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Emergency first responders doing vital but dangerous work during the pandemic



Megan O’Brien is an infectious disease epidemiologist by day, and an EMT by night at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad in Maryland.

Her title is roving night crew officer, and she works from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. A volunteer at the rescue squad since 2014, O’Brien believes that it’s a way to be involved in the community, and she enjoys the work.

But the COVID-19 pandemic drastically altered the work for her and her fellow EMTs across the nation. They faced a unique and ever-present danger: 7% of all American frontline deaths due to the pandemic between March 2020 and April 2021 were medical first responders, according to a joint investigation by Kaiser Health News and the Guardian.

Emergency medical services workers are some of the most vulnerable front-line workers, with much of their funding and equipment dependent on the support of local government.

As the coronavirus pandemic raged last fall, a study found that “EMS personnel are at a higher risk of dying from COVID-19 than other healthcare or emergency services professionals.” COVID deaths among emergency services workers were estimated to be three times higher than among nurses and five times higher than among doctors, according to the study, published on, a website that serves the emergency medical services community.



As in countless other communities, O’Brien’s unit had to overhaul procedures to protect the safety of the EMTs.

O’Brien is the head of the COVID task force with the Bethesda-Chevy Chase station. She helped to develop and implement policies on COVID safety.

“Everything was really designed to try to do everything we could to protect our personnel from getting COVID and then take care of our patients as safely as we could,” O’Brien told Capital News Service.

To limit the station’s exposure to COVID, new guidelines limited the time that EMTs spent in the back of the vehicle with patients and reduced the number of personnel that could be in the station to the minimum. The squad stopped hiring new recruits and followed other requirements put in place by the Montgomery County Rescue Service.

“Montgomery County (has) been very helpful in having policies and procedures in place that we should follow to keep ourselves safe,” said EMS Lt. Jay Gruber, spokesman for the nearby Wheaton Volunteer Rescue Squad. “And they’ve been providing us a lot of PPE. The county’s been very supportive.”

Gruber, who is also the chief of police at Georgetown University and the former chief of police in College Park, Maryland, has been working with the volunteer rescue squad for 35 years.

Montgomery County Fire Rescue Service “pivoted very quickly… helping keep the community safe, and making sure that they get their needs met,” Gruber said.

Protecting the volunteers’ safety also has driven significant changes to official on-scene procedures.

“Normally, an EMS provider will wear gloves… Even during normal times, you have access to face masks, and eye protection,” Gruber explained. “With COVID… we have various types of masks that we wear for various situations. We also have mandatory use of eyewear and gowns on people who are under investigation as COVID patients and multiple layers of gloves.”

After a patient has been transported to a hospital, especially a suspected COVID patient, aggressive cleaning and decontamination of rescue squad equipment – stretchers, electronic equipment, walls, ceilings, floors – follows.

Montgomery County’s emergency medical services system is one of the largest combined career and volunteer emergency services systems in the country, responding to over 120,000 911 calls annually, according to Dr. Meghan E. Quinn, a Navy Medical Corps lieutenant who presented a report about mental health in American volunteer fire/rescue personnel to the American Psychological Association in 2019.

Approximately half of Montgomery County’s approximately 2,500 emergency medical services workers are volunteers, Quinn said in her report.

Many communities across the nation reported that emergency services personnel were quitting or retiring because of the dangers from COVID. With the widespread administration of the anti-COVID vaccines, efforts to recruit and train new EMTs are now intensifying, according to various news reports.

In Maryland, a person can get an EMT license as early as 16 and can certify as a paramedic at 18. Rescue squad drivers must be at least 19.

Iana Sahadzic, 22, has been a volunteer paramedic with the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad since she was 17. She was attracted to the work after watching EMT volunteers driving down the street, lights flashing and sirens blaring and realizing that she has always wanted to be in the health profession and help people.

While a volunteer, Sahadzic is also a student at the University of Maryland, where she studies neurobiology and physiology, with a minor in Spanish.

“Honestly, some weeks I’m not quite sure how I manage to fit everything in,” she told CNS. “I have always been a very organized person, but I think that having to balance both school and volunteering as a paramedic has forced me to manage my time much more strictly – I can’t go anywhere without my calendar.”

Sahadzic volunteers about 36 hours a week, most of which is overnight. During her downtime, she brings her laptop and notebook to study or watch a lecture.

“Everyone has a different hobby and in my mind helping people in a time of need was the way I wanted to spend my free time.,” she said. “Though some days are harder than others, I am proud to have dedicated so much of my time to the community.”

One of the hardest aspects of volunteering to be an EMT during COVID is the strain on the volunteers and their loved ones.

When the pandemic was at its worst, Sahadzic said she showered multiple times before going home to visit family and followed other precautionary measures to ensure she wouldn’t bring anything home.

“I was probably trying to distance myself – because you never knew – and spend a lot more time at the fire station, because I felt like maybe, you know, the less time I spend at home the better,” she said. “But it’s gotten better with the vaccine.”

O’Brien said she slept in her guest room, away from her husband, as a precaution.

“There is a light, we can see the end, which was not the case several months ago,” she said. “I think for health care workers, things have really changed since we got vaccinated because you just don’t have that same level of fear anymore.”

Capital News Service Washington Bureau

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Campus food pantry offerings improved thanks to Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation grant



LFCC Success Coach Julie Fainter packs a meal kit on the Fauquier Campus.

Pantries helping those of our students suffering from food insecurity will be better stocked thanks to a $6,000 grant from the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation, which worked in partnership with the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education (VFCCE).

The grant will allow the college to increase and diversify its offerings of fresh, healthy fare, particularly fruits and vegetables, eggs, cheese and milk; purchase refrigerators and freezers to ensure safe food storage and allow for the pantry to stock frozen meals and meal kits; and allow for increased distribution of hygiene items to be placed in campus bathrooms.

Both the Fauquier and Middletown campuses have food pantries, which are open to all students regardless of income. Food insecurity represents a significant challenge for many students. A fall 2020 survey of all 23 community colleges in Virginia conducted by the Hope Center revealed that one-third of students are faced with food insecurity. Furthermore, 63 percent do not apply for public benefits because they are unaware of their eligibility. By providing students with the resources needed to succeed, Anthem is creating equal access to economic mobility.

Anthem awarded a total of $100,000 to community colleges across the state to provide flexible funds for supporting hunger relief efforts and connecting students to sustaining public benefits.

“LFCC has been a wonderful partner in meeting the needs of all students. We are inspired by the college’s efforts to address food insecurity and realize this is critical to helping students reach graduation,” stated Dr. Jennifer Gentry, Virginia Community College System vice chancellor and VFCCE executive director.

“We’re very excited about this grant from Anthem; it will allow us to expand what is offered at our pantry – which is open to everyone,” said Kaitlyn Lambert, assistant director of financial aid at LFCC. “We had not been able to provide fresh, healthy foods previously, so most of our supplies were grab-and-go items like canned soup, snacks, breakfast bars, etc.

“Student feedback showed a desire for healthy and fresh food for their families, so we have been working towards expanding since then. We have even been in touch with local businesses and community gardens to expand our offerings and build strong relationships with our community partners. With this new funding, we are also hoping to offer mini meal prep sessions with recipe cards, so students learn how to prepare the fresh foods with the resources available. We have learned that some students only have access to a microwave, a plug-in griddle, or other small appliances so we wanted to share a variety of options.”

Faculty, staff, community members, student clubs and even students themselves have also provided donations to the food pantries and to food and hygiene stations on our campuses. Phi Theta Kappa is doing a Feeding Your Success Supply Drive, and Student Life donated a fridge to a Fauquier Campus Success Station, where students can heat up meals, grab snacks and get health and hygiene products.

An LFCC employee donated money so the Middletown Campus could get a refrigerator for the pantry, and both PTK and the Stem Club have donated items, according to Viviane Meder, coordinator of both TRIO and disability services.

“In addition to shelf-stable items, we try to keep in stock other necessary items, such as hygiene products, clothing, face masks and diapers,” she said. “Kaitlyn and I both firmly believe that if students need something, we try to make it happen without requiring a lot of forms, or process, which can deter students from taking advantage of services they need.”

This marks the third consecutive year that the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation has partnered with the VFCCE to address food insecurity; by supporting hunger relief, Anthem is helping students finish college, pursue fulfilling careers, and build healthier futures.

Founded in 1970, Lord Fairfax Community College is a multi-campus public institution of higher education. With four locations — Middletown, Warrenton, Luray-Page County and most recently, Vint Hill— the College serves eight localities in the Shenandoah Valley and northern Piedmont regions. The localities are the counties of Clarke, Fauquier, Frederick, Page, Rappahannock, Shenandoah and Warren and the city of Winchester. LFCC offers more than 75 associate degree and certificate programs in a wide variety of disciplines, in addition to providing access to bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs offered on site by a four-year institution. LFCC also serves the business community by offering workforce preparation programs for employees and employers. LFCC serves more than 9,000 unduplicated credit students and more than 11,000 individuals in professional development and business and industry courses annually.

Lord Fairfax Community College (LFCC) is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Lord Fairfax Community College. Lord Fairfax Community College is an equal opportunity institution providing educational and employment opportunities, programs, services, and activities and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, age, religion, disability, national origin, marital status, political affiliation, sexual orientation, or other non-merit factors. LFCC also prohibits sexual misconduct including sexual violence or harassment.

About Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation: Through charitable grant making, the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation LLC, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, promotes Anthem’s inherent commitment to enhance the health and well-being of individuals and families in communities that Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield serves. The Foundation focuses its funding on strategic initiatives that make up its Healthy Generations Program, a multi-generational initiative that targets: maternal health, diabetes prevention, cancer prevention, heart health and healthy, active lifestyles, behavioral health efforts and programs that benefit people with disabilities. The Foundation also coordinates the company’s year-round Dollars for Dollars program which provides a 100 percent match of associates’ donations, as well as its Volunteer Time Off and Dollars for Doers community service programs. ®ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

About Virginia’s Community Colleges (VCCS): Since 1966, Virginia’s Community Colleges have given everyone the opportunity to learn and develop the right skills so lives and communities are strengthened. By making higher education and workforce training available in every part of Virginia, we elevate all of Virginia. Together, Virginia’s Community Colleges serve approximately 250,000 students each year. For more information, please visit

The Virginia Foundation for Community College Education (VFCCE) is a supporting arm of Virginia’s 23 community colleges. It works to broaden educational access, promote student success, and provide innovative solutions to workforce needs. To ensure access to high quality, affordable education, the VFCCE provides statewide leadership in raising funds for community college education, supplementing the activities of the 23 individual colleges, and advocating for major system-wide initiatives that could not be undertaken by any single college. For more information, please visit

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Governor Northam announces poultry processor to establish first east coast operation in Winchester



Governor Ralph Northam announced on December 2, 2021, that TFC Poultry LLC, a quality poultry producer, will invest $31.5 million to establish its second U.S. production facility in Winchester. The company will occupy the former Sunshine’s Pride Dairy facility, where it will specialize in deboning turkey thigh meat for sale to food manufacturers. TFC Poultry is also committing to purchase more than 100 million pounds of Virginia-grown turkey over the next four years.

Virginia successfully competed with West Virginia for the project, which will create 111 new jobs.

“Virginia’s strong agriculture sector continues to play a critical role in the success of our booming economy,” said Governor Northam. “We are pleased the company has chosen to establish its first East Coast facility right here in Virginia, and we look forward to all of its success in the future.”

TFC Poultry was founded in 2008 by brothers Darrin and Trent Froemming after they purchased and remodeled a local shuttered poultry plant in Ashby, Minnesota. The company uses specialized proprietary technology, along with x-ray and metal detection, for the safe and efficient deboning of turkey thighs. As the only third-party operation of its kind in the U.S., TFC Poultry has experienced increased demand for its products due to increased domestic demand for dark meat.

“Virginia’s ready access to key markets, favorable business climate, and skilled workforce are highly-attractive assets to agriculture companies like TFC Poultry,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “We thank TFC for its investment, and we are committed to supporting the company as it grows its East Coast footprint.”

“A family and innovation-centered company like TFC Poultry will find itself right at home in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, the birthplace of the modern turkey industry,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring. “I am thrilled to see new investment and the application of new processing technologies in our poultry industry. By building on our history while also looking to our future, we can help secure prosperity for another generation of Virginia’s poultry growers.”

“The company narrowed to this region due to the great access it offers to the I-81 corridor and to some of our key customers and suppliers,” said Chief Executive Officer of TFC Poultry Darrin Froemming. “We specifically chose Winchester, Virginia due to two primary factors: the first was the availability of all ranges of talent and that talent’s proximity to the new location; and the second reason was the embracing of progress the city demonstrated to the company throughout its due diligence stage. No other community held such an aggressive, yet genuinely welcoming reception.”

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with the City of Winchester and the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to secure the project for Virginia. Governor Northam approved a $500,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund and a $400,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund to assist the City of Winchester with the project. TFC Poultry is eligible to receive state benefits from the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program, administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development.

Support for the company’s job creation will be provided through the Virginia Talent Accelerator Program, a workforce initiative created by VEDP in collaboration with the Virginia Community College System and other higher education partners, with funding support from the Northam administration and the Virginia General Assembly. Launched in 2019, the program accelerates new facility start-ups through the direct delivery of recruitment and training services that are fully customized to a company’s unique products, processes, equipment, standards, and culture. All program services are provided at no cost to qualified new and expanding companies as an incentive for job creation.

“The City of Winchester is proud to have been chosen for the site of TFC Poultry’s expansion project,” said Mayor John David Smith. “The Winchester community and TFC are truly a perfect match, and we are excited to be a part of the Froemming family’s future.”

“We are delighted that TFC Poultry has committed to invest in building its operation in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and especially excited by its decision to locate to Winchester,” said Senator Jill Vogel. “TFC Poultry has chosen the perfect community for its employees, and we are eager to welcome the company.”

“We are so excited to hear that TFC Poultry will be setting up its business in the City of Winchester,” said Delegate Bill Wiley. “Not only is the company bringing vital job opportunities and revenue for the area, it is also repurposing a building that has sat dormant for too long. We look forward to having TFC Poultry operational and thriving in the near future.”

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Supreme Court weighs Mississippi abortion law, future of Roe v. Wade



WASHINGTON — With a crowd of hundreds of activists gathered outside, the Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday on a Mississippi law restricting abortions that challenges the nearly 50-year precedent set by Roe v. Wade.

The justices signaled that they were aware of the highly-charged political nature of the case. Many of their questions centered on how their decision could impact American society.

Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor suggested the very legitimacy of the high court was at stake if it overturned its landmark ruling in 1973 that made access to abortions legal. She noted that sponsors of the Mississippi law said they proposed the abortion restrictions because there were new justices on the Supreme Court.

“Will this institution survive the stench that this creates in the public perception – that the Constitution and its reading are just political acts?” she said. “I don’t see how it is possible.”

The 2018 Mississippi law bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The law is not currently in effect as the state awaits the court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

Mississippi Solicitor General Scott Stewart argued the precedents set in Roe v. Wade and a later case, Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, should be overturned and that the court should allow states to decide their own laws.

When Roe was decided in 1973, the court established a person’s right to abortion up to the point of viability, which is typically regarded as 24 weeks of pregnancy. In 1992, justices in the Casey case established the “undue burden” standard to determine the validity of state abortion restrictions.

Stewart argued that the “undue burden” test was difficult to apply and said that the justices should, “return the choice to the people.”

“Many people vocally really just wanted to have the matter returned to them so that they could decide it locally, deal with it the way they thought best, and at least have a fighting chance to have their view prevail, which was not given to them under Roe and then, as a result, under Casey,” Stewart said.

That step would not outlaw abortion nationwide, he explained, as many states would still choose to keep abortion legal.

But Julie Rikelman, attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights, argued that the justices should affirm two lower court rulings that Mississippi’s “Gestational Age Act” at issue is unconstitutional.

“Two generations of women have now relied on this right,” she said. “There is no less need today than 30 years ago or 50 years ago for women to make this decision for themselves.”

Rikelman said the ban would restrict a pregnant person’s liberty and bodily autonomy, which is protected by the 14th Amendment. She also said people rely on the precedents set in Roe and Casey that protect access to abortion.

Rikelman argued overturning the precedents would result in “forced pregnancies” and disproportionately impact women of color and other marginalized communities.

Associate Justice Elena Kagan said those advocating for the Mississippi law needed to show “a strong justification in a case like this beyond the fact that you think the case is wrong.”

“And I guess what strikes me when I look at this case is that you know, not much has changed since Roe and Casey, that people think it’s right or wrong based on the things that they have always thought it was right and wrong for,” Kagan said.

Elizabeth Prelogar, U.S. Solicitor General, arguing on behalf of the Biden administration, said “the real-world effects of overruling Roe and Casey would be severe and swift.”

Associate Justice Samuel Alito asked Prelogar, “Is it your argument that a case can never be overruled simply because it was egregiously wrong?”

“I think that at the very least, the state would have to come forward with some kind of materially changed circumstance or some kind of materially new argument,” Prelogar said. “And Mississippi hasn’t done so in this case.”

The Jackson Women’s Health case comes before a new Supreme Court with a 6-3 conservative majority. The justice’s questions seem to suggest that alterations to current abortion rights are imminent, though whether they will fully overturn precedent remains to be seen.

Associate Justice Stephen Breyer said he was concerned about the public’s perception of the high court as it wrestles with one of the most contentious issues in American life.

Breyer said the functioning of the court as an institution “comes primarily from people believing that we do our job. We use reason. We don’t look to just what’s popular.”

“The problem with a super case like this, the rare case, the watershed case, where people are really opposed on both sides and they really fight each other, is they’re going to be ready to say, ‘no, you’re just political, you’re just politicians,’” Breyer said, “And that’s what kills us as an American institution.”

Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh listed several cases in which the court went against set precedent, leading to the expansion of rights, such as the overturning of the “separate but equal” segregation standard in schools in Brown v. Board of Education.

Kavanaugh asked Rikelman “if we think that the prior precedents are seriously wrong – why then doesn’t the history of this court’s practice with respect to those cases tell us that the right answer is actually a return to the position of neutrality – and not stick with those precedents in the same way that all those other cases didn’t?”

Chief Justice John Roberts, a potential swing vote in the abortion decision, appeared to be looking for a way to preserve the Mississippi statute without overturning Roe.

“…If you think that the issue is one of choice, that women should have a choice to terminate their pregnancy, that supposes that there is a point at which they’ve had the fair choice, opportunity to choose, and why would 15 weeks be an inappropriate line?” Roberts asked. “Because viability, it seems to me, doesn’t have anything to do with choice. But, if it really is an issue about choice, why is 15 weeks not enough time?”

After the arguments ended, Rep. Cori Bush, D-Missouri, joined pro-choice advocates on the court’s steps, warning that the conservative majority of the Supreme Court may deal a blow to reproductive rights.

“Justice is what this building is supposed to represent. Notice I said ‘supposed to represent, but the history of this court has not always lived up to that,” Bush said. “Today, we are here to say there is nothing just about a far-right Supreme Court determined to oppress us.”

J.C. Carpenter, a leader and sidewalk counsel with Christian-based pro-life organization 40 Days For Life, drove from her hometown of Marysville, California, to support the pro-life demonstrators in front of the court.

“I think there is an amazing pro-life turnout,” Carpenter told Capital News Service. “I think the pro-aborts are well outnumbered and I hope that that speaks to what’s going to happen with this case.”

At least 26 states are poised to ban or restrict abortion if the justices uphold the Mississippi law and overturn Roe, according to abortion research and policy organization The Guttmacher Institute.

The court’s ruling is not expected until next year.

Capital News Service


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Maryland Governor Hogan announces COVID measures in face of omicron variant



Maryland is working to increase its capacity to track COVID-19 variants, Gov. Larry Hogan, R, announced Wednesday, as a new variant is being found around the globe, including in the United States.

In an update at the State House, Hogan said the state “has one of the strongest variant surveillance systems in America” but will work to grow surveillance capacity in the face of the omicron variant.

In February, the state partnered with the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University to sequence “over 10% of all COVID 19 cases,” Hogan said at the time.

Sequencing can help “track the mutations of the virus,” Hogan said.

Hogan said the Board of Public Works approved spending for additional testing supplies that could help identify and track the spread of omicron and other variants.

Last week, the World Health Organization announced they had designated omicron as a “variant of concern.”

According to the organization’s website, “it is not yet clear” whether omicron is more transmissible or causes more severe illness than other variants.

On Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced what they called the “first confirmed case of omicron variant detected in the United States” in California.

The CDC said the affected person returned in November from South Africa, where the WHO said the variant was first reported.

“The individual, who was fully vaccinated and had mild symptoms that are improving, is self-quarantining and has been since testing positive,” the CDC said in a press release Wednesday.

Hogan noted omicron is not the first variant of the virus and likely not the last.

“I urge Marylanders not to panic,” he said Wednesday.

Hogan emphasized the availability of PCR tests and increased the availability of rapid testing.

“Getting tested remains one of the most important things you can do,” Hogan said.

The governor especially encouraged getting tested “if you’re feeling sick and think you’re coming down with something,” as well as before and after travel.

Hogan also encouraged Marylanders to get vaccinated, and if they’re eligible, to get a booster shot.

In a press release Wednesday, Hogan announced Marylanders had received more than 1 million booster shots, bringing the total number of COVID-19 vaccines administered to well over 9 million.

There have been 10,987 confirmed COVID-19 deaths in Maryland and over 580,000 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic, according to the Department of Health.

Nearly 700 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 in Maryland, according to the most recent health department data.

That same data shows the percentage of positive tests averaged over seven days has been increasing recently, to 5.13%.

Capital News Service


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Virginia War Memorial and Navy League to host Commonwealth’s Pearl Harbor Day Remembrance Ceremony



The Virginia War Memorial and the Navy League of the United States, Richmond Council, will co-host the 80th Commonwealth’s Pearl Harbor Day Remembrance Ceremony at 11 a.m. EST, Tuesday, December 7, 2021, at the Virginia War Memorial in Richmond. John Maxwell, Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Veterans Services (VDVS), will be the keynote speaker.

The annual ceremony will be held outdoors in the Memorial’s Shrine of Memory – 20th Century at 621 South Belvidere Street. The public is invited and encouraged to attend.

The Commonwealth’s Pearl Harbor Day Remembrance Ceremony will include the presentation of wreaths in memory of the Virginians who died on Sunday morning, December 7, 1941, when the forces of Imperial Japan attacked U.S military bases in Hawaii, including the Naval Base at Pearl Harbor. More than 2,400 Americans died and more than 1,100 were wounded during the surprise attack. Of those killed, 41 were listed as native Virginians.

“The name of each Virginian who perished on that fateful day will be read and remembered with the tolling of the ship’s bell from the USS Virginia, which is on permanent display at the Virginia War Memorial,” said Dr. Jay Fielder, president of the Navy League’s Richmond Council, who will serve as Master of Ceremonies for the annual program.

“We are pleased to continue the tradition of co-hosting the Commonwealth’s Pearl Harbor Day Remembrance Ceremony at the Virginia War Memorial,” said Memorial Director Dr. Clay Mountcastle. “Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, last year’s ceremony was held as a virtual event. We are pleased to return to an in-person format this year.”

The Memorial will be open to the public from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. on December 7. The Virginians at War documentary film Pearl Harbor will be shown all day in the Reynolds Theater and visitors will have the opportunity to see the Memorial’s newest major exhibit, “Who They Were: Lives Worth Knowing” which includes a tribute to John Hildebrand, Jr., one of the sailors from Virginia who died during the Pearl Harbor attack.

For more information about the 80th Commonwealth’s Pearl Harbor Day Remembrance Ceremony, please call the Virginia War Memorial at 804.786.2060 or visit or . There is no admission charge to the Memorial or for this event.

About The Navy League of the United States
The Navy League of the United States (NLUS) was founded in 1902 with the encouragement of President Theodore Roosevelt. The League has grown into the foremost citizen’s organization to serve and support America’s sea services: the Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, and flag Merchant Marine. For information on the Richmond Council of the NLUS, please call 804.355.7557 or go to

About the Virginia War Memorial
The mission of the Virginia War Memorial is to Honor Veterans, Preserve History, Educate Youth, and Inspire Patriotism in All. Dedicated in 1956, the Memorial includes the names of the nearly 12,000 Virginia heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice during World War II, Korean, Vietnam, and Persian Gulf Wars, and the Global War on Terrorism. The Virginia War Memorial is and will always be the Commonwealth’s tribute to those who served and most especially, to those who died defending our freedoms. Every day is truly Memorial Day at the Virginia War Memorial. The Virginia War Memorial is a division of the Virginia Department of Veterans Services and serves as an integral part of its mission in support of all Virginians who have served in our military. It is located at 621 South Belvidere Street, Richmond, Virginia 23220. For more information, please visit or .

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; provides an honored final resting place for veterans and their families at three state veterans cemeteries. It also operates 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

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New building on gifted land will bring trades classes to the Fauquier Campus



Construction of a new building dedicated to the skilled trades on the Fauquier Campus is expected to begin in February and be open for classes in fall 2022.

This opportunity to build a facility dedicated to trades education is thanks to a gift of 60 acres adjacent to campus from Fauquier County to the LFCC Educational Foundation. The college has been leasing space for trades instruction at Vint Hill, but that site is not ideal for those needs, and the lease expires in 2022.

With the new trades building, the college will be able to offer trades classes for the first time on the Fauquier Campus and even begin a new carpentry program. Other programs planned for the new 8,000-square-foot pre-engineered metal building include electrical, HVAC, plumbing, and heavy equipment operator.

“Providing career training and apprenticeships in the trades requires a custom-designed facility – we need flexible labs for hands-on learning, hard floors, high ceilings, state-of-the-art ventilation systems, multiple outlets and drop cords to accommodate the industrial and commercial training equipment, and more,” said Jeanian Clark, vice president of Workforce Solutions and Continuing Education. “That’s why this new building is such exciting news. And it couldn’t come at a better time. With the state’s investment in the G3, FastForward, and Re-Employing Virginians (REV) initiatives, enrolling in skilled-trades programs and high-demand career pathways has never been more affordable for students. Our area businesses and industries need our trades graduates.”

In addition to expanding trade offerings, the new facility will allow the college to explore partnerships with Fauquier County and Rappahannock County schools for potential new ventures, such as a trades academy.

“The expansion of trades programs on the Fauquier Campus is good news for the home construction industry,” said LFCC Foundation Board Member Joel Barkman, who is founder and president/CEO of Golden Rule Builders in Catlett. “By investing in the infrastructure to develop the next generation of building trade professionals, LFCC is a valuable partner in addressing the skilled labor shortage. I’m proud to support the college.”

The foundation, which will own the building and lease it to the college, has established the Building the Future Fund with a fundraising goal of $1.5 million. The money raised will go towards fully equipping the site; bringing in experienced instructors; expanding instruction to more fields within career and technical education, such as welding; offering scholarships, and more. There are naming opportunities for the building itself, as well as spaces inside.

For more information or to donate to the Building the Future Fund, contact Tami O’Brien, development officer, at 540-351-1046 or

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Mary Carnahan Graphic Design

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National Media Services

Northwestern Community Services Board

Phoenix Project

Reaching Out Now

Royal Blends Nutrition

Royal Examiner

Royal Oak Bookshop

Royal Spice

Salvation Army

SaVida Health

Skyline Insurance

Studio Verde

The Studio-A Place for Learning

The Valley Today - The River 95.3

Warren Charge (Bennett's Chapel, Limeton, Asbury)

Warren County Department of Social Services

Warrior Psychotherapy Services, PLLC

What Matters & Beth Medved Waller, Inc Real Estate

White Picket Fence

Woodward House on Manor Grade

King Cartoons

Front Royal
7:18am4:50pm EST
Feels like: 37°F
Wind: 17mph WNW
Humidity: 36%
Pressure: 30.03"Hg
UV index: 0

Upcoming Events

6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Dec 8 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
7:00 pm Clara, Little Mouse, and the Gol... @ Skyline Middle School
Clara, Little Mouse, and the Gol... @ Skyline Middle School
Dec 10 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Clara, Little Mouse, and the Golden Key @ Skyline Middle School
Dancing By His Grace Classical Ballet Ensemble presents Clara, Little Mouse, and the Golden Key, featuring selections from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Ballet, at the Skyline Middle School in Front Royal, Virginia. Join us for our original[...]
7:00 pm Glory Bea: A Shenandoah Christma... @ LFCC's William H. McCoy Theatre
Glory Bea: A Shenandoah Christma... @ LFCC's William H. McCoy Theatre
Dec 10 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Glory Bea: A Shenandoah Christmas Story @ LFCC's William H. McCoy Theatre
GLORY BEA: A Shenandoah Christmas Story, by Rich Follett and Larry Dahlke, set in the 1930’s in the Shenandoah Valley and the Depression has hit the valley residents. This story is being presented by Selah[...]
7:30 pm Sweeter, Still… Holiday Concert @ Front Royal United Methodist Church
Sweeter, Still… Holiday Concert @ Front Royal United Methodist Church
Dec 10 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Sweeter, Still… Holiday Concert @ Front Royal United Methodist Church
Friday, December 10, 2021 7:30pm Front Royal United Methodist Church 1 West Main Street | Front Royal, VA 22630 COVID-19 Guidelines: Masks are required for attendees Sunday, December 12, 2021 4:00pm Trinity Episcopal Church 9108[...]
2:00 pm Clara, Little Mouse, and the Gol... @ Skyline Middle School
Clara, Little Mouse, and the Gol... @ Skyline Middle School
Dec 11 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Clara, Little Mouse, and the Golden Key @ Skyline Middle School
Dancing By His Grace Classical Ballet Ensemble presents Clara, Little Mouse, and the Golden Key, featuring selections from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Ballet, at the Skyline Middle School in Front Royal, Virginia. Join us for our original[...]
7:00 pm Glory Bea: A Shenandoah Christma... @ LFCC's William H. McCoy Theatre
Glory Bea: A Shenandoah Christma... @ LFCC's William H. McCoy Theatre
Dec 11 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Glory Bea: A Shenandoah Christmas Story @ LFCC's William H. McCoy Theatre
GLORY BEA: A Shenandoah Christmas Story, by Rich Follett and Larry Dahlke, set in the 1930’s in the Shenandoah Valley and the Depression has hit the valley residents. This story is being presented by Selah[...]
2:00 pm Clara, Little Mouse, and the Gol... @ Skyline Middle School
Clara, Little Mouse, and the Gol... @ Skyline Middle School
Dec 12 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Clara, Little Mouse, and the Golden Key @ Skyline Middle School
Dancing By His Grace Classical Ballet Ensemble presents Clara, Little Mouse, and the Golden Key, featuring selections from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Ballet, at the Skyline Middle School in Front Royal, Virginia. Join us for our original[...]
3:00 pm Glory Bea: A Shenandoah Christma... @ LFCC's William H. McCoy Theatre
Glory Bea: A Shenandoah Christma... @ LFCC's William H. McCoy Theatre
Dec 12 @ 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm
Glory Bea: A Shenandoah Christmas Story @ LFCC's William H. McCoy Theatre
GLORY BEA: A Shenandoah Christmas Story, by Rich Follett and Larry Dahlke, set in the 1930’s in the Shenandoah Valley and the Depression has hit the valley residents. This story is being presented by Selah[...]
3:00 pm Valley Chorale’s Christmas Concert @ Calvary Episcopal Church
Valley Chorale’s Christmas Concert @ Calvary Episcopal Church
Dec 12 @ 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm
Valley Chorale's Christmas Concert @ Calvary Episcopal Church
This year’s yuletide concert is titled THIS SHINING NIGHT.  Join us for a selection of seasonal songs — ranging in style from classical to spirituals to pop — sure to brighten your holiday and lift[...]
4:00 pm Sweeter, Still… Holiday Concert @ Trinity Episcopal Church
Sweeter, Still… Holiday Concert @ Trinity Episcopal Church
Dec 12 @ 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Sweeter, Still… Holiday Concert @ Trinity Episcopal Church
Sunday, December 12, 2021 4:00pm Trinity Episcopal Church 9108 John Mosby Hwy. | Upperville, VA 20184 COVID-19 Guidelines: Masks are required for attendees