Discover our International Dark-Sky Park! Our evenings begin with a half-hour children’s “Junior Astronomer” program, followed by a discussion about the importance of dark skies and light conservation. Then join NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) Ambassadors for a presentation on the latest news in astronomy. Finish the evening by relaxing and enjoying the night’s beauty with the members of the Northern Virginia Astronomy Club for a tour of the night sky. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs and/or blankets. Feel free to bring your telescope or binoculars for your own exploration.
$10/car parking fee. Campers must return to the campground following program. Entrance gates close one hour after the program start time.
Become An Action Taker To Live Your Dream Life
You’re a dreamer, but sometimes you don’t take action. Why not? Is it because you are afraid to fail? Maybe you feel you’re too old to start a new project. Or maybe you don’t want to mess up your current career.
Many people want to become successful, but they don’t know how to get started. You may feel like you’re stuck in a rut, but there’s always a way to break free. The only thing holding you back from being successful is your mindset. If you want to take action and follow your dreams, then it’s time to stop talking about it and start doing it!
Success is not a destination. It’s a journey.
If you want to take your life and career to the next level, it’s important to have a mindset that is focused on action rather than talk. Have you ever noticed that people who dream big and set goals seem to be able to achieve more than those who are content with doing what they think they should be doing?
Dreams are all well and good, but how do you turn them into reality? We’ll explore some simple yet powerful techniques for turning your dreams into action.
Take Small Steps Towards Your Goals
Many people set big goals for themselves but never actually act towards accomplishing them. They might put something on their bucket list and leave it at that.
You need to ensure you’re always taking small steps toward achieving your bigger goals. That means you have to put in more effort than you normally would.
If you want to succeed in anything, you need to embrace your dreams. You’re not going to accomplish anything if you don’t believe in your dreams or goals.
If you can’t act toward your dreams, they’re just pipe dreams to you. The fact is, you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on a trip to the moon to say you did. If you want to accomplish something big, then you need to take baby steps toward that.
Small, everyday actions can help you achieve your dreams faster than you ever could by just sitting back and watching your goals unfold before your eyes. It might be easy to say you want to get out of debt, but that’s much easier said than done.
You can actually go to your bank and request a lower credit card rate, or you can find a job and start working. You can even get your family on board with your dreams and get them to pitch in on your dream project.
Start with something small and get it going, and then you’ll have something that you can look forward to accomplishing. You might also find that you need a little help along the way, so you can work towards it with friends and loved ones as you build your business.
As you can see, you’re only going to get anywhere if you do something, and you only get to do anything if you take action. If you’re not progressing, you might want to reevaluate your situation and goals.
Mindset Drives Action
Your mindset determines the level of energy you have to put into a task, project, or goal you’re trying to accomplish. If you’re constantly negative, your energy levels will be very low, leading to poor results.
On the other hand, if you’re positive and upbeat, you’ll be able to tap into a lot of your energy to progress toward your goals. When you’re positive, you’re also able to see the obstacles in front of you as something that you will have to overcome, making them less intimidating.
One of the biggest problems people face is that they allow the obstacles and challenges that get in their way to becoming so large that they can’t be conquered. Instead, you should embrace them and learn from them.
Embrace failure as a way to learn how to avoid it in the future. The fact is, you won’t succeed if you don’t fail, and there are a lot of things that you can learn from failing.
For example, you can use failure as a means to improve yourself, and that’s what you should do.
You might think that failure is a bad thing, but if you can see the positive lessons you can draw from it, you’re more likely to succeed going forward. Even if you’ve failed in the past, you still have a lot to learn from, and you can apply that knowledge to avoid repeating the same mistake.
So the next time you feel like failure is inevitable, look at it as positive. It’s the only way to grow as a person and the only way you’ll be able to get through any challenge you’re facing.
You might be thinking that this mindset is one that only succeeds people have. The truth is, it’s not reserved for just those that are successful; it’s for everyone willing to take action on their dreams.
Successful people are not necessarily people who are all about action. They’re about the journey, not just the destination. It’s important that you realize that you can do a lot more than get where you want to go, even if that means a lot more work and struggle.
You can achieve more than you ever imagined. You can become the best version of yourself. You can make the most out of your life and even live your dreams.
If you’re truly passionate about what you want to do, you will find a way to make it happen. If you’re really driven and persistent, then you’ll succeed. If you’re willing to do whatever it takes to get what you want, you’ll succeed.
Don’t wait for someone else to make it happen. Don’t wait for someone else to tell you you can succeed. Just think about it and be sure about it.
If you’re ready to take your life to the next level, you need to start taking action. If you’re doing the things you need to do to achieve your goals, then you’re setting yourself up for success.
If you’re making some changes that you’re committed to, then you’re setting yourself up for success. If you’re doing what you’ve got to do to get where you want to be, then you’re doing the right things.
You might be scared, but you need to be scared. You might hesitate to jump into your dreams, but you must. You might be skeptical, but you need to be. There’s a reason why you’re where you are, and there’s a reason why you’re in the position you’re in.
It’s not luck, and it’s not good timing. It’s you. It’s your commitment. It’s your desire. It’s your persistence. It’s your will. You’re making it happen. It’s your dreams that are coming true.
Take the next step. Take the leap. Make your dream a reality. Don’t let anything hold you back. Don’t be afraid. Don’t be doubtful.
SNAP Emergency Allotments Will End in February
The Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) will release the final issuance of emergency allotment benefits to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) households in February, in accordance with the requirements of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023. The new law recently passed by Congress ends VDSS’ authorization to continue issuing benefits through the temporary federal program, originally established in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency. The last issuance of benefits will be automatically loaded onto SNAP customers’ Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards on Thursday, February 16.
SNAP households began receiving the temporary emergency allotment benefit in March 2020 through the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (2020). Per federal guidelines, states were required to request a monthly waiver to issue these benefits. VDSS submitted this request each month for the duration of the period emergency benefits were available to continue providing additional food benefits to SNAP households. Since March 2020, the Commonwealth has issued more than 2.1 billion dollars in emergency allotments and raised the monthly issuance to the maximum allowable amount for over 900,000 individuals in Virginia. According to the USDA Food and Nutrition Service, emergency allotments have already ended in 17 states.
Households will permanently return to pre-pandemic allowances beginning March 1, 2023, and receive their regular SNAP benefit amounts on their usual day of issuance (on the 1st, 4th, or 7th day of the month). To further awareness of this change, VDSS has mailed letters directly to SNAP households.
Additionally, to support Virginians during this transition, VDSS has also created a dedicated webpage for more information and resources. Beginning January 28, households may contact the temporary information line at 1-855-635-4370, Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. TTY assistance is available by calling 800-552-7917 or 866-246-9300. SNAP participants can contact Warren County DSS or visit CommonHelp for questions or account information.
For assistance with applying for food benefits, visit the VDSS SNAP webpage. To access information regarding resources statewide and in your local community, don’t hesitate to get in touch with 2-1-1 Virginia or visit the VDSS food and other nutritional assistance pages.
Heart Month: Learn the difference between cardiac arrest, heart attack
February is National Heart Month, and doctors want Virginians to understand heart health better – specifically, heart attacks and cardiac arrest.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 800,000 people have heart attacks yearly, most of which are first-time heart attacks. Cardiac arrest can involve numerous factors, and heart attack is the most common.
Dr. Benjamin Galper, assistant chief of cardiology at Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group in northern Virginia, said this is partly why the two get mixed up. He said signs of a heart attack typically could be chest pressure, nausea, or sweating – but the signs of cardiac arrest are more dire.
“Cardiac arrest itself is not subtle,” he said. “If you’ve gotten to the point of cardiac arrest, it means the person is unconscious and doesn’t have a pulse when you take their pulse, and they’re not breathing. So, when someone’s had cardiac arrest, it’s usually obvious and usually quite concerning.”
National Heart Month is a good time to commit to reducing those risks with a heart-healthy diet and regular exercise. Galper also encouraged people to get CPR training to aid someone having a heart attack until first responders arrive – and possibly save a life.
Underlying diseases such as diabetes or prediabetes can make a person more susceptible to heart problems. Dr. Ravi Johar, chief medical officer at UnitedHealthcare, said genetics could be another risk factor.
“Things like Marfan Syndrome increases the risk of aneurysms and abnormal blood flow to the heart, and things of that sort, so there can be some genetic consequences,” he said. “There can also be genetic history; if your parents had problems with their hearts, there’s a higher likelihood that you may.”
He added that heart disease could affect people at any age. CDC research has found it can start as early as 35, and the risks increase with age. Anyone experiencing new chest pains or shortness of breath is encouraged to talk with their doctor about their heart-health options.
By Edwin J. Viera
Public News Service
Failed Bills: Eliminated divorce period, sexual harassment education, wrongful death and shorter absentee vote period
Elected officials serving in the Virginia General Assembly have a short amount of time to potentially discuss thousands of proposed measures that are either defeated or signed into law.
Over 1,900 bills were introduced this session, in addition to joint resolutions and legislation carried over from last year. So far, over 100 bills have failed to advance in the House and over 300 in the Senate. Over 1,000 bills are pending in the House and over 500 in the Senate, with the session midpoint approaching.
Here are a few of the bills that failed to advance this session.
Senate Bill 1288: Petition for defendant to pay child support due to wrongful death of child’s guardian resulting from driving under the influence
The measure introduced by Sen. Bill DeSteph, R-Virginia Beach, would allow the court to consider child support payment in an instance of wrongful death of a child’s parent or legal guardian that was caused by driving under the influence. The legislation was passed indefinitely with a 14-0 vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee and is likely dead for the session. Committee members felt the bill did not add additional value to the current scenarios in wrongful death civil cases. Sen. Scott Surovell, D-Fairfax, questioned the legislation because it is not “a policy solution to a specific problem.” “It’s not clear to me why we would say ‘you pay child support if somebody dies by drunk driving instead of murder,’” Surovell said during the committee.
Senate Bill 880: In-person absentee voting period shortened to a week prior to any elections
The measure, introduced by Sen. Ryan McDougle, R-Hanover, would shorten the in-person absentee voting period to seven days prior to the election. Currently, absentee voting in person begins 45 days before the election. The bill would create a burden at high-volume localities, Sen. Adam Ebbin, D-Alexandria, said during the committee hearing. “They would need hundreds of people [staff] to get those people not having to wait for hours and hours in line,” Ebbin said. The legislation was passed by indefinitely with a 10-4 vote in the Senate Privileges and Elections committee.
House Bill 1720: Eliminates one-year divorce waiting period due to cruelty, bodily hurt
Del. Nadarius Clark, D-Portsmouth, introduced a measure to eliminate the one-year period spouses wait to be pronounced divorced and legally separated. A separation or divorce would be granted before the one-year period in cases of spousal abuse such as cruelty, reasonable apprehension of bodily harm, abandonment or desertion, and more by either party. The bill would have applied to divorce filings on or after July 1.
A divorce is currently permitted if the parties lived apart without interruption for one year, or entered into a separation agreement, had no minor-aged children born or adopted, and lived apart without interruption for six months.
An anti-human trafficking advocate and victim of spousal abuse offered testimony on behalf of the bill. “Right now, this does not solve the problem that Del. Clarke wants to solve,” said Richard Garriott, with the Virginia Family Law Coalition, in opposition to the bill. “We have a solution for that, called an emergency and permanent protective order.” The House of Delegates Courts of Justice subcommittee defeated the bill with a 5-3 vote.
House Bill 2003: Enforcement of sexual harassment and workplace discrimination training and education
Del. Paul Krizek, D-Fairfax, introduced a bill to require employers with 50 or more employees to provide annual interactive sexual harassment and workplace discrimination training and education. Employees in a supervisory role would be required to complete at least two hours of training. Other employees would be required to complete one hour.
A provision in the bill called for migrant and seasonal agricultural workers to have the one-hour training to start on Jan. 1, 2024. Employees would receive a certificate of completion. A House Commerce and Energy subcommittee recommended the bill not advance with a 5-3 vote.
Still to come
There will be plenty of other failed bills this session. In fact, gridlock is to be expected when “voters put one party in charge of one chamber and the other party in charge of the other,” according to Stephen Farnsworth, director of the University of Mary Washington Center for Leadership and Media Studies and a political science professor.
“From guns to abortion to taxes to schools, Republicans and Democrats in Richmond demonstrate over and over again that there is little interest in compromise in these polarized times,” Farnsworth stated in an email.
The session is approaching the midpoint with “crossover day” on Feb. 7, when a bill must have passed its respective chamber to advance, or it will be left behind.
By Anna Chen
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.
VDOT: Warren County Traffic alert for February 6 – 10, 2023
The following is a list of highway work that may affect traffic in Warren County during the coming weeks. Scheduled work is subject to change due to inclement weather and material supplies. Motorists are advised to watch for slow-moving tractors during mowing operations. When traveling through a work zone, be alert to periodic changes in traffic patterns and lane closures.
*NEW* or *UPDATE* indicates a new or revised entry since last week’s report.
*NEW* Mile marker 5 to 9, eastbound and westbound – Right shoulder closures for sign work, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
*NEW* Mile marker 299 to 300, northbound and southbound – Overnight single lane closures for inspection of bridge over Cedar Creek, Tuesday night from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m.
Mile marker 299 to 300, northbound and southbound – Overnight single lane closures for equipment and materials unloading and bridge removal work, 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. through the night of March 16.
*UPDATE* Route 55 (Strasburg Road) – Shoulder closures for overnight utility work between Route 664 (Whippoorwill Road) and Front Royal town limits, 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. through February 17.
No lane closures were reported.
Vegetation management may take place district-wide on various routes. Motorists are reminded to use extreme caution when traveling through work zones.
Traffic alerts and traveler information can be obtained by dialing 511. Traffic alerts and traveler information also are available at www.511Virginia.org.
The VDOT Customer Service Center can assist with reporting road hazards, asking transportation questions, or getting information about Virginia’s roads. Call 800-FOR- ROAD (800-367-7623) or use its mobile-friendly website at my.vdot.virginia.gov. Agents are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Maryland’s cannabis regulations proposed ahead of legalization deadline
Maryland lawmakers introduced legislation Friday to create the framework for a legal cannabis market ahead of the July 1 start of legalization.
Identical, cross-filed bills introduced in the House and Senate create a regulatory structure for Maryland’s new cannabis industry that includes rules for licensing, taxation, and equity, among other things.
“I feel very good about the bill. I think it is possible to be a national model,” said Senate President Bill Ferguson, D-Baltimore City, in a press conference Friday morning.
In the process leading up to the bill’s introduction, which included several Cannabis Referendum & Legalization Working Group meetings involving legislators from relevant committees, lawmakers stressed the importance of avoiding the kinds of mistakes that have created chaos in other states where cannabis is legal.
That concern is reflected in their first commitment: strict adherence to the July 1 deadline to have a functioning legal market in place.
“We’ve seen what happened in places like New York where there are over 1,400 unlicensed dispensaries,” said Ferguson. The legal cannabis market has been in turmoil in other states around the country following an oversupply crisis and subsequent downturn that saw the spot price of cannabis sink to record lows in December 2022, according to Cannabis Benchmarks.
In Maryland, as in other states, supply will largely be dictated by the number of licenses approved by the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Cannabis Commission, newly renamed to add “cannabis” to the title. In the bill, licenses are divided into several categories:
- Standard licenses permit growing or processing large amounts of cannabis or operating a storefront dispensary. The bill allocates a total of 300 such licenses for dispensaries, 75 for growers, and 100 for processors.
- Micro licenses are meant to ensure smaller boutique operators’ space in the market to grow or process smaller amounts or operate a delivery service without a storefront. For these smaller operators, the bill allocates a total of 200 licenses for dispensaries, 100 for growers, and 100 for processors.
- Incubator space licenses will allow licensees to house “micro license” operators. The bill allows for ten such operator licenses.
- On-site consumption licenses would allow holders to own and operate facilities where people could legally smoke, vape, or consume cannabis. The bill allocates 50 on-site consumption licenses in total.
According to the bill, the licensing process will take place in several rounds. With an eye toward creating an equitable market, the first round of applications for all license types will be limited to designated “social equity applicants.”
While some lawmakers had hoped to be able to set aside these equity licenses for members of marginalized communities, particularly the Black community, which the United States protracted war has disproportionately impacted on drugs, a court ruling forbidding set-asides on racial grounds makes this difficult.
Instead, lawmakers plan to designate equity licenses by location. As defined in the bill, equity applicants have gone to school in a disproportionately impacted jurisdiction or lived there for at least five of the last ten years.
Additionally, lawmakers signaled a commitment to ensuring those convicted of cannabis-related offenses will have the opportunity to participate in the legal market.
“The pathway is that if you’ve been convicted, this won’t stop you (from obtaining a license),” said Delegate C.T. Wilson, D-Charles County, chairman of the House Economic Matters Committee and one of the sponsors of the House version of the bill. “We’re going to ensure that those cannabis-related convictions aren’t held against you.”
Lawmakers are also taking steps to ensure access to the market through careful regulation of licensing application fees.
Applications for a five-year standard, incurabor, or on-site consumption license will cost $5,000, while the application fee for a micro license will be $1,000.
While lawmakers, including Wilson, had initially hoped to make the application fee refundable, lawmakers said they hope these fees, which would be among the lowest in the U.S., will not discourage potential applicants nor impede entry for what’s projected to be a billion-dollar industry in Maryland.
To ensure a functioning market by the July 1 deadline, lawmakers are also offering growers and distributors with current medical cannabis licenses to convert them to full-service licenses for a fee.
Another key component of legalization will be taxation policy, which plays a particularly important role in dictating how much cannabis and cannabis-related products will cost. The cost factor is one of the largest factors in dictating consumers’ willingness to abandon the illegal cannabis market in favor of the legal one, according to the Marijuana Policy Project.
“The bill focuses on a pretty simple taxing structure,” said Wilson after Friday’s legislative session. There he told reporters that the tax on cannabis will begin at 6% and rise to 10% after five years.
To help keep prices low, the bill also prohibits the kinds of “piggyback taxes” that would allow counties to impose their own cannabis taxes.
While lawmakers prioritize keeping prices low when designing the taxation scheme for cannabis (Wilson told Capital News Service that they expect the state to lose money initially), lawmakers still want to ensure a portion of tax revenue the new industry generates is allocated to social equity.
Ferguson said the bill will use 30% of revenues to “invest in communities that the war has negatively impacted on drugs.” The goal is to empower communities and investments, he said.
Ferguson said that ideally, the money will go toward helping businesses open and “helping to invest in community development projects, affordable housing initiatives.”
Wilson and Del. Vanessa Atterbeary, D-Howard, told reporters they expect a hearing on the bill in Wilson’s committee within the next two weeks, where lawmakers can iron out disagreements over the details.
Additionally, lawmakers must tackle the issues of decriminalization and expungement, aspects of the process of particular importance to new Gov. Wes Moore, who expressed confidence in the process in a statement on Friday.
“Governor Moore recognizes this bill as a well-crafted piece of legislation and is looking forward to future collaboration with the legislature to ensure Maryland is moving towards equity in our criminal justice system by supporting policies that promote redemption and reform.” The statement also said, “The governor is committed to legalizing cannabis, expunging the records of anyone convicted of simple possession, and investing in this emerging industry while prioritizing equitable access to all Marylanders.”
By GREG MORTON and DOROTHY HOOD
Capital News Service