10:15 Toddler story time | 11:00 Preschool story time
- Wednesday, March 18 and Thursday, March 19: Our stories, songs, and craft this week will be about friends! Come to story time and see your friends, and look for new friends to meet! Siblings welcome.
- Wednesday, March 25 and Thursday, March 26: Hear ye! Hear ye! Our stories, songs, and craft this week will be about castles! Siblings welcome.
- Wednesday, April 1 and Thursday, April 2: Springtime Fun will be the theme of our stories, songs, and craft this week! Siblings welcome.
- Wednesday, April 8 and Thursday, April 9: Our stories, songs, and craft this week will be about Beautiful Bugs! Siblings welcome.
- Wednesday, April 15 and Thursday, April 16: What’s Cooking? Find out at story time this week! We’ll also have songs, finger plays, and a craft. Siblings welcome.
Virginia uses genetic technology to combat COVID-19
~ State public health laboratory is one of the first in the nation to do this work ~
RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today (April 6, 2020) announced that the Department of General Services’ (DGS) Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services (DCLS) is one of the first public health labs in the nation to use genetic technology to help public health officials better understand and track the scope of the COVID-19 pandemic to strengthen prevention and response efforts.
DCLS is using next-generation sequencing to genetically decode some Virginia samples that contain the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19. Looking at this genetic fingerprint can help public health officials track how the virus is changing and provide insights into how it is being transmitted.
“Advances in genetic sequencing allow us to track and analyze COVID-19 better than previous outbreaks,” said Governor Northam. “This innovative technology, combined with the work of our public health laboratory and epidemiologists around the Commonwealth, will help us understand the virus, how it spreads, and how it may change. And that will give us more tools to fight it.”
DCLS is working alongside the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and international public health and university partners using specialized lab equipment and computer software to piece together the genetic makeup of the virus found in COVID-19 patients. DCLS is working collaboratively to create a library that stores the information of not only the positive samples it identifies, but also those tested at private facilities, healthcare systems, and universities in Virginia.
Hidden in the genetic makeup of the virus are clues to its origin. Soon after the virus appeared in China, scientists used sequencing to tease out its genetic information and made that information available to the international public health community. As the virus travels from one person to another, it makes copies of itself and sometimes makes small genetic changes called mutations. Scientists can read these mutations like a road map, tracing how cases are related.
Next-generation sequencing generates enormous amounts of data, which is analyzed by specialized bioinformaticians at DCLS. The lab shares the data with public health officials and uploads it to GISAID, an online repository where genomic data is openly available to epidemiologists and virologists around the globe. Nextstrain, an online resource for scientists to visually track the genomics of the virus, creates diagrams that favor family trees showing the evolutionary relationships between different samples collected throughout the world.
“This genetic fingerprint gives us tremendous insight into this novel virus, helping us understand where Virginia cases originated and how they are being transmitted in our communities,” said DCLS Director Dr. Denise Toney. “Providing this information in real-time is unbelievably valuable for public health officials as they determine how to reduce the impact of COVID-19 in our communities.”
In Virginia, the sequences uploaded so far show evidence of multiple introductions of the virus into Virginia communities, suggesting that the emergence of COVID-19 is due to multiple distinct events. This is suggested by looking at the similarity of the virus in Virginia to the virus sequences obtained from Asian and European patients. There is also a clear indication of person-to-person spread within suspected COVID-19 outbreaks.
“Epidemiologists at the Virginia Department of Health can use these data during investigations of outbreaks in nursing homes and other settings to determine whether all of the cases originated from the same source or multiple sources,” said Virginia State Epidemiologist Dr. Lilian Peake.
For more information, visit the DGS website at dgs.virginia.gov, including this Next-Generation Sequencing in Virginia document that explains more about how DCLS is using genetic technology to combat COVID-19 in Virginia.
Governor Northam COVID-19 update briefing – April 6, 2020
Governor Northam joins the Virginia Emergency Support Team to share the latest updates on the COVID-19 response. Here is the latest update:
May & June Election Clarification from Congressman Ben Cline
There has been a lot of misinformation spread regarding the effect of Gov. Northam’s stay-at-home order and how it will affect the upcoming local elections on May 5th and primary elections on June 9th. It is important that you know how to participate in Virginia’s elections, that is why I would like to share with you some information compiled by my office.
While the Governor’s order lasts until June 10th, in-person voting will still occur at normal polling locations on May 5th and June 9th. A spokesperson for the Governor’s office stated the order does not apply to “the operation of government,” which includes operating and participating in elections.
Additionally, absentee voting has been expanded to allow anyone with COVID-19 safety concerns to select “illness or disability” and receive a mail-in ballot. You can request your absentee ballot by clicking here.
Nothing in our democracy could be more important than transparent elections. It is your right to be fully informed about where and how to vote. I encourage you to forward this message to your friends and family who may be in the dark about the election process in the coming months.
As always, please be encouraged to reach out to my office if I can ever be of assistance
POLICE: 7 Day FRPD Arrest Report 4/6/2020
Easter-weekend activities for the whole family
Are you looking for something to do over the Easter break? If so, here are some great activities the whole family is sure to enjoy.
Participate in one of the many Easter celebrations taking place nearby. Consider bringing your kids to an organized Easter egg hunt or egg roll race, or simply staging your own at home. Or, you could visit a petting zoo in town or at a nearby farm.
Alternatively, keep an eye out for Easter-themed crafts and workshops offered by local community centers and businesses.
Take advantage of the extra days off to absorb some culture at a local museum, learn about history at a nearby heritage site or read a book at your neighborhood library.
Or, if you want to be entertained, consider taking in a theater production, watching the latest blockbuster at the movies or cheering on your favorite sports team at a local game. You could also go to see a concert, dance recital or magic show.
If the weather’s temperate, head outdoors for a hike or bike ride. Or, consider venturing to the nearest snow-covered mountain to go snowshoeing, snowboarding or skiing instead. However, if the weather’s not great, an indoor activity such as skating, bowling or swimming may be more appropriate.
If you’d prefer to stay in over Easter weekend, there are lots of things you can do from the comfort of your own home. You could decorate eggs, do some baking or simply cuddle up on the couch with a movie.
Tax time: Go for the refund, or no?
Not to be a downer, but if you get a refund to come tax time, it means one thing: you had too much money withheld from your paycheck throughout the year and you gave the government an interest-free loan.
Not that that’s a bad thing. The debate will surely rage on about whether it’s a good idea to set yourself up for a refund, with many experts loudly proclaiming it a bad idea.
Regardless, the average taxpayer received a refund of roughly $3,000 each of the last few years, according to NerdWallet. And if you’re one of the many people who look forward to that windfall every April, here are some ideas to be fiscally smart when your money comes back around to you:
* Pay off or pay down high-interest credit cards, or, if the refund won’t pay them down completely, consider rolling the balance over onto cards with lower interest rates. (Note: consider the interest you pay during the course of a year and whether it’s better to have less money withheld from your paycheck so you can pay that debt off sooner.)
* Add funds to your emergency account. Or set one up if you don’t have it already.
* Invest it. From the NerdWallet article: A taxpayer who received a $3,000 refund in 2010, invested it and earned a 6% average annualized return would have more than $5,000 in that investment today. If they did the same for each of the past 10 years, they’d have more than $47,000 today.
* Put it toward retirement. Whether that’s your 401(k) or some version of an IRA, you can use the refund in a tax-free investment for your golden years.
* Put it toward an education fund or a 529 plan, each of which offers tax benefits as well. (Always consult your CPA.)
* Buy life insurance.
* Donate to your favorite charity.