Archive for: January 2018

Interesting Things You Need to Know
Golf’s problem with distance
January 31, 2018
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Very few amateur golfers would welcome the idea of creating a golf ball that would reduce the distance of their drives, but according to the Wall Street Journal that might be what is coming to the professionals who play the game.

The issue, at its heart, is how good these professionals have become at driving the traditional golf ball. When Tiger Woods burst onto the scene in 1996, for instance, not a single player could claim a 300-yard drive. However, last year’s season featured 43 such players. This is causing issues for courses that have been around for a hundred years that were never designed with this level of play in mind.

To combat this issue, many clubs have turned to expanding their courses to help provide more challenge to the best players of the game. The downside to this solution is that the clubs have to pass the costs of expansion, land purchases, development, upkeep, etc. to the average player as they are the ones responsible for the majority of their income. While professionals’ wallets won’t be affected much, amateurs will feel the hurt, and this could endanger the love of the game among its fans.

One idea, proposed by the U.S. Golf Association and endorsed by Tiger Woods, is to create different balls for different levels of the game. Similar to how weight classes work in some sports, the ball would help level the playing field between amateurs and professionals. The game’s highest levels would be played with the most challenging balls, and it would bring drive distances back in line with traditional norms.

The governing bodies want to be able to include as many people as possible in their sport, and they are willing to think outside the box to accomplish that goal. In addition to golf balls with different weights, some people are even tossing around the idea of a bigger, lighter ball that could let children get the hang of the game without getting overly frustrated with the standard gear. To really hit the mainstream, however, a prominent club or tournament would need to embrace the idea.

Legislative Update
Weekly Updates from the General Assembly – Delegate Chris Collins
January 30, 2018
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The 2018 General Assembly session is now concluding its third week! Several very important bills have already passed through the House and are on the way to the Senate. This week I will be providing you updates on several key issues that I have been working on including legislation for adoption records and autism insurance coverage.

Adoption Legislation

Last week the House of Delegates passed three adoption bills that received bipartisan support.

My House Bill 291 streamlines the retention of and access to adoption files. The bill simplifies access to adoption files regarding court orders for adoptees and/or adopters so they can more easily obtain personal vital records.

House Bill 227, carried by Delegate Christopher Stolle, also passed through the House. This bill requires courts to consider the results of a national criminal history background check conducted on the prospective adoptive parent. The legislation is in response to a case out of Virginia Beach where a young female was found dead from an overdose. After an investigation it was learned that her adoptive parent had a long felony criminal history.

House Bill 241 was carried by Delegate Emily Brewer. This bill shortens the length of time, from three years to two years, that a child must live with a close family member before adoption proceedings can begin. The closest relatives of a child provide that child with the best chance of success during a tumultuous time.

Autism Insurance Legislation

HB1311, legislation to remove the cap on insurance coverage for Autistic individuals, did not make it through the Commerce and Labor sub-committee it was assigned. I was asked to strike the bill, or withdraw it, in an effort to ensure that Senator Vogel’s SB593, which passed through committee and is now in the finance committee, would have better chance of passing in the House. SB593 has been amended to raise the cap from 10 years of age to 18 and was passed out of the Senate Commerce and Labor committee unanimously. If SB593 passes in the Senate, and comes to the House, I will do what I can to ensure its passage.

Follow my legislation by clicking on the link below.

Track Legislation

Daily Session and Committee Videos

Have you been wondering how you can watch the House of Delegates daily sessions? The link below will direct you to the live feed as well as archived videos from previous days.

Daily Session Videos

Interested in watching videos of House Committee meetings? Please click on the link below for instructions to view Committee videos.

Committee Video Instructions

I encourage you to keep in touch with me and my office over the coming months. I value the feedback you provide on a continual basis as it helps me do a better job of representing you. You can email me at delccollins@house.virginia.gov or call my office in Richmond at (804) 698-1029.

I will provide you with weekly email updates during the 2018 General Assembly Session and will schedule my Coffee with Chris events after Session to report on important topics and take questions.

Thank you for your support and I look forward to serving you in 2018.

Delegate Chris Collins

 

Legislative Update
House Passes Judiciary Committee Legislation to Protect Athletes from Abuse
January 30, 2018
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last night, the House of Representatives passed the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act (S. 534). Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, issued the following statement:

“I am pleased that the House has passed bipartisan legislation to prevent abuse in amateur athletics. One of our highest priorities on the House Judiciary Committee has been to protect children from harm, and the recent sentencing of former USA Gymnastics physician Larry Nassar highlights the need for serious reforms to protect young athletes and hold predators accountable. This legislation mandates that amateur athletics governing bodies immediately report allegations of abuse, including sexual abuse, to law enforcement. It also establishes best practices for preventing abuse and provides governing bodies with guidelines about reporting abuse. These changes respond to the needs of victims and will make amateur athletics safer for future Olympians. I am proud to support this bill.”

Background: The House Judiciary Committee previously passed companion legislation, the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse Act (H.R. 1973), which then passed the full House of Representatives. Last year, the House passed a series of  bills to protect children from exploitation and abuse.

Legislative Update
Goodlatte Statement on FBI Deputy Director McCabe
January 30, 2018
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, released the statement below regarding reports indicating that Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Deputy Director Andrew McCabe will step down from his position.  Additionally, Chairman Goodlatte today sent a letter urging FBI Director Christopher Wray to preserve Mr. McCabe’s emails, and all other communications, before his official departure from the agency.

“Today’s news that FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is stepping down from the Bureau is overdue. Recent revelations call into question Mr. McCabe’s leadership in the top operational post in the FBI.  However, Mr. McCabe’s departure certainly does not mean that we are done rooting out the problems at the FBI. I continue to be extremely troubled by the decisions made by the FBI during the 2016 presidential election and the role senior FBI officials played in these questionable decisions and irregularities.

 “The only way to ensure the FBI remains the premier law enforcement agency in the world is to ensure that the leadership at the Bureau holds the trust of the American people. This change in leadership at the FBI is a good first step in repairing the damage to their reputation.”

Background: In October 2017, Chairman Goodlatte and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) announced a joint investigation into decisions made by the Department of Justice in 2016.  In December 2017, Chairmen Goodlatte and Gowdy called on the Department of Justice to allow FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, among others, to be interviewed by congressional investigators. That interview took place shortly following the request.

Food
All about eggs
January 30, 2018
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How long to keep them
Eggs in the shell are safe to eat up to five weeks after the sell-by date, found on the short end of the carton.

Numbers on the carton
The carton information contains the packing date and the plant number.

The three digit number in the middle tells you the Julian packing date. Julian dates count the days by number. On January 1 the Julian date is 001. On December 31, the Julian date is 365.

The Plant number is also on the carton. This is a four-digit number beginning with the letter P. You should be able to look up the plant at the following link: https://apps.ams.usda.gov/plantbook/Query_Pages/plantbook_query.asp
However, in a recent test of the link, no plant number returned a valid result. This may be fixed in the future.

Egg grades
The carton could also have the egg grade, but not necessarily. If you don’t see it on the carton itself, a USDA shield may appear on the carton specifying the grade.
Grade AA: Egg white is thick and firm. Yolks are high, round and practically free from defects. Clean, unbroken shells.
Grade A: Whites are reasonably firm. Yolks are high, round and practically free from defects. Clean, unbroken shells.
Grade B: Whites may be thinner. Yolks may be wider and flatter. Shells unbroken, but may show slight stains.

Local News
Morgan’s Ford Bridge: wider, higher and not falling apart piece-by-piece
January 29, 2018
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Traversing the new Morgan’s Ford Bridge for the first time – Photos/Roger

FRONT ROYAL – During his Report to the EDA on Friday, January 26, County Administrator Doug Stanley noted it had been a busy first week of traffic on the newly-opened, two-lane Morgan’s Ford Bridge. While some touch-up work remains, the bridge opened to traffic on Monday, January 22.

Following a Wednesday, January 24 visit to colleague Malcolm Barr Sr. in Rockland this reporter decided to see for himself. These are photographs taken of that first trip across the new and improved Morgan’s Ford Bridge over the Shenandoah River. As Barr reported on January 19, the old, single lane low-water bridge closed shortly after a $4.8 million contract on the new bridge was awarded by VDOT to Orders Construction Company Inc. of Saint Albans, West Virginia. The project had a fixed completion date of June 1, 2018.  New bridge at Morgan’s Ford opens Monday, Jan. 22

As the county administrator noted during his report to the EDA, a pedestrian walkway and bike lanes had to be sacrificed due to width and right-of-way issues on at least one side of the bridge’s landfall.

The new bridge and Route 624 to the north have a restriction on trucks exceeding 30 feet in total length, other than emergency service vehicles. This restriction will remain in place even after the construction project is complete. Upon the opening, VDOT posted that “Truck drivers should continue to use alternate routes.”

Some delays may be encountered in coming weeks as final touches are put on the bridge. Additional information about the Route 624 bridge replacement project can be found at http://www.virginiadot.org/projects/staunton/warren_county_8211_route_624.asp.
Traffic alerts and traveler information can be obtained by dialing 511. Traffic alerts and traveler information also are available at 511Virginia.org.

Local News
Warren County company offers array of training to law enforcement, communities and individuals
January 29, 2018
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FRONT ROYAL  – Warren County is a place Northern Virginia police officer Mark Butler has called home for about two decades.  It’s where he and his wife raised his now-grown sons ( both of whom are active-duty U.S. military) and put down roots.  It is also where Butler decided to base his company, 3 D Professional Training & Consulting.

Butler is likely a familiar face, as he served as a youth soccer and football coach in the community in years past,  and also as an assistant coach at Warren County High School.  Though his coaching days are behind him now, he talked with Royal Examiner about how he’s keeping busy these days, training law enforcement and consulting with companies regarding such topics as telephone fraud, fraudulent documents and human trafficking.

Legislative Update
Goodlatte staff to hold open door meetings
January 29, 2018
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WASHINGTON, DC – A member of Congressman Bob Goodlatte’s staff will hold open door community office hours the first and third Wednesdays of the month in Front Royal. A staff member will be available to meet with citizens to assist with problems they might have with a federal agency and hear their views on current issues before Congress.

 

 

Warren County Open Door Meeting          

10:00am – 12:00pm

Samuels Public Library
330 E. Criser Road
Front Royal, Virginia

Upcoming Dates:

February 7, 2018
February 21, 2018

Town Notices
Town Council searching to fill vacancies
January 29, 2018
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The Town Council is accepting resumes from citizens interested in assisting the community by serving on the Urban Forestry Advisory Commission (UFAC) or the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) to fill unexpired terms:

Urban Forestry Advisory Commission (UFAC) is a 6-member panel appointed by Council. They are responsible for the development, implementation and maintenance of an Urban Forestry Management Program, for the education of the general public about proper tree care practices, and to support the efforts of other groups interested in urban forestry in the Town. UFAC meets once a month. Those interested must be citizens living within Front Royal or Warren County. The vacancy is to fill an unexpired term ending December 20, 2021.

Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) is a 5-member Board appointed by the Judge of the Warren County Circuit Court to hear and decide appeals from any order, requirement, decision and determination made by an administrative officer. Council approves a recommendation of appointment to the Judge. The BZA meets once a month as needed. Those interested must be a citizen within the Town Limits of Front Royal. There are two vacancies to fill unexpired terms ending May 1, 2022.

If you are interested in serving on the UFAC or BZA please complete an application and/or resume with a cover letter and send to:
Jennifer Berry Clerk of Council
P.O. Box 1560
102 E. Main Street
Front Royal, Virginia 22630
(540)635-8007
jberry@frontroyalva.com

Home
Investing experts often fail to beat the market
January 29, 2018
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For individuals, investing in the stock market can be a daunting task. Although many of these people trust expert fund managers to boost their returns, USA reports that the majority of firms paid to generate better-than-average returns often fail to beat the market. To be considered successful, a fund must show that it can provide better performance than benchmark indices like the S&P 500 on a consistent basis. If it can’t beat them, then using the service just isn’t worth the money.

According to data provided by the 2015 SPIVA Scorecard, large-cap fund managers, those trading some of the largest companies in the market, failed to beat the benchmark 66 percent of the time during that year, 84 percent of the time over five years, and 82 percent of the time over the last ten years. Small-cap and mid-cap managers had similarly disappointing performance in their areas. They point out that some managers have a proven track record of results, but even those firms that beat the market for a year or two tend to lose ground over time. Adding in the fund’s management fees can also turn a winning portfolio into a loser, and nobody wants to see their gains go from their retirement account to the manager.

The reasons for this lack of performance are hard to uncover, but Forbes magazine reminds readers that there are only a couple of ways to beat the market: access to information other people don’t have or being lucky. For most investors, luck is not something they would likely want to trust their money to, and even the experts don’t have infinite knowledge about every company and market trend. As for those with the best information, average investors won’t be able to discover which firms have it until long after the returns have already been generated.