- What: Bastille Day Celebration
- When: Sunday July 14, 2019, from 12:30 to 4:30pm
- Where: L’Auberge Provencale French Country Inn & Fine-Dining Restaurant
- Why: The French National Day is the anniversary of Storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789, a turning point of the French Revolution, as well as the Fête de la Fédération which celebrated the unity of the French people on July 14, 1790.
Celebrate this French holiday on this fun filled afternoon at Shenandoah Valley’s own French Country Inn & fine-dining restaurant, L’Auberge Provencale.
Sommelier Christian Borel and Chef Richard Wright are creating a menu and wine pairing that celebrates many regions of France.
This is the best time of year to enjoy our farm to table cuisine as we use produce, herbs and fruits from our orchard and gardens.
Bring your wits with you as we play a little French Trivia. The winner takes home a basket of our house-made goodies from our larder and our “Passport” to Provence.
Make reservations early as this should prove to be a popular afternoon!
Tickets are $115 plus taxes and fees and are available to purchase online or by phone at 540.837.1375.
New Administration, New Congress
This last week, the world saw the historic inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
After the January 6th attack on our nation’s Capitol, I know many were worried about our inauguration. But we showed ourselves and countries around the world that America could come back from that day and continue our critical tradition of a peaceful transfer of power. Amid an incredibly dark winter, Wednesday’s inauguration offered all Americans a bright moment they can feel proud of.
Now, as we enter an era with a new Administration and a new Congress, we can and must work together to get things done for the betterment of our country.
Here are some of my priorities for this Congress:
• COVID relief – My top priority is working with the Biden-Harris Administration to pass a comprehensive plan to better address the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes speeding up vaccination efforts and delivering direct relief to those hit hardest
• Broadband access – We’ve learned living through this pandemic how important it is to expand broadband access so that telehealth, virtual education, and keeping in touch with family is available for Americans in every corner of the country
• Infrastructure – Whether it’s the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel, I-81, or Metro and rail service, an infrastructure bill would have enormous benefits throughout Virginia that both sides of the aisle can work towards
• Job training – As Americans face massive unemployment numbers, I’m working hard to pass legislation like my JOBS Act to get people access to training and fill millions of jobs
• Expanding health care – Rather than having to constantly defend health care access from being stripped away, we can now focus on expanding and improving access to affordable, quality insurance like I’ll plan to do with my Medicare-X legislation, which establishes a public plan to offer Americans more quality and affordable options
I’m thrilled to get straight to work with both the White House and my colleagues on behalf of all Virginians and deliver the meaningful legislation our communities deserve.
Submitted Commentary: Is information free in Front Royal?
From: Front Royal Town Councilman Joseph McFadden
During a presentation on FOIA by Town Attorney Doug Napier, which is available on the Town Website if you wish to watch the entire presentation, I was given a lot to think about.
During the presentation, I wrote down questions. Some were answered at the time I asked them (at the completion of the presentation) and others were to be answered with information either provided to me or that I would have to dig up (which I was willing to do). It was emailed to me in a spreadsheet the following day thanks to a competent staff able to generate a report for me.
I’ll present some facts and figures here and the subsequent answers I learned by reviewing the spreadsheet I was given.
In the presentation, I was told that in the Calendar Year 2021 (Jan 1- Jan 19, 2021) there had already been 91 FOIA requests submitted to the Town of Front Royal. I was told that if that rate continued, we would face 1700-1800 FOIA requests in this year alone. Considering the issues we’ve already faced (Old: EDA Lawsuit, Afton Inn and Happy Creek project. NEW: Article 47 Lawsuit, Sexual Harassment, and Firing of former employee Lawsuit), I thought the number believable.
According to the document: There were 7.
I followed that statement up with a question regarding how many did we get in 2020 so that I could look at the trends and see if it was high, or normal for a month-to-month statistical comparison. I like processes and I like tracking trends.
According to the document: There were 87.
It would be a 2,011% jump in the number of FOIAs if we were to hit 1700-1800 predicted (I used 1750, splitting 1700 and 1800, as my number and 87 as the originating number to determine that percentage). That’s quite a jump.
Trying to wrap my mind around how there could be such a discrepancy in these numbers, I thought back on hearing in the presentation about FOIA requests that had 15,000 or even 80,000 pages in the request. But again those numbers don’t match up.
I heard that many of the requests take a lot of time to review because “Some laws are not easy to decipher.” Well, I’ll just leave that there. Shouldn’t we have a staff member that is an expert on this to field the massive volume of FOIA requests? That was my thought at the time.
I was told that we billed the staff hours used to fulfill the requests. Later, I asked to clarify if the staff was paid hourly as a contractor or yearly salary as an employee and if these FOIA requests were only being completed during overtime hours? They are salaried employees, and the searches are completed during normal business hours. And in fact, the searches are often farmed out to department heads to complete.
Specifically, I asked that if it is in the scope of work of a staff member and not done outside of normal business hours, how can we then bill the requestor?
And my follow-on question is that if the FOIA is for my emails, couldn’t I simply pull them at no cost to the citizen?
Based on section 6 of the VA FOIA Advisory Commission’s Guide that I took the time to read before the meeting – Section 2.2.3704.1: “6 – A public body may make reasonable charges not to exceed its actual cost incurred in accessing, duplicating, supplying, or searching for the requested records. No public body shall impose any extraneous, intermediary, or surplus fees or expenses to recoup the general costs associated with creating or maintaining records or transacting the general business of the public body. Any duplicating fee charged by a public body shall not exceed the actual cost of duplication. All charges for the supplying of requested records shall be estimated in advance at the request of the citizen as set forth in subsection F of 2.2-3704 of the Code of Virginia.”
That doesn’t seem to talk about charging for salaried employees to do what is part of their job duties, such as pulling emails when there is a FOIA request. We have search features in Microsoft Outlook that makes searching super fast and easy. And indexing on a server is also pretty fast. I should know, I once advised a DOD agency looking for a way to archive all their historical records being pulled from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq onto closed secret computers so that they could be searched by historians and journalists. And I got very familiar with how quickly indexing of documents and emails happens and can be accessed real-time.
I learned that some FOIA requests are “fishing expeditions” or submitted “to harass.” I also learned that it is charged this way to “be fair to everyone.”
However, upon review of the data provided to me, I saw that there were a few repeat requestors (out of the total 94 in the spreadsheet) but that not everyone got a bill. I found my dad’s name on the list. I followed up with him. He was not billed. If everyone is billed and treated fairly, why wasn’t he?
I learned that we have never been fined for not completing an FOIA request.
I am now awaiting the answers to several questions about the obvious discrepancies I saw between what I was told in the work session and what was delivered in the form of reportable and quantifiable data.
But I am also waiting to find out 2 key things:
1. If we collect money from an FOIA request for salaried time, where does that money go once collected?
2. How much money did we collect from FOIA requests in 2020?
Stay tuned if you are as interested in this as I am.
Remember, until only a few weeks ago, I was just a citizen like you!
(Originally posted on the councilman’s social media site)
We can agree to disagree, but never to the point of being narrow-minded
On January 21, a group of concerned citizens went to a BOS meeting to declare Warren County a “Constitutional Sanctuary County” against the COVID-19 pandemic.
First, I believe we need to stop with the fearmongering from our state health officials and governor! We have lived with this pandemic for over a year now, which we have learned a great deal and can, by all means, use our God-given brain to make health decisions for ourselves!
Second, if you are sick or have come in contact with an infected person. Do the right thing, get tested, stay at home for 7 to 10 days and get on with life!
All along we were told by CDC, NIH, even our general M.D.’s to use the 3 things that help stop the spread. Hand cleaning, mask-wearing, (when out in crowds), the social distancing of 6ft. which by the way should always be the case with stopping illnesses.
But, no, some in our government want to take away our rights and freedoms and call it for the good of the nation.
Really? Then how come some elected officials get to carry on their lives any way they want, but we can’t?
I call that “a narrative” to power over the rights and freedoms of our Constitutional laws!
To the email writer calling those residents “selfish patriots” was uncalled-for. Name-calling never did settle things, it just keeps the solutions from being talked about in a manner which all can come together.
We can agree to disagree, but never to the point of being narrow-minded.
Let’s take this issue of being restricted to conduct our lives and businesses seriously. We were not made to live in a bubble, our bodies will either adapt and fight or die. Either way, all flesh will die that’s a given.
Fear will kill far worse more than any pandemic or war!
4 facts you may not know about bullying
Contrary to what some people think, bullying isn’t a normal part of childhood. Here are some other realities about this harmful behavior that need to be acknowledged.
1. Kids don’t grow out of bullying
Unless children face meaningful consequences and learn that bullying is unacceptable, this behavior is likely to persist through adolescence and into adulthood. It can also evolve into dating violence, workplace harassment, and domestic abuse.
2. Fighting back makes bullying worse
3. Peers can stop bullying in seconds
Most bullying incidents happen when peers are watching, and their reaction plays a major role in reinforcing or stopping the behavior. In fact, research shows that when peers intervene, more than half of the time the bullying stops within 10 seconds.
4. Bullying can cause serious harm
Bullied children are more likely to experience headaches, stomach aches, anxiety, and depression. They’re also at greater risk of long-term mental health problems and suicide. Additionally, children who bully are more likely to use drugs and engage in criminal activity.
It’s only by dispelling myths about bullying and teaching children to develop healthy relationships that the issue can be properly addressed and bullying eradicated for good.
Normal aging: what to expect as you get older
From lapses in memory to joint pain and hair loss, a wide range of symptoms is often chalked up to getting old. But which changes are really considered a normal part of the aging process? Here’s some of what you can expect as you get older.
A different experience for everyone
Aging is a complex process that affects every system in the body. But while all people age, not everyone does so at the same rate. This means that people of the same age can look and feel very different as they get older. In other words, their chronological ages are identical, but their biological ages don’t match.
Noticeable signs of normal aging
• Weakened vision (presbyopia)
• Gradual loss of hearing (presbycusis)
• Slight decrease in memory and learning skills
• Loss of muscular endurance and strength
• Diminished sensations such as hunger and thirst
• Increase in percentage of body fat
Tips for healthy aging
The best way to delay the effects of aging is to maintain healthy lifestyle habits. Among other things, you should avoid smoking, limit your alcohol consumption, exercise daily, get enough sleep, keep in touch with loved ones, and challenge your mind with puzzles, reading, and strategy games.
Finally, be sure to schedule regular appointments with your family doctor, optometrist, audiologist, and other health-care professionals. This increases the likelihood of medical issues being detected and treated early.
Study: Higher opioid doses lead to longer-term dosing
After an injury, workers who receive higher prescription doses of an opioid are at increased risk of longer-term use, according to researchers at the Workers Compensation Institute. Research focused on workers from 33 states who were injured in 2016.
The study found that among workers who received a 15-day to a 30-day supply of opioids within 90 days of an injury, about 9 percent had longer-term opioid needs. In the same group, among those who received a three-day supply or less, just 5 percent had a longer-term dosing need.
Those workers who were prescribed a dose of 500 milligrams or more were more likely to need opioids longer. About 10 percent fell into that category. Only 7 to 8 percent of workers prescribed small doses had longer-term dispensing.
Other factors contribute to longer-term opioid use and possible dependence. Among those was taking an opioid along with central nervous system depressants.
Which workers most likely to be prescribed opioids?
If you are from a small town, work in a small company, or work in the mining or construction industry, you are most likely to be prescribed opioids after an injury.
Injured workers at organizations with smaller payrolls (from 1 million to 4 million) were prescribed opioids 54 percent of the time. Those from larger companies were prescribed about 47 percent of the time.
Small-town workers with injuries were prescribed opioids 68 percent of the time, compared with larger metro areas where opioids were prescribed 54 percent of the time.
In mining, injured workers were prescribed opioids 62 percent of the time. In construction, the rate was 55 percent.
The study was conducted by the Workers Compensation Institute.