The Humane Society of Warren County will hold their 1st annual Polar Plunge event on February 1st at the Culpeper Lake, located at the Northern Virginia 4-H Center in Harmony Hollow. “Plungers” are asked to secure a minimum of $50 in sponsorship but are more than welcome to help raise more and can set their own fundraising goals. All proceeds benefit the animals at HSWC. Spectators are welcome to come to this FREE event and join us afterwards at a “melt down” party, held at ViNova on Main Street in Front Royal. You can log onto the website for more details, to register as a plunger, or to sponsor a participant.
Liaison Committee ponders drug abuse committee logistics, solid waste disposal costs, and ongoing projects
Town and County officials reviewed a number of projects at the Front Royal-Warren County Liaison Committee meeting of Thursday, October 22nd. Those included early stages of formation of a joint municipality and law enforcement committee to work more proactively to stem the tide of drug, particularly heroin and opioid abuse in the county; adjustment of Town payments to the County on its solid-waste disposal to reflect current costs to the County; the status of implementation of Building Inspection software to facilitate online applications and payments; recent Development Review Committee discussion of Town and County projects; and two County projects ongoing inside the town limits.
Adjusting the name of the currently referenced “Drug Task Force Committee” to more accurately portray its joint civilian-law enforcement mission of education, prevention and rehabilitation of aspects of the community, particularly young people and other vulnerable groups, targeted by drug dealers was suggested. “Joint Substance Abuse Committee” was cited as a leading candidate for that renaming.
The committee by whatever name will meet at 8:30 a.m. this coming Thursday, October 29th at the Warren County Government Center in a room determined to be large enough to hold all involved parties.
The bulk of the Liaison Committee agenda packet – 16 of 20 pages – referenced background on the solid-waste agreement between the two municipalities dating to 2009. At issue is that the Town’s current $50.72 per-ton payment on the Commercial tipping fee on its commercial waste does not cover current costs incurred by the County under the old, agreed-upon 73.5% the Town pays on its waste.
Asked by Councilwoman Lori Cockrell what the bottom line of the dizzying array of numbers, various fees and percentages presented was, it was determined the Town needed to increase it’s per-ton payment by $1.28 per ton to $52 per ton. Cockrell then asked what the yearly tonnage of Town commercial waste handled by the County was.
The answer, 518 tons per year, meant that a year’s underpayment at the current rate equated to a County loss of $663.04 annually. It wasn’t clear if the rate adjustment would include compensating the County for any past losses, though as Cockrell observed, the annual total didn’t equate too much of the Town’s annual budget.
A County staff suggestion was that moving forward, the rates and any necessary adjustments be reviewed and made annually.
Among ongoing projects recently discussed by the Development Review Committee were a request for “60 apartments on East Main Street”, a proposed gas station-convenience store at the old Joe’s Steakhouse location on the town’s Southside at South Royal and Criser Road intersection; and the November 1st reopening of the thermal shelters offered to the community’s homeless through the cold weather at the County’s Health and Human Services complex on 15th Street in the old middle school building.
Cockrell, representing the Town with Mayor Tewalt and Gary Gillespie, pointed out that an inquiry had been made about the potential of adding locker space where homeless could keep their possessions during the day.
Interim County Administrator Ed Daley also observed that it was believed the 18 to 24 maximum thermal shelter accommodation at the site might not be enough for the anticipated number of homeless needing winter accommodations in the coming years. The possibility of establishing an alternate site that could both accommodate increasing numbers and provide lockable space for their possessions might be necessary long-term was discussed without a pinning down of a potential location.
See these discussions and others in this exclusive Royal Examiner Liaison Committee meeting video:
Sixth District Perspectives with Congressman Ben Cline – October 25, 2020
This week I had the privilege of chatting virtually with Sixth District residents like the Lucas Family of Roanoke to discuss their small business, as well as enjoyed in-person events in the Lynchburg area to cut the ribbon on the Blackwater Creek Trail Expansion and honor the Civil Air Patrol. Further, I was pleased to see Judge Amy Coney Barrett advance favorably out of the Senate Judiciary Committee and was also thankful that the President signed into law two bills aimed at addressing mental health issues of both veterans and civilians. And finally, while there is not yet a consensus on an additional COVID-19 relief package, please know that I will keep you apprised should there be any developments. I have used the October District Work Period to stay in touch with folks here at home, and I look forward to continuing to travel the District discussing the issues that matter most to the citizens.
Supporting Local Pharmacies:
I had the opportunity to hear from Kayla Lucas, a pharmacy student, and her parents who own DownHome Pharmacy in Roanoke this week. We discussed Rutledge v. PCMA, a case recently heard by the Supreme Court, as well as other issues affecting their industry. The Lucas family explained that over the years they have seen reimbursements for prescriptions continuously drop, which has put a strain on local pharmacies all over the country. Ensuring transparency and patient access, while also ensuring that pharmacies, especially our local pharmacies, have easier access to the marketplace should be a priority. That is why last year I wrote to Secretary Azar of the Department of Health and Human Services to address this issue by expressing my strong support of provisions in the agency’s proposed rule, Modernizing Part D and Medicare Advantage to Lower Drug Prices and Reduce Out-of-Pocket Expenses, which would reform the use of pharmacy direct and indirect remuneration fees, or pharmacy price concessions, in the Medicare Part D program.
Blackwater Creek Trail Expansion:
It was an honor to be in Lynchburg this week to celebrate the renovation of the Langhorne Road Bridge and the extension of the Blackwater Creek Trail. As one of the most popular trails in Hill City, this extension adds to the many recreational opportunities that are available to the community and the surrounding region. I am pleased that this project was made possible with federal funding from the transportation alternatives set-aside which is part of the Surface Transportation Block Grant Program. This program allows communities across the country to invest locally in a variety of smaller-scale transportation projects, and I firmly believe that state and local leaders are best equipped to prioritize our Nation’s transportation needs. This event was another shining example of that. Long-term projects like this are only made possible when localities have a clear picture of future funding, which is why I will continue to be a vocal advocate for a bipartisan surface transportation bill that makes improvements to our country’s crumbling infrastructure.
Civil Air Patrol:
World War II was one of our Nation’s bloodiest conflicts, and for nearly four years Americans fought courageously around the world to secure peace and freedom for all. We thank those who served in the Armed Forces, but as President Roosevelt said, civilian efforts at home to support the War through personal sacrifice was as critical to winning the war as the efforts of the soldiers themselves. One such group of civilian unsung heroes were the 200,000 Americans who served in the Civil Air Patrol during the War. The Civil Air Patrol was critical to the defense of our homeland and partook in coastal patrol operations, convoy escorts, emergency transportation of military personnel, search and rescue missions, and nationwide emergency communications. For their efforts during the War, Congress awarded the Civil Air Patrol as a whole the Congressional Gold Medal in 2014, which any member who served during WWII is entitled to receive. And this week, it was my distinct honor to present this Medal to Mr. George “Rusty” Nichols of Madison Heights who volunteered for the Civil Air Patrol in 1944 at the age of 14. We thank him and all who selflessly served during a critical time of need for the Nation.
Confirming Judge Amy Coney Barrett:
The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved advancing the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Senate Floor this coming week. I am sorry that Senate Judiciary Democrats chose not to show up to participate in the confirmation vote. Considering her qualifications, her judicial philosophy of being a Constitutionalist, and her earning a “well qualified” rating from the American Bar Association, I am confident that the Senate will confirm this exceptional jurist to the Supreme Court.
Promoting Mental Health:
Recently, the President signed into law two pieces of legislation aimed at addressing mental health issues. The first of the two bills is the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act, which addresses Veteran suicide by providing essential support to community-based organizations, expanding access to new therapies for behavioral health, increasing support for those with other than honorable discharges, and funding additional suicide prevention coordinators. Further, the President signed the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act, which designates 9-8-8 as the universal telephone number of the national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline system. Mental health advocates say 9-8-8, a simple three-digit number, will be easier for people to remember in the midst of a mental health emergency. Please note that the 9-8-8 number will not be operational until 2022. At this time, please dial 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Both pieces of legislation have the potential to save countless lives, and I was proud to support them on the House Floor.
People are hurting yet Speaker Pelosi chooses big cities and special interests over those most in need. Instead of seeking targeted relief to families and small businesses, the Speaker is trying to run out the clock hoping she can get the full $3.4 trillion passed by the House in the next Congress. While no deal on an additional COVID-19 relief bill was reached this week, the Administration continues its whole of government approach to address the coronavirus pandemic. Below please find just a few of the many examples of how the Federal government has provided direct relief to the Commonwealth of Virginia. For additional examples, view last week’s Sixth District Perspectives here.
• The President approved Virginia’s major disaster declaration on April 2, 2020, and National Guard funding requests on April 7, 2020, providing additional Federal resources to supplement State response efforts.
• The Federal government has and continues to coordinate the surge of resources to Virginia Medicare & Medicaid certified nursing homes – to supplement private sector supplies, the federal government is coordinating the provision of point-of-care COVID-19 testing to 235 Virginia Medicare & Medicaid certified nursing homes.
• Coordinated donation of 493 cases (40 vials per case) of Remdesivir, and 365 cases of commercially available Remdesivir, to treat hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Virginia.
• The Commonwealth of Virginia and eligible local governments received over $3.3 B from the CARES Act’s Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) to help address unforeseen financial needs created by the COVID-19 public health emergency. Tribal governments received over $18.9 M in CRF funding.
• The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has made over $179.9 M in COVID-19 funding available to Virginia grantees to help America’s low-income families and most vulnerable citizens via CARES Act authorizations.
• The U.S. Department of Education provided $312.1 M to support post-secondary education students and institutions of higher education in Virginia, authorized $66.8 M for the State from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund, and $238.6 M to ensure learning continues for all elementary and secondary students.
• The U.S. Department of Transportation allocated more than $456.4 M to help the Virginia public transportation systems and $318.5 M to help Virginia airports.
(B = Billion, M = Million, K = Thousand) Data as of October 9, 2020
If my office can ever be of assistance, please contact my Washington office at (202) 225-5431.
Governor Northam allocates CARES Act dollars to help free clinics
Governor Ralph Northam announced, October 23, 2020, that the Commonwealth will use $3 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act dollars to reimburse members of the Virginia Association of Free and Charitable Clinics (VAFCC) for clinics’ COVID-19 expenses, including personal protective equipment, sanitation measures, telehealth, and hiring new staff.
“Our free clinics are a critical part of our health safety net, providing care for those with no insurance,” said Governor Northam. “Thousands of Virginians access health care through free clinics, and I am glad we can help support those clinics’ needs at this time. This global health crisis truly demonstrates how important it is that everyone has access to health care.”
Virginia’s free clinics serve an essential role in Virginia’s health care safety net, providing care for free or on a sliding scale to uninsured patients. An estimated 226,000 Virginians with incomes between 139 percent and 300 percent of the poverty level had no health coverage prior to the onset of the pandemic, according to a recent report by the Virginia Health Care Foundation/Urban Institute.
In addition to existing patients, free clinics have seen demand for their services rise, as more Virginians lose jobs and, thus, employer-sponsored health care.
“Virginia’s free clinics are a vital resource for Virginians who lack health insurance,” said Rufus Phillips, CEO of the Virginia Association of Free and Charitable Clinics. “Clinics are filling the increasing need for their services created by the pandemic, but that comes with a cost—at a time when donations are down. We’re happy for our clinics to receive this additional state assistance to help them provide the essential health care every Virginian deserves.”
Clinics operate with small budgets, and the pandemic curtailed regular fundraising events. Expenses that the pandemic made necessary—such as additional personal protective equipment, increased use of telehealth, hiring additional staff to meet demand, and other health modifications—have put a burden on clinics’ budgets. The VAFCC estimates free clinics have incurred an average of $40,000 each in unbudgeted expenses for needs related to the pandemic.
“The pandemic has required us to change how we serve our patients while increasing the number of patients who need our services,” said Anne-Lise Quinn, Executive Director of Culmore Clinic in Falls Church. “The cost of COVID supplies, like PPE and increased telehealth, has had a large impact on the small budgets of free clinics like ours. This support will help us continue to fulfill our mission of ensuring that everyone has access to health care.”
Free clinics have also provided COVID-19 testing and often are seen as a trusted resource for health information to vulnerable populations.
Stephens City Martins have flown south, but will begin returning from Brazil in March
The approximately 60 nesting pairs of Purple Martins leave the Autumn Glen HOA in Stephens City by mid-August and migrate to their winter quarters in Brazil.
Every October, the Autumn Glen volunteer Bird Management Team removes the 10 bird condominiums from their 15-foot aluminum poles on the HOA’s beautifully landscaped 52 acres and the houses are meticulously cleaned, tarped, and stored for the winter.
Martins breed in Canada, the United States, and Mexico, and then winter in Brazil. Most adults do not seek new breeding sites but will return to the exact same site from the previous year. Yearling Martins will typically colonize new breeding sites. The older adult Martins (called scouts) will begin to return to their Stephens City nesting sites in late March.
The Martins eat moths, flying beetles, dragonflies, mosquitoes, and squash bugs, just to name a few. They will also keep away blackbirds and crows and are welcomed in backyards across the United States. Martins as all swallows, are aerial insectivores, feeding on insects in flight.
2020 trends: Why glass partitions deserve a look
If you want to create designated spaces in your home without sacrificing the airiness of open-concept living, glass partitions offer a beautiful compromise.
This type of room divider helps block out noise while continuing to let in plenty of natural light. If you want to create an office space or reading nook in your living area, for example, such partitions are ideal. Alternatively, glass walls can be used to keep strong smells in the kitchen without obstructing sight lines.
From intricately etched panels to industrial steel frames, glass partitions can be incorporated into any style of home and customized to fit any space. Plus, they’re typically made of tempered glass, which means they won’t shatter into sharp pieces if they accidentally break.
To help you make the most of this practical and striking feature, consult an interior designer.
8 habits that harm the environment
If you want to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle, start by ditching habits that generate a lot of pollution. Here are eight things you might be doing that needlessly harm the environment.
1. Flushing or throwing out medication. Prescription drugs can contaminate the water supply and poison wildlife. Always bring unused and expired medication to your local pharmacy for safe disposal.
2. Drinking bottled water. In most places, tap water is just as safe as bottled water and creates substantially less pollution. If necessary, equip your home with a filtration system.
3. Putting old electronics in the garbage. Since these devices contain toxic substances, bring them to a drop-off location in your region to be safely recycled or refurbished.
4. Tossing cigarette butts on the ground. These are a major source of plastic pollution. Before you light up, locate a nearby outdoor receptacle or make sure you have a pocket ashtray on hand.
5. Opting for single-use plastic straws. Refuse them at restaurants and coffee shops. There are plenty of reusable options on the market made of metal, silicone, and bamboo.
6. Removing makeup with single-use products. Since these wipes take years to decompose in landfills, many beauty brands offer alternatives that can be washed and reused.
7. Driving erratically. Rapidly accelerating and slamming on the brakes will cause your car to produce more emissions. Pushing on the pedals gently and driving with smoother transitions will save gas and money.
8. Using harsh chemical cleaners. These corrosive products are a health and environmental hazard. Opt for biodegradable options or discover the cleaning properties of vinegar, lemon, and baking soda.
From taking shorter showers to buying food grown and produced locally, there are countless small lifestyle changes that can make a huge difference.