Archive for: January 17th, 2018

Community Events Health
Sign-up underway for Type 2 Diabetes prevention class to be held in Front Royal
January 17, 2018
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FRONT ROYAL – Do you need to lose weight to improve your health?  Has your doctor said that you are pre-diabetic and need to make some changes? Would you like to learn how to cook healthy meals? If the answer to these questions is yes, then you need to sign up for the two Prevent T2 Diabetes Prevention Programs beginning on January 25 in Front Royal. The group will meet from noon-1 p.m. at the Warren County Government Center, 220 North Commerce St.  For the first four months, the group will meet weekly, and then transition to bi-weekly, then  monthly meetings for a total of 12 months.

Class members will learn how to make diet  changes  and increase physical activity, as well as learn tips  best practices from others who have been  successful. Participants will receive a cookbook, weekly recipes and food samples, physical activity and food diaries, as well as other incentive items to help stay motivated and on the right track. The program is free for uninsured individuals or those receiving Medicaid benefits. Others may enroll for $90, and some scholarships are available.

Preregistration is required; the deadline to register is January 19. Class size is limited, so sign up soon. For questions and to register contact Rebecca Davis at rdavis58@vt.edu or call 540-665-5699.

If you are a person with a disability and desire any assistive devices, services, or other accommodation to participate in this activity, please notify Rebecca Davis, Virginia Cooperative Extension – Frederick County Office, at 540-665-5699/TDD* during business hours of Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.to discuss accommodations 5 days prior to the event. *TDD number is 800-828-1120.

Virginia Cooperative Extension Programs and employment are open to all, regardless of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, veteran status, or any other basis protected by law. An equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. Extension is a joint program of Virginia Tech, Virginia State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and state and local governments.

Local Government
Council decides to keep residential trash collection and recycling service
January 17, 2018
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As Gene Tewalt listens, Jacob Meza, right asks staff if new numbers match the old numbers council got in May. / Photos by Roger Bianchini.

 

 

FRONT ROYAL – At a Tuesday, January 16, work session Front Royal Public Works staff explained what happened to the Town’s plan to move to single-stream (unseparated) recycling, then analyzed the cost, pros and cons of maintaining its residential trash collection service.

Fueled by staff analysis that contracting out trash collection to a private, for-profit business would cost the Town and its taxpayers an additional $635,000 annually, the verbal unanimous consensus to maintain the Town’s Solid Waste Department trash collection services appeared to be a no-brainer.

“I think we have a bargain … and should stay with what we have been doing,” Mayor Hollis Tharpe said following a power point presentation by Public Services Manager Robert Boyer under the watchful eye of Environmental Services Director Jimmy Hannigan. Eventually, all six councilmen agreed.

Environmental Services Director Jimmy Hannigan, (standing left) and Robert Boyer, (at podium), assure council the Town will save $635,000 annually –at least the next three years–maintain solid waste collection.

As for the plan to move from separated to non-separated, single-stream recycling that seemed on the horizon early last fall, a failure to get a single bid on two Requests For Proposals (RFP’s) the Town issued, explains why town residents are still asked to separate their recycling. That is not likely to change any time soon.
Sans bids, town staff met with the sales manager of Manassas-based American Disposal to discuss single-stream recycling. They were informed the company wasn’t accepting new clients and was in the process of raising prices for existing customers to cover an estimated monthly loss of $400,000 to $500,000 at their facility.

Solid waste variables
The bargain on maintaining residential trash collection that the mayor referenced included an estimate that if outsourced, base residential trash collection costs would rise from the current level of $14.10 a month by about 70% to $23.99.

However, council’s decision to maintain residential trash collection didn’t come before a detailed examination of the numbers presented in support of the staff recommendation to maintain that service. Jacob Meza led that examination, questioning costs in both past town budgets and in a staff analysis of trash collection options presented at a work session last May.
Pointing to an apparent gap of only $190,000 between a past solid waste budget ($982,000) and projected annual outsourcing costs of $1,171,402, Boyer pointed out the outsourcing number Meza was looking at did not include $411,033 in annual tipping fees the Town would be charged. In fact, those tipping fees counted for $6.59 of the $9.89 increase in estimated monthly costs to customers.

Boyer also pointed out that council approved $240,000 for the purchase of a new trash collection truck in last year’s budget. Dropping the service, the Town would be stuck with that purchase and nothing to do with the truck other than figuring out how much of a loss it would take on an attempt to unload (pun intended) it.

As for the projected need to purchase additional replacement trash trucks and recycling trailers ($45,000 to $50,000 each for the latter) at some future point, Town Manager Joe Waltz said the new truck would be paid for by the time the next truck needed to be purchased. Waltz added that staff could guarantee that residential trash collection rates could be kept stable for the next three years. The staff power point also stated that the Town would continue to realize a $20,000 annual profit on traditional recycling collection in house.

Asked what staff wanted from council Tuesday night, Waltz responded a decision on the future direction of the town trash and recycling collection service. That decision was being sought to assure solid waste staff they would continue to have jobs in the coming year or years. Boyer’s power point presentation noted that as of January 2017 several solid waste collection staff positions had been lost in the wake of the fact council was considering outsourcing the service became known. While all but two of those lost positions have since been filled, the department will continue to wrestle with staff turnover without a guarantee the department would be kept.

With staff numbers on relative costs and service advantages explained, council concurred with both staff and the mayor’s position that in-house trash and recycling collection services are in the best interest of the town and its citizens.

Local News
Snow impacting commuters state police say
January 17, 2018
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Snow-covered secondary roads have made for school delays, closings and commuter headaches, according to Virginia State Police. /File photo.

RICHMOND, VA. –Highways across much of  Virginia continue to be impacted by the falling snow in those regions, according to Virginia State Police spokesperson Corrine Geller.

As 10:15 a.m., Wednesday (Jan. 17), Virginia State Police troopers are responding to 61 traffic crashes and 6 disabled vehicles statewide:

Division I–Richmond (Metro Richmond/Northern Neck/Tri-Cities)
Traffic Crashes= 7

Division II–Culpeper (Fredericksburg/Culpeper/Warrenton/Harrisonburg/Winchester)
Traffic Crashes=6

Division III-Appomattox (Charlottesville/Waynesboro/Staunton/Lynchburg/South Boston/South Hill)
Traffic Crashes=16

Division IV-Wytheville (Wytheville/Dublin/Galax/Bristol/Vansant/Wise)
Traffic Crashes=8

Division V-Chesapeake (Hampton Roads/Tidewater/Eastern Shore/Williamsburg/Franklin/Emporia)
Traffic Crashes=2

Division VI-Salem (Lexington/Clifton Forge/Roanoke/Blacksburg/Bedford/Martinsville/Danville)
Traffic Crashes=17

Division VII-Fairfax (Prince William/Loudoun/Arlington/Alexandria/Fairfax)
Traffic Crashes=3

The majority of the traffic crashes reported only involve damage to vehicles.

For road conditions, Virginians are reminded to use the VDOT 511 system. Please do not call 911 or #77 to ask about road conditions, as these are emergency numbers and need to remain open to emergency calls.

Those who do have to travel today are advised to…
1. Make sure all windows and lights are clear of snow before heading out.
2. Always buckle up – driver and all passengers.
3. Drive distraction free – put down the phone and coffee and keep both hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.
4. Slow speed for conditions.
5. Use headlights to increase your visibility and to help other drivers see you better.
6. Share the road responsibly with VDOT vehicles and emergency vehicles.

Interesting Things You Need to Know
Where are the parrots?
January 17, 2018
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The beautiful and endangered Puerto Rican parrot should begin nesting this month in tree cavities throughout the El Yunque National Forest.

Except the forest is bare.

After two devastating hurricanes, the El Yunque forest of Puerto Rico is denuded of its canopy and, most ominously, it is silent.

No bird calls echo through the forest and none of the characteristic shrieks of the native Puerto Rican parrot.
The parrot, called iguaca, is found only in Puerto Rico. Once a million strong, by 1973 only a dozen parrots remained. Captive breeding programs have brought the numbers up to 500, more than half in the wild. An elaborate hurricane protection program saved 230 captive birds. But the double punch of two hurricanes in 2017, have left researchers wondering about the fate of the wild population.

Did they go elsewhere? Were they killed? And if they lived, where will they nest?

Since the storm, researchers have identified about 80 parrots, foraging for royal palm fruits, the last remaining of the scarce vegetation.

Some evidence hints that wild birds may have traveled away from the storm. One parrot was spotted miles away from the forest.

A few individuals were found dead.

What survivors there are will have to make a living in a forest without cover, at risk of attack by hawks. Artificial tree cavities are largely gone and trees are knocked down all over the forest.

Researchers fear an entire generation of parrots may be lost to the storms.
Sources: AtlasObscura.com;
New York Times.