Front Royal Women’s Resource Center (FRWRC) Beginning on November 1, 2020, to accept Applications for 2021 DARE TO DREAM GRANTS (Take classes, start a business, purchase a computer, learn a new skill, train for a profession, start a non-profit, anything you can dream…) Grants up to $1,000 are awarded each year to Warren County women to help make their dreams come true. If you have a dream or know someone in your life who has a dream and needs a financial boost to make it happen, this is your opportunity. The Dare to Dream grants are available to women living in Warren County, ages 18 years and older, not currently enrolled in high school. Application deadline is January 15, 2021. Recipients will be announced in March 2021.
- Applications are available at Samuel’s Public Library.
- Applications are also available on our website: frwrc.org/apply
- By calling or emailing the office at 540-636-7007; email@example.com
- Visit our website for more information: www.frwrc.org
The Front Royal Women’s Resource Center is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1996 to provide a support network for women in Warren County. Through monthly networking meetings, yearly grant presentations, special events, email connections and program activities, we have forged a link between women in our community.
Virginia Redistricting Committee takes shape; public can apply
More than half a dozen legislators have been named to a bipartisan redistricting commission that seeks to fairly draw congressional and state legislative districts.
The commission will be made up of 16 people. Half of them will be legislators and the other half will be Virginia citizens.
Virginia legislative leaders chose four Republicans and four Democrats this week to sit on the committee. Democrats include Dels. Delores McQuinn, D-Richmond and Marcus Simon, D-Falls Church, plus Sens. Mamie Locke, D-Hampton, and George Barker, D-Fairfax. The Republicans on the committee are Dels. Les Adams, R-Chatham, and Margaret Ransone, R-Westmoreland, as well as Sens. Ryan McDougle, R-Hanover, and Steve Newman, R-Lynchburg.
Del. Eileen Filler-Corn, the speaker of the Virginia House and one of the officials responsible for naming the legislative members of the commission, announced her appointments on Nov. 30. Filler-Corn said in a statement that McQuinn and Simon are “committed to inclusion” and “dedicated to a fair redistricting process that protects the vote of every Virginian.”
House Republican Leader Del. Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah, said in a statement that his appointees “will help craft what the voters have demanded — fair maps for every Virginian.”
Almost 66% of Virginians voted last month in support of an amendment to establish the commission, according to the Virginia Department of Elections. Days after the election, state lawmakers agreed to a $135 billion revised budget that included setting up the commission. The previous law stated that the General Assembly and the governor had total control over redistricting.
The majority of congressional and state legislative districts in Virginia were redrawn after the 2010 U.S. Census when Republicans controlled both chambers of the General Assembly and the executive branch. The maps are scheduled to be redrawn again next year with final census counts. However, the U.S. Census Bureau requested a delay to submit redistricting data to states no later than July 31, 2021, instead of April 1.
Erin Dodson, a 20-year-old from Sussex County, is one of more than 2.7 million Virginians who voted for the amendment. He said that getting Virginians more involved was a step in the right direction.
“I feel like it’s only fair that the people are heard,” Dodson said. “This is America; freedom of speech and government involvement is what we’re all about.”
New legislative district maps approved by the commission would go to the General Assembly for a vote. If any are rejected, the commission would be required to produce new maps. If rejected again, the Virginia Supreme Court would establish the new districts.
The state also started accepting applications this week for residents who want to serve on the commission. Retired circuit court judges will choose the citizen members.
In order to be considered, citizens must have lived in Virginia for the past three years. They also must have voted in at least two of the last three general elections. Citizens who hold, have held or sought to hold a political position or public office will not be considered, nor will lobbyists or people who have served as lobbyists in the last five years. Three letters of recommendation are also required to be considered for an appointment.
The applications are due by December 28. Click here for the application.
By Hunter Britt
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.
This week’s showtimes at Royal Cinemas as of December 4th
Are you looking for the full movie-going experience without having to wait in the long lines that often accompany that experience? Then look no further because Royal Cinemas movie theatre is the answer. Get the whole gang together and enjoy a movie! We are continuing to practice “6 Foot Social Distancing” with 30% capacity reserved seating in all auditoriums.
Here is a list of this week’s showtimes at Royal Cinemas as of Friday, December 4:
Ticket prices are as follows:
- Adult: $9
- Child (under 12): $6
- Military: $7
- Student (college): $7
- Senior: $7
- Matinees, All Seating: $6
Other movies coming soon to Royal Cinemas:
- Triple Feature: “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”, “Frosty the Snowman”, “White Christmas”
A green Christmas: eco-friendly decorating
Holiday decorations can help make Christmas feel like a magical time of the year. Here are a few ways you can make them more eco-friendly.
Invest in eco-friendly lighting
Brighten up the exterior of your home with LED lights and use a timer, so they don’t stay on all night. Alternatively, you can opt for solar-powered lighting. If you want to set the mood with candles, choose natural soy-based products.
Buy locally made items
Make your own decorations
Use natural materials like fallen branches, pine cones, and dried leaves to make your own seasonal decor. If you want to get the kids involved in holiday crafts, sort through your recycling bin for useful supplies like toilet paper rolls, cardboard boxes, and egg cartons.
Finally, be sure to buy your Christmas tree from a local farm that doesn’t use herbicides or pesticides. For an unconventional alternative, build your own by stacking books or using other common household items.
9 ways to connect as a family over the holidays
The holidays are an ideal time to connect with your kids and spouse. Here are nine great ways to spend quality time together.
1. Cook or bake
Whether it’s preparing a big meal or making treats for Santa, cooking is a great way to bond with kids of all ages.
2. Rent a cottage
3. Have a game night
An evening spent playing games is sure to be filled with laughter and excitement. Make a point to choose games that appeal to everyone.
4. Spend a day outdoors
The winter holiday is an ideal time to go snowshoeing, skating, skiing, tobogganing, hiking, snowmobiling or to simply build a snowman. There’s nothing like a day spent outdoors to help you create lasting family memories and smiling rosy faces.
5. Support a good cause
Working together to make a positive difference in the world is a fantastic way to forge stronger family ties. Spend some time picking a cause that speaks to you and your kids, and research the best way to support it.
6. Watch a movie
Choose a film or series that everyone in the family will enjoy, pop some corn and gather in the living room to share a couple of hours at home.
7. Make a family bucket list
Make a list of the fun activities that you, your spouse, and your kids want to do. Put your list in a spot where it’s visible to all (like on the fridge) and start crossing things off.
8. Plan a cultural or educational trip
There’s no shortage of things to do that are both fun and educational, from going to zoos and planetariums to visiting science and history museums.
9. Create a family survey
Put together a fun questionnaire tailored to the ages of your children to find out more about their likes, dislikes, hobbies, ambitions, and more. Ask about their dream job, which countries they’d like to visit, what they most wish for, and what their most cherished memories are.
However, you decide to spend time with your family over the holidays, the important thing is that you’ll be together.
How to make your home more energy-efficient
If you want to decrease your carbon footprint while paying less for your utility bills, reducing the amount of energy your household consumes is key. Here’s how to make your home more energy-efficient.
Use energy-efficient lighting
Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are better options than traditional incandescent lights. LEDs are the most energy-efficient, consuming about a quarter of the energy of incandescent bulbs. What’s more, they last 10 times longer.
Seal or replace windows
Tune-up your heating and cooling system
Get your furnace, air conditioner, water heater, or other appliance professionally serviced on an annual basis. This will help ensure your heating and cooling system runs at peak efficiency year-round. In addition, be sure to perform any regular maintenance tasks recommended by the manufacturer such as replacing the filters.
Choose energy-efficient appliances
Look for the Energy Star label when buying large appliances such as refrigerators, washers, dryers, stoves, and televisions. Energy Star-certified appliances use 10 to 50 percent less energy than standard appliances. In addition, choose bathroom fixtures that conserve water such as low-flow shower heads and toilets.
To maximize your efforts at making your home more energy-efficient, consider hiring a certified energy auditor. This professional can evaluate the inefficiencies in your home and provide expert recommendations.
Staff morale, permanent administrative leadership and health insurance options lead County work session discussion
On Tuesday morning, December 1, the Warren County Board of Supervisors met in a work session to discuss several pending policy and budgetary items. Those items included:
1 – six “Action Items” determined from the board’s recent weekend “Strategic Planning Session”;
2 – Lord Fairfax Community College’s proposal on the use of COVID-19 related funds for Workforce Solutions Scholarships targeting people negatively impacted financially by the Coronavirus pandemic and its limitations placed on business operations from state and local social distancing and other safety precautions;
3 – a new health insurance option proposal designed to safeguard county employees due to the ongoing Valley Health-Anthem Blue Shield/Blue Cross health insurance provider negotiating impasse;
4 – and a presentation by the United Way of Front Royal/Warren County on its programs and partnerships within the community in providing volunteer service and health care, among other options to community members in need.
Beginning with that final United Way presentation, the full board present seemed to concur that United Way helps orchestrate a valuable community service and deserves continuing municipal support for its endeavors. A PowerPoint on recent activities was presented by United Way Executive Director Steven Schetrom and Board of Directors President Shane Goodwin. And Schetrom reminded the supervisors that all the funding United Way receives is spent locally within the community.
County Board Chairman Walt Mabe cited an existing need for shower facilities at the County’s cold-weather Thermal Shelter for the homeless at the 15th Street Health and Human Services complex, as a potential immediate project for United Way to tackle.
Lord Fairfax’s Carlene Hurdle presented an overview of the college’s Workforce Solutions program and the initiative to funnel some partnered scholarship municipal funding into programs designed to equip students with skills to acquire jobs there is a higher immediate demand for.
Interim County Administrator Ed Daley seemed to speak for the board when he said the County’s intention would be to see the scholarships were directed toward students who had been economically “displaced” by consequences of the Coronavirus pandemic, not just people looking for a more lucrative career change. Hurdle responded that the County could dictate how the money it invested – $30,000 was cited – since it was its money earmarked into the scholarship fund.
“It sounds like a real opportunity for those in need,” Fork District Supervisor Archie Fox observed. Daley explained that while the County contribution had originated in CARES Act related funding, having been transferred into the County’s General Fund it was now administered as a county General Fund budgetary item, which would remove the necessity to have the money spent by the end of the calendar year.
Daley also noted that, as with its cooperative arrangement with LFCC on the tractor-trailer driving school off Kendrick Lane, the Warren County Economic Development Authority would work with the County and LFCC to promote the scholarship program.
And speaking of the interim county administrator, in the lead-off topic on the “Strategic Advance Action Items” concerning future “Critical Issues, Goals, and Strategies” a debate arose over a suggested time frame for the hiring of a permanent replacement for Daley and departed County Administrator Doug Stanley. The suggested timeframe was a permanent county administrator in place by the spring of 2022.
Despite acknowledging the excellent contributions Daley has made since assuming the interim administrator’s role, Happy Creek Supervisor Tony Carter questioned the wisdom of that long delay – over a year and a half – in putting a permanent hire into the county’s top administrative position. North River Supervisor Delores Oates countered that the additional time gave existing departmental staff the necessary time to fill key positions either open or coming open in order to create a more stable staffing environment for the new administrator to step into.
Carter argued that the new permanent replacement would be better positioned to help create a stable staffing environment they had been instrumental in creating. Carter also noted that Daley’s interim contract called for him to only be paid for 28 hours a week’s work, pointing out it was not unusual for a municipal manager to work a 40-hour-plus week.
Daley seemed to speak for the post-Strategic Planning board majority in pointing out it was felt bringing the new administrator in mid-stream of the staff and departmental stabilization effort was not the best option. He pointed to necessary upgrades in county IT (Information Technology) as an example. Earlier, Deputy Emergency Management Director Rick Farrall cited the need for “modernization across the board” of the County’s Information Technology, including the hiring of an IT Director “ASAP”.
“Our new finance director is here, and he can start moving with IT to do something about our software. And then the new IT and hardware programming, both of those overall – that is a year-and-a-half process … So, the way this is set now, we can start that. And we will fill the deputy county administrator’s position so that you have someone coming up,” Daley said of the advantage of having the permanent administrator in place either before or after the stabilization and upgrading process of county government.
“I believe the direction that we need to go in is to give our county some stability,” Chairman Mabe observed, adding, “and to give them the stability that they need … we need a lot of things before we ever look for a new county administrator … I agree the potential is there for that county administrator to not necessarily like everybody we’ve selected and got into the positions. But with a stable organization, we are more apt to get a better county administrator.”
“I agree,” Oates chimed in.
Mabe also addressed staff morale, seemingly in disrepair after the rapid one-two loss of the county and deputy county administrators this summer. Deputy County Administrator Bob Childress announced his retirement shortly after Stanley’s forced July departure.
“Our staff that’s looking into this, all of us, there’s going to be a lot of … for lack of a better word, camaraderie. We’re going to understand there’s fear. We’re going to give them the opportunity to know that we like the staff that’s working for us; and we’re working as a team,” Mabe said of the board effort to heal any wounds that may have been opened in the last year.
“And they are much more important,” Daley added nodding to Board Deputy Clerk Emily Ciarrocchi and other staff present, “to your stability than whoever sits here (in the administrator’s seat).
“That’s correct,” Mabe concurred.
Another Strategic Agenda item was a reduction of legal fees. Oates pointed to $2.8 million spent to date on the EDA civil litigations, against Jennifer McDonald and co-defendants and by the Town of Front Royal against the EDA. That latter case related to another Strategic Agenda item, “improved public trust and relationships with the Town of Front Royal and partnering agencies in order to make the best decisions for our community”. Maybe the newly hired permanent town manager can help out on that front.
The other item was a presentation by Human Resources Director Jodi Saffelle, Daley, and Assistant County Attorney Caitlin Jordan concerning another option for the county to deal with impacts of the Valley Health – Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield insurance coverage negotiation impasse on county staff. Saffelle credited Daley with what she called an “out of the box” alternative to coverage in introducing it to the board.
“If it’s a bad idea, it’s my idea,” Daley observed to some laughter at Saffelle’s passing credit to him.
More seriously, the option which Jordan noted the County might stick with even in the event of a late settlement between Valley Health and Anthem. – “If they come to terms we still may go with the new provider depending on the rates,” Jordan observed of the potential of a late settlement in the high-stakes health provider/health insurance poker game – was cited as protecting employees who might have to go to a Valley Health hospital in the event of an emergency medical situation during any lapsed insurance coverage period.
See the discussion of these health insurance variables and the other matters of concern to the county’s future operations and involvement with outside agencies in this Royal Examiner video: