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Fauquier Health reverts to stricter limited-visitation policy as COVID numbers rise

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As we continue to evaluate the situation of COVID-19, and the confirmed number of cases that are on the rise in our communities, Fauquier Health has decided to move back to a stricter limited-visitation policy. It is our priority first and foremost to ensure the protection and safety of our patients, employees, providers, volunteers and visitors.

We have also made the difficult, but necessary, decision to reschedule elective and non-urgent cases that require inpatient stay for the next two weeks. We will continue to assess the situation daily.

Patients whose appointments are being rescheduled will be notified, and procedures will be rescheduled as soon as feasible.

Rescheduling elective and non-urgent cases will allow us to conserve hospital and ICU beds, and ensure we have additional personnel available to support our sickest patients.

To view the full visitation details, please visit: fauquierhealth.org/covid-19-preparedness

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Top 10 tips to avoid tax season fraud

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Each year, taxpayers’ personal information is compromised through phishing scams or by unscrupulous tax preparers. With tax season kicking off on January 24, IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) wants taxpayers to be aware of tax-related fraud.

“As the investigative arm of the IRS, we see the impact that fraudsters have on taxpayers,” said Darrell Waldon, Special Agent in Charge of the Washington D.C. Field Office. “This tax season, we want to remind U.S. taxpayers about ways they can protect their wallets and personal information.”

Tips to avoid tax season fraud include:
1. Choose a tax preparer wisely. Look for a preparer who is available year-round.

2. Ask your tax preparer for their IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). All paid preparers are required to have one.


3. Don’t use a ghost preparer. They won’t sign a tax return they prepare for you.

4. Don’t fall victim to tax preparers’ promises of large refunds. Taxpayers must pay their fair share of taxes.

5. Don’t sign a blank tax return. Taxpayers are ultimately responsible for what appears on tax returns filed with the IRS.

6. Make sure you receive your refund. Your refund should be deposited into your bank account, not your tax preparer.

7. The IRS will not call you threatening legal action. If you receive a call like this, hang up.

8. Don’t respond to text messages, emails or social media posts claiming to be the IRS. They may contain malware that could compromise your personal information.

9. Don’t click links or open attachments in unsolicited emails or text messages about your tax return. These messages are fraudulent.

10. Protect your personal and financial information. Never provide this information in response to unsolicited text messages, emails, or social media posts claiming to be the IRS.

Recent cases of tax preparer fraud:

D.C. tax return preparer sentenced to 14 months in prison for carrying out a tax scheme
Yohanness Ayechew of Washington, D.C., was sentenced to 14 months in prison last November for filing false tax returns and causing at least $250,000 of loss to the Internal Revenue Service.
He and his business partner operated Endalk and Yohannes Associated, L.P. in D.C. since 2011, where he prepared false income tax returns for clients that overstated business expenses and claimed exemptions to give them bigger tax returns than they were entitled to receive.

Former Maryland tax preparer sentenced to more than two years in federal prison for a tax fraud conspiracy
Anita Fortune, of Alexandria, Virginia, was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison last summer, followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution for filing false tax returns using a false ID provided by her co-conspirators. She and her co-conspirators also fabricated, inflated, and improperly claimed deductions on their clients’ returns to inflate their refunds.

For more tips on choosing a tax professional or how to file a complaint against one, visit IRS.gov. Taxpayers who suspect tax violations by a person or business may report it to the IRS using Form 3949A, Information Referral. Taxpayers can report phishing emails to phishing@irs.gov or IRS impersonation scams to TIGTA.gov.

This year’s tax season began Monday, January 24, and continues through Monday, April 18 for most taxpayers. U.S. taxpayers are subject to tax on worldwide income from all sources and must report all taxable income and pay taxes according to the Internal Revenue Code. Taxpayers found to be committing fraud may be subject to penalties including payment of taxes owed plus interest, fines, and jail time.

IRS-CI is the criminal investigative arm of the IRS, responsible for conducting financial crime investigations, including tax fraud, narcotics trafficking, money laundering, public corruption, healthcare fraud, identity theft, and more. IRS-CI special agents are the only federal law enforcement agents with investigative jurisdiction over violations of the Internal Revenue Code, boasting a nearly 90 percent federal conviction rate. The agency has 20 field offices located across the U.S. and 11 attaché posts abroad.

 

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LFCC website’s new design takes top educational marketing award

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LFCC’s newly-redesigned website was recently named a Gold winner in the institutional website category in the 2021 Education Digital Marketing Awards.

The website award was just one of seven awards won during the ceremony by Roanoke-based Access, which specializes in graphic design, advertising, web and app development, public relations, video content creation and more. Access assisted LFCC in creating its new website.

The Education Digital Marketing Awards recognize the best educational websites, digital content, electronic communications, mobile media and social media from colleges and universities nationwide. A national panel of industry specialists reviewed the entries, judging creativity, marketing execution, message impact, technology application and innovation content.

LFCC’s new website launched in August with a focus on search ease and being mobile-friendly with clean scrollable content.


“We’re very proud of this award and thankful for all the hard work Access put in to helping us redesign our site,” said LFCC Public Relations Director Brandy Boies. “When students are researching colleges, the first place they look is at the college website. We wanted to make our site as user-friendly as possible with easily accessible and searchable information for our prospective students and their supporters, and as this award demonstrates, we succeeded in doing that.”

Visit the college’s website at www.lfcc.edu.

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Virginia State Police welcomes 58 new troopers to serve

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On Friday, Jan. 21, 2022, the Commonwealth will graduate its 135th generation of Virginia State Troopers. The 58 new troopers will be presented their diplomas during commencement exercises at 10 a.m. at the State Police Training Academy located at 7700 Midlothian Turnpike in North Chesterfield County. Governor Glenn Youngkin will speak at the graduation ceremony.

“Completing the training here at the Virginia State Police Training Academy is no easy feat, and when you add the challenges COVID has brought, the bar is raised even higher,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “These 58 Trooper-trainees have put their heart and soul into becoming the very best troopers they can be. I am impressed with their resiliency and dedication during the last 27 weeks.”

The new troopers have received more than 1,300 hours of classroom and field instruction in more than 100 different subjects, including de-escalation techniques, strategies to assist people in mental health crisis, ethics and leadership, fair and impartial policing, constitutional law, emergency medical trauma care, and public and community relations. The members of the 135th Basic Session began their 27 weeks of academic, physical and practical training at the Academy July 6, 2021.

The soon-to-be graduates of the 135th Basic Session are from every corner of the Commonwealth, as well as Ohio, Oklahoma, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Vermont and the countries of Germany and Mongolia.


Upon graduation, the new troopers will report to their individual duty assignments across Virginia the week of Jan. 31. For their final phase of training, each trooper will spend an additional six weeks paired up with a Field Training Officer learning his or her new patrol area.

135th BASIC GRADUATING CLASS

Name  –  Hometown  –  Assignment

  • Alijia Danielle Monet Annon   –   Henrico   –   Henrico
  • Justin Aaron Armes   –   Stuart   –   Henrico
  • Zachary Cole Bailey   –   Ewing   –   Fluvanna
  • Stone Lee Baker   –   Boykins   –   Surry
  • Kennedy Jerome Barbour, Jr.   –   Williamsburg   –   James City
  • Jonathan Y. Bazil   –   Lynchburg   –   Charles City
  • Lucas Jeffrey Beall   –   Accomack   –   Accomack
  • William Brady Blankenship   –   Powhatan   –   Culpeper
  • Johnathon Daniel Blitz   –   Richmond   –   Henrico
  • Michelle Lynn Carney   –   Roanoke   –   Culpeper
  • Christopher John Caudill   –   Old Bridge   –   Prince William
  • Mark Wade Chamberlain   –   Mount Airy   –   Hanover / Henrico
  • Jeffrey Michael Dense   –   Alpine, New York   –   Fairfax
  • Austin Lee Edwards   –   Pounding Mill   –   Henrico
  • Robert Lane Faulkenberry   –   Lane, Oklahoma   –   Dinwiddie
  • Dimitrice John Finley   –   Chesapeake   –   Springfield
  • Justin Carl Grable   –   Louisa   –   Clarke
  • Nathanael Scott Hall   –   Forest   –   Dinwiddie
  • Sarah Francis Halperin   –   Hardwick, Vermont   –   Norfolk / Virginia Beach
  • Jonathan Wesley Hawk   –   Emporia   –   Sussex
  • Nicholas H. Henderson   –   Cape May, New Jersey   –   Prince William
  • Logan Allan Hinnant   –   Fredericksburg   –   Prince William
  • Nicole Noelle Hobbs   –   Hiltons   –   Frederick
  • Emma Clare Hodge   –   Powhatan   –   Norfolk / Virginia Beach
  • Alex Jamal Holley   –   Newport News   –   Springfield
  • Matthew Samuel Honey   –   Fairfax   –   Springfield
  • Luke J. Horvath   –   Schenectady, New York   –   Campbell
  • Logan James Houston   –   Quinton   –   Mathews
  • Steven Rex Huffman   –   Louisa   –   Hanover / Henrico
  • Brian D. Hurlimann   –   Rochester, New York   –   Stafford
  • Kenneth Ray Jamison   –   Danville   –   Bedford
  • Scott Andrew Jeltema   –   Bitburg, Germany   –   Springfield
  • Jeffrey Scott Keeney   –   Virginia Beach   –   Norfolk / Virginia Beach
  • Corey James Klak   –   Chesapeake   –   Norfolk / Virginia Beach
  • Alexis Mykayla Kovach   –   Chesterfield   –   Henrico
  • Sean Michael Laychak   –   Springfield   –   Prince William
  • Kortney M. Leazer   –   Remington   –   Bedford
  • Joo No Lee   –   Plainview, New York   –   Springfield
  • Griffin Downey Martin   –   Bracey   –   Cumberland
  • Kortney Evan Terrell McGhee   –   New York, New York   –   Highland
  • Michael Ryan Middleton   –   Ashburn   –   Fairfax
  • Chance Allen Morris   –   Powhatan   –   Springfield
  • Robert Dale Morris   –   La Crosse   –   Henrico
  • Samuel Patrick Norris   –   Pulaski   –   Roanoke
  • Alex Hoon Pak   –   Fairfax   –   Fairfax
  • James Robert Davis Pettry   –   Big Stone Gap   –   Bedford
  • Andrew Schuyler Poff   –   Shawsville   –   Botetourt
  • Justin Alexander Ratowski   –   Hunlock Creek, Pennsylvania   –   Prince William
  • Joshua Tyler Stahl   –   Toronto, Ohio   –   Hanover / Henrico
  • Malik Rashad Staton   –   Clinton, Maryland   –   Prince William
  • George Pendleton Stephenson, Jr.   –   Seaford   –   Hanover / Henrico
  • Eli Steven Thies   –   Harrisonburg   –   Henrico
  • Gungaajargal Turek   –   Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia   –   James City
  • Daniel Ryan Urban   –   Yorktown   –   Cumberland
  • Eric Grant Vitatoe   –   Haysi   –   Gloucester
  • Alexander B. Wallace   –   Staunton   –   Orange
  • Matthew Dennis Weinholtz   –   Buffalo, New York   –   Fairfax
  • Daniel Andrew Wood   –   Powhatan   –   Hanover / Henrico
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The Blue Ridge Area Food Bank promotes food finder tool amid winter weather, rising food prices

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Following another weekend of winter weather, many individuals and families across the region are experiencing hunger because they could not afford to both heat their home and buy food. For those facing this tragic dilemma, the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank has an online tool for people to find food assistance in their community.

Improved and re-launched in the spring of 2021, the user-friendly and mobile-accessible Food Finder tool can be navigated in 12 different languages and displays a broad range of partner and program sites (including mobile food pantries and more). Search results can be filtered by service type, days of operation, distance and even the availability of evening hours.

Compounding the hardships stemming from winter weather, food prices also continue to rise. Food-at-home prices (e.g., groceries) were up 6.5% in December 2021 from December 2020, according to the latest Consumer Price Index. Meat, fish, poultry, and eggs rose 12.5% over the same period.

At least one in 12 people in the Blue Ridge area experiences hunger, with children and the elderly suffering the worst consequences.


“We are in the midst of the coldest part of the year, and with more winter weather on the way, many people are faced with the impossible question of, ‘Do we heat our house today or buy food?’” said Michael McKee, CEO of The Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. “We understand the gravity of these situations, and we are committed to offering resources to those facing these difficult decisions. We’ve already seen the positive impact of Food Finder, and we hope more across our service area can find help through the tool should they need it.”

For those interested in utilizing Food Finder, go to: foodfinder.brafb.org for more information.


About the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank
Founded in 1981 and headquartered in Verona, Virginia, the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank is the largest organization alleviating hunger in western and central Virginia. The Food Bank serves an average of nearly 119,000 individuals each month across 25 counties and eight cities through distribution centers in Charlottesville, Lynchburg, Winchester, and Verona. Together with our network of 207 community partners and 187 program sites, we’re serving record numbers of Virginians during a prolonged pandemic and its associated economic impacts. We pledge to continue innovating and adapting to secure, store, and distribute more food to more individuals, families, children, and seniors experiencing hunger. The Food Bank is a member of Feeding America, a national food bank association that supports 200 food banks across the United States providing 6 billion meals to 42 million people through 60,000 partner pantries. For more information, visit www.brafb.org.

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Three awarded fourth degree black belts at Potomac Kempo

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For many people, the practice of martial arts is a strange—possibly intimidating—concept. People often wonder what happens in a ‘dojo’ with unfortunate misconceptions often perpetuated by movies and television. But the martial arts, and specifically the art of Kempo, which we choose to practice, is not strange or mysterious. It is an ancient self-improvement practice with fitness training and self-defense fitted in to fill out the edges.

In life, we often find that our greatest adversary is ourselves, as we all too often stand in our own way—sometimes going so far as to sabotage ourselves actively. But in Kempo, we work to overcome these traits by developing and utilizing methods that work in the studio and as well as in other aspects of life. By doing so, we work to create well-rounded, successful, and healthy lives.

In this spirit, we wish to acknowledge the accomplishment of three of our most esteemed students. In December 2021, Kevin Simpson, Jon Jelsma, and Geof Gibbs earned their Fourth Degree Black Belts in the Art of Kempo. They are the first students to reach this level in Potomac Kempo’s seventeen-year history, representing less than one-tenth of one percent of our students.

Photos courtesy of Potomac Kempo


These gentlemen have practiced the martial arts for an average of twenty years, teaching as well as training, and have studied multiple arts.

In addition to his Kempo practice, Kevin Simpson has studied Ninjutsu, Hapkido, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and Army Combatives, in which he is a Level 2 Certified Instructor. He is a Sergeant First Class in the US Army Band, and he volunteers to teach both Kempo classes and grappling basics.

Before practicing Kempo, Jon Jelsma studied Tae Kwon Do, Shorin Ryu Karate, and Fencing. Amidst his Kempo practice, he has also studied Jeet Kun Do, Pekiti Tirsia Kali, Inosanto Academy Kali, and Kosho Ryu Kempo. He is a patent examiner for the US Patent and Trademark Office and volunteers to teach Kempo and Kali classes throughout the week.

Geof Gibbs began his martial arts practice with Kempo and has since come to supplement it with the study of Kali and Kosho Shorei Ryu. Having left a former life as a computer scientist, he is now a career instructor, acting as our Senior Staff Trainer and the Chief Instructor of our Huntington Metro studio location in Alexandria, Virginia. In addition to teaching Kempo, he leads our Kosho Club. Consistent with our relatively new tradition of passing on belts, Geof was presented with my own Fourth Degree Black Belt that I wore when I was that rank.

We are honored by their accomplishments and are proud to have them as part of the Potomac Kempo team. It is rightly said that “You are only as good as the people you train with,” and these exemplary practitioners are an asset to all of Potomac Kempo. Their work is a testament to lifetimes of dedication, learning, and growth.

One final thought: as I sat on the floor of an empty studio presenting belts to three very sweaty persons, I searched for words to capture the moment, for praise that would not seem redundant or superfluous. My mind circled twice, and I settled back on humility. I have known these men for decades; we have spent more hours training together than I could begin to count. They are my most accomplished students, yet they may also be my most humble students. And I don’t think that is an accident or coincidence. In martial arts, we tell the story of a student whose cup is so full it will not hold any more tea. Through all of these years, Kevin, Jon, and Geof have all managed to keep an empty cup, space to learn, never believing that they have learned it all.

I wish them a lifetime of continued success and health.

Chris Santillo, Sensei
Potomac Kempo Founder, Headmaster

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Fauquier Health encourages community members to know where to go, and when

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Knowing where to go to get the care you need can be confusing. Efforts to continue slowing the spread of COVID-19 have resulted in many new practices for hospitals, outpatient centers and medical offices. As we move forward, life – and healthcare – continues to evolve. Fauquier Health’s commitment to providing a broad range of healthcare services and high-quality care won’t change.

Now more than ever, it is important to seek out the right level of care for when you are not feeling your best.

Experiencing COVID-19 symptoms? Call your primary care office during normal business hours for non-emergent conditions or symptoms.

  • Your primary care provider knows your medical history and should be your first line of defense for any illness or disease that isn’t a medical emergency. Think cough and cold, flu, stomach upset, chronic conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure, and more. They should also be your regular resource for preventive care, including annual wellness visits, routine vaccinations, smoking cessation, diet and exercise consultations, and more.
  • It is safe to visit your primary care provider. Physician offices are working around the clock to make it easier for you to get seen virtually or in-person if appropriate. If you have an in-person visit you will need to wear a mask during the entirety of the visit. This helps to protect you, staff members and other patients. You may also notice that there are fewer people in the office, and that’s ok. Many providers are intentionally spacing patient visits to support social distancing measures.
  • You may be asking yourself what to expect during a virtual or telehealth visit. Telehealth is a safe way and effective way to get you the care and guidance you need from a health professional. Providers offering telehealth may do your visit over the phone or through a video conferencing call. Check your provider’s website or call the office to determine if telehealth is available.

COVID-19 testing sites may be coupled with longer wait times and at home testing kits may be difficult to obtain. Many primary care offices are also capable of doing COVID-19 testing. So be sure to speak with your physician about when testing is appropriate for you and what their recommendations are for next steps.


Use an urgent care or walk-in clinic for moderate/worsening symptoms when prompt primary care is not available or after normal business hours.

  • Using an urgent care or walk-in clinic is a great option if your primary care provider is not readily available, or if it is after normal business hours and your primary care provider’s office is closed. Urgent cares and walk-in clinics commonly treat people for cough and cold, flu, ear infections and allergies, skin conditions, minor injuries and more. Some urgent cares or walk-in clinics have x-ray capabilities onsite as well.
  • It is safe to visit urgent cares and walk-in clinics. Please exercise an abundance of caution by wearing your mask during your visit. This helps to protect you, staff members and other patients. Some urgent cares or walk-in clinics may have digital wait-in-line tools to reduce your time spent in the waiting room. You can sign up for your slot ahead of time and arrive for your appointment.
  • Many local urgent care or walk-in clinics offer telehealth or virtual appointment services in an effort to support social distancing while continuing regular patient care. Providers offering telehealth may do a visit over the phone or through a video conference call. Check the office’s website or call ahead to determine if telehealth is available and appropriate for your needs.

For COVID-19 testing, most urgent cares or walk-in clinics are requiring appointments ahead of time. Be sure to check their websites or call for information on how to schedule a COVID-19 test. By scheduling an appointment, it will cut down on your estimated wait times and will help to prevent long drive-up lines.

Use your nearest emergency room for any medical emergency.

If you are experiencing emergent symptoms of a heart attack or stroke, have difficulty breathing, or are experiencing another medical emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

To help prevent the spread of illness, you will be screened for fever and other symptoms of respiratory illnesses when you arrive. You will also be asked to wear a mask. It is important that you wear your mask until you are instructed to remove it by a staff member or until you are discharged. This helps to protect you, staff members and other patients.

It is critical that you seek emergency care if you are experiencing a medical emergency. We have procedures in place to protect the health and safety of our patients, staff members and visitors. Our standard infection prevention protocols help in preventing the spread of infectious diseases, including COVID-19, year-round. It is safe to come to the hospital, and your life, or the life of a loved one, may depend on prompt emergency treatment.

If you are concerned you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, please check out our symptom checker.

Prioritizing your health and the health of your loved ones is important. By seeking out the appropriate level of care, taking advantage of telehealth visits when appropriate, following guidance from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for wearing a mask, and practicing smart social distancing, you are making communities healthier.

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Upcoming Events

Jan
28
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12:30 pm Free REVIVE! Opioid Overdose and... @ ONLINE
Free REVIVE! Opioid Overdose and... @ ONLINE
Jan 28 @ 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm
Free REVIVE! Opioid Overdose and Naloxone Education @ ONLINE
Northwestern Prevention Collaborative, in conjunction with Northwestern Community Services Board, will offer a free, virtual REVIVE! Training on January 28th from 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm. The one-hour online class provides an overview of how[...]
Jan
31
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3:00 pm Virtual Financial Services Workshop @ ONLINE
Virtual Financial Services Workshop @ ONLINE
Jan 31 @ 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Virtual Financial Services Workshop @ ONLINE
People Incorporated is cohosting a virtual financial services workshop for small business owners to learn about business loans, technical assistance, training, and other services provided by the agency. The workshop is scheduled for Monday, Jan.[...]
Feb
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6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Feb 2 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
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all-day First Friday @ Downtown Main Street
First Friday @ Downtown Main Street
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First Friday @ Downtown Main Street
Come celebrate First Friday! Downtown businesses will be open late, until 8 p.m., on the first Friday and Saturday of each month.
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all-day First Friday @ Downtown Main Street
First Friday @ Downtown Main Street
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Women’s Wellness Workshop @ ONLINE
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Women’s Wellness Workshop – Virtual via Zoom Webinar – Key Note Speaker Dr. Neema. Registrations will begin January 5: frontroyalwomenswellness.com
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Astronomy for Everyone @ Sky Meadows State Park
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Astronomy for Everyone @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area: Discover our International Dark-Sky Park! Our evenings begin with a half-hour children’s “Junior Astronomer” program, followed by a discussion about the importance of dark skies and light conservation. Then join NASA Jet Propulsion[...]
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6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
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Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
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Feb
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10:00 am Winter Tree Identification Workshop @ Sky Meadows State Park
Winter Tree Identification Workshop @ Sky Meadows State Park
Feb 12 @ 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Winter Tree Identification Workshop @ Sky Meadows State Park
Winter Tree Identification Workshop: Botany and Bloom Series Historic Area Even after the chilly breezes of autumn have stripped them of their leaves, trees provide clues to their identification by way of their bark, leaf[...]