The pet adoption event will be hosted by Subaru of Winchester and feature adoptable pets from the SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke. This annual event will take place at the Subaru dealership located at 3019 Valley Avenue, Winchester, Virginia, on Saturday, December 7th, from 10AM – 3PM. Santa will be featured starting at 11AM. In addition to adoptable animals, there will be free photos with Santa, a bake sale, raffle, SPCA products, and fun holiday gifts for the pet lover on your gift list.
This event is made possible due to a grant from the ASPCA which assisted the Winchester SPCA in preparing pets for adoption. The SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties has provided animal welfare services to the area since 1907. The SPCA currently has a save rate of 97%, which qualifies the agency as a no-kill shelter, a distinction maintained since 2012. The Share the Love Adoption Event serves as the shelter’s largest single day adoption event of the year.
Lavenda Denney, Executive Director, says, “We are hopeful on December 7th at least 20 homeless pets will get a second chance and become part of a new family. We are beyond grateful to Subaru of Winchester for their ongoing support.”
Important updates from Congressman Ben Cline
Our Nation is facing a historic crisis. In the last month, COVID-19 has infected over 85,000 Americans, more than any other nation on Earth. Over 1200 of our fellow Americans have perished, and we are making every effort to stop the virus from taking from us thousands more of our neighbors, our friends, and our family members. The first Virginian was infected only three weeks ago, and since then we have seen life as we know it across our Commonwealth come to a screeching halt.
The crisis created by this virus is twofold. It is first and foremost a health crisis, made worse by the stealth with which the virus spreads. Often those infected feel no symptoms and unsuspectingly pass the virus on to weaker and more vulnerable targets. And it takes advantage of the very characteristics that make us a great Nation, preying on our love of freedom, our love of social interaction, and our love of community. As the government has sought to eliminate the virus, it has urged practices that contradict many of these characteristics that make America great. Who would’ve thought that in America we would be advised not to gather in groups, eat out at a restaurant, or attend a graduation program, music concert, or church service?
The second crisis created by COVID-19 is economic, and the combination of the virus itself and the actions taken to fight the virus has brought our economy to its knees. As lock-downs are announced and bans on gatherings of more than 10 people enforced, the impact of our economy has been pronounced. The stock market has lost a third of its value, main streets across America are empty, and sporting events and other celebrations have been canceled. Just this week, it was announced that over 3 million people filed for unemployment last week, shattering the old record of 665,000 in March 2009. We cannot lose sight of the need to beat the virus on both the health front and the economic front.
Fortunately, Congress acted this week to address both the health crisis and the economic crisis surrounding COVID-19 bypassing the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which provides resources to hospitals and health care workers while supporting American workers and small businesses through this challenging time. While I did not agree with all of the provisions, I was pleased that the Senate rejected Speaker Pelosi’s progressive wish list and was proud to vote in favor of this legislation. It provides much-needed assistance to Sixth District residents and businesses and gives our hospitals and health care providers the best fighting chance to contain COVID-19 and rid it from our Nation.
On Tuesday, I hosted a special telephone town hall focusing on the coronavirus. I was joined by Dr. Laura Kornegay, Health Director of Central Shenandoah Health District, and Delegate Chris Head, who sits on the Health, Welfare and Institutions Committee in the Virginia General Assembly. To listen to the audio recording, please click here.
In the Commonwealth of Virginia, Governor Northam has issued an executive order to reduce the spread of COVID-19. He has discouraged all gatherings of more than 10 people statewide. This does not include gatherings for purposes of providing healthcare or medical services, access to essential services for low-income Virginians, law enforcement operations, or government operations.
Recreation and Entertainment Businesses:
As of March 24, the following business is considered non-essential and must close to the public:
• Theaters, performing arts centers, concert venues, museums, and other indoor entertainment centers;
• Fitness centers, gymnasiums, recreation centers, indoor sports facilities, indoor exercise facilities;
• Beauty salons, barbershops, spas, massage parlors, tanning salons, tattoo shops, and any other location where personal care or personal grooming services are performed that would not allow compliance with social distancing guidelines to remain six feet apart;
• Racetracks and historic horse racing facilities;
• Bowling alleys, skating rinks, arcades, amusement parks, trampoline parks, fairs, arts and craft facilities, aquariums, zoos, escape rooms, indoor shooting ranges, public and private social clubs, and all other places of indoor public amusement.
Restaurants & Bars:
The following establishments must be closed to the public but may continue to offer delivery and/or takeout services:
• Dining establishments;
• Food courts;
• Farmers markets;
• Wineries; and
• Tasting rooms.
The Governor has issued specific guidance for retail businesses. The following retail businesses are considered essential and may remain open during normal business hours:
• Grocery stores, pharmacies, and other retailers that sell food and beverage products or pharmacy products, including dollar stores, and department stores with grocery or pharmacy operations;
• Medical, laboratory, and vision supply retailers;
• Electronic retailers that sell or service cell phones, computers, tablets, and other communications technology;
• Automotive parts, accessories, and tire retailers as well as automotive repair facilities;
• Home improvement, hardware, building material, and building supply retailers;
• Lawn and garden equipment retailers;
• Beer, wine, and liquor stores;
• Retail functions of gas stations and convenience stores;
• Retail located within healthcare facilities;
• Banks and other financial institutions with retail functions;
• Pet stores and feed stores;
• Printing and office supply stores; and
• Laundromats and dry cleaners.
All essential retail establishments must, to the extent possible, adhere to social distancing recommendations, enhanced sanitizing practices on common surfaces, and other appropriate workplace guidance from state and federal authorities.
The Governor has also closed all public schools through the end of the academic year. The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) will issue guidance to help divisions execute plans to continue instruction, while ensuring students are served equitably, regardless of income level, access to technology, English learner status, or special needs. This includes options for additional instruction through summer programming, integrating instruction into coursework next year, and allowing students to make up the content. VDOE will submit a waiver to the federal government to lift end-of-year testing requirements and is exploring options to waive state-mandated tests.
Students who are in need of meals can still access them. To learn more about meals, text “FOOD” or “COMIDA” to 877877.
Guidance for Small Business Owners:
Small business owners who are struggling amidst this crisis should look into the Small Business Administration Loan Program. Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at sba.gov. Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email email@example.com for more information on SBA disaster assistance. Individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing may call (800) 877-8339. Completed applications should be mailed to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.
At cline.house.gov, you can access further information about the coronavirus pandemic, including administrative, congressional, and state action that has been taken to curb the spread of the virus, resources for businesses, and information from the CDC on how to keep you and your families healthy. While Congress works on legislation and the CDC works toward vaccines and cures, there are several steps you can take to protect yourself and others from infection:
• Practice social distancing, and avoid close contact with other people.
• Stay home if you are sick.
• Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
As U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said, “Caution is appropriate, preparedness is appropriate, panic is not.” Rest assured, I will continue to keep you informed, monitor the situation in Virginia and around the country, and work with my colleagues to ensure the full, coordinated force of the federal government is behind our efforts to stop the spread of this disease.
If you experience symptoms or have been exposed to someone recently diagnosed with COVID-19, contact your doctor immediately to determine if you need screening.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Resources:
Follow @CDCgov on Twitter
Resources for Business:
4 ways jobseekers can stay motivated
It’s easy to get discouraged during a job search, especially if you’ve gone weeks without hearing back from potential employers. Here are four things you can do to stay motivated.
1. Make a schedule
Establishing a routine will ensure you remain productive. Every morning, get up, get dressed and have breakfast around the same time you would if you were working. Set aside time each day for the job hunt and for household tasks. Don’t forget to give yourself a lunch break.
2. Set goals
Setting measurable goals will help you stay on track. For example, make it a point to apply for two jobs every day, or try to make one new contact in your industry every week.
3. Use rewards
Don’t wait until you’ve landed a job to applaud your efforts. Instead, be sure to celebrate minor achievements like being contacted for an interview with a small reward like a latte from a coffee shop you like or a hot bubble bath at the end of the day.
4. Find a coach
Appoint a friend or family member as your job search coach. They’ll make sure you meet your daily goals and give you a little push when you need it.
Finally, don’t forget to get outside help. Reach out to an employment agency or organization in your area to help you find leads for potential jobs.
7 movies (or TV shows) you should really read
Everyone has seen the Wizard of Oz. Can there be anything more lovely than Oz and all its characters?
Yes! The book by L. Frank Baum. You’ll find out about The Nome King, Pyrzqxgll, and the magic flower pot. Although written for children, it is a fun book to read with (or without) a kid.
So many other movies you have surely seen make delightful reading for children and young adults.
And for adults, too. These are books to read for a break. Easy and fun, they offer a quick trip out of the digital, workaday world.
Here are a few:
* The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. The movie was great but you’ll come back again and again to the lovely book.
* Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie. Happiness guru Gretchen Rubin says if you have only seen the movie you have never known Pan, a haunting, mind-blowing book for kids.
* Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Tons of movies made for this book. But it is a classic of modern literature.
* Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. Amazing journey.
* Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. The TV show was wonderful, but this is a masterpiece.
* Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers. If you love Mary, read the book to find out how much more interesting she really is.
* Anne of Green Gables. Television does a good job with Anne, but read the books to really understand her.
4 easy ways to raise awareness about autism
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is a developmental disorder characterized by difficulties with social interactions, problems with speech and communication and issues with repetitive behaviors. However, no two people on the spectrum are the same.
In honor of World Autism Awareness Day on April 2, here’s how you can help people in your community better understand autism.
1. Get informed
Ensuring you’re well-informed about autism is probably the most important thing you can do. This is because misunderstanding the behavior of someone with autism can lead to very difficult situations and reinforce negative perceptions. Lack of accurate information can also lead to well-meaning people causing more harm than good.
2. Use social media
Sharing accurate information and articles is a good way to raise awareness about autism. Plus, if you or someone you know is on the spectrum, sharing a personal story can help people understand what it’s like to live with autism, and may inspire others to share their own experiences. Just make sure you respect the privacy of everyone involved.
3. Attend events
Organizations that support people with ASD tend to host fundraisers and walks. Attending or volunteering at these types of events is a good way to show your support and help raise awareness in your community.
4. Include them
Simply including people with ASD in your everyday activities can make a big impact and help raise awareness. It’s a common misconception that people with autism don’t want to make friends. While some do struggle to form relationships, most of them enjoy interacting with other people.
Keep in mind that though it’s a good idea to raise awareness for World Autism Awareness Day, these are things you can do year-round.
EDA passes series of motions following 3-hour, virtual closed session
One day after the Warren County-Front Royal COVID-19 Coronavirus Emergency Management team held its first briefing available to the public live only by remote video link-up, the Town-County Economic Development Authority followed suit at its monthly meeting of Friday, March 27.
However, the EDA took additional steps on the pandemic response social distancing frontier and the enabling of live remote participation and viewing. Only EDA Executive Director Doug Parsons and Administrative Assistant Gretchen Henderson were at the EDA Kendrick Lane office where board meetings are normally held. The six EDA Board of Directors members, as well as media, public and county board representatives were all linked in remotely by home or office audio-video computer hook up.
Or as the meeting notice colorfully stated, “Due to the state and local state of emergency declarations, this meeting will be conducted virtually, as will all EDA board meetings until further notice during the emergency. The EDA sincerely welcomes public access to this unprecedented event. The EDA will be using the web conferencing platform Zoom”.
Access was also available by telephone link-up.
A tally of those connected virtually included two members of the public (Linda Allen, James Wolfe), one county board member (Oates), two media (Royal Examiner, NVD), three attorneys (Pandak, Seltzer, Seigel), the six EDA board members and two EDA staff – may be only a couple supervisors short of normal 8 a.m. in-house attendance.
After virtual meeting moderator and EDA Board Vice-Chairman Jeff Browne helped participants through their connections, the board adjourned to closed session to discuss four primary topics:
1 – legal advice on the “disposition of … 2 East Main Street/Afton Inn”;
2 – a prospective business or industry client at the 426 Baugh Drive warehouse;
3 – legal consultation on the Town of Front Royal’s civil litigation against the EDA and the EDA’s civil litigation against its former Executive Director Jennifer McDonald et al; and
4 – auditor contracts with Yount, Hyde & Barbour P.C. and RFO auditor services regarding small business loan debt collection.
As noted above, three attorneys were involved in the meeting’s virtual hook up, the EDA’s contracted attorney Sharon Pandak and Sands Anderson attorneys Cullen Seltzer and Dan Siegel, the latter two who have been involved from the March 26, 2019 filing in the EDA’s now $21.3 million civil actions against McDonald and 14 co-defendants alleging embezzlement, fraud, and misdirection of EDA assets. Hired as independent EDA counsel in the wake of Dan Whitten’s resignation as County and EDA attorney, Pandak has been the EDA’s legal adviser in response to the Town’s now-amended $20-million-plus litigation against the EDA.
With that full plate of closed session business, the estimate of an hour behind virtual closed doors coming shortly after 8 a.m. fell about two hours short.
And while there were no announcements or motions regarding the two civil litigations or the now apparently disputed by the Town of Front Royal status of Afton Inn ownership, a series of resolutions and motions were approved by 6-0 votes prior to the meeting’s 11:10 a.m. adjournment.
However, as to the status of the Afton Inn, in the written monthly Asset Committee Report it is noted that “There is no public report on the Afton Inn status other than the Town of Front Royal has listed the Inn in their revised complaint in the Town of Front Royal vs. FR-WC EDA. This simply provides a new dynamic that we have to deal with in our continuing efforts to re-position this property. We continue to discuss the dynamics of this with 2 East Main (LLC, the proposed redeveloper of the property under contract with the EDA as current owner).”
As for the series of approved motions and resolutions, they included:
1 – a resolution to return the $5,000 deposit of William Huck after the failure to close a contract with the EDA on the old Stokes Mart building at 506 East Main Street;
2 – a resolution to approve a contract on a backup offer to sell the 506 East Main building to an alternate buyer at a price of $190,000;
3 – a resolution to amend EDA bylaws to facilitate the electronic meetings during the COVID-19 Coronavirus state of emergency declarations;
4 – an amendment extending the deadline on the removal of the solar panels from the EDA Kendrick Lane Office Complex from the original April 30 date. The new deadline will be 30 days after the Governor of Virginia lifts the COVID-19 state of Emergency.
That contract with Sunshine Properties LLC will pay the EDA $40,500 for the two-building solar panel array originally installed during McDonald’s executive directorship in an arrangement with Earth Right Energy. McDonald, ERE and ERE principal Donnie Poe were all named as defendants in the EDA’s March 2019 civil litigation. Consequently, the plan for the provision of solar power to the EDA office complex went south with the filing of that litigation and other technical complications;
5 – a motion authorizing the reacquisition of the 3.5-acre Royal Lane parcel from the Cornerstone LLC branch of the Aikens Group at cost of $26,776.54. The difference in the EDA’s sale price of ten dollars to Cornerstone LLC reflects pre-construction work and planning services done by the Aikens Group for work it will not now be able to achieve after resolving the situation on the somewhat inexplicable late November 2018 EDA transfer of a property it paid $440,000 for. That price was agreed upon by the McDonald-led EDA board Chaired by Patty Wines after an initial $10 gift by McDonald’s relatives was negated by a missed tax rebate deadline.
Serving as EDA attorney on that sale in the wake of then EDA-attorney Dan Whitten’s recusal, Joe Silek Jr. said the deed of sale was sent to Cornerstone attorneys without a price on it. Then EDA Board Chairman Gray Blanton, who signed the deed of sale, said he only saw the signature page. At the time the sale situation became public in early 2019, the Winchester-based Cornerstone attorneys’ group never responded to three messages left seeking information on how the $10 purchase price was established.
While the Royal Lane parcel was intended for the development of a workforce housing apartment complex under EDA direction, Parsons told Royal Examiner after the Friday’s meeting adjournment that the EDA will likely seek to sell the parcel to the private sector for residential development, which as he has previously noted, is not a normal undertaking for EDA’s.
6 – a motion to amend the loan agreement with First Bank on a $3.59 million note covering several older projects to illustrate the County’s support of the EDA on the issue as it grapples with the aftermath of the financial scandal the above-referenced civil litigations revolve around;
7 – a motion on a monthly payment agreement on a rural business enterprise loan with Ontiveros;
And 8 – Due to the governor’s COVID-19 emergency declaration closing “non-essential” businesses, the EDA will offer rent/loan payment forbearance “to all clients in good standing”. The plan is to temporarily waive April payments and then offer quarter payments on a monthly basis until there is some resolution to the emergency declaration allowing businesses to reopen.
And so it goes on the Front Royal, Warren County Economic Development front as the retooled EDA Board of Directors, staff and County officials try to navigate the turbulent waters, increasingly stirred to a boiling point by the Town of Front Royal’s hostile litigious stance, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic emergency declarations wreaking havoc with small businesses across the town, county, commonwealth, and nation.
Governor Northam COVID-19 update briefing – March 27, 2020
Governor Northam joins the Virginia Emergency Support Team to share the latest updates on the COVID-19 response. Here is the latest update: