Self-guided hike: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Location: Appalachian Trailhead (between Peters and Rector Lodge)
Campfire and S’mores: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Location: Campfire Circle across from Fairfax Shelter
Things to Bring: Please wear hiking shoes or boots, dress for the weather, bring water, camera, binoculars, and your four legged family (on a leash please).
Description: Bring in the New Year by going for a fun, family-friendly hike on the Appalachian Trail. Hikes will be self-guided so you may choose to hike as long as you would like! Drop in anytime between 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the campfire circle for a warm fire, along with s’mores. If you take photos along your First Day Hike we would love to see them by social media, using the hashtag #nova4h. We are looking forward to starting the New Year on the right foot with you. Donations welcomed! For more information please call (540)635-7171 or email email@example.com
*Please note that the restrooms are closed due to winterization of facilities.
Bentonville teen dies off Chincoteague Bay after boat capsizes, boy, 17, missing
A Bentonville teen died, and another teen is missing after their Jon boat capsized it Saturday morning in the Chincoteague Bay, according to a media release from the Virginia Marine Resources Commission.
The incident occurred around 9:20 a.m. near Curtis Merritt Harbor at the southern end of the island. A wave apparently hit the 16-foot boat, according to Marine Police and all four people went into the water.
Marine police stated that on board were two 17-year-olds, a 19-year-old and 18-year-old Corey Alles of Bentonville, VA.
A good Samaritan rescued two of the passengers near the boat, while the U.S. Coast Guard recovered the body of Alles. Officials say the 19-year-old man and one of the 17-year-olds were taken to the hospital with injuries considered non-life-threatening.
The release said that a 17-year-old male is still missing, and marine police will continue their search for him in the morning.
The U.S. Coast Guard, Virginia Marine Police, Virginia State Police, Maryland State Police, and the Chincoteague Police Department are all jointly
conducting the investigation. The families and the next of kin have been notified.
Officials declined to comment if the missing teen was from the Front Royal/Warren County area. This story will be updated as more information becomes available.
Valley Health distributes COVID test kits to community partners in region
At a time of high community COVID-19 positivity, Valley Health is distributing more than 150,000 free COVID-19 test kits throughout its rural service area, courtesy of the federal government.
The 2-test kits began arriving last week through a Biden Administration initiative of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), in an effort to address the needs of residents in medically underserved areas.
Valley Health operates 19 federally-designated Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) in Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland to ease a shortage of primary medical care. HRSA’s program provides test kits through its network of RHCs to clinic staff, patients, and surrounding communities.
In addition to offering test kits to RHC staff and patients, Valley Health is distributing them to other physician practices and dozens of community agencies and organizations for use by their staff and those they serve. The distribution includes law enforcement, fire and rescue, free medical clinics, health departments, churches, and detention centers, shelters, and other congregate settings.
“We are entering our third year of caring for patients with COVID-19 and trying to protect the community from the ravages of this virus,” said Jeffrey Feit, MD, Valley Health Population and Community Health Officer. “The current Omicron variant is particularly contagious and there’s an overwhelming demand for testing. We are thrilled to be the conduit for these do-it-yourself test kits from the U.S. government to help our community take decisive steps if they are positive: isolate and protect others, and seek care if they have significant symptoms or underlying health conditions.”
Each test kit box contains two tests with clear instructions and the nasal swab and reagent needed to obtain fast, easy-to-understand results in 10 minutes. It is recommended that individuals use the second test over two to three days, with at least 24 hours and no more than 36 hours between tests.
Jason Craig, EdD, Valley Health Director of Community Health, has delivered thousands of test kits this week and learned first-hand how vital the rapid tests are for community agencies struggling to make safe decisions during the pandemic. The Salvation Army’s residential program manager, Deborah Moody, expressed her appreciation and offered insight on the value of the rapid tests to an organization trying to serve as many individuals as possible.
“We are currently running at half capacity because we were unable to know if someone was coming in with COVID and needed to isolate them for five days before releasing them into the population,” Moody explained. “This will allow us a shorter isolation time. Being the winter, it is crucial that we offer services to individuals experiencing homelessness. Thank you for helping to make that happen.”
Valley Health’s six hospitals are working on a plan to give kits to patients on discharge from the hospital, Craig added. ”We are putting them in the hands of many local family medicine and specialty care practices to help distribute throughout our communities. We want to be a good community partner and are eager to put the test kits we requested from HRSA to use for the health and safety of our friends and neighbors.” Valley Health is also asking employees to take two kits for their families and give two to a friend or neighbor “so that we can extend into the communities where our employees live,” Craig said.
Craig suggested that anyone unable to find a COVID-19 test kit through one of the practices or community organizations on Valley Health’s initial distribution effort should submit a request to receive by mail from www.covidtests.gov.
What you should know about osteopathy for animals
Did you know that animals can receive osteopathic treatments? Although osteopathy isn’t a replacement for traditional veterinary medicine, it can be used as a complementary treatment if your pet experiences certain health problems.
Osteopathy looks at the way the body functions as a whole. If one part is out of balance, it can lead to pain and discomfort in another part. Consequently, an osteopath’s job is to help release pain in the bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, and tissues using gentle, hands-on palpations and manipulations.
When to consult an osteopath
You may want to seek osteopathic treatment for your pet to help soothe lameness, digestive problems, osteoarthritis, muscle injuries, back pain, and other issues. If you have a senior pet, osteopathy may help restore some of their strength and in some cases prevent the need for surgery.
Although you can often see results after one session, the entire treatment may require several appointments, depending on the nature and severity of the problem.
If you want to find a veterinarian offering osteopathic treatments in your area, you can use the online Holistic Integrative Vet Directory at civtedu.org.
Osteopathy sessions take place in a quiet, relaxed atmosphere. The adjustments and manipulations are so gentle that it’s not unusual for the patient to fall asleep during treatment.
4 tips to get your finances in order for 2022
The first month of the year is the perfect time to get your finances in order. Kick-off 2022 by checking the following four tasks off your to-do list.
1. Organize your documents
Sort your bills, statements, and other financial documents. Only keep what you need and shred any unnecessary or outdated papers to create space for new ones.
2. Balance your budget
Revisit your budget and make any necessary adjustments to help you stay on track and reach your goals.
3. Check your credit
Review your credit report to determine how well you’re doing. If necessary, implement changes that’ll improve your credit score.
4. Update your insurance policies
Look over your car, life, and home insurance policies and update information as needed. You may be able to make modifications to receive additional benefits or reduce your premiums.
For help getting your finances in order, consult a financial adviser.
Wacky fruits that might tickle your taste buds (or put you in a coma)
Apples. Oranges. Bananas. In any given year, about 65 percent of Americans will eat at least one banana. Sixty-three percent will have had apples and 51 percent will have eaten oranges. Yet how many people do you know who’ve had an ackee fruit or jackfruit? There are tons of wild fruits out there and plenty of strange delights that you can find at the store too.
If you happen to make a lot of smoothies, you might appreciate the jackfruit. The largest fruit in the world, some jackfruits can weigh nearly a hundred pounds. Found in India, the fruit tastes similar to mangoes.
If daring suits your taste, the ackee is a bold choice. Unripened ackee fruits contain high levels of the compounds hypoglycin A and hypoglycin B, which are toxic to humans. In fact, these compounds can put people in a coma or even kill them. As the fruit ripens, toxin levels decline, making it safe to eat. Though the ackee is native to West Africa, it’s now the national fruit of Jamaica, most likely arriving centuries ago on a slave ship.
Pond apples, AKA swamp apples, are also poisonous, or at least their seeds are. The seeds from swamp apples can kill fish. Along with the leaves, the seeds can also be used as a natural insecticide.
If you have the patience to wait for an ackee fruit to ripen, you might also consider the Arkansas black apple. Fresh black apples are extremely hard and all but impossible to eat. If you put them in storage, however, they’ll slowly soften while remaining fresh and crisp. Typically, you need to let them sit for at least 30 days but they can last up to eight months.
Then there’s the durian. You may have passed by some of the fruits already discussed and never realized it. Most encounters with a durian, however, are hard to forget. The fruit has a strong, pungent smell akin to sweaty gym socks and fresh sewage. Popular in Southeast Asia, the durian is considered a delicacy in many areas and is also known as the king of fruit.
Another potentially dangerous fruit may be in your fridge and a regular part of your diet. Grapefruit, known for its strong, bitter taste, contains various compounds, such as furanocoumarins (don’t ask us how to pronounce that), that can alter the body’s biological processes. Grapefruit can have a huge impact on some medications, often making them stronger, which could increase the risk of overdosing.
So should you stick with apples, bananas, and oranges? That’s a safe, but perhaps boring route. You could be missing out on some daring fruits that wow your palate.
Warner Weekly Wrap-Up: Firing on all cylinders
From volunteering to voting rights to inflation letters, Sen. Warner had another busy week. He kicked it off by traveling around NoVa for a day of action on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, before returning to DC to advocate and vote for the reauthorization of a law King championed – the Voting Rights Act. Sen. Warner also continued his push to fight inflation, announced a new round of funding from the infrastructure law, and issued statements on major Intelligence Committee issues, including Havana syndrome. He’s ending the week traveling around the Commonwealth again, making stops in Richmond and Hampton Roads.
Let’s go through it:
LIVE LIKE KING JR.
For Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Sen. Warner embodied Coretta Scott King’s vision of a “day on, not a day off,” and traveled to meet with and serve alongside constituents. He started off delivering Meals on Wheels with members of Alexandria’s City Council – a bit of a family tradition, as the Senator’s late dad Robert Warner volunteered with Meals on Wheels well into his nineties. Then he met with recently resettled Afghan refugees and commended the work of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services, where he and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield rolled up their sleeves and got to work sorting donated goods. Finally, he wrapped up the day by speaking about the legacy of voting rights activism at the Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation’s commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr.
Sen. Warner brought this energy back to the Capitol, where he continued the week by fighting for voting rights legislation. While the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act ultimately didn’t proceed, Sen. Warner continues to advocate for commonsense laws that protect democracy and prevent election subversion.
For months, Sen. Warner has continued to monitor and address inflation on a variety of fronts. From negotiating and passing his bipartisan legislation to ease the supply chain and restore American competitiveness in the semiconductor field, to support the nomination of Fed officials devoted to tackling inflation, he remains committed to addressing the issue.
While he trusts economic forecasts that suggest the effects will likely be temporary, Sen. Warner is still trying to do everything he can to get more solutions now. This week, he wrote a letter to National Retail Federation (the world’s largest retail trade association, representing companies like Target and Wal-Mart) inquiring about efforts to ease the supply chain and offering federal assistance to help these initiatives. He said:
“I write today concerned with the challenges posed by elevated levels of inflation in our economy. Despite the unprecedented challenges associated with reopening the nation and fighting the Delta and Omicron variants, our economy has recovered significantly since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, increasing prices continue to threaten our progress. I understand that persistent supply/demand imbalances and supply chain disruptions are contributing to inflation and urge you to continue working with me, my colleagues, and the Biden Administration to identify ways to alleviate these supply chain issues as quickly as possible.”
MONEY FLOWS INTO VA PORTS
So you’ve probably heard this one before: Virginia is getting another round of major funding thanks to the bipartisan infrastructure law that Sen. Warner negotiated.
This week, Sen. Warner applauded $359 million in federal funding for various key infrastructure projects around the Commonwealth, including $249 million for the City of Norfolk Coastal Storm Risk Management Project and $69 million for the Norfolk Harbor Deepening and Widening Project. These investments are part of a key effort to support resiliency across Virginia, and ensure that its ports are ready to face the evolving threat of climate change. These wins follow years of advocacy from Sen. Warner to get these projects more funding.
In a joint statement with Sen. Tim Kaine, Rep. Elaine Luria and Rep. Bobby Scott (all D-VA), Warner said,
“We applaud the Biden administration and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers for recognizing the invaluable role the Port of Virginia and Norfolk Harbor have in supporting our nation’s economy. Additionally, we applaud the administration’s significant investment in the City of Norfolk to protect this community from the increasing threat of rising seas and significant flood events. After years of advocating for this funding, we are thrilled that Virginia will receive the federal dollars it needs to carry out these projects, which will help further strengthen our supply chains, mitigate the growing risks of sea-level rise, and secure our economic and national security interests in and around the region.”
As Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Sen. Warner carefully monitors the activities of the U.S. intelligence community. This week, he issued two key statements surrounding developments in these communities, first applauding steps by President Biden’s administration to improve the cybersecurity of federal government computer systems and networks. He said,
“I applaud President Biden for signing this order to improve our nation’s cybersecurity. Among other priorities, this National Security Memorandum (NSM) requires federal agencies to report efforts to breach their systems by cybercriminals and state-sponsored hackers. Now it’s time for Congress to act by passing our bipartisan legislation that would require critical infrastructure owners and operators to report such cyber intrusions within 72 hours.”
Cybersecurity remains one of Sen. Warner’s top priorities – at the end of last week, he attended a briefing in Richmond about the cyber-attack against the General Assembly last December.
In other news in the Intelligence community, Sen. Warner offered a statement after the CIA released a report by their interim task force on anomalous health incidents (also known as AHIs or so-called “Havana syndrome,” after the location where these incidents first emerged). Since 2016, more than 1000 intelligence, diplomatic and military personnel have reported a constellation of troubling and mysterious health ailments, including brain injuries. As the leader of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Warner has been working to get to the bottom of these cases, many of which have required significant medical treatment. In October 2021, President Joe Biden signed the Helping American Victims Afflicted by Neurological Attacks (HAVANA) Act into law. The new law, which Warner introduced with Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and others, authorizes financial support and ensures medical care for American public servants who have suffered brain injuries.
In response to work by the CIA to identify the cause of these mysterious symptoms, which some have speculated is the result of a directed energy weapon developed by one of our nation’s adversaries, Sen. Warner said:
“While Director Burns has earned the trust of the Senate Intelligence Committee that he is taking this challenge seriously, it’s important to note that today’s assessment, while rigorously conducted, reflects only the interim work of the CIA task force. The Senate Intelligence Committee will continue pressing for answers on a bipartisan basis, and we look forward to robust engagement with the intelligence community, as well as the conclusions of the outside experts’ panel that has been assembled to seek answers to these very urgent and difficult questions.”
BROADBAND BRIEFING: Today, Sen. Warner met with the Governor’s Broadband Advisory Council to discuss the path to achieving universal broadband coverage.
WMATA GOODBYES: Sen. Warner issued a statement thanking the WMATA CEO and General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld as he announced his retirement.
SUPPORTING TRIBAL COVID RESPONSES: Sens. Warner and Kaine applauded $2 million in federal funding awarded to the Chickahominy Eastern Division and Nansemond Indian Nation to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, made possible by their votes on the American Rescue Plan. This follows a visit from Sen. Warner to the Nansemond Indian Nation in April 2021.
MERGING REGULATIONS: Sen. Warner welcomed the announcement by the FTC and DOJ to update their guidelines on horizontal and vertical mergers. He also celebrated the advancement of the first major tech antitrust bill to arrive on the Senate floor, of which he is a cosponsor.
This weekend, Sen. Warner is traveling to Richmond and Hampton Roads. The Senate will be in recess next week, and Sen. Warner plans to use the time to get ahead on legislative planning for the rest of the year.