Archive for: February 2018

Health
One shot could someday reduce heart attack risk
February 24, 2018
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Gene therapy might lead to a one-time vaccine-like treatment that would permanently lower bad cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart attack by as much as 88 percent.

Heart disease is currently responsible for about one in every four deaths in the United States, adding up to more than 600,000 deaths each year.

According to the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, however, new genome research shows great promise of permanently reducing the risk of heart attack.

Work on this project first started in France in 2003 when researchers discovered that a specific gene in the liver, PCSK9, seemed to be responsible for cholesterol regulation. Some families with a mutation of this gene had very high cholesterol and were very likely to have early heart attacks.

Meanwhile, in Texas, another research group identified a population that had a different kind of mutation of PCSK9 — this time a very good mutation. This mutation produced the opposite effect. People with the mutation have very low levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL or bad) cholesterol levels. What’s more, they were significantly less likely to have a heart attack.

A recently developed gene editing technology called CRISPR/Cas9 allowed these researchers to alter the PCSK9 gene in mice to convert it to the good version that would potentially help them live longer. This change caused the liver to stop producing a particular protein that would prevent the removal of cholesterol in the bloodstream. It also solved the problem that traditional cholesterol drugs have – they don’t last very long. Rather than constantly having to get shots or take medicine to reduce cholesterol, scientists hypothesize that it may be possible to have a lifetime change in effect with just one application.

Local News
Town man arrested, facing charges of attempted capital murder of a law enforcement officer
February 24, 2018
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Warren County, VA – A Front Royal man was arrested Friday afternoon following an incident in which officials say he allegedly attempted to hit a Warren County deputy while fleeing police.  Michael Lewis, 40, of 144 Chester Street, is facing a number of charges.

A media release from the Warren County Sheriff’s Office states that on Friday, Feb. 23, at about 2:30 p.m. deputies responded to the 2000 Block of John Marshall Highway for a vehicle accident.

The caller advised that a male suspect was running around in a suspicious manner and appeared to be under the influence of narcotics.

Upon arriving on scene, as the deputies approached the vehicles, the suspect attempted to flee in his vehicle. The deputies verbally ordered Lewis to stop, but he disobeyed their command. As the male pulled away, the release states that “he accelerated and swerved in an attempt to hit one of the deputies.”

The vehicle then continued west on John Marshall Highway with deputies in pursuit.  The Front Royal Police Department assisted with the deployment of spike strips as the vehicle entered Front Royal town limits. Lewis’ vehicle was stopped just east of Richmond Road on John Marshall Hwy.

The suspect resisted arrest, but was taken into custody without injury. He appeared to be under the influence of narcotics, according the written statement, and was transported to Warren Memorial Hospital for medical attention.

Pending charges include:  Attempted capital murder of a law enforcement officer, felony eluding, reckless driving, resisting arrest and driving under the influence of drugs.

The suspect remained hospitalized late Friday evening.

Local Government
Watch the process begin on our $700,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)
February 23, 2018
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The Virginia Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program provides funding to eligible units of local government for planning and implementing projects that address critical community development needs, including housing, infrastructure and economic development. The goal of the CDBG Program is to improve the economic and physical environment in Virginia’s communities through activities which primarily benefit low- and moderate-income persons, prevent or eliminate slums and blighting conditions or meet urgent needs which threaten the welfare of citizens.

Under this program, eligible localities may apply for Planning Grants for project development or Community Improvement Grants for project implementation.

See related story on the Royal Examiner.

This video is the first of many meetings to facilitate our $700,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). As you watch, you see that there is lots of work involved by our Town and Community leaders to make this a successful program. Watch the process begin.

State News
Governor Northam announces Virginia named Top State in Annual Workforce Development Rankings
February 23, 2018
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RICHMOND – Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Virginia rose from second to first in the Atlantic region in a recent analysis of state workforce development activities conducted by Site Selection Magazine. Among the eight states that were ranked, Virginia scored ahead of highly competitive states such as Florida, North Carolina, Maryland, and Delaware. This year, the magazine based their analysis on the context in which each state’s workforce development programs are applied rather than the specific programs themselves.

“Virginia’s position as a top state for workforce development shows that our efforts to fuel the New Virginia Economy by building a 21st century workforce are working,” said Governor Northam. “Workforce development is a top priority for my administration, which is why I appointed Megan Healy as Virginia’s first Cabinet-level Chief Workforce Advisor, to focus our attention on these issues at the highest level. A strong workforce is a draw for companies looking to either relocate their operations or expand their existing business and I am pleased Virginia is able to offer this.”

“In Virginia, we know our world-class workforce is an unparalleled economic asset,” said Chief Workforce Advisor Megan Healy. “Our improved ranking shows the national business community has noticed too.”

Instead of looking at a state’s specific workforce development programs, Site Selection Magazine examined the context in which these programs are applied in order to gauge the strength of a state’s workforce development environment. Site Selection ranked states regionally and used data from CNBC’s America’s Top States for Business 2017 Workforce and Education sub-rankings, Forbes’ Best States for Business 2017 Labor Supply sub-rankings, US News’ 2017 Best States for Education rankings, ACT National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) rankings, and the average number of workforce development enactments passed in 2015 & 2016 in order to create a comprehensive workforce development profile for each state.

Virginia’s earning in the top regional spot reflects the effort of the Commonwealth’s workforce development and education partners. Virginia ranks 6th in the nation amongst “best educated states” and set a record for most bachelor’s degrees earned in state history in the 2016-2017 year. Virginia’s Workforce Credential Grant Program is also enabling the pursuit of “new collar”, middle-skills training to fill openings in in-demand industries.

The full report complete with other regional rankings can be found here.

Local News
Front Royal Presbyterian welcomes new pastor
February 23, 2018
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Carrie Evans is the new pastor at Front Royal Presbyterian Church in Front Royal. /Courtesy photo.

FRONT ROYAL – Front Royal Presbyterian Church has named its new pastor, Rev. Carrie B. Evans. She is a graduate of James Madison University and Union Theological Seminary and has served churches in Richmond, Charlotte, NC, Warrenton and Winchester. Most recently she was the executive director at Stafford Junction, a faith based nonprofit that serves at risk youth in Stafford, VA.

Rev. Evans comes to Front Royal with a vast amount of experience and a passion for teaching the Word and engaging in mission work in the Warren County area and beyond, according to a media release from the FRPC.

Front Royal Presbyterian Church has previously been served by Dr. Tom Rhyne for 25 years. Following his 2015 the church went through a time of transition under the leadership of interim pastor Rev. Ed Dawkins.

Rev. Evans will preach her first sermon on February 25, 2018 at the 11:00 service.

The church is located at 115 Luray Ave. in Front Royal.

Business
Eight Considerations Investors Look At When Deciding Whether Or Not To Fund Your Small Business
February 23, 2018
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Before someone decides to provide financing for your small business, he or she will want to assess the likelihood of your success. Investors want to avoid excessive risk and put their dollars where they stand to gain financially. As they evaluate the opportunity to fund your business, they’ll consider a number of details and characteristics. The more prepared you are to demonstrate the feasibility of your business idea and your capabilities as a business owner, the better your chances of convincing investors to put their confidence in you.

Among the many considerations that may go into an investor’s “yes” or “no” decision to fund your business are:

  • Business plan – As an outline of your goals and how you intend to achieve them, a business plan serves as the roadmap for your business. A well-thought out, well-researched business plan shows you have done your due diligence and are taking your venture seriously.
  • Business model – Your business model is the framework of how your business will operate. It serves to provide a view into how your company will generate revenue and make a profit. Prospective investors will want to ensure it seems sustainable and agile to last long term. Business models often include various assumptions about your business including activities your business will engage in, revenue sources, sales channels, customer base, business resources (such as property, website, customer lists, etc.), suppliers/vendors, value proposition, cost structures, and more.
  • Gross margin – This is the difference between your revenue and your cost of goods sold. It’s represented as the percent of total sales revenue after your direct costs for producing your products or services. Gross margin is a much better indicator of whether or not a business has staying power than looking at revenue alone. What’s deemed healthy varies from industry to industry, so investors will take that into account when considering your business’s gross margin.
  • Strength of your brand – If you have an established business, investors will also consider the viability of your brand. Is it well known to your target market and how much of that target market has it penetrated? Is it easy to differentiate from your competition?
  • Sales funnel – Investors will also want to know what opportunities to generate income you have in your sales funnel. Not only will the quantity make an impression, but investors will also have an interest in the quality of those prospects.
  • Personal and business credit history – If these are in good order, it will reflect more favorably on your sense of responsibility and accountability in the eyes of investors.
  • Professional valuation – With a third party providing an expert estimation of what your company is worth, you’ll have an unbiased appraisal to share with investors.
  • Your professionalism – Investors will want to know the company is in capable hands. If you present yourself professionally, showing up on time with all paperwork and records organized and up to date, you’ll exude confidence and competence.

In addition to what we’ve mentioned here, other factors might also influence an investor’s decision. The key to a successful pitch is to put the time and effort required to research, plan, and prepare. For guidance and feedback as you work through the process, contact your local SCORE chapter to talk with a small business mentor. Mentoring is free of charge. With knowledge about and experience in all aspects of operating small businesses in diverse industries, SCORE mentors can serve valuable resources as you start and grow your company.

Since 1964, SCORE “Mentors to America’s Small Business” has helped more than 10 million aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners through mentoring and business workshops. More than 11,000 volunteer business mentors in over 320 chapters serve their communities through entrepreneur education dedicated to the formation, growth and success of small businesses. For more information about starting or operating a small business, call 1-800-634-0245 for the SCORE chapter nearest you. Visit SCORE at www.score.org.

What Matters Warren
WHAT MATTERS WARREN interview with Mountain Laurel Montessori School artists!
February 22, 2018
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WHAT MATTERS WARREN interview with Mountain Laurel Montessori School artists! The Blue Ridge Arts Council is where you will want to be TOMORROW NIGHT! Mountain Laurel is opening their 4th Annual Art Gallery here at the Blue Ridge Arts Council on Main Street, Friday, February 23rd from 6-8pm.

Every student at MLMS created their own self-portrait. Local artists from Front Royal, Winchester, and the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria donated works of art for the auction. Tickets to the event are $25 each and include a gallery tour, drinks and yummy bites from L’Auberege Provençal. Silent and Live auction will conclude this fun evening!

Real Estate What Matters Warren
TOWN TIP THURSDAY- You don’t need perfect credit or a huge down payment to buy your first home!
February 22, 2018
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This week, BETH Medved Waller interviews Katie Brinson of McLean Mortgage for her TOWN TIP THURSDAY and they discuss mortgage industry tips for homebuyers.

Katie shares some insightful information that first time homebuyers will find helpful, “The number one thing is to establish credit. I tell everybody go to Capital One. Get yourself a little no fee credit card. I swear they’ll give everybody a $300 credit limit. Go get a credit card. Use less than 50%, pay it off every month. If they give you a $500 credit limit, use $250 or less and pay it off every month.  Do that for four to six months and it will establish a credit score for you because Capital One reports to all three bureaus. That’s the important thing. A lot of times if you go to your bank and get a credit card, they only report to one bureau and that really doesn’t help,” says Brinson in this remote interview via ZOOM:

Town Tip Thursday, a WHAT MATTERS Initiative Sponsored by BETH Medved Waller, Associate Broker KW-Solutions, Keller Williams Realty (Licensed in VA)  540-671-6145 or beth@whatmattersw2.com Reach out to BETH if you’d like a free video interview about your business, cause, event or announcement and if you have a real estate need she can help with. Find out more at www.whatmattersw2.com

Featuring Katie Brinson, McLean Mortgage www.katiebrinsonmortgage.com 540-212-8277 or kbrinson@mcleanmortgage.com

Katie is a mom of 3 boys and a mortgage ninja. She’s been in the industry for almost a decade and has seen it all! Helping over 500 families get into their dream home, she has assisted her clients with improving their credit scores, understanding low and no money down options, and has walked them through every step of the process from pre-approval to getting their new keys.

Are you interested in seeing where you are on the path to Pre-approval?

Fill out a secure application today at www.KatieBrinsonMortgage.com and you will receive a free copy of your credit report and scores, and a customized Action Plan that provides a step by step process for you to follow to get ready to own your very own home.

 

 

Local News
Evacuation, searches as social media threats target Warren County Public Schools
February 22, 2018
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Skyline High School /Courtesy image.

FRONT ROYAL – One day after students around the nation rallied to demand legislative action on gun control in the wake of the Parkland, Florida high school shooting that left 17 students and teachers dead, Warren County Public Schools dealt with a series of reports of social media threats to system schools.  Shortly before 1 p.m., Thursday, February 22, Schools Superintendent Greg Drescher summarized the status of those reports.

Drescher confirmed that Warren County Middle School had been evacuated around 9 a.m. after it was determined a bomb threat posted against that school should be taken seriously.  Students at that school were bused to Warren County High School.  After the middle school was swept with bomb sniffing dogs and other law enforcement, it was cleared.  Students were returned to the middle school by 12:30 p.m.

Initial reports of online threats to a county public school began coming in late Wednesday evening, Drescher said.  Those reports were cited as being observed on SNAP chat and/or Facebook and were aimed at “SHS”.  While Skyline High School was not specifically mentioned, the school system and county law enforcement decided to beef up security Thursday morning as students and staff were arriving.  Drescher reported that Front Royal Police assisted the Warren County Sheriff’s Office with perimeter security, during which backpacks, vehicles and personal searches occurred.

Considering the logistics involved, Drescher reported the precautionary security went off efficiently with Skyline High fully operational for the school day by 8:20 a.m., just 20 minutes after its scheduled starting time.

Other social media reports of threats aimed at Warren County High School and Skyline Middle School were determined not to pose actual threats, Drescher said.

A press release on the situation was being prepared, Drescher said, but would not be released till later in the afternoon to assure that no additional developments surfaced over the course of the remainder of the school day.

According to a subsequent press release from the Warren County Sheriff’s Office, a student identified with a verbal reference to a bomb at the middle school was identified, interviewed by school resource officers and released to the custody of their parents.Any person with information pertaining to these incidents is asked to call WCSO Sgt. Daniel Maxfield at (540) 635-7100 or (540) 635-4128.

In addition to the Front Royal Police and Warren County Fire and Rescue, assisting the Warren County Sheriff’s Office with K-9 and bomb technician units were the Virginia State Police, Frederick County Sheriff’s Office, Manassas Park Police Department, Prince William Police Department.

 

Local News
County Fire & Rescue Chief supports student EMT initiative
February 22, 2018
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FRONT ROYAL – Warren County Fire and Rescue Services Chief Richard Mabie has expressed his support for Warren County Public School’s initiative to provide a dual enrollment option for rising seniors interested in Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) training in the 2018-19 school year. Working cooperatively with Lord Fairfax Community College (LFCC), Blue Ridge Technical Center is piloting a program to provide 17 credits of EMT training to qualifying students to enable them to get a head start on the Associate of Applied Science Degree in Emergency Medical Services at LFCC. Completion of this degree helps prepare students to pass the national registry exam.

The slots for this program are limited and available through a competitive application process. Area high school guidance counselors have the application packets available for interested students. The deadline for application is next Wednesday, February 28, 2018.

Chief Mabie said he is “Excited about training young people to serve their communities as emergency responders while they are still in high school. It’s the perfect time in their lives to explore the volunteer fire service and find out what it takes to be committed to something greater than themselves.”

EMTs are the front line in providing appropriate response to medical emergencies. Over 70% of Warren County emergency calls are for medical emergencies and more EMTs are needed at every fire station in the county.

For more information about this program may be found on the Blue Ridge Technical Center website at www.wcps.k12.va.us/brtc/.