In the third installment of their virtual Faith Based Series, the Northwestern Prevention Collaborative will be highlighting the intersection of trauma and substance misuse. The training will be led by Robin Blumenthal, an ACEs, Trauma, and Brain Development educator within the faith community, and a Children’s and Family Pastor of 28 years. Topics covered will include the general relationship between trauma and substance misuse, youth ministry, and the impact of trauma on interactions within faith communities.
The August meeting will follow two successful webinars held in June and July. The first two parts of the series included a discussion on stress and anxiety and a conversation on suicide, both in the context of substance misuse and COVID-19. By offering information on relevant issues and creating space for dialogue, the Collaborative hopes to give faith leaders additional tools to utilize in their service of their communities. Recordings of the previous sessions can be viewed on the Collaborative’s YouTube channel.
The webinar will take place on Tuesday, August 4th from 10:00-11:30am. Community members interested in attending can use THIS LINK to register. In keeping with their belief that everyone has a role in addressing the opioid epidemic, the Collaborative is excited to bring together leaders within the faith community for a morning of learning and collaboration.
About Northwestern Prevention Collaborative
The Northwestern Prevention Collaborative covers the Lord Fairfax Planning District, encompassing the City of Winchester and the counties of Clarke, Frederick, Page, Shenandoah and Warren. One of their current areas of focus is on opioids, with dual goals of preventing young people from misusing prescription drugs and reducing the number of heroin/prescription drug overdose deaths. The Collaborative is a partnership between Page Alliance for Community Action, Family Youth Initiative, Warren Coalition and the Prevention Department of Northwestern Community Services and is funded, in part, through the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services.
20 farm-safety tips for 2020
The harvest can be a particularly busy and dangerous time for farmers, which is why National Farm Safety and Health Week is held every fall. This year, the campaign takes place from September 20 to 26 and promotes the theme Every Farmer Counts. To help you assess your habits, here are 20 tips for safer farming.
1. Learn basic first aid including CPR and emergency response skills.
2. Use personal protective equipment as needed including gloves, boots, hearing protection, face masks, and respirators.
3. Teach everyone who lives and works on your farm, as well as visitors, the appropriate safety procedures.
4. Avoid wearing loose clothing when working in confined spaces such as grain bins, silos, and hoppers.
5. Get plenty of rest, and be sure to stay hydrated and nourished throughout the day.
6. Perform safety and maintenance checks on tractors and other machines before every use.
7. Install a rollover protection structure on each tractor.
8. Use a seatbelt when operating farm equipment.
9. Prohibit additional riders on tractors.
10. Drive safely both on and off the farm.
11. Be cautious around dangerous chemicals such as anhydrous ammonia, carbon monoxide, methane gas and hydrogen sulfide.
12. Store farm chemicals away from children and livestock.
13. Make a list of all chemicals on the premises for firefighters to reference in the event of an incident.
14. Treat livestock with respect and caution.
15. Understand the flight zones of the animals you handle.
16. In confined spaces, make sure you have an exit strategy.
17. Keep bins, beds, and wagons of grain safely covered and out of the reach of children and animals.
18. Make sure no grain is flowing before you enter a bin, and always have a rope, safety harness, and two people with you.
19. To prevent fires, make sure areas with grain dust are properly ventilated and limit potential ignition sources.
20. If someone becomes submerged in grain, call 911, and don’t attempt to go in after them.
In addition to these 20 tips, be sure to have an emergency response plan specific to your operation. It should include shutdown procedures, emergency contact information (local fire department, police, etc.), and lockout procedures.
Sixth District Perspectives with Congressman Ben Cline – September 20, 2020
After months of Speaker Pelosi keeping the House in recess due to COVID-19, we finally returned to regular order this week to conduct the business of the people. Aside from passing important legislation in the Judiciary Committee, particularly one bill related to Alzheimer’s, the House also resumed a full schedule of votes before the whole House. I also took to the Floor this week to support our brave law enforcement officers and to call for the restoration of the Rule of Law in our communities. Additionally, we saw exciting news from the White House as a historic Middle East peace deal was signed on the South Lawn. And finally, on Tuesday, I joined my Republican colleagues on the steps of the Capitol as we laid out our Commitment to America.
Supporting Law Enforcement:
Over the past several months, we have heard politicians, pundits, and riot participants vilifying our Nation’s law enforcement officers – brave men and women who have sworn an oath to protect and serve their communities. This week, following the tragic ambush of two LA County Sheriff’s Deputies, I took to the House Floor to call for the restoration of the Rule of Law in our country and urged my Democrat colleagues to stop using hateful, violent rhetoric when speaking about police officers. Since the beginning of the year, 193 members of law enforcement have been killed in the line of duty. We cannot continue to dishonor their memory by advocating that we dismantle or disband police departments.
Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States and more than 5 million Americans are currently suffering from it. And while medical advancement has led to a decrease in the number of deaths for many illnesses, Alzheimer’s is unfortunately not one of them. Over the past 20 years, deaths from Alzheimer’s have increased a startling 146% and nearly 1 in 3 seniors die from it or another dementia-related illness. That is why I was pleased this week that the Judiciary Committee passed H.R. 6813, the Promoting Alzheimer’s Awareness to Prevent Elder Abuse Act, the legislation of which I am a cosponsor. This bill would require the Department of Justice to develop training materials to assist professionals in supporting victims of abuse living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. This legislation is crucial to ensuring our Nation’s seniors are receiving the quality care they deserve. As World Alzheimer’s Day approaches next week, it is my hope that Speaker Pelosi will call this bill for a vote in front of the whole House. To learn more about H.R. 6813, please click here.
Commitment to America:
This week, I joined my Republican colleagues on the Capitol steps as we formally unveiled our caucus’ “Commitment to America”. This plan calls for restoring our way of life, rebuilding the greatest economy in the world, and renewing the American Dream. Our vision for our Nation differs drastically from that of the Democrats, which promotes a message of defund, dismantle, and destroy. To learn more about our “Commitment to America,” click here.
Promoting Peace in the Middle East:
This week, President Trump, Prime Minister Netanyahu, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, and King Hamad Al Khalifa signed the Abraham Accords at the White House, normalizing relations between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain. This historic agreement is the most significant step toward peace in the Middle East in more than 25 years, and it will bring about greater stability to the region while also increasing pressure on America’s adversaries. To read more about this notable agreement, click here.
Coronavirus Food Assistance Program:
From the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, this Administration has been committed to supporting our Nation’s producers – most notably through the Department of Agriculture’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. Since April, this program has provided critical support to farmers and ranchers, helped maintain the integrity of our food supply chain, and ensured that every American continues to receive and have access to the food they need. This week, the President announced that the program would be expanded and receive an additional $14 billion beginning September 21. To learn more or to apply for assistance, please click here.
While vaccines typically take years to produce, the world’s leading scientists and researchers are hard at work to develop an effective COVID-19 vaccine at record speeds. There are currently 9 vaccines in Phase 3 of clinical trials meaning they are undergoing large-scale efficacy testing, and 5 have even been approved for early and limited use. The medical community is hopeful that we can have a large-scale vaccine approved by early next year. To learn more, click here.
Job hunting: 3 ways to make employers take notice
If you want to land a job in a competitive field, you’ll need to make an effort to stand out from the crowd. Here are three ways to set yourself apart and make employers take notice.
1. Cultivate industry connections
In addition to compiling a list of references from previous employers, you should build relationships with other professionals in your field. Attend networking events and participate in training workshops to gain recognition. This will increase your chances of getting a referral and hearing about new positions. Plus, you’re more likely to be considered for an interview if the recruiter recognizes your name.
2. Create an online portfolio
3. Make the most of interviews
Keep in mind that when you’re up against a strong field of competitors, small details can often make the difference in an interview. While you should be thoroughly prepared to discuss your experience and qualifications, you should also ensure your attire, facial expressions, tone, and posture demonstrate confidence and professionalism.
Finally, rather than submit a generic cover letter and CV, take the time to tailor each application to suit the position. Highlight your most pertinent experience and explain why you would be a good fit for that particular company.
Minor mishaps get your attention?
What’s been happening to you of late?
If you’ve been having close encounters of the accidental kind, it’s time to give some personal attention to the causes.
While many ordinary people seldom suffer a mishap, others seem to trip over things, cut their fingers, barely miss a pedestrian on the road, or get hit by something falling off a shelf.
According to the Center for Injury Research and Policy, there is no such thing as an accident-prone personality. It can’t be blamed on genetics.
Doctors at the Center, a part of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, say reasons can be found for minor mishaps and near-miss accidents.
When a rash of unfortunate incidents begins, they say, it’s up to the individual to uncover the causes.
They suggest that you note each time you have an accident and see if you can identify a common theme. For instance, maybe you are more likely to trip when you are rushing to get to an appointment. Or perhaps minor mishaps could be more likely to occur on days when you have not had enough sleep. Or you could be more likely to suffer a near-miss when you and your mate are on the outs.
You could find, as one subject did, that some trouble is rooted in your work environment and in circumstances you can control.
As an example of a small job-related injury, one person related the story of how she was cut near her eye. A file folder was stuck in the drawer and struck her when it finally gave in to her pulling.
The cure for this one is obvious: Reorganize file drawers, so they aren’t so crowded.
Wisdom dictates that each near-miss be examined.
WCPS starts new school year staring down COVID-19 related challenges
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic did not prevent Warren County Public Schools (WCPS) from starting off the 2020-2021 academic year, although some issues did crop up during the first week, according to WCPS Superintendent Chris Ballenger.
On day one at the elementary schools, for instance, Ballenger said there were some long lines getting parents through, as well as a few backups and traffic congestion on some roads. But he explained that such issues were simply due to it being the first day of school, and “of getting everybody in and being able to make sure we got them to where they were going, and getting the buses in, and getting the buses sanitized so that they could go do their next run.”
“But when you entered the buildings and you saw the interactions of the teachers and the students… you could see the students smiling underneath their masks,” said Ballenger. “It was nice to see the students there, and they wanted to be there.”
For virtual learners, technology challenges took precedent on their first day, the superintendent said, but the WCPS Technology Department worked quickly to rectify the issues, which were partly due to en masse sign-ons to the school division’s network — basically an online traffic jam of sorts.
Ballenger said that during the first week of school, WCPS corrected, made changes, and streamlined processes to solve the challenges. “Schools are getting that cycle going, so, we’re moving in some positive directions,” he said. “We still have some issues, but we will continue to address those.”
WCPS Technology Director Timothy Grant — who received a round of applause from Ballenger, the School Board, and WCPS Central Office staff for the work he and his team have accomplished to get the school year going — reported that more than 2,200 Chromebooks and tablets are expected to arrive “any day now,” and once delivered, they will be configured and deployed as soon as possible to the schools for student use.
At the same time, the WCPS Technology Help Desk has been very busy. “I can’t tell you how many calls we get, but it’s busy. It’s ringing all the time,” said Grant. “All  of our techs are on the help desk until it settles down.”
Technology staff also have deployed 60 hot spots around Warren County, with most of them being used in the Browntown and Bentonville areas. Grant said WCPS still has 30 more hot spots to configure that will provide teachers and students with free internet access for virtual learning.
Grant also said the tech staff is working diligently “to stay ahead of the curve” on security, and thus far has not experienced any breaches on the WCPS network and will continue to regularly monitor the network.
“I know you’ve worked a lot of hours and I think I can speak for the board — we all greatly appreciate the effort that you and your team put in to keep everybody up and running, so thank you very much,” said School Board Chairman Arnold Williams, Jr.
Along with new bus runs, for example, WCPS transportation employees yesterday started delivering seven-days-worth of free school meals (breakfast and lunch) at its summer stops around the County. Some 850 students on Wednesday received meals, which will continue to be delivered through December 31 unless the program gets extended, Sheppard said.
“We’ll adjust if we need to,” she said. “We’re trying to make sure all of our students are eating.”
Additionally, more custodial employees are now working day-time hours to regularly wipe down high-touch surfaces throughout the school day, said Sheppard.
WCPS Special Services Director Michael Hirsch said that school health and wellness efforts have been followed diligently by WCPS staff and families, who have adhered to daily pre-screening and other health checklist items. “It’s been crucial for ensuring students are healthy before they enter school,” he said.
During the School Board’s work session portion of its meeting, Ballenger also provided a school enrollment update as it pertains to the WCPS budget, noting that the current population of 4,957 students is down by 60 students.
Once the school district contacts these 60 students, the population could increase to 5,017 students, which is still lower than what the current WCPS budget is based on of 5,202 students. This would reduce the district’s budget by $916,886, Ballenger reported.
“In this year’s budget, we have a contingency of around $531,366 so right now we are looking at what we need to do as far as financials,” he said. “We do have a lot of things on hold. We’re still trying to find those students.”
Currently, Ballenger also said that there are 89 students total who attended WCPS last year who now are under home instruction status, which removes them from WCPS rolls, also consequently impacting the budget. While some of these 89 students may physically return to school once the buildings open back up, “we don’t know when that may be,” said Ballenger.
At the same time, because WCPS now operates a hybrid-learning model consisting of in-person and virtual education, some numbers of students may be recovered at the high school and middle school levels once they work out scheduling, Ballenger said. “Principals and schools are calling and making contact with students that have not shown up yet to see where they are at,” the superintendent said.
To watch the entire School Board meeting, watch the Royal Examiner video.
Town Talk: A conversation with Congressman Ben Cline
In this Town Talk, our publisher Mike McCool speaks with Congressman Ben Cline. Cline was in town for the Warren County Republican “Pig Roast” held at the VFW grounds in Front Royal. Topics in this Town Talk includes 2nd Amendment and Sanctuary Cities, Supreme Court appointment, supporting law enforcement, civil unrest, monument removals, elections, and COVID response.
Ben Cline represents Virginia’s 6th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he is a member of the House Judiciary Committee and the House Education and Labor Committee. He previously served as a Member of the Virginia House of Delegates, representing the 24th District from 2002-2018. In the Virginia House, Cline chaired the Committee on Militia, Police, and Public Safety.
Prior to his election to the House of Representatives in 2018, Ben was an attorney in private practice. From 2007 until 2013, he served as an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney for Rockingham County and the City of Harrisonburg.
Ben also worked for Congressman Bob Goodlatte, beginning as a member of his legislative staff in 1994 and ultimately serving as the Congressman’s Chief of Staff.
Ben grew up in Rockbridge County, Virginia, and is a 1990 graduate of Lexington High School. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Bates College and his law degree from the University of Richmond. Ben and his wife Elizabeth live in Botetourt County with their two daughters.
Town Talk is a series on the Royal Examiner where we will introduce you to local entrepreneurs, businesses, non-profit leaders, and political figures who influence Warren County. Topics will be varied but hopefully interesting. If you have an idea, topic, or want to hear from someone in our community, let us know. Send your request to news@RoyalExaminer.com