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2020 Virtual Virginia Women Veterans Summit will be held June 17-19

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Women veterans from across the Commonwealth and throughout the nation are invited to participate in the 2020 Virginia Women Veterans Virtual Summit, Wednesday, June 17 through Friday, June 19.  Because of the COVID-19 emergency, the annual event was shifted to a virtual platform from a live event as previously held in past years.

Hosted by the Virginia Department of Veterans Services (VDVS) in collaboration with the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) and other partners, the theme of this seventh annual Summit is Empowered: Collaborating and Creating Champions of Change.

The virtual program kicks off at 9:00 a.m. on June 17, resumes June 18, and concludes on June 19.  Included are a variety of presentations and panel discussions on topics of interest to women veterans such as what Virginia offers to women veterans, career strategies, entrepreneurship, financial stewardship, personal health and wellness and more.  Summit speakers and panelists include well-respected career coaches, professional business leaders, and motivational speakers.

On June 19, three finalists in the The Female Founders Veteran Small Business Awards pitch contest will compete for financial capital for their businesses provided by partner The StreetShares Foundation. The three winners will be announced June 19, as will be the recipients of the Women Veteran Change Maker and Trailblazer awards.

There is no charge to attend and participate in the 2020 Virginia Women Veterans Virtual Summit.  Pre-registration is required and is now open online.

More information about the event, including a complete listing of program topics, speakers and participants may be found at www.dvs.virginia.gov.

“Virginia is proud to be home to more than 107,000 women veterans – the largest percentage of women veterans of any state,” said Virginia Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs Carlos Hopkins. “The Commonwealth has been at the forefront in recognizing the unique challenges and opportunities that women veterans face when transitioning from active duty to civilian life.  This summit is an example of the innovations that Virginia continues to undertake to remain the #1 state for veterans in America.”

“Like so many others, we had to change our plans because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said VDVS Commissioner John Maxwell.  “On the other hand, a virtual format expands access to more women veterans in Virginia and across the Nation. I’m excited about the event and look forward to being a part of it.”

“I encourage every women veteran to register today to participate in the 2020 Virginia Women Veterans Virtual Summit and take advantage of this array of top speakers, panel discussions, useful information about employment and educational opportunities and so much more,” said VDVS Deputy Commissioner Annie Walker. “As a proud Army veteran myself, I have attended every one of our past Summits and know how rewarding and life changing they can be.”

In addition to the Virginia Employment Commission and the StreetShares Foundation, other participating partners include COMCAST, Dominion Energy, PenFed Credit Union, Employee Support of Guard and Reserves (ESGR), the offices of Senator Mark Warner and Senator Tim Kaine and more.


About the Virginia Department of Veterans Services

The Virginia Department of Veterans Services (VDVS) is a state government agency with more than 40 locations across the Commonwealth of Virginia.  VDVS traces its history to 1928 and the establishment of the Virginia War Service Bureau to assist Virginia’s World War I veterans.  Today, VDVS assists veterans and their families in filing claims for federal veterans benefits; provides veterans and family members with linkages to services including behavioral healthcare, housing, employment, education and other programs. The agency operates two long-term care facilities offering in-patient skilled nursing care, Alzheimer’s/memory care, and short-term rehabilitation for veterans; and provides an honored final resting place for veterans and their families at three state veterans cemeteries. It also oversees the Virginia War Memorial, the Commonwealth’s tribute to Virginia’s men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice from World War II to the present. For more information, please visit www.dvs.virginia.gov.


About The Virginia Employment Commission and the Veteran Services Program

The Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) is the is the Commonwealth of Virginia’s principle public employment service established to assist employers in finding qualified workers and to assist workers in finding suitable jobs. The VEC in partnership with the Virginia Workforce Network promotes economic growth and stability by delivering and coordinating workforce services. The VEC offers career assistance for job seekers, employment services for veterans, and employer services for businesses of all sizes, as well as unemployment benefits and other programs designed to assist with employment.

The VEC Veteran Services Program traces its history to 1919, with the establishment of employment programs by the United States Employment Service to assist Discharged Soldiers, Sailors and Marines gain civilian suitable employment following WWI.  Today, Veterans from all periods of military service and those that are currently transitioning out of the military are eligible for job referral, job training, and job placement assistance through the VEC Veteran Services Program. Veterans can access these employment services through the statewide network of Virginia Career Works offices online, or contact us at Veteran.Services@vec.virginia.gov for more information.

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Constitution Day at Commonwealth Senior Living Facility

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On September 17, 2020, the Colonel James Wood II Chapter of the Virginia Society Sons of the American Revolution gave a reading presentation to celebrate the birthday of the Constitution of the United States at Commonwealth Senior Living Facility in Front Royal.  Dale Corey, Brett Osborn, Chip Daniel and Art LaFlam provided an oversight of the birth of the Constitution and an overview of what the original document means.

Dale Corey, Brett Osborn, Chip Daniel and Art LaFlam

The Articles of Confederation was the governing document for the federal government into the 1780s.  It was woefully inadequate.  It gave little power to the central government and lacked enforcement powers.  Decisions required unanimous approval of all 13 State legislatures.  Another problem was money.  They could print money, but it was worthless.  They borrow but couldn’t pay it back.  They had little ability to defend its sovereignty.  Many of the 625 man Army had not been paid, some were deserting and others were threatening mutiny.  There was  no international power to protect American interests from other nations.  Overall, it was a failed document.

In 1787, a convention was called at Philadelphia to propose a plan of government.  Original plans included 23 articles.  After considerable discussion and debate, a final draft was approved with seven articles.  By the end of July 1788, 11 States had ratified, and on September 13, 1788, a resolution was passed putting the new Constitution into operation.  The new government was in place effective March 4, 1789.  George Washington was inaugurated 8 weeks later as the first President of the United States.

There were 39 signers of the document, to include three from Virginia.  These were John Blair, James Madison and George Washington.  The Constitution with the Bill of Rights and the additional amendments are the basis of the governments structure and law and order in the United States of America.

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Able Forces Foundation hosting Department of Veteran Services

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Military and Veteran families are welcome to come by if you have issues with VA benefits, or need assistance or guidance on support.  Andre Miller, of the Department of Veteran Services, and Danielle Cullers, our area’s Homeless Advocate, will be at our office from 9 AM to Noon on Friday, September 25, 2020.  Please call for an appointment if possible: 540-631-9600.  Our office is located at 115 Chester Street, Suite B, in Front Royal.

Strict COVID protocols will be followed.

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2020 Hands & Harvest Festival offers a virtual event and in-person weekend to celebrate fall in the mountains

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Monterey, VA – Celebrate the beauty and bounty of fall with the annual Hands & Harvest Festival in Highland County, Virginia!  Held from Thursday, October 8, through Sunday, October 11, this year’s festival offers a unique hybrid of both virtual and in-person offerings.

The festival kicks off on Thursday, October 8, from 6 to 8 pm, with the first ever Virtual Hands & Harvest Festival, hosted by online event platform, BoothCentral.  Anyone in the world with an internet connection and email address has the ability to go online to discover, browse and shop with participating festival organizations and businesses.  The virtual event includes a video stream that highlights many aspects of the festival, including exclusive tours and special moments with the unique people and destinations of this rural, mountain community.  In addition, guests can directly interact with participating vendors at their own pace in their online vendor “booths.”  Tune in any time between 6 and 8 pm on Thursday, October 8, at this Virtual Hands & Harvest Link to learn all about what Highland County has to offer.  Preregistration is not necessary, although guests who register ahead of time will receive an email reminder on the day of the event.

In-person offerings will begin Friday, October 9, through Sunday, October 11, dispersed throughout Highland County.  See the full schedule and details at highlandcounty.org/hands-harvest-festival.  Here are some highlights of the sights, sounds and tastes of the season:

  • Activities for all ages include scaling over 100 steps on Sounding Knob Fire Tower from sunrise to sunset, watching the Valley AeroSpace Team’s amazing rocket launches, and visiting a mini equine sanctuary
  • Outdoor entertainment on Saturday at The Highland Center with their “Maple Tap Room” serving up craft and domestic beer and Big Fish Cider, followed by live music with Lynda Smith and 7th Street, an eight-piece party band that highlights Motown, disco, beach and classic rock
  • The freshly updated Highland County Barn Quilt Trail, including a chance to visit the barn quilt studio where many of these colorful quilt designs on wooden blocks are created
  • Several of Highland County’s Maple Syrup Sugar Camps will be open, with a chance to get your passport stamped after a tour as part of the new Virginia Maple Syrup Trail at participating camps.  If pure maple syrup isn’t enough of a draw, some camps will even offer delicious apple butter or cider, warm winter wear, pumpkins, BBQ, bluegrass music, hiking trails and more!
  • Instead of the Monterey Courthouse, arts and crafts vendors will be set up with one-of-a-kind gifts and treats at locations around the county like Monterey Presbyterian Church and The Church at the Old Oak.

“This hybrid event offers visitors the option to take part in the festival online even if they are unable to make it or if they feel uncomfortable with travel at this time,” says Executive Director of the Highland County Chamber of Commerce, Chris Swecker.  “Whether online or in person, people will get to experience what makes our rural community so special at this time of year.”

The 2020 Hands & Harvest Festival is sponsored by Big Fish Cider Co., the new HighlandCountyVA Blog, and The Highland Center.  The festival is brought to you by The Highland County Chamber of Commerce.

For both your safety and for the safety of others when traveling, please adhere to current CDC and Virginia Department of Health guidelines regarding the coronavirus.  To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, please observe social distancing of at least six feet from other visitors, wear a face covering when indoors or when you are in close proximity to others outdoors, and wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or apply hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.  Please stay home if you are sick, if you have signs or symptoms of COVID-19, or if you have been in close contact with someone who has had COVID-19.  Prevention tips can be found at vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/prevention-tips/.


The Highland County Chamber of Commerce is a 501(c)(6) membership nonprofit organization with a mission to lift up local businesses and entrepreneurs, promote Highland County, and champion economic prosperity and quality of life.  For more information, please visit www.highlandcounty.org.

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Online auction to support St Luke Community Clinic

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Fundraisers have been difficult for our local non-profits this year. Please consider participating in St Luke Community Clinic – Online Auction starting September 21. Watch this video to learn more. Visit St. Luke’s site to see all items available!

Any items that would like to be viewed in person can be done in a private viewing by calling St. Luke Community Clinic at 540-636-4325. They will be happy to arrange a time for you to come look at any item you are interested in. The auction starts on Monday, September 21, 2020, at 7:00 am and ends on September 26, 2020, at 6:00 pm.

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Meet the local candidates Friday night at the Gazebo at 6 pm

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Meet our Mayoral and Town Council candidates (along with some current members) in a town hall forum setting outdoors.

Bring your questions! Let’s all get to know those who are making our decisions a little better. Friday, September 18th at the Gazebo at 6 pm.

** Rain venue will be the large tent behind the Virginia Beer Museum

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Town Talk: A conversation with Jerry Sarchet, WCHS Football Coach – golf tournament scheduled September 25, 2020

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In this Town Talk, our publisher Mike McCool speaks with Jerry Sarchet, the new WCHS Football Coach. When the school shut down last March, all sports programs also ended, along with the fund-raising by the Warren Wildcat Athletic Association. The WWAA provides support to the WC football program and is sponsoring a golf tournament on September 25, 2020, at the Bowling Green Golf Course.

This event is an 18 hole scramble with a shotgun start including a box lunch and two drink tickets. There will be the longest drive contest and a chance to win a new car (valued up to $20,000) on a par 3 hole. There will be a pay to play 50/50 putting contest. There also will be a silent auction. There is still room for players and sponsors.

Contact Kevin Glascock (540) 660-1190 or the coach: jsarchet@wcps.k12.va.us

Click here to download the brochure.

Town Talk is a series on the Royal Examiner where we will introduce you to local entrepreneurs, businesses, non-profit leaders, and political figures who influence Warren County. Topics will be varied but hopefully interesting. If you have an idea, topic, or want to hear from someone in our community, let us know. Send your request to news@RoyalExaminer.com

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