Blacksmith Shop in the Historic Area.
The forge is fired up and the blacksmiths are hard at work in the Historic Area. Members of the Blacksmith Guild of the Potomac have set up shop and are ready to show off their skills. Stop by the Blacksmith Shop, located behind the Dairy Barn in the Historic Area, and see them fashion iron into helpful tools and kitchen items used on the farm.
Program adjustments in response to COVID-19: Social distancing and facemasks required for the duration of activities.
How to prevent digital eye strain
If you’re experiencing dry eyes, headaches, or blurry vision, digital eye strain may be to blame. Here are five things that can help alleviate the effects of frequently looking at your computer, tablet, or phone screen.
1. Follow the 20/20/20 rule
Look up from your screen every 20 minutes and focus on something approximately 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. This short break will give your eyes the needed rest to relax, refocus and reset.
2. Change your settings
If your job makes it impossible to avoid looking at a screen all day, try using a larger font size. Additionally, you can increase the contrast, sharpness, and brightness of your screen.
3. Adjust the lighting
Glare from the sun or overhead lights can cause your eyes to work overtime. Try dimming the lights in the room, closing the blinds, or installing an anti-glare filter.
4. Improve your posture
Bad posture can intensify digital eye strain. Avoid slumping over, craning your neck, or looking down at your screen for long periods of time.
5. Schedule regular eye exams
An optometrist can ensure that your uncorrected vision problems are addressed. Plus, they can provide professional advice on how to keep your eyes healthy.
Though digital eye strain is unlikely to lead to permanent damage, it can be uncomfortable. Taking precautions will help minimize difficulties with your vision and eye health.
Governor Northam launches Return to Earn Grant Program to help Virginians transition back to work
On June 11, 20212, Governor Ralph Northam announced a new $3 million investment to pilot the Return to Earn Grant Program, which will match payments from eligible small businesses to provide new hires with up to $1,000 to support their transition back into the workforce. While many companies are offering hiring bonuses, the Return to Earn Grant Program will serve businesses with less than 100 employees that may not have the resources to provide this financial support. The initial launch of this program will be funded through Virginia’s federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) set aside, and additional recovery funds may be allocated based on demand.
“Many Virginians who lost their jobs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic still face a variety of barriers to returning to work like access to affordable child care, transportation, and a living wage,” said Governor Northam. “These bonuses will serve as an incentive for unemployed workers to get back into the workforce, while also helping employers fill vacant jobs. The Virginia Return to Earn Grant Program is about empowering the true catalysts of our economic comeback—Virginia’s workers and small businesses.”
This initiative will match up to $500 that a qualifying small business pays directly to a new employee hired after May 31, 2021, either as a lump sum or in installments to offset the ongoing costs of child care, transportation, or other barriers to re-employment. Funds will only be reimbursed to businesses for new hires in positions that pay at least $15 per hour and that qualify as W-2 employment, either full- or part-time. To help address workforce shortages in child care, qualifying child care businesses may qualify for up to $500 per new hire without the match requirement.
“For Virginia to fully recover from the impacts of the pandemic on our economy, we need targeted solutions,” said Chief Workforce Development Advisor Dr. Megan Healy. “One in three Virginia workers has applied for unemployment benefits over the course of the pandemic. The new Return to Earn Grant Program will accomplish a dual purpose of helping unemployed Virginian’s transition back into living-wage jobs, particularly in the child care industry, and supporting small businesses with their hiring needs.”
The launch of the Return to Earn Grant Program coincides with the reinstatement of the weekly work search requirement in Virginia, which started the week of May 31, 2021. Virginians receiving unemployment benefits must make contact with employers each week and accept reasonable offers of employment.
On June 1, the Commonwealth also reopened its Virginia Career Works Centers for in-person services to ensure that Virginians making the transition back to the workforce have access to the resources they need to find high-quality jobs. Job seekers can continue to access resources virtually through the Virginia Career Works Referral Portal.
For additional information on requirements and to apply for Return to Earn grant funding, small businesses should contact their local Virginia Career Works Center.
Answers to frequently asked questions.
1. What is the Virginia Return to Earn Grant Program?
Unemployed Virginians are facing a variety of childcare, transportation, and other barriers to returning to the workforce while some small businesses are struggling to find workers. To support Virginians in their transition back to employment, Governor Ralph Northam will invest $3 million in federal WIOA set aside funds to pilot the VA Return to Earn Grant Program. The pilot initiative will match up to $500 that a qualifying small business pays directly to a new employee hired on or after May 31st, 2021 to support their transition back to employment. Funds will only be reimbursed for new hires in positions that pay at least $15 per hour and qualify as W-2 employment, either full- or part-time. Qualifying small childcare businesses, who may be facing particularly challenging workforce shortages, may qualify for up to $500 per new hire without the requirement to match.
2. Which small businesses are eligible for funds through the VA Return to Earn Grant Program?
A business must have 100 or fewer employees and be incorporated in Virginia. The employee count is the sum of the business’s employees across all Virginia locations. Qualifying childcare businesses, who may be facing particularly challenging workforce shortages, are eligible for 100% reimbursement for up to $500 per new hire. This means that no match is required from the childcare business to receive funding for new hires through the grant program.
3. What qualifies as a “childcare business”?
A childcare business may be a sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation, with services delivered in home- and/or center-based settings. These businesses may be licensed or legally exempted from licensing by the state.
4. Which job positions are eligible for funds through the VA Return to Earn Grant Program?
Funds will only be reimbursed for new hires in positions that pay at least $15 per hour and qualify as W-2 employment, either full- or part-time.
5. Is there a limit to the number of new hires eligible for reimbursement through the VA Return to Earn Grant Program?
Yes, qualifying small businesses are eligible for a match of up to $500 per new hire for up to 25 new employees. These must have been hired on or after May 31st, 2021.
6. How can VA Return to Earn funds be used?
Funds are only reimbursable through the VA Return to Earn Grant Program if they are provided by a qualifying small business directly to a qualifying new hire, either as a lump sum or in installments to offset the ongoing costs of childcare, transportation, or other barriers to re-employment.
7. How should a qualifying small business apply for reimbursement of funds through the VA Return to Earn Grant Program?
For additional information on requirements and to apply for grant funding, small businesses should contact their local Virginia Career Works Center. Funds will only be reimbursed once they have been fully paid to the new hire.
8. This program matches up to $500 provided to a new hire to support their re-employment, for a total of $1000. If I am a qualifying small business, can I give the new hire a stipend that is more than $1000?
Yes, it is at the discretion of the employer as to how much is provided to the new employee. The VA Return to Earn Program will reimburse for 50% of the funds provided but only up to $500 per new hire. Childcare businesses will receive 100% reimbursement for up to $500 per new hire.
9. How is the initial $3 million in funding for the VA Return to Earn Grant Program being allocated across the Commonwealth? What happens if the money runs out?
Grant funds will be allocated across Virginia’s workforce development areas proportional to the number of current continuing unemployment insurance claims in each region. The initial $3 million allocated from WIOA Governor’s set-aside funds will serve to pilot the approach, and additional funding may be allocated depending on demand for the program.
10. What other strategies is the Commonwealth employing to support people with their return to work and ensure that employers have the workforce they need to fuel Virginia’s economic recovery?
The launch of the new Return to Earn Grant Program coincides with the reinstatement of the Virginia work search requirement beginning the week of May 31, 2021. Virginians receiving unemployment benefits must make contact with employers each week and accept reasonable offers of employment. On June 1, the Commonwealth reopened its Virginia Career Works Centers for in-person services to ensure that Virginians making the transition back to the workforce have access to the resources they need to find a high-quality job. Jobseekers can continue to access resources virtually through the Virginia Career Works Referral Portal.
Hope Arising Festival continues today till 5 pm, Sunday 11 to 4pm. Great family fun.
The Hope Arising Festival continues today, Saturday June 12) till 5 p.m. and again tomorrow (Sunday June 13) till 4 p.m. Great family fun.
LIVE music – FREE Hot Dogs – Food Trucks – Obstacle Course – Petting Zoo – Amazing Grace the Mule – Magic Show – Face Painting – the microWave Project – Paint the “HOPE” sign …AND MORE!
This two-day event will be a fun-pack time to enjoy time with your family and friends. More information at hopearisingfestival.com .
County’s June 10 Situation Report: COVID update and Happy Creek Road closing approaches
Warren County ranked next to last in percentage of the population being fully vaccinated in a June 10th County Emergency Management update related to COVID-19 statistics in the Lord Fairfax Health District (LFHD). According to the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) 32.2% of Warren’s population is fully vaccinated, which is just 2.4% below the average LFHD vaccination rate of 34.6%. Statewide in Virginia, VDH reported a 46.7% rate of fully vaccinated citizens.
Vaccination rates in the six-jurisdiction Northern Shenandoah Valley-based Lord Fairfax Health District were:
1/ Clarke County 44.6%;
2/ Winchester City 38.5%;
3/ Shenandoah County 36.8%;
4/ Frederick County 36.4%;
5/ Warren County 32.2%;
6/ Page County 31.6%.
Barring medically established physical reasons for not being vaccinated, citizens are being urged to take advantage of the increasing availability of FDA-approved vaccines as a preventative, not only from becoming symptomatic if exposed to COVID-19 Coronavirus strains but also as a preventative from passing the virus to others if exposed. As previously reported, relaxing CDC, State, and local social distancing and masking standards are aimed at an increasingly vaccinated population, with unvaccinated people urged to continue to social distance, mask, and wash their hands more regularly than normal as noted in the below report.
See above-cited and related information, as well as info on the June 19 closing of a portion of Happy Creek Road into early August, from June 10, 2021, County SITREP (Situation Report) below:
COMMUNITY INFORMATION, 6-10-21, 1:42 p.m.:
COVID update, information & LINKS, June 10, 2021, 1:42 p.m.:
- COVID-19 Information (Current Data):
- Lord Fairfax Health District: As of today (per the VDH website), the number of total COVID-19 cases per locality are: Clarke 991, Frederick 8,084, Page 2,115, Shenandoah 4,328, Warren 3,064 (121 are/were hospitalized, 59 deaths attributed to the County; deaths 1.92% total cases), Winchester 2,937; the current status of these patients is unknown (admitted to hospital, discharged to home isolation/quarantine, departed the District/County).
- Note – Regional population fully vaccinated according to VDH site (avg 34.6%):
- Clarke – 44.6%
- Frederick – 36.4%
iii. Page – 31.6%
- Shenandoah – 36.8%
- Warren – 32.2%
- Winchester – 38.5%
- Commonwealth: 7,521,258 people tested (PCR only); 677,425 total cases [2.0% positive rate (PCR only)]; 30,086 total hospitalized; 11,270 total deaths (1.66%total cases).
- Note: 46.7% of Virginia population fully vaccinated according to VDH site.
- United States: As of June 9, 2021, there are 33,224,075 total cases and 595,625 total deaths (1.79%total cases) attributed to COVID-19.
- Current Executive Orders and Local Directives (not all inclusive):
- Local – Designation of Critical and Essential Employees during an Emergency Memorandum, effective May 7, 2020, until further notice
- Key Leader Public Messaging (CDC) – Take Prevention Measures:
- Vaccinated People:
- Prevention measures not needed
- Unvaccinated People:
- Wear a mask
- Stay 6 feet apart
iii. Wash your hands
- Valley Health – VDH Lord Fairfax Health District Vaccine Information (as of 6/1/2021)
- STATEWIDE: Get your shot and help others make a plan to get vaccinated. Getting a shot has never been easier—vaccines are readily available at many supermarket pharmacies, hospitals, doctor’s offices, local health department clinics, and state-run community vaccination centers. To find a vaccine provider near you, visit vaccinate.virginia.gov, call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682), or text your ZIP code to GETVAX (428829). Call center representatives are available from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday. All Virginia residents aged 12 and older are eligible to get vaccinated.
- LOCALLY: VDH will offer a COVID-19 clinic every Wednesday in June (except 6/30) at the 15th St. Cafeteria in Front Royal; call 877-VAX-IN-VA or the Heath Department to schedule an appointment.
- Executive Order 79 (2021) (Effective May 28, 2021):
- EO-79 is in furtherance of Amended Executive Order 51 (2020). Further, this Order terminates Seventh Amended Number Seventy-Two (2021) and Order of Public Health Emergency Nine, shall be effective midnight on May 28, 2021, and shall remain in full force and effect until amended or rescinded by further executive order.
- EO-79 (2021): https://www.governor.virginia.gov/media/governorvirginiagov/executive-actions/EO-79-and-Order-of-Public-Health-Emergency-Ten-Ending-of-Commonsense-Public-Health-Restrictions-Due-to-Novel-Coronavirus-(COVID-19).pdf
- EO-51 (2020): https://www.governor.virginia.gov/media/governorvirginiagov/executive-actions/EO-51-AMENDED-Declaration-of-a-State-of-Emergency-Due-to-Novel-Coronavirus-(COVID-19).pdf
- CDC Update as of May 28, 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated-guidance.html
- Updated Choosing Safer Activities infographic with new considerations for the example activity for outdoor gatherings with fully vaccinated and unvaccinated people.
American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (Emergency Coordinator)
- Overallproject coordinator is Rick Farrall, Emergency Coordinator
- Warren County’s total allocation is $7,801,386
- An application was submitted to the Department of Treasury
iii. Details to follow
LONG-TERM (scheduled completion over 3-months)
- FEMA Emergency Protective Measures (Category B) Reimbursement (Deputy County Administrator)
- Warren County. Main lead is Taryn Logan, Planning Director
- All departments/staff send monthly expense update to Taryn NLT the last working day of each month
- Approximate County expenditure to date is approximately $510,000 (5/18/2021)
- Town of Front Royal. Main lead is B.J. Wilson, Finance Director
- Approximate Town expenditure to date is $70,000 (10/14/2020)
- Point of Distribution (POD) (Parks and Recreation)
- POD established at the 15thSt. Gym/Cafeteria in coordination with VH/VDH for the mass distribution of critical medical supplies as required (COVID-19 vaccination). Another term being circulated is “CVC” or Community Vaccination Center.
Coming traffic pattern change
- 2. Happy Creek Road Closure:
- A portion of Happy Creek Road (Route 624) will close next Saturday, June 19, 2021 through approximately August 6, 2021. VDOT’s (and Norfolk Southern) intent is to complete the reconstruction project before our public schools resume classes in August.
- The project will impact Happy Creek Road from the Town of Front Royal limit east to Dismal Hollow Road; it includes work on the railroad crossing site just prior to Dismal Hollow Road.
- Residents and First Responders will have local and emergency access to the areas west and east of the railroad crossing. Once Norfolk Southern begins work on the crossing site, no vehicles will be able to pass from one side to the other until construction is complete.
- Please plan your travels accordingly.
4 ways kids can help in the garden
If you’re a parent, you might find it difficult to tend to your garden while also keeping a close eye on your kids. Fortunately, there are a number of simple tasks that can keep even the youngest gardeners occupied.
Fill up a watering can — make sure it’s not too heavy — and let your little ones go about hydrating your planter boxes and potted plants. When it comes time to water the vegetable garden or flower beds, offer to let your kids hold the hose.
Teach your children to recognize the most common unwanted plants that sprout up in your garden. Ask them to go on a hunt for weeds and, with your supervision, let them try pulling up ones with shallow roots.
You can add mulch to your garden to help it retain moisture and limit the spread of weeds. Encourage your kids to get their hands dirty by carefully transferring mulch from the bag to the garden and spreading it evenly over the soil.
From picking up leaves to putting twigs in the compost bin, there are plenty of easy ways your kids can help clean the yard. Remind them to keep an eye out for fallen petals, pinecones, and acorns they can use for crafts.
In addition to giving you a hand, your little ones will have plenty of opportunities to learn about how plants grow. It’s a win-win situation.
Fly the flag: How well do you know Old Glory?
Every year on June 14, people across the country commemorate the adoption of the United States flag. But how well do you know your Stars and Stripes? Test your knowledge with this quiz.
1. In what year was a design for the national flag approved by the Second Continental Congress?
2. Which president signed into law an Act of Congress designating June 14 as Flag Day?
a) Harry Truman
b) Abraham Lincoln
c) Woodrow Wilson
d) John Hancock
3. How many versions of the United States flag have featured Stars and Stripes?
4. Which of these statements is NOT a United States Flag Code guideline?
a) The flag should never be used for advertising purposes
b) The flag should never be used as clothing, bedding or drapery
c) The flag should never touch the ground
d) The flag should never be flown at night or in bad weather
5. When was the 50th star added to the flag of the United States?
6. Which state was the first to make Flag Day a legal holiday?
c) New Hampshire
7. How many red and white stripes are on the American flag?
a) 7 red, 6 white
b) 6 red, 6 white
c) 6 red, 7 white
d) 7 red, 7 white
8. What does the United States Flag Code recommend you do with a worn-out flag that’s no longer usable?
a) Cut it up
b) Burn it
c) Recycle it
d) Bury it
No cheating. How did you do?
Answers: 1-b, 2-a, 3-c, 4-d, 5-c, 6-d, 7-a, 8-b