Archive for September, 2018

Making the Right Call

When Xavier Young’s mother had a medical emergency, Xavier, who was 10 at the time, called 9-1-1 just like he was supposed to do. The boy followed the call taker’s instructions, tended to his mother while waiting for emergency responders to arrive and then let them in when they got there.

“I just wanted to save my mother from a sudden illness. She was very cold. I wanted to warm her up with blankets, but it wasn’t working. So I called 9-1-1 just in the nick of time,” Xavier said.
Prince William County Telecommunicator Susie Siemann-Waters commended Xavier for his presence of mind and his ability to help everyone in the emergency.
Xavier was among three Prince William County children who knew to “Make the Right Call” during medical emergencies. The children were recently recognized at the county’s annual Public Safety Day. A fourth child was recognized for reporting suspicious activity that led to an arrest.
Steven Barnes was 11 at the time of his call to 9-1-1, which helped save his grandmother. “It was just bizarre how it all happened at once. I was just glad they came in time. It was hard,” Steven said.
Jeanette Watson, the telecommunicator who took Steven’s call, said the Woodbridge boy was decisive, mature and calm throughout the incident. “For what might be a very frightening time for most children, he stayed very composed and showed great courage during the emergency.”
Yarzita K. Martinez Ramos knew to call 9-1-1 to help her sister who was having a medical emergency. Telecommunicator Shannon Marion said Yarzita “remained calm and answered all questions.”
“We’re proactive about going to the schools and to the libraries teaching the 9-1-1 system, so that when kids come across a medical emergency like this, they know exactly what to do,” said Eddie Reyes, director of Public Safety Communications. “We’re so proud of them,” Reyes said of the children who called.

Absentee Voting Available for Commuters and Others

There is a general election on Nov. 6, and Prince William County encourages all eligible residents to vote. If you aren’t available to vote on Nov. 6, there are plenty of opportunities to vote absentee, which starts on Sept. 21.

The list for those who are eligible to vote absentee is rather broad and allows for absentee voting under a wide array of circumstances. Those include people living outside of the country, students attending college, commuters who will be away from the county for more than 11 hours between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. on Election Day, first responders, those with a disability or illness, people with a religious obligation, and active duty military and their spouses, among others. Visit the Prince William County Office of Elections website at for a complete list of absentee voting qualifications.
People who wish to vote absentee will need to fill out an application and return it to the Office of Elections, located at 9250 Lee Avenue in Manassas, by Tuesday, Oct. 30, in order to request that a ballot be mailed.
The application can be completed in several ways. Registered voters, with the appropriate identification, who wish to vote absentee in-person can fill out the application at their designated absentee voting location and vote the same day. Designated absentee in-person voting locations in the county include:

  • Office of Elections at 9250 Lee Avenue in Manassas
  • Haymarket-Gainesville Community Library at 14870 Lightner Road in Haymarket
  • Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles Office at 2713 Caton Hill Road in Woodbridg
  • Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles Office at 2713 Caton Hill Road in Woodbridge

People with a Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles license or identification card can register to vote online at the Virginia Department of Elections website.

Those who are not registered to vote will have to wait five days for a ballot to be issued, with the exception of military and overseas voters, according to the Virginia Department of Elections website.

The following is a list of significant voting dates:

  • Sept. 21, 2018 – Absentee voting begins.
  • Oct. 8, 2018 – The Office of Elections and all absentee voting locations are closed.
  • Oct. 15, 2018 – The last day to register for the November General Election.
  • Oct. 30, 2018 – The deadline to request a ballot by mail for the November General Election.
  • Nov. 3, 2018 – The last day to vote absentee in-person for the November General election.
  • Nov. 6, 2018 – Election Day.

For more information, call the Prince William County Office of Elections at 703-792-6470 or email Find sample ballots at

Calling All Bicyclists in the County

​The Prince William County Department of Transportation is looking for input from bike riders in the community to help develop a Bicycle Skill Level Map. The purpose of the map is assist bicyclists – commuters and recreational – in finding routes in the county that best fit their skill level. Cyclists can help by assigning skill levels that are needed to ride the bike routes by using an online survey. The survey will run from now until Oct. 31.

Adam Weigel, the county’s bicycle and pedestrian coordinator, said the department has a preliminary map drawn out with skill levels assigned to various routes. However, they are hoping cyclists can help refine the map. “We’ve got this initial map based on measurable data – speed and volume of traffic and what facilities are there. Our efforts now are to try to get feedback from the public to see if those initial ratings make sense based on their experience,” Weigel said.
On the map, roads are color-coded based on rider skill level – beginner, occasional, frequent and confident/experienced. A beginning rider would need a path separated from the road to mostly avoid traffic. An occasional rider would be comfortable in neighborhoods with slower traffic, but would be willing to use bike lanes. Frequent riders, with above average skill, would be comfortable using bicycle lanes and shoulders. Confident and experienced cyclists would be comfortable navigating routes with heavy traffic and difficult intersections on roads in dense urban settings, Weigel said.
The department wants to hear from riders of all skill levels in order to draw a better map, Weigel said. “We’re not trying to build a map only for these higher skilled riders. We don’t want to tell people that they need to reach a certain skill level to ride all these routes. This is an inventory for us so that we can think about how we can improve our infrastructure. The goal is to make it as suitable for as many skill levels as we possibly can.”
Once the input from people who use the routes is gathered, staff will go out and evaluate the bicycle route and then present that information to the Prince William County Trails and Blueways Council, an advisory council established by the Board of County Supervisors to provide input for the development of trails and blueways in the county. The council will aid the County in determining modifications to the map.
At the end of the initial survey period, Prince William County will post changes to the map on its website. They will continue to accept public feedback on an ad-hoc basis.