Congressman Cline announces 2020 Congressional Art Competition
Congressman Ben Cline (VA-06) announced the 2020 Congressional Art Competition today. The Congressional Art Competition is sponsored by the Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and is an opportunity to recognize and encourage the artistic talent in the Sixth Congressional District of Virginia.
The Congressional Art Competition is open to all high school students in the District. The winning artwork will be displayed for one year in the U.S. Capitol alongside other pieces from across the country and will also be featured on House.gov’s Congressional Art Competition page.
While schools remain closed due to the coronavirus, the Congressional Art Competition will continue as planned. This competition will allow students to remain engaged and hone their skills.
“All students from Virginia’s Sixth Congressional District are encouraged to participate in this year’s art competition,” Cline said. “This is a wonderful opportunity to showcase artistic ability and for the selected winner to have their art on display for thousands of Capitol visitors throughout the next year. I am pleased that the competition will continue on as planned, and that the event has moved to electronic submissions to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved.”
Artwork must be two-dimensional. Each framed artwork can be no larger than 26 inches high, 26 inches wide, and 4 inches deep. If your artwork is selected as the winning piece, it must arrive in Washington, DC, framed. Even when framed, it must still measure no larger than the above maximum dimensions. No framed piece should weigh more than 15 pounds.
Accepted mediums for the two-dimensional artwork are as follows:
- Paintings: oil, acrylics, watercolor, etc.
- Drawings: colored pencil, pencil, ink, marker, pastels, charcoal (It is recommended that charcoal and pastel drawings be fixed.)
- Collages: must be two-dimensional
- Prints: lithographs, silkscreen, block prints
- Mixed Media: use of more than two mediums such as pencil, ink, watercolor, etc.
- Computer-generated art
Each entry must be original in concept, design, and execution and may not violate U.S. copyright laws. Any entry that has been copied from an existing photo or image (including a painting, graphic, or advertisement) that was created by someone other than the student is a violation of the competition rules and will not be accepted. For more information on copyright laws, we recommend you visit the Scholastic website.
Due to COVID-19, submissions will only be accepted electronically. Students should submit photographs of their entry and the Student Release Form to ArtCompetitionVA06@mail.house.gov.
The Student Release Form can be found here.
Entries are due by May 1, 2020. A winner will be announced May 7. For more information, contact District Director Debbie Garrett at (540) 885-3861 or Staff Assistant Tyler Hook at (202) 225-5431.
Congressman Ben Cline represents the Sixth Congressional District of Virginia. He previously was an attorney in private practice and served both as an assistant prosecutor and Member of the Virginia House of Delegates. Cline and his wife, Elizabeth, live in Botetourt County with their two children.
Christ is alive, He is living today
“Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written” – John 21:25
The Season of Easter is the high point of the Christian Church year. Traditionally, worshipers participate in an extended feast wherein the paschal candle is lit at every service as a sign of the risen Christ. Scripture readings highlight every Christian’s connection to the death and resurrection of Jesus. The scripture readings proclaim the power of the resurrection that gives strength in suffering, unity in diversity, consolation in sorrow, perseverance in adversity and faith in times of doubt. On this, the holiest day of the year and for the entire Season of Easter, many Christian’s greet each other with the words, “Alleluia! Christ is risen! Alleluia!”
Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead is one of the principal doctrines of the gospel.
If Christ be not risen, our faith is vain (1 Corinthians 15:14). The essential New Testament revelation balances on this as a historical fact. On the day of Pentecost, Peter argued the necessity of Christ’s resurrection from the prediction in Psalm 16 (Acts 2:24-28). Christ also clearly prophesied his resurrection (Matthew 20:19; Mark 9:9; 14:28; Luke 18:33; John 2:19-22). Thus we can preach that Jesus is alive; that He has risen as He said He would and that He is the Son of God as He claimed to be. Christ is alive! He is living today.
The Bible informs us that Jesus did appear many times after his death and resurrection:
- The empty tomb – Resurrection Sunday – Matthew 28: 1-10, Mark 16: 1-8, Luke 24: 1-12, John 20: 1-9.
- To Mary Magdalene at the garden – Resurrection Sunday – Mark 16: 9-11, John 20: 11-18.
- To other women, “the other Mary,” Salome, Joanna, and others, as they returned from the tomb – Resurrection Sunday – Matthew 28: 9-10.
- To Simon Peter alone – Resurrection Sunday – Luke 24: 34, 1 Corinthians 15: 5.
- To the two disciples going to Emmaus – Resurrection Sunday – Mark 16: 12-13, Luke 24: 13-32.
- To the ten disciples (Thomas being absent) in the upper room – Resurrection Sunday – Luke 24: 36-43, John 20: 19-25.
- To the disciples again (Thomas being present) – Following Sunday – Mark 16: 14, John 20: 26-31, 1 Corinthians 15: 5.
- To seven disciples when fishing at the Sea of Galilee – sometime later – John 21: 1-23.
- To the eleven at an appointed place in Galilee – sometime later – Matthew 28: 16-20, Mark 16: 15-18.
- More than 500 brethren – sometime later – 1 Corinthians 15: 6.
- To James, but under unknown circumstances – sometime later – 1 Corinthians 15: 7.
- To the apostles immediately before the ascension. They accompanied him from Jerusalem to Mount Olivet and there they saw him ascend “till a cloud received him out of their sight” – Forty days after Jesus’ resurrection – Luke 24: 44-49, Acts 1: 3-8.
In addition to the above appearances, Christ will return by way of vision and appear to Stephen, several times to Paul, and finally to John to give him the final Revelation:
- Paul at Damascus, speaks of it as an appearance of the risen Savior – several years later – Acts 9: 1-19, 22: 3-16, 26: 9-18, 1 Corinthians 9: 1, 15: 8.
- Paul tells us in Galatians 1:17 that he went immediately into Arabia and then returned to Damascus and three years after his transforming vision of Jesus, he went up to Jerusalem to see the Apostles. During Paul’s 3 years in Arabia he received the Gospel from the Lord (Galatians 1:11-17). He made a visit to the Throne of God (2 Corinthians 12:1-4) where he saw things he was not permitted to reveal. In 1 Corinthians 15:3-8, when Paul recounted all the Lord’s post resurrection appearances, he included himself as one who had seen Him. So, at some point, he apparently did have a physical meeting with the Lord.
- Stephen in his dying vision saw “Jesus standing on the right hand of God” – sometime later – Acts 7: 55-56.
- John of Patmos experienced a vision of the resurrected Christ described in Revelation – many years later – Revelation 1: 12-20.
It is implied in the words of Luke (Acts 1:3) that there may have been other appearances of which we have no record.
2 Corinthians 13 cites that, “in the mouth of 2 or 3 witnesses every word shall be established.” The resurrection of Jesus Christ has been established as fact. The scriptures tell us of the many appearances of Christ and the witnesses who experienced the events encompassing the resurrection. In Christ we can be confident of our salvation and in Christ we can be confident of our own resurrection.
The apostle John wrote in 1 John 5:13, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.” We should find the assurance of our salvation in the truth of God’s Word. We should have trust that we are saved based on the promises God has declared.
A final note: Ephesians 5:13-15
Children of Light
13 But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. 14 For this reason it says, “Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead and Christ will shine on you.” 15 Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise.
Mark P. Gunderman
Stephens City, Virginia
Safety abounds in the local real estate industry, safety in numbers and in new safe practices
While it’s definitely not “business as usual” for area Realtors, buyers and sellers, the COVID-19 crisis has not halted the local and surrounding real estate market as much as initially feared. To date, new listings are rolling in as are contracts. Showings, though obviously decreased, are still being scheduled and Realtors, offices and clients are embracing extreme precautions to make the process as safe as possible. The BRIGHT MLS (the local real estate multiple listing service which serves as a database for properties from New Jersey to Virginia) is providing daily communication as the industry adapts to new ways of conducting business, “We are relaxing showings requirements for Active and Active Under Contract listings. In-person/onsite showings of properties will not be required during this time. To provide another showing option for clients and their agents currently uncomfortable with in-person exposure, we are also temporarily allowing for the promotion of virtual/online showings within the public notes of a listing.” Typically homes cannot have branded virtual/online tours included in the database and must be available for in-person showings to remain in active status,” according to their online COVID-19 support center,” says a recent Bright MLS communication.
The industry as a whole is impressively stepping up to the plate in all areas to best protect while continuing to serve the public who still has a need to move during the pandemic.
New Safe Office Procedures
Offices are making the latest COVID-19 guidelines available to all agents while following guidelines and taking the threat of this virus seriously. The Keller Williams Solutions Manassas office was shut down recently for five days immediately after a staff member’s granddaughter began showing symptoms of the virus. Her test came back negative, but Lee Beaver, owner of the franchise, put the potential safety of her agents and staff ahead of the bottom line and shared, “The health and safety of all is most important to us. We will get through this critical time standing together. Being extra precautionary is the only way we are going to beat this pandemic.” Industry leaders share her concern and are going above and beyond to protect people who are engaging in real estate transactions through the pandemic.
New Safe Realtor Marketing Procedures
Agents are thankful for existing technology that makes transitioning to a more virtual way of conducting business possible. Heidi Rutz of Next Home Realty Select in Front Royal hosted a “Virtual Brokers Open House” this week and sent an email invitation to agents inviting them to take a 3-D virtual tour of the property (inside and out) and provide feedback through an online questionnaire. She’s having a drawing for a gift card for agents who participate. Agents like Rutz are utilizing creative marketing tactics to help listings stand out online.
New Safe Showing Procedures
Agents are asking buyers questions before showings to help mitigate risk and are advising them to take extreme precautions while following safety mandates. Some brokerages are requiring buyers to fill out a questionnaire about their health that verifies they are feeling well (fever-free with no symptoms of COVID-19) and a statement promising to use safe procedures when touring. Beth Medved Waller says communication and careful coordination is a key to feeling safe, “I have an occupied property that has a showing request from an agent who isn’t comfortable touring with her clients at this time. After lengthy discussions, we have decided that the seller will be turning the lights on, opening the closet doors and leaving the front door unlocked. I’ll arrive and the seller and I will wait outside (at least six feet apart) as the buyers tour. We will be available to answer their questions outdoors after they tour (from a safe distance). The seller will be prepared to wipe down the front door handle after the showing, which should be the only place the buyers will have touched. We feel comfortable with this procedure, especially since their agent has provided us with a copy of their signed buyer health questionnaire”
New Safe Communication Procedures
Jessica Dean of Weichert, Realtors in Front Royal, like many prudent agents, is presenting contracts to her sellers virtually. She’s even already received one offer from buyers who haven’t visited her listing in-person but chose to view online and make an offer sight unseen. Like others, Dean is also engaging in contract negotiations through electronic signing online and phone/Zoom calls. “Of course this is not ideal. Relationships are critical in establishing trust,” she says of this new protocol that unfortunately separates clients and agents physically but requires even closer communication to navigate the new processes of real estate transactions.
There’s Safety in the Numbers
Current market statistics for surrounding counties still look healthy as we move into month two of moving towards a new normal in life and in the pursuit of the American dream. Per Bright MLS research by Beth Medved Waller on 4/1/2020, the health of the area’s real estate market is still strong even amid the COVID-19 crisis.
- Coming soon–6
- Under contract/pending–103
- Closed since 03/13/2020–43
- Temporarily Off Market–14
- Withdrawn since 03/13/2020–9
- Coming soon–12
- Under contract/pending–252
- Closed since 03/13/2020–73
- Temporarily Off Market–25
- Withdrawn since 03/13/2020–11
- Coming soon–4
- Under contract/pending–44
- Closed since 03/13/2020–15
- Temporarily Off Market–9
- Withdrawn since 03/13/2020–15
- Coming soon–1
- Under contract/pending–28
- Closed since 03/13/2020–12
- Temporarily Off Market–9
- Withdrawn since 03/13/2020–3
- Coming soon–6
- Under contract/pending–112
- Closed since 03/13/2020–45
- Temporarily Off Market–15
- Withdrawn since 03/13/2020–6
The Governor, the COVID-19 Pandemic, and the Constitution
In the struggle against COVID-19, policymakers are balancing the health of the people they serve against other important things: work, family life, education, social gatherings, religious worship, and liberty. These things, while they are not life itself, are, to most, at least part of what gives life its joy and flavor. They are the things that liberty, which was at the heart of the Revolution that gave us the Commonwealth of Virginia, serve and make possible.
On Tuesday of last week, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam issued Executive Order 53, which he augmented with Executive Order 55 on Monday of this week. Together these efforts represent his Administration’s balance between liberty and the spread of a communicable disease.
His orders ban both public and private gatherings of more than ten people and ban leaving the house except for certain approved purposes. He makes violations of these orders punishable by fines and jail time. In doing so, he exempts some gatherings from the decrees, declaring them “essential.” While his list of “essential” activities includes the operations of the media and the government, it does not include religious services.
Virginia is now living in a strange reality where, by two strokes of his pen, the governor has essentially criminalized the everyday life of Virginians. Work, family gatherings, education, graduations, and the worship of Almighty God, could get you fined or thrown in jail. Virginians should think long and hard about that.
One thing that most Virginians will be quick to realize is that such threats are overkill. The vast majority of people (including me) have accepted that the pandemic has made social distancing a prudent course of action for a time, until conditions are more favorable to combat the disease, and are willing to accept the guidance of experts on the matter. Most religious congregations, including my own, are strictly following these guidelines and have canceled public in-person gatherings. Even the smallest and most vulnerable businesses are heeding the advice of public health experts and are closing, with their owners and employees remaining at home.
Most Virginians, however, will sense that something more than just overkill is in play, and they would be correct. In Virginia, which was founded on the idea of popular sovereignty, and is governed according to a Constitution that protects our personal liberty, the Governor cannot go as far as he has. It is not possible to reconcile these Orders with the text of the Constitution they invoke, which protects the right to peaceably assemble (Virginia Bill of Rights, Section 12) and the free exercise of religion (Virginia Bill of Rights, Section 16).
The most a government that respects its constitutional limitations can do is offer a strong recommendation, back it up with compelling arguments grounded in the best learning on the topic, and repeat it. It crosses a bright ontological line—one that people have died to draw—to go from offering a recommendation to issuing an order, one that the Executive will enforce with fines and jail time. This is especially the case when there is no need for imposing such measures on people who are behaving this way anyway.
Instead, with these orders, the Governor has needlessly complicated his response to the pandemic by taking reasonable, life-saving health guidance and turning it into a crusade against civil society. He has heaped both a constitutional and moral crisis on top of the existing health and economic crises. He has created a necessity for vigilant citizens to work to defend the constitution while trying to stay healthy and financially solvent.
When our forefathers enshrined in the Constitution the freedom to peaceably assemble and the right to the Free Exercise of religion, they did so knowing that these freedoms would come under attack, and had wisdom deep enough to know that this was most likely to occur during a crisis. Where there is tension between measures intended to protect life and the liberty to enjoy it, our Constitution has already struck a clear balance. It does not guarantee us perfect health or freedom from disease; it guarantees us liberty. If that is unsatisfactory to some, they must change the Constitution.
Hopefully reason will prevail with the Governor, and he will revise his approach. If he does not, the people will have an obligation to work to reverse his decrees.
A health crisis, however severe, is no excuse to trample the Constitution. In some respects, the willingness of Virginians to take the measures necessary to protect their health makes this an easy case. If the Governor does not readjust his approach, however, the situation will escalate, causing unnecessary controversy and risk. The Governor has an obligation to work harder to strike a balance that heeds the Constitution.
Scott Lloyd is an attorney from Front Royal, Virginia.
4 things to maintain on your EV
While electric vehicles (EVs) don’t require as much maintenance as their gas-guzzling counterparts, there are a few components that need regular attention. Here’s what you’ll need to do.
1. Rotate the tires
Every car needs to get its tires rotated, but it’s particularly important for some EVs. This is because the battery pack can be very heavy and consequently exert a lot of pressure on the tires. This can cause them to wear prematurely.
2. Flush the brake fluid
Most EVs rely on regenerative braking, meaning they don’t actually use the mechanical brakes all that often. That said, EVs still have traditional brakes and therefore require hydraulic fluid. If you don’t flush it regularly, it might corrode the brake system’s components.
3. Service the brakes
Brake pads and discs need to be inspected, although the frequency will depend on your driving habits and the conditions in which you usually drive. If you tend to ride the brake, get the pads and discs checked when¬ever you get the fluid flushed.
4. Check the coolant
The battery cooling system is a crucial component that prevents your battery from overheating and potentially catching fire. It’s therefore important that the cooling system is regularly inspected.
Finally, remember to familiarize yourself with the owner’s manual as it’ll tell you when each of these tasks should be carried out. It’ll also provide crucial battery care tips.
How to nail a phone interview
If you’ve recently applied for a job, it’s likely that someone will call or email you to set up a formal interview for the position. However, you should also be ready for an informal phone interview. Here’s how to navigate this type of call and ensure you meet the hiring manager in person.
A phone call can happen at any time. Research the company when you first apply and prepare a few questions to ask the recruiter during a phone interview. In addition, always keep a copy of your CV close by, keep your phone fully charged and answer calls in a professional, courteous manner.
If you’re contacted by email with a specific time for the phone interview, prepare yourself accordingly. Notably, make sure you’re in a comfortable and quiet location at the time of the call and review the details about the company and the position.
If you receive the call unexpectedly, take it if it’s a good time for you. If it isn’t, let the call go to voicemail and call back as soon as possible. Alternatively, you can answer and ask them to call you back at a more convenient time.
Be a good listener
Pay attention to the person speaking and never interrupt what they’re saying. Be sure to take notes on the conversation as they may come in handy during a formal interview, should you have one.
If you’re not sure how the phone interview went, don’t be shy to ask about the next steps in the hiring process. This will give you a good idea whether or not you’re going to have a second interview.