department and the Human Resources Recruitment Division were the award winners. Here is a list of the award-winning programs:

The Department of Fire and Rescue’s Ebola Response Plan won recognition because it provided the framework for systematic guidelines for public safety. In October 2014, county staff had been monitoring the Ebola outbreak in Africa and deemed it to be a “significant potential risk and hazard to the region and emergency medical response personnel.” County staff determined that policies and procedures in place at the time were inadequate to mitigate the effects and handle any cases of Ebola. In collaboration with Prince William County Emergency Management, the Virginia Department of Health and the county’s Public Safety Communications Center, the Department of Fire and Rescue developed a comprehensive plan of treatment protocols, decontamination plans, training and procedures to address medical and personal needs in the event of exposure.

Fire and Rescue’s Emergency Medical Services, or EMS, Training Division keeps paramedics up-to-date with the latest life-saving, medical techniques. Under the division’s Sustainable Evidence-Based EMS Education program, paramedic training was largely moved from the traditional classroom setting to put paramedics in weekly practice sessions in simulated medical situations. Additionally, the division partnered with multiple hospital and healthcare organizations, the police department, social services, as well as community experts to “create direct links from students to experts in specialty areas of curriculum.” The program was designed to promote teamwork, creativity, excellence and responsibility.

The Risk Management Division won an achievement award for establishing its Infectious Disease Exposure Control Policy and Plan for the Assessment, Management and Control of Occupational Exposure to Infectious Pathogens plan. The plan expanded the Occupational Health and Safety Administration’s, or OSHA, Bloodbourne Pathogens Standard. The OSHA standard requires that employers determine and list job classifications for employees that have occupational exposure to bloodbourne pathogens, along with a list of the tasks performed by those employees. The expanded county plan, which took two years to develop, simplified the reporting process for employers and employees with a one-page flow chart on how to report, treat and document exposure to pathogens. The plan also designated Fire and Rescue Health and Safety Officers, or HSOs, as the primary exposure incident managers for the entire county. Having an HSO as incident manager made sense because they have training, relationships with medical providers and knowledge to make competent incident command decisions and to compassionately address the concerns of employees.

The Department of Human Resources Recruitment Division won an achievement award for its Volunteer of the Quarterprogram. Prince William County Government encompasses more than 26 government agencies, which frequently receive requests from county residents who want to volunteer in the community. In the past five years, Prince William County government has had 20,665 volunteers, across all departments, who contributed 725,655 hours to county agencies. To recognize the volunteers, the County​ established the Volunteer of the Quarter program 25 years ago to provide an “innovative means to ensure that all volunteers, who so diligently and freely give their time and talents, can be nominated and recognized for their contributions.” Every quarter, a rotating, cross-departmental Volunteer of the Quarter Committee accepts nominations form Human Resources and collaborates to select the most outstanding volunteers to publicly thank and recognized. Those chosen for Volunteer of the Quarter receive a personal letter from the County Executive, an invitation for them and their families to attend a recognition at a Board of County Supervisor’s meeting, and a plaque with their photo, which is displayed in the county’s administration building and then given to the volunteer. The county recognizes their contribution in a way that acknowledges their generosity and showcases the many wonderful stories about volunteers. More than 100 citizens whose volunteer efforts have positively impacted the community have been recognized over the past 25 years. The program’s only costs are the printing and framing of a quarterly plaque; yet its rewards are priceless.