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A path forward from drug-fueled criminality – if anyone cares to listen

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After about a half hour of mingling and wonderful snacks provided by the Mountain Home Bed & Breakfast, McShin Foundation co-founder John Shinholser launches formal portion of the VRR Summit in the Mountain Home courtyard shortly after 1 p.m. Royal Examiner Photos/Roger Bianchini

A proactive and proven path forward and away from the arrest, incarceration, release, re-arrest, further incarceration cycle of substance abuse at the root of so much criminal behavior that lands people in local, regional and state incarceration, not only on drug related offenses, but also the petty criminal behavior that feeds or is a consequence of substance abuse, was celebrated in Warren County on Thursday, August 29.

The question is, is anybody listening, or perhaps more pointedly, does anyone care?

The “VRR Organizational Summit” was held against an idyllic rural American backdrop at Mountain Home Bed & Breakfast on Route 522 South near the entrance to the Lake Front Royal subdivision. The summit was a celebration and report on progress of the Virginia Recovery-Rehabilitation Program implemented at the Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren County (RSW) Regional Jail and Prince George County’s Riverside Regional Jail this past December.

At the point of the summit were 23 “scholarship” recipient inmates, 22 from RSW, who are successfully graduating into the world clean and sober with a mission. That mission is to break the pattern of addiction that had dominated their lives, often to the point of abject dejection that there was any way out for them.

RSW VRR Program graduates present offered highly personal accounts of ‘breaking the chains’ of addiction with the help of the McShin Foundation and RSW Jail’s embracement of the recovery and rehab program.

Graduate after graduate recounted the life-altering, perhaps life-saving moment that McShin Foundation counselors, all recovering and rehabilitating substance abusers in their own lives, made them understand there was hope for them – hope to move past the downward spiral of drug and/or alcohol addiction and its ultimate destination of hopelessness, despair, incarceration and all too often, death.

That hope is for regaining control of one’s life in order to break destructive patterns of behavior and personal associations. The result is movement toward life; even toward a productive life well lived and capable of repairing, not only themselves, but also broken interpersonal and family relationships; and as one 51-year-old woman described it, even her relationship with God.

“I had been in and out of rehab many times in my life; I’d been in hospitals – overdoses and no clue. I would pray to God, ‘God, please if you just help me I won’t do it again – just save me, I won’t do it again.’ And each time I would break that promise to God. And that even made me feel worse. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me.

”Well through RSW, McShin was put into my life and to me the education, the teaching of things they told me about why I was a drug addict and why I had an addiction, I was just amazed by it. Like everybody says, when Cricket (Assistant Director of Operations Chris Ronquest) came in, Hannah, Diana – some of the most important people in my life, John, they showed me there was hope. That to me was the most important thing about this program, what is most important for everyone to know who can know, that there is hope – we don’t have to die,” Leslie told the crowd of her peers, McShin, RSW and County officials.

Her report of being clean and sober for nine months, the longest period in her life in over 30 years brought cheers of approval from the summit participants.

In opening the summit under beautiful blue skies shortly after 1 p.m. on the Mountain Home B&B grounds, McShin Recovery Resource Foundation President and co-founder John Shinholser told the assembled, “We don’t mind our own business – recovery is our business, recovery is everywhere. We are hope dealers, that’s what we do.”

McShin Foundation co-founder John Shinholser pointedly stated that some pharmaceutical opioid judgment funds should help expand a proven recovery-rehab system that can reduce inmate recidivism and long-term expenses related to substance abuse incarceration.

And putting a nice wording spin on an old description of the drug addict, VRR Program worker Huey added, “We are dope-less hope fiends, that’s what we are.”

Sadly, only one political candidate was present for three elected Warren County Board seats (Shenandoah, South River, North River – none present, though retiring North River Supervisor, County Board Chair and RSW Authority Board member Dan Murray was there to offer support along with County Administrator and fellow Jail Authority Board member Doug Stanley); Constitutional Officers (sheriff, commonwealth attorney, treasurer, commissioner of the revenue – the one present was Democratic Sheriff’s candidate Jorge Amselle); or Town Special Election (mayor – none); was present to hear the stories of success in the first year of implementation of the McShin Foundation-led Virginia Recovery and Rehab (VRR) Program at RSW Regional Jail.

Warren County Democratic Sheriff’s candidate Jorge Amselle, left, chats with McShin Foundation CEO John Shinholser during the informal meet and greet to start Thursday’s summit of hope.

And if you factor in the absence of any candidate for any office in either Rappahannock or Shenandoah County, which have their own forthcoming elections on the November horizon, the lack of political candidate interest is even more distressing.

But then why would any candidate for municipal, law enforcement, judicial, or financial office want to hear about a system that could reduce taxpayer costs budgeted annually to support the local and state bureaucracy necessary to repeatedly arrest, prosecute and house the large number of criminals whose criminality is steeped heavily in substance abuse?

McShin Foundation president Shinholser made a profound point near the conclusion of the two-hour celebration of life being given a second chance at RSW and other jails across the commonwealth. That point regarded recent court rulings and settlement offers in the nationwide pattern of lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies accused of pushing what they knew were highly-addictive opioids into the mainstream prescription market for profit.

As state court rulings of hundreds of millions of dollars of liability mount and offers to settle out of court in the billions of dollars by at least one major drug company are heard across the country, Shinholser told those present that if some of that state-recovered money was not channeled into the type of peer-based substance-abuse Recovery and Rehabilitation programs the McShin Foundation model is based on, then the American public from state to state where the opioid crisis has deepened under the legalized corporate distribution of heavily addictive narcotics, “was being ripped off again”.

As RSW Jail Authority Board members Doug Stanley, Dan Murray and RSW Captain Josh Jacobson listen, RSW Deputy Superintendent Steve Weaver addresses the positives jail staff have witnessed from implementation of the inmate recovery-rehab program last December.

RSW Jail was represented by Deputy Superintendent Steve Weaver and Captain Josh Jacobson. RSW, its staff and Superintendent Russ Gilkison were repeatedly lauded for the facility’s highly proactive adoption of the McShin-led VRR Program.

McShin Assistant Director of Operations Chris Ronquest, a key player in the RSW implementation from his home base at the McShin Foundation in Richmond, and Shinholser pointed out that RSW has created segregated male and female inmate pods for implementation and ongoing support for the recovery and rehab effort.

In contrast it was noted some jails implementing the program only separate VRR inmates during the visit of McShin counselors. After the counselor’s departure those inmates are returned to the general population where the level of a crucial initial support base of like-minded participants evaporates into normal jailhouse life.

McShin Assistant Director of Operations Chris Ronquest, aka ‘Cricket’, introduces key program personnel Diana Lieber, left, and Hannah Newsome.

Perhaps such a basic difference helps explain the overwhelming number of program scholarship recipients being recognized – 22 of 23 as noted above – graduating out of RSW.

But implementation, like recovery is an ongoing process that all involved can continue to learn from. However it is a lesson that, as the day’s scholarship graduates repeatedly stressed, has to want to be learned.

And it may be at the grassroots level that such a lesson must be pushed into the consciousness of local and state municipal, correctional, judicial and administrative officials. Because as noted above, thus far that interest at the local and state political and administrative levels seems to be lagging behind the awareness on the ground in facilities such as RSW Jail.

Maybe in the wake of its first months of success in implementation of the VRR substance abuse recovery-rehab program RSW, above, should consider a name change – how about ‘Hotel Hope’? Below center, Virginia AG Mark Herring, being greeted by Shinholser and RSW Superintendent Russ Gilkison, was present for the December launch of the McShin-led VRR Program. It may be up to constituents to remind public officials at all levels not to forget the program’s successes and future potential.

But it is a message with implications for all of us as taxpayers, as potential victims of addict-based crime, and even as people in a position to lose a loved one to addiction.

So it is a message ignored at our own risk and expense, not to mention at the peril of our society as a socially-cohesive and efficiently-managed whole.

The McShin Recovery Resource Foundation was established in 2004 and is Virginia’s leading non-profit, full-service Recovery Community Organization (RCO), committed to serving individuals and families in their fight against Substance Use Disorders. The VRR Program at RSW and Riverside Jail was enabled by a matching grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)’s Building Communities of Recovery initiative.

More information on the McShin Foundation may be found at its website: <www.mcshin.org> – And don’t forget to alert your elected officials at all levels if you like what you find.

In an idyllic setting Ronquest reads letters written collectively by inmates in RSW’s male and female VRR pods describing their experience and newfound hope for real change in their lives.

 

Above, County Board Chair Dan Murray praises the VRR program and RSW’s commitment to it. Below, County Administrator Doug Stanley joined in the praise, urging program participants to stay on track – ‘We don’t want you back,’ he told them speaking with his RSW Authority Board hat on.

 

Above, County Board Chair Dan Murray praises the VRR program and RSW’s commitment to it. Below, County Administrator Doug Stanley joined in the praise, urging program participants to stay on track – ‘We don’t want you back,’ he told them speaking with his RSW Authority Board hat on.

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Virginia Coronavirus Fraud Task Force, IRS-CI warn of potential COVID-19 economic impact payment scams

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The Virginia Coronavirus Fraud Task Force and Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations (IRS-CI) are warning taxpayers to be alert about possible scams relating to COVID-19 economic impact payments.

United States Attorneys Thomas T. Cullen and G. Zachary Terwilliger, and the Virginia State Police along with Kelly R. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge of the IRS-CI Washington DC Field Office, made the announcement today in an effort to prevent taxpayers in need from being victimized by criminals using the recently approved payments as an opportunity to commit a crime.

“During this time of crisis, scammers and thieves prey on those most vulnerable in our community in an attempt to personally benefit by stealing their money and personal identifying information,” Special Agent in Charge Jackson said today. “Please help us protect everyone in your community by telling family, friends and elderly neighbors to be on the lookout for these potential scams.”

“While most act selflessly and responsibly in a crisis like this, there are fraudsters out there who are attempting to scam and exploit good people,” said U.S. Attorney Terwilliger. “We are likely to see an uptick in government check scams tied to coronavirus-relief, including advanced-fee schemes promising government relief checks, student loan relief, and adjustments in other government benefits, such as increased social security payments. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

“As we have seen over the past few weeks, the worst among us are finding new ways to exploit a global pandemic and prey upon the vulnerable,” said U.S. Attorney Cullen. “Americans need to be extremely vigilant in protecting their personal, financial, and tax information. Assume all unsolicited phone calls and emails regarding IRS or COVID-19 refunds and are potentially fraudulent. Do not respond and report them to law enforcement.”

In a matter of weeks, COVID-19 economic impact payments will be on their way. For most Americans, this will be a direct deposit into your bank account. For the unbanked individuals who have traditionally received tax refunds via paper check, they will receive their economic impact payment through the mail.

Scammers may try to get you to sign over your check to them or get you to “verify” your filing information in order to steal your money. Your personal information could then be used to file false tax returns in an identity theft scheme. Because of this, everyone receiving a COVID-19 economic impact payment is at risk.

Special Agent in Charge Jackson offers the following information and tips to spot a scam and understand how the COVID-19 related economic impact payments will be issued.

• The IRS will deposit your payment into the direct deposit account you previously provided on your tax return (or, in the alternative, send you a paper check).

• The IRS will NOT call and ask you to verify your payment details. Do NOT give your bank account, debit account, or PayPal account information to anyone – even if someone claims it’s necessary to get your check. It’s a scam.

• If you receive a call, do NOT engage with scammers, even if you want to tell them that you know it’s a scam. Just hang up.

• If you receive texts or emails claiming that you can get your money faster by sending personal identifying information or clicking on links, delete these texts and emails. Do NOT click on any links in those texts or emails.

• Reports are swirling about bogus checks. If you receive a “check” in the mail now, it’s a scam. It will take the Treasury a few more weeks to mail out the COVID-19 economic impact payments. If you receive a “check” for an odd amount (especially one with cents), or a check that requires you to verify the check online or by calling a number, it’s a scam.

• Remember, the federal government will not ask you to pay anything upfront to get a legitimate benefit. No fees. No charges. Anyone who asks for an up-front payment for a promised benefit is a scammer.

The Virginia Coronavirus Fraud Task Force: https://www.justice.gov/usao-wdva/covid-19-fraud

Western Virginia Coronavirus Fraud Coordinator, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Baudinet, USAVAW.COVID19@usdoj.gov or 540-278-1494.

Eastern Virginia Coronavirus Fraud Coordinator, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kaitlin G. Cooke, Kaitlin.Cooke@usdoj.gov or 804-819-5416.

To report a COVID-19 fraud scheme or suspicious activity, contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) by calling the NCDF Hotline at 1-866-720-5721 or sending an email to disaster@leo.gov.

For more information, visit the IRS website at www.irs.gov/coronavirus

FBI at: https://www.ic3.gov or 804-261-1044.

To report fraudulent activity to the Virginia State Police, Virginians can contact the Virginia Fusion Center (VFC) at vfc@vfc.vsp.virginia.gov.

For continuing information on the COVID-19 virus and the federal response, check https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

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EDA in Focus

COVID-19 meeting restrictions lead to 2nd EDA grand jury extension

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Contacted by phone, Rockingham County Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael Parker confirmed that Judge Clark Ritchie had extended the term of the Warren County Special Grand Jury impaneled to explore potential criminality tied to the Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority (EDA) civil litigation.

That extension is for six months and came as the grand jury’s first extension was coming to an end Tuesday, March 31. The EDA special grand jury was empaneled shortly after the EDA civil litigation was filed on March 26, 2019. Its first six-month term was extended another six months in October 2019.

Parker said the newest six-month extension comes from an “abundance of caution” both legally and medically.

The COVID-19 pandemic response has stopped many activities we once took for granted, including some court proceedings. Royal Examiner File Photos/Roger Bianchini

Due to restrictions on public gatherings ordered by Governor Ralph Northam as part of the Commonwealth of Virginia’s emergency management response to the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, what have been described as non-essential court functions have joined other enterprises deemed “non-essential” in the private sector in being put on hold at least through much of April. Consequently, it was decided it was unsafe for the grand jury to continue meeting in this pandemic emergency response environment.

In this fluid medical and legal environment, it is uncertain when the EDA Special Grand Jury will be able to meet again. However, Parker said he believes once those meetings begin, it will not take anywhere near six months for the grand jury to complete its business.

“Our goal is to conclude as soon as possible,” Parker said.

The entire current Warren County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office has recused from all EDA legal matters due to past or ongoing professional or personal relationships with involved parties. Jennifer McDonald during her local Rotary presidency, circa 2016-17.

Following the recusal from EDA legal matters of Warren County Commonwealth’s Attorney John Bell and his entire staff in the wake of his November 2019 election, Parker was appointed to handle criminal indictments stemming from alleged EDA financial improprieties discovered by a forensic audit commissioned by Warren County on behalf of the EDA in September 2018.

The EDA civil litigation is now seeking recovery of $21.3 million from 15 defendants, including former EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald and two real estate companies she is alleged to have used to misdirect EDA assets to her own benefit.

In a series of filings by the EDA grand jury, McDonald now faces a total of 34 financial felony charges. Also indicted criminally on fewer charges has been a tight circle around McDonald, including her husband Samuel North, her former EDA Administrative Assistant Michelle “Missy” Henry, and former EDA small business loan recipient and B&G Goods proprietor William Lambert. At the time of his business relationship with the EDA Lambert is purported to have been in a relationship with a McDonald sister.

Criminal charges against another McDonald associate, Donald Poe, were dropped by Parker due to an approaching January perjury trial date he was not prepared for with his late 2019 appointment and the mountain of paperwork filed in relation to the EDA civil and criminal cases – estimated at or around a million pages of documentation.

Donald Poe following a 2019 court hearing – indicted, charges dropped, what does the future hold?

However, as he noted at the time, Parker can refile the criminal indictments against Poe if he feels the evidence so warrants. Poe’s perjury charges related to his testimony to the EDA Special Grand Jury regarding his business ties to McDonald.

The next EDA criminal case hearing dates are scheduled for April 17. Parker said he should have more information on how things will be proceeding forward within the coming week.

A federal grand jury has also been impaneled in Harrisonburg related to the EDA financial allegations and civil litigation. On April 16, 2019, agents from the FBI and Virginia State Police searched and seized documents and materials from the EDA’s Kendrick Lane offices, including the executive director’s office that had been cordoned off and locked down since McDonald’s December 20, 2018 resignation under increasing scrutiny by the investigative auditing firm Cherry Bekaert and her EDA Board of Directors. However, the federal grand jury has yet to issue any indictments from its investigation.

Above, FBI, State, and local authorities gathered to search and seize possible evidence at EDA headquarters in April 2019; including from Jennifer McDonald’s former office, below, which is pictured being locked down, including from remote access to her computer, following her Dec. 20, 2018 resignation.

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Health

FDA requests removal of all Ranitidine products (Zantac) from the market

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced (April 1, 2020) it is requesting manufacturers to withdraw all prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) ranitidine drugs from the market immediately. This is the latest step in an ongoing investigation of a contaminant known as N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) in ranitidine medications (commonly known by the brand name Zantac). The agency has determined that the impurity in some ranitidine products increases over time and when stored at higher than room temperatures and may result in consumer exposure to unacceptable levels of this impurity. As a result of this immediate market withdrawal request, ranitidine products will not be available for new or existing prescriptions or OTC use in the U.S.

“The FDA is committed to ensuring that the medicines Americans take are safe and effective. We make every effort to investigate potential health risks and provide our recommendations to the public based on the best available science. We didn’t observe unacceptable levels of NDMA in many of the samples that we tested. However, since we don’t know how or for how long the product might have been stored, we decided that it should not be available to consumers and patients unless its quality can be assured,” said Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “The FDA will continue our efforts to ensure impurities in other drugs do not exceed acceptable limits so that patients can continue taking medicines without concern.”

NDMA is a probable human carcinogen (a substance that could cause cancer). In the summer of 2019, the FDA became aware of independent laboratory testing that found NDMA in ranitidine. Low levels of NDMA are commonly ingested in the diet, for example, NDMA is present in foods and in water. These low levels would not be expected to lead to an increase in the risk of cancer. However, sustained higher levels of exposure may increase the risk of cancer in humans. The FDA conducted thorough laboratory tests and found NDMA in ranitidine at low levels. At the time, the agency did not have enough scientific evidence to recommend whether individuals should continue or stop taking ranitidine medicines, and continued its investigation and warned the public in September 2019 of the potential risks and to consider alternative OTC and prescription treatments.

New FDA testing and evaluation prompted by information from third-party laboratories confirmed that NDMA levels increase in ranitidine even under normal storage conditions, and NDMA has been found to increase significantly in samples stored at higher temperatures, including temperatures the product may be exposed to during distribution and handling by consumers. The testing also showed that the older a ranitidine product is, or the longer the length of time since it was manufactured, the greater the level of NDMA. These conditions may raise the level of NDMA in the ranitidine product above the acceptable daily intake limit.

With today’s announcement, the FDA is sending letters to all manufacturers of ranitidine requesting they withdraw their products from the market. The FDA is also advising consumers taking OTC ranitidine to stop taking any tablets or liquid they currently have, dispose of them properly and not buy more; for those who wish to continue treating their condition, they should consider using other approved OTC products. Patients taking prescription ranitidine should speak with their health care professional about other treatment options before stopping the medicine, as there are multiple drugs approved for the same or similar uses as ranitidine that do not carry the same risks from NDMA. To date, the FDA’s testing has not found NDMA in famotidine (Pepcid), cimetidine (Tagamet), esomeprazole (Nexium), lansoprazole (Prevacid) or omeprazole (Prilosec).

In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the FDA recommends patients and consumers not take their medicines to a drug take-back location but follow the specific disposal instructions in the medication guide or package insert or follow the agency’s recommended steps, which include ways to safely dispose of these medications at home.

The FDA continues its ongoing review, surveillance, compliance, and pharmaceutical quality efforts across every product area, and will continue to work with drug manufacturers to ensure safe, effective and high-quality drugs for the American public.

The FDA encourages health care professionals and patients to report adverse reactions or quality problems with any human drugs to the agency’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program:

Complete and submit the report online at www.fda.gov/medwatch/report.htm; or

Download and complete the form, then submit it via fax at 1-800-FDA-0178.

The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.

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VDOT: Warren County Traffic alert for – April 6 – 10, 2020

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The following is a list of highway work that may affect traffic in Warren County during the coming weeks. Scheduled work is subject to change due to inclement weather and material supplies. Motorists are advised to watch for slow-moving tractors during mowing operations. When traveling through a work zone, be alert to periodic changes in traffic patterns and lane closures.

*NEW* or *UPDATE* indicates a new entry or a revised entry since last week’s report.

INTERSTATE 66
*NEW* Mile marker 0 to 15, eastbound and westbound – Mobile alternating lane closures for bridge sweeping. Monday and Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Mile marker 0 to 15, eastbound – Right shoulder closures for shoulder work. Monday to Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
*NEW* Mile marker 9 to 11, eastbound – Alternating shoulder closures for tree removal operations. Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
*NEW* Mile marker 11 to 7, westbound – Right shoulder closure for sign installations. Monday to Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

INTERSTATE 81
*NEW*Mile marker 299 to 300, northbound and southbound – Overnight alternating shoulder closures for bridge sweeping, 8 p.m. Wednesday to 7 a.m. Thursday.
*NEW* Mile marker 300 to 299, southbound – Right shoulder closures for sign installations. Monday to Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

PRIMARY ROADS
No lane closures reported.

SECONDARY ROADS
*UPDATE* Route 613 (Bentonville Road) – Northbound right shoulder closures for utility work at various locations between Route 340 (Stonewall Jackson Highway) and Route 738 (Jennings Lane), 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. through April 30.
Route 659 (Hardesty Road) – Stop-and-proceed traffic pattern just east of Route 603 (Howellsville Road) for pipe replacement, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through April 24. Vehicles limited to 9 feet in width.

Various roads – Flagger traffic control for utility tree trimming. Monday through Friday during daylight hours.

Vegetation management may take place district wide on various routes. Motorists are reminded to use extreme caution when traveling through work zones.

Traffic alerts and traveler information can be obtained by dialing 511. Traffic alerts and traveler information also are available at http://www.511Virginia.org.

The VDOT Customer Service Center can assist with reporting road hazards, asking transportation questions, or getting information related to Virginia’s roads. Call 800-FOR- ROAD (800-367-7623) or use its mobile-friendly website at https://my.vdot.virginia.gov/. Agents are available 24 hours-a-day, seven days a week.

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Social Security benefits will be paid on time and other updates related to the COVID-19 pandemic

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Andrew Saul, Commissioner of Social Security, reminds the public that Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefit payments will continue to be paid on time during the COVID-19 pandemic. The agency also reminds everyone to be aware of scammers who try to take advantage of the pandemic to trick people into providing personal information or payment via retail gift cards, wire transfers, internet currency, or by mailing cash, to maintain Social Security benefit payments or receive economic impact payments from the Department of the Treasury.

“Social Security will pay monthly benefits on time and these payments will not be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Commissioner Saul said. “I want our beneficiaries to be aware that scammers may try to trick you into thinking the pandemic is stopping or somehow changing your Social Security payments, but that is not true. Don’t be fooled.”

The Department of the Treasury will soon provide information about economic impact payments under the recently enacted law, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act. Treasury, not Social Security, will be making direct payments to eligible people. Please do not call Social Security about these payments as the agency does not have information to share.

The agency continues to direct the public to its online self-service options whenever possible. Local offices are closed to the public but are available by phone. People can find their local field office phone number by accessing the Field Office Locator.

To allow available agents to provide better phone coverage, the agency is temporarily changing the National 800 Number hours starting on Tuesday, March 31, 2020. The hours will change from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. local time to 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. local time. The agency is experiencing longer than normal wait times on the 800 Number and asks the public to remain patient, use its online services at www.socialsecurity.gov, or call their local office.

Please visit the agency’s COVID-19 web page at www.socialsecurity.gov/coronavirus/ for important information and updates.

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Governor Northam COVID-19 update briefing – April 3, 2020

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Governor Northam joins the Virginia Emergency Support Team to share the latest updates on the COVID-19 response. Here is the latest update:

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King Cartoons

Front Royal
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Upcoming Events

Apr
7
Tue
10:00 am Focus on Health Employment & Edu... @ LFCC | Science and Health Professions Building
Focus on Health Employment & Edu... @ LFCC | Science and Health Professions Building
Apr 7 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Focus on Health Employment & Education Fair @ LFCC | Science and Health Professions Building
Two sessions: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. Different vendors at each session. Held in the Science and Health Professions Building at LFCC’s Middletown Campus. Contact Taylor Luther for more[...]
4:30 pm Novel Ideas @ Samuels Public Library
Novel Ideas @ Samuels Public Library
Apr 7 @ 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm
Novel Ideas @ Samuels Public Library
Children will explore popular books and book series through S.T.E.M. activities, games, food, and more! Tuesday, March 17 –  Children will explore popular books and book series through S.T.E.M. activities, games, food, and more! This[...]
Apr
8
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10:15 am Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Apr 8 @ 10:15 am – 12:00 pm
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
10:15 Toddler story time | 11:00 Preschool story time Wednesday, March 18 and Thursday, March 19: Our stories, songs, and craft this week will be about friends! Come to story time and see your friends,[...]
Apr
9
Thu
10:15 am Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Apr 9 @ 10:15 am – 12:00 pm
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
10:15 Toddler story time | 11:00 Preschool story time Wednesday, March 18 and Thursday, March 19: Our stories, songs, and craft this week will be about friends! Come to story time and see your friends,[...]
Apr
10
Fri
6:00 pm Fire Pit Fridays @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
Fire Pit Fridays @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
Apr 10 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Fire Pit Fridays @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
Apr
14
Tue
4:30 pm Novel Ideas @ Samuels Public Library
Novel Ideas @ Samuels Public Library
Apr 14 @ 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm
Novel Ideas @ Samuels Public Library
Children will explore popular books and book series through S.T.E.M. activities, games, food, and more! Tuesday, March 17 –  Children will explore popular books and book series through S.T.E.M. activities, games, food, and more! This[...]
Apr
15
Wed
10:15 am Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Apr 15 @ 10:15 am – 12:00 pm
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
10:15 Toddler story time | 11:00 Preschool story time Wednesday, March 18 and Thursday, March 19: Our stories, songs, and craft this week will be about friends! Come to story time and see your friends,[...]
Apr
16
Thu
10:15 am Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Apr 16 @ 10:15 am – 12:00 pm
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
10:15 Toddler story time | 11:00 Preschool story time Wednesday, March 18 and Thursday, March 19: Our stories, songs, and craft this week will be about friends! Come to story time and see your friends,[...]
Apr
17
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6:00 pm Fire Pit Fridays @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
Fire Pit Fridays @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
Apr 17 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Fire Pit Fridays @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
Apr
18
Sat
9:00 am Community Earth Day Celebration @ Skyline High School
Community Earth Day Celebration @ Skyline High School
Apr 18 @ 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
Community Earth Day Celebration @ Skyline High School
In honor of the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, Front Royal/Warren County Tree Stewards would like to plant at least 50 Native Trees in our community. We are working with the Department of Forestry to[...]