The Blue Ridge Wildlife Center (BRWC) Board of Directors is pleased to announce the appointment of Annie Bradfield as its new Executive Director. Ms. Bradfield comes to BRWC with an extensive background in non-profit development and management. She brings more than a decade of non-profit experience with her, having worked for organizations that include Shenandoah University, American Bird Conservancy, Project HOPE, and Blue Ridge Hospice. Ms. Bradfield lives in Winchester, Virginia and attended Shenandoah University, where she earned her Bachelors of Science in Psychology and History.
“I am very grateful to the Blue Ridge Wildlife Center board for putting their faith in me to lead this wonderful organization and dedicated staff,” states Bradfield. “2020 has been a challenging year for non-profits and BRWC has certainly felt it in more ways than one. Already this year the center has admitted more patients than it did in all of 2019 with no additional staff or funding. It will be a challenge to make sure the center can get through the year with the proper equipment and supplies it needs. I am eager to get started and help the center achieve its mission.”
Beatrice von Gontard, Chair of the BRWC Board of Directors, stated, “The BRWC board would like to welcome Annie Bradfield to the team and thank Hillary Russell Davidson for her three years of service as Executive Director of the Blue Ridge Wildlife Center. We wish Hillary continued success in her future pursuits.”
Unfortunately, due to Covid-19, BRWC was not able to hold in-person educational programs or the annual fall gala this year, which contributes major funding to help wildlife in need. Providing things look better in 2021, the Center is planning to host its second annual “Wildfest” festival in the spring at the Berryville Fairgrounds. BRWC also looks forward to welcoming visitors to enjoy its educational tours and up-close encounters with wildlife ambassadors on the Wildlife Walkway.
Blue Ridge Wildlife Center is a full-service wildlife teaching hospital that cares for injured, sick, or orphaned native wildlife and teaches the public how to be good stewards of the land around us. BRWC is a non-profit organization that has been providing care to native wildlife, at no charge, in Northern Virginia since 2000.
To learn more about Blue Ridge Wildlife Center, please visit the organization’s website at www.blueridgewildlifectr.org.
Ayala, Guzmán champion equality, representation in lieutenant governor bid
Hala Ayala and Elizabeth Guzmán were among the first Latina representatives elected to the state legislature during the wave of Democratic victories in 2017. Ayala and Guzmán ran for office to provide diversity in state government that more accurately represents the population in Prince William County where a quarter of residents are Latino; almost 25% are Black and nearly 10% are Asian, according to the U.S. Census.
Ayala was born in Alexandria to a Salvadorian father and Irish-Lebanese mother. Before becoming a state delegate, she volunteered for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign and founded the Prince William Chapter of the National Organization for Women. She also was vice president of the organization at the state level. Ayala defeated eight-year incumbent Republican Rich Anderson to represent District 51 in Virginia’s House of Delegates.
Ayala said she first considered running for lieutenant governor in 2019 to be a bridge-builder. She said she has seen the societal divide in America grow this year because of COVID-19 and knew she could do more. Before becoming involved in politics, Ayala worked in national security, where she said settling disagreements and being a bridge builder is part of the job.
A self-described politician and activist, Ayala said she has always championed equality.
“My work with Prince William NOW was about bringing people together, which I’ve always tried to do,” Ayala said. “You may not like what I say, but at least you know you are seen, you are heard and you are welcomed.”
Ayala is also an advocate for improving Medicaid, which she credits with saving her son, who has autism.
“We need a healthcare system that is inclusive of our economy and works for every family, especially now, as Virginia deals with the pandemic,” she said.
In the upcoming General Assembly session, Ayala said she plans to introduce legislation providing hazard pay for essential workers, defining broadband as critical infrastructure, and improving schools.
‘A matter of representation’
Guzmán immigrated to the United States from Peru and settled in Northern Virginia. She worked three jobs to afford a one-bedroom apartment before earning a master’s degree in public administration and social work and becoming a social worker.
Guzmán defeated eight-term Republican incumbent Del. Scott Lingamfelter in 2017 for the 31st District seat. She ran on a platform of improving public education, raising the minimum wage and expanding Medicaid.
Guzmán said her decision to run for the state legislature was a matter of representation, and that Lingamfelter was not a good representation of the diverse constituents in Eastern Prince William.
Guzman said that because of her background she was able to champion historic legislation this year.
“It was because of the communities that I represent,” Guzmán said. “It was about the struggles that I had as a first-generation immigrant.”
Guzmán was tapped to co-chair Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign in Virginia with fellow Prince William Del. Lee Carter.
Guzmán said she’s passionate about investing more into the state’s public education, including more counselors in schools and more resources for special education and remote learning. Guzmán said she was surprised to discover education issues and legislation that would improve “quality of life” were seen as partisan in the chamber.
“It didn’t matter how well I could make my case or how prepared I would be with data and facts, it was all about the party,” Guzmán said. “My intention was to serve all Virginians, not only those who voted for me.”
As a member of the Prince William-Manassas Regional Jail Board, Guzmán had a hand in getting Prince William County to end its agreement to work with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to pursue and detain immigrants who entered the country without legal permission. Guzmán said that Prince William was no safer statistically than nearby localities without the program, and ICE made the county’s immigrant community feel less safe and more hesitant to report a crime they were the victim of, such as a robbery or domestic violence for fear of being deported.
“The vision for Virginia should be a place where diversity is embraced and not disrespected,” Guzmán said. “It should be a place where people feel safe, and feeling safe means that you should be comfortable calling the police when there is a crime regardless of your immigration status.”
Guzmán said she has heard from constituents that health care and access to higher education are important issues.
“Your credit score or your eligibility for a loan should not define whether you should go to college,” Guzmán said. “If you have good grades, if you’re a good citizen, you should have the opportunity to go to college, and college affordability is definitely what young voters want.”
Other Democrats running for lieutenant governor include Paul Goldman, former chairman of the Democratic Party of Virginia; Sean Perryman, president of Fairfax County NAACP; Roanoke Del. Sam Rasoul and Xavier Warren, a sports agent. Across the aisle are businessmen Puneet Ahluwalia and Lance Allen, Virginia Beach Del. Glenn Davis, who will make his second run for the seat, and former Fairfax Del. Tim Hugo.
By Will Gonzalez
Capital News Service
Capital News Service is a program of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Robertson School of Media and Culture. Students in the program provide state government coverage for a variety of media outlets in Virginia.
Maryland Governor Hogan details further efforts to fight pandemic surge
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — “This virus is spiking out of control,” Gov. Larry Hogan, R, said during announcements Tuesday restricting visitations to hospitals and nursing homes and ordering 10 p.m. closing times for restaurants and bars, all in an effort to tackle an ongoing COVID-19 surge.
“We are very concerned that hospitals in western Maryland are already at capacity,” Hogan added, citing rising rates of positivity and hospitalizations, most significantly in rural areas.
In response, Hogan issued a new emergency order, effective Friday at 5 p.m., closing bars and restaurants at 10 p.m., limiting the capacity for retail and religious spaces to 50%, prohibiting fans at racetracks and stadiums, and implementing new hospital surge management rules.
New surge rules include restricting hospital visitations to end-of-life care, obstetrics, guardians of minors, and support for people with disabilities, patient transfer from hospitals at or near capacity, guidance to avoid elective procedures that may require ventilation, ICU or nursing facility care.
Nursing home visits were also limited to compassionate care with visitors being required to have
proof of a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours prior to their visit. This is in addition to mandatory twice-weekly testing for nursing home staff and mandatory weekly testing for residents.
These restrictions are in addition to previous indoor dining reductions from 75% to 50%, mandatory telework implementation for state employees, and out-of-state travel advisories, all announced on Nov. 11.
Dr. Thomas Scalea, the physician-in-chief of the Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland Medical Center, spoke further on the plan for hospitals near or at capacity to more easily transfer patients to available hospitals when necessary.
“Now a single phone call will give (providers) access to the appropriate level of critical care services,” Scalea said.
As of Tuesday, the Maryland Department of Health reported nearly 170,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, over 1,000 hospitalizations, and over 4,000 deaths.
Scalea and Hogan noted lessons learned during the first surge beginning in March that is now saving lives.
“I can’t remember learning this much, this fast about a disease. That doesn’t mean everybody lives though,” Scalea cautioned. “They’re not universally successful. We’d be really happy to (use these lessons) less often.”
Hogan also was cautiously optimistic about the state seeing fewer deaths from the disease than during the early stages of the pandemic.
However, he stated that while the first wave affected mostly suburban areas, this current surge is hitting western Maryland particularly hard, especially Allegany and Garrett counties.
“Certain people there had a false sense of security,” Hogan said, referring to the western counties where cases are spiking. “Maybe they weren’t being as careful and not wearing masks. Now they’re calling us, begging for help, and we’re sending strike teams and moving patients out of their crowded hospitals.”
He stated another problem is with contact tracing compliance. Many refuse to give information to tracers regarding possible COVID-19 exposure.
“A little more than half, if we contact them, they don’t want to participate,” Hogan said. “We have to get the word out for people to participate.”
But one area of critical success has been with the state’s electronic exposure notification system.
MD COVID Alert is a mobile phone app designed to assist contact tracing efforts and help limit the community spread of the disease by alerting users to possible virus exposure.
The app was launched on Nov. 10, and Hogan stated almost a million Marylanders have already signed up for the system.
“The battle’s not getting any easier,” he said. “But we have more weapons and more soldiers on the field, and we’re in a better position to fight back.”
By Philip Van Slooten
Capital News Service
Warner & Kaine announce more than $94 million in federal funds for transit systems in Virginia
On November 13, 2020, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced that Prince William County will be awarded $94,489,915 in federal funding for public transit. The funding was authorized by the Federal Transit Authority (FTA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act supported by Sens. Warner and Kaine, and will support operating, administrative, capital, and preventive maintenance costs for Virginia Railway Express (VRE), Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission (PRTC), and Fredericksburg Regional Transit (FRED).
“We’re pleased to announce this funding to ensure Virginians can continue to rely on safe and reliable public transportation during this ongoing health and economic crisis,” said the Senators. “And as we’ve seen COVID-19 cases gradually increase across the country and in the Commonwealth, these funds will help ensure that our essential workers can continue to get to and from work as safely as possible.”
Through the CARES Act, Congress provided $25 billion for transit agencies to help prevent, prepare, and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Prince William County received its funding under the FTA’s Urbanized Area Formula Program, which makes federal resources available to urbanized areas and to governors for transit capital and operating assistance in urbanized areas and for transportation-related planning.
People Inc. now accepting nominations for the Garland Thayer and Henderson Awards
Nominations are now being accepted for People Incorporated’s Garland Thayer Award and Henderson Award. The awards recognize outstanding achievements by community leaders, advocates and volunteers in the agency’s service area.
“People Inc.’s work would not be possible without the dedication and commitment of community members across our 16 city and county service area,” said People Inc. President and CEO Rob Goldsmith. “I look forward to recognizing the achievements of groups and individuals who work to provide opportunities for economically disadvantaged people to improve their lives, families and communities.”
The Garland Thayer Award is presented to individuals who have made a significant contribution to benefit low-income people through their employment or paid position with an organization. Previous recipients have founded new organizations, new programs or new services that align with the agency’s mission. The award is named for People Inc.’s founding Executive Director, Garland Thayer.
The Henderson Award recognizes the remarkable achievements of a volunteer or group of volunteers who have made lasting and significant contributions to benefit economically disadvantaged communities. The award is named in honor of Fount and Thelma Henderson, who worked as tireless advocates alongside Garland Thayer to mobilize community support for People Inc.’s mission. Fount Henderson also served as the agency’s founding Board of Directors Chairperson.
People Inc. was founded in 1964 as a community action agency in the rural community of Hayter’s Gap in Washington County. The agency has been committed to moving communities into the economic mainstream for 56 years.
LFCC gearing up to open its spring enrollment in early November
Prepare to close the book on 2020 by enrolling in LFCC’s spring semester classes starting next week. The college’s schedule is now online at www.lfcc.edu/schedule, and current students can enroll starting Monday, Nov. 2. New student enrollment begins Monday, Nov. 9.
The first 100 current students and the first 100 new students to enroll in spring classes will be entered into a drawing to win $200, $100, $50 and $25 gift cards to the LFCC Bookstore.
Current students should ensure they have enrolled for spring by Nov. 30. They should schedule an appointment with their advisor to meet online, or via email or phone.
New students can complete their entire orientation and advising from the comfort and safety of their own homes. The start dates for spring classes are Jan. 19, Feb. 1 and March 15. Take your first step by visiting www.lfcc.edu/enroll.
“In the spring, we have designed three modalities that we hope will give you the flexibility, the convenience and the types of options that you need depending on your home situation and your work situation,” LFCC Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs Anne Davis said.
Courses will be available in one of three formats: online with no set meeting times, online live with set meeting times, and hybrid with both in-person and online classes. Online live classes are often referred to as synchronous because the instructor meets virtually with students at scheduled meeting times each week. Online classes with no set meeting times are referred to as asynchronous.
“Even with the asynchronous times, you still have access to your professor and you still have ways to connect in real time,” said Dr. Davis.
Learn more about the enrollment process at lfcc.edu/spring2021.
Fauquier Health welcomes new OB/GYN provider, Dr. Elise Diamond
Fauquier Health announced today that Elise Diamond, MD, MPH, has joined its staff and will be offering obstetrics and gynecology services to the residents of Fauquier and surrounding counties. Dr. Diamond will join Dr. Barry Aron and Nurse Midwife, Monica Freidline, at the Fauquier Health OB/GYN clinic located at 253 Veterans Drive, Suite 210, in Warrenton, Virginia.
Dr. Diamond graduated from the University of South Florida – Morsani College of Medicine in Tampa, Florida in 2016. Prior to that she worked in public health and clinical research for several years. She recently completed her residency training at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, Georgetown University in Washington, DC.
Chad Melton, CEO of Fauquier Health, commented, “We understand the need to provide full spectrum care to women of all ages and are beyond excited to welcome Dr. Diamond as our newest OB/GYN provider. Dr. Diamond will have a strong focus on labor and delivery, high risk pregnancy and minimally-invasive gynecological surgery. I know she will be a great asset to our growing clinic.”
Dr. Diamond is accepting appointments now and will begin seeing patients starting on November 1, 2020 at the Fauquier Health OB/GYN office at 253 Veterans Lane, Warrenton, Virginia. To schedule an appointment today, please call 540.316.5930. For additional details, please visit Find a Provider on FauquierHealth.org or FHDoctors.org.
About Fauquier Health
Fauquier Health is a community health system dedicated to high-quality, patient-centered care in a unique environment that considers the multiple facets of healing and respects the individuality of each and every patient. Located at 500 Hospital Drive in Warrenton, Virginia, Fauquier Health serves the residents of Fauquier and several surrounding counties. It comprises: Fauquier Hospital, a fully-accredited, 97-bed hospital; Fauquier Health Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, a 113-bed long-term care and rehabilitation facility; the Villa at Suffield Meadows, an assisted living facility; the Wound Health Center and a medically supervised Wellness Center offering health and wellness programs. Fauquier Health also operates nine physician’s offices, including primary care and specialties. More information on Fauquier Health is available online at FauquierHealth.org or by calling (540) 316-5000.