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Over the Fencepost Newsletter

Community Focus

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Coles District Community Focus:

Press Releases

Safely Dispose of Medication Through Take-Back Program

Prescription and over-the-counter drugs that are improperly handled can cause problems in the community, so it’s important to be judicious in their disposal.

Unused medications that are casually thrown away can end up in the wrong hands and lead to accidental poisoning, overdose, abuse and addiction. Flushing unused medication is not a good option either, as it’s possible that they will get into the environment and the water supply.

On Saturday, Oct. 27, the Prince William County Police Department, in cooperation with the Drug Enforcement Administration, will participate in the DEA National Rx Take-Back program between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at several locations across the county.

People who have unused or expired medications can take them to The Charlie T. Deane Central District Police Station at 5036 Davis Ford Road, Novant Health UVA Health System Haymarket Medical Center at 15225 Heathcote Blvd., and Novant Health UVA Health System Prince William Medical Center at 8700 Sudley Road.

Drugs that can be turned in include prescription and over-the-counter medications, tablets and capsules, as well as pet medications, said Prince William Police Sgt. Sarah Rolle.

Drugs that may not be dropped off include injectables, syringes and EpiPens. Contact the Prince William County Solid Waste Management Division for ways to dispose of those items.

Intravenous solutions, hydrogen peroxide, compressed cylinders or aerosols, iodine-containing medications and thermometers will not be accepted. Alcohol and illicit drugs such marijuana, heroin, LSD, methamphetamine and others will not be accepted either.

Medications to be turned in should be sealed in containers such as the original bottle or in sealed zip-lock bags. Liquid medications should remain in their original containers. People should remove personal information from the packaging or mark it out with a permanent marker.

Rolle said the medications will be taken to Virginia State Police Headquarters in Fairfax County where they will be safely incinerated.

Other partners participating in the Take-Back include Manassas City Police, Sentara Healthcare and the Prince William Crime Prevention Council.

For more information, visit pwcgov.org/police.

Updates to Transportation Projects in the County

The Prince William Board of County Supervisors recently heard an update regarding transportation and mobility projects from the county’s Department of Transportation. The update, which is part of the third quarter Joint Mobility Report, included the status of projects run by the county, the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Virginia Railway Express and Omniride, the local and commuter bus service.

Prince William County projects include:

  • Route 28, Phase II – Construction on the project of widening Route 28 to four lanes between Fitzwater Drive and Vint Hill Road is set to finish in October 2019. Parts of the project have been completed, including the opening of Aden Road, the opening of a majority of the southbound lanes and the bridge over Kettle Run Road.
  • Route 28, Phase III – The construction to widen Route 28 to six lanes from Linton Hall Road to Pennsylvania Avenue is set to begin in the winter of 2019. Prince William County and the Virginia Department of Transportation, or VDOT, are coordinating the final bridge section design to include a multi-use trail.
  • Vint Hill Road Extension – Construction to build a left-turn lane onto Vint Hill Road from Sudley Manor Drive to Garry Glen Road is underway with a completion date set for September 2019.
  • Dumfries Road Sidewalk Project – The design work for the sidewalk between Counselor Road to Tayloe Drive is scheduled to be completed this month, with construction to run from April to October 2019.
  • Minnieville Road – The project to widen Minnieville Road between Spriggs Road and Va. 234 is scheduled to be completed by December.
  • Smoketown Road-Opitz Boulevard Pedestrian Improvements – The construction of ramps and crosswalks are scheduled to be completed by May 2019.
  • Old Bridge Road Sidewalk – Construction of the project to build a sidewalk between Mohican and Antietam roads is complete.
  • Dumfries Road Shared Use Path – Design for the project to build a shared-use path on Dumfries Road between Country Club and Exeter Drive has been recently completed. Construction is scheduled to begin in November.
  • Blackburn Road Pedestrian Improvements – Construction activities on a sidewalk-multi-use trail from U.S. 1 to the rear entrance of Rippon Lodge are underway and is scheduled to be completed by December 2018.
  • Horner Road Sidewalk Project – The project to build a sidewalk on Horner Road between Forest Glen Road to Kilby Elementary School will begin in December and is scheduled to be completed by March 2019.
  • Opitz Boulevard Sidewalk Project – The project to build a sidewalk along Opitz Boulevard between the Potomac Community Library and Potomac Center Boulevard is scheduled to begin in November 2018 and end in August 2019.

VDOT projects include:

  • Route 646 Aden Road Bridge – Construction of the bridge replacement on Aden Road to cross the railroad tracks is underway and scheduled to be completed by February 2019.
  • Route 1 Widening in the Town of Dumfries – A citizens’ information meeting on the project to widen Route 1 (Fraley Boulevard northbound) from two to six lanes to allow for two-way traffic with pedestrian/bike facilities is scheduled for Oct. 18 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Dumfries Elementary School. The project is in the design phase. A construction date is to be determined.
  • I-66 Park and Ride Haymarket – Construction on a 230-space commuter lot at the northeast quadrant of I-66 and Route 15 started in April and is scheduled to be completed in the spring of 2019.
  • Transform 66 – Outside the Beltway – Construction continues on two new express lanes in each direction on Interstate 66 from Interstate 495 to University Boulevard in Gainesville.
  • Transform 66 – Outside the Beltway – University Boulevard- Route 29 Park-and-Ride Lot – Construction is underway on the 2,079-space parking lot

VRE projects include:

  • Bull Run Station and Yard Improvements – Preliminary engineering and environmental analysis for the station, parking and train storage are underway. A site on Residency Road has been chosen as the preferred location for additional parking. Coordination with Manassas Regional Airport, the City of Manassas, Norfolk Southern Railroad and the Federal Transit Administration is ongoing. The engineering and environmental analysis are scheduled to be completed in January 2019 with the final design slated to begin in early 2019.
  • Quantico Station Improvements – Design for improvements to the commuter station that is served by VRE were recently completed and construction is expected to begin in early 2019.

Omniride projects include:

  • Omniride Western Maintenance Facility –Funding for the project to build a bus storage yard and maintenance facility is in the state’s budget. The project is awaiting funding decisions from the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation. Groundbreaking for the project is expected to happen late this fall.
  • Proposed New Commuter Bus Service– Proposed new express bus service to Haymarket would include routes along the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor and utilize a new 200-space parking lot. This would reduce overcrowding at existing Gainesville lots. A public hearing on the services offered in the Haymarket area is scheduled this fall. The start date of the project is expected to happen at the same time frame as the lot opening in early 2019.

Mobility is a goal of the Prince William County Strategic Plan. The goal states, “The community will have an accessible, comprehensive, multi-modal network of transportation infrastructure that supports local and regional mobility.”

To see a list of all the projects in the Joint Mobility Report, visit pwcgov.org/transportation.

Prince William Recycles Day October 13

For over two decades, Prince William County Solid Waste Division has been hosting Prince William Recycles Day in conjunction with America Recycles Day. This year’s event will be held at the Prince William County Landfill on Saturday, October 13, 2018 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and admission is free. County residents and families are encouraged to attend to learn how they can support waste reduction, save landfill space and found out what’s new about recycling.

 

“Managing our waste is something most people probably don’t think much about, but it is a very important part of taking care of our environment and sustaining healthy communities,” says Deborah Campbell, Communications Specialist for the Solid Waste Division. “Recycling can be puzzling and even people that recycle regularly learn something new at our event.”

The annual event has grown to attract over 1,000 residents who come out every year to enjoy entertainment, play recycling themed games, learn more about the environment, and tour the County Landfill. Local high school students will also display their artwork made from recycled products, and numerous county organizations will provide information, share volunteer opportunities and ways to participate in an environmentally friendly activities. New this year, is a recycling magic show, which is sure to amaze and inform children and adults alike.

 

Recycling in Prince William County has had some slight shifts over the years with a rate of 33.7 percent in 2015, 36.8 percent in 2016 and 34.6 percent in 2017.  The national recycle rate, just under 35 percent, has been flat for several years (latest published rate 34.7 percent in 2015).    However, Prince William County residents and indeed all Americans, can still make substantial progress in solid waste management with some actions focused on reduce and reuse aspects.

 

The theme for Prince William Recycles Day 2018, Double Down on Waste, will shine a spotlight on recycling’s often neglected, perhaps less glamorous siblings – reduce, and reuse. While recycling is a wonderful option, all waste reduction alternatives must be utilized for successful landfill conservation and future waste disposal in Prince William County.

 

Strategies to reduce waste include not making waste in the first place. Opt for reusable products instead of disposable ones, reusable shopping bags and water bottles are great examples of this. Also buy products made from recycled material and select products with less packaging, which is a more sustainable practice.

 

Some ideas for reuse include get products repaired, donate items in good condition, or resell them, instead of throwing them away.  Purchase “second-hand” items. Another great reuse alternative, borrow or rent items that are used infrequently.

 

Another less well known waste reduction strategy is “pre-cycling”. Consider how the product and packaging will be disposed before you buy it. This avoids bringing unneeded waste into your home and cuts waste at the source before trash is even created. Buying products in bulk with less packaging, instead of single use items, for example coffee, sugar and condiments.

 

Also, purchasing products that are packaged in materials that are recyclable in your community, such as aluminum beverage containers, steel food cans, cardboard cartons and plastic soda bottles.  An example is buying eggs in a paper carton, which can be placed in the recycling in the Prince William area instead of polystyrene (Styrofoam ®), which should not be placed in the recycling container.

 

Discover more tips for waste reduction and reuse at Prince William Recycles Day in October. For more information about the Recycles Day event or other Prince William County Solid Waste programs, visit www.pwcgov.org/trashandrecycling.

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 www.pwcvotes.com 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 pwcvote@pwcgov.org. Find sample ballots at https://www.pwcvotes.com/copy-of-photo-id.

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.