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Festival establishes and honors first-ever inductees into the Apple Blossom Sports Hall of Fame

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The Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival will honor six individuals who have had a lasting impact on sports across our region. The inaugural class includes the following:

Russ Potts

Russ Potts created the Apple Blossom Festival Sports Breakfast along with Dick Kern in 1965. Former Heavyweight Champion Jack Dempsey was the very first sports celebrity to attend the Sports Breakfast.

Potts is a member of 6 Hall of Fames: National College Sports Marketing Hall of Fame, Virginia Sports Hall of Fame, Handley High School Judges Athletic Association Hall of Fame, Potomac State College Hall of Fame, Shenandoah University Hall of Fame and the University of Maryland Phi Delta Theta Fraternity Hall of Fame


Russ is a former Executive Director of the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival®, serving from 1969 to 1970.  During his tenure he moved the Grand Feature Parade from Friday to Saturday attracting 86 bands in 1969 & 92 bands in 1970.

Potts was elected eight times to the Virginia State Senate from 1992-2008. He served as Chairman of the Senate’s Education & Health Committee.

Russ was the first Sports Marketing Director in the history of college athletics at the University of Maryland.  He was also the Director of Athletics at SMU. During his tenure, both universities set all time average attendance increase records-the only time in NCAA history.

Potts served as Vice President of Marketing for the Chicago White Sox.

Russ Potts headed up the capital campaign for the Handley High School renovation and creation of the Emil & Grace Shihadeh Innovation Center. Russ helped the school raise over $22M for both projects.

Over his career, Russ has staged, promoted, or organized over 1,000 athletic events.  He created the first Women’s College Basketball game on national television – Immaculata vs. Maryland in 1976, created the first Men’s College Basketball primetime television package, and organized the famous Georgetown vs. Virginia game featuring the battle of the 7 footers – Patrick Ewing vs Ralph Sampson which was televised on national TV.

Dick Kern

Dick Kern and Russ Potts were the Co-Chairmen of the very first Sports Breakfast featuring Jack Dempsey in 1965.

Dick passed away on October 1, 2020 at 100 years old and is represented by his grandson, Trey, Owner / Operator of Kern Motor Company. Both Trey and Dick’s son Rick were outstanding athletes at Handley. All three are members of the Judges Athletic Association Hall of Fame.

Kern was one of the founders of the Judges Athletic Association – one of the nation’s most successful high school booster associations. Dick is a past President of the JAA.

Dick was an outstanding athlete having starred at Handley High School as a quarterback in the single wing offense and later at Virginia Tech as the starting defensive halfback and linebacker.

Kern won the Williams Award as the outstanding senior football player in 1941 and was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles. He was unable to pursue an NFL career because of serving in World War II.

Dick was a highly decorated war hero in the U.S. Army during WWII and one of the youngest company commanders in the nation with over 300 men under his command.

Dick created Kern Motor Company, the longest standing automotive agency in Winchester / Frederick County.

Kern served with distinction as Vice Mayor, Chairman of the City Finance Committee, and Councilman-serving for over 20 years.

Dick Kern will always be known as an outstanding community leader and philanthropist.

Walter Barr

Walter Barr’s coaching career bridged five decades.  Barr was a two-sport athlete at Shepherd University where he played football and baseball.  He graduated from Shepherd College in 1962 with a Bachelor of Science and received his master’s degree from James Madison University in 1970.

Walter’s teaching experience spanned from 1962 to 1998.  He taught at James Wood High School, Loudoun County High School, Broad Run High School, Sherando High School, and Lord Fairfax Community College.

Barr began his coaching career at James Wood High School where he was an assistant football coach and head track coach from 1962 to 1967.  In 1967, Coach Barr became the head football coach at James Wood and coached until 1971 where he went on to be the head football coach at Shepherd University until 1986.  In 1994, Barr became the first head coach of Sherando High School.  In 1999, Barr was asked to conduct a football program feasibility study for Shenandoah University which later turned into a head football coaching position with the University.  Coach Barr returned to James Wood High School in 2005 and turned around a program that had not had a winning record in 26 years.  Coach Barr concluded his coaching career with 210 wins, 94 losses and 5 ties.

Coach Barr has one of the most decorated football coaching records in the region.

  • 1966-71
    • James Wood High School (38-2-1)
    • 2 undefeated teams
    • Virginia AAA State Champions 1970
  • 1971-86
    • Shepherd University (104-48-4)
    • 3 WVIAC Championships
    • NAIA National Play-offs 1985
  • 1990-91
    • Loudoun County High School (5-5)
  • 1994-97
    • Sherando High School (38-13)
    • State Play-Offs (3 years)
  • 2000-01
    • Shenandoah University (9-11)
    • Start-up program
  • 2005-07
    • James Wood High School (16-15)

Barr has been induced into the NAIA Hall of Fame, Shepherd College Hall of Fame, Clarke County Athletic Hall of Fame, James Wood Athletic Hall of Fame and will soon be inducted into the Shenandoah University Hall of Fame in 2022 (postponed due to COVID.)Walter Barr is a 3-time WVIAC Coach of the Year and 4-time Winchester Star Coach of the Year.  In 2016 he received the Richard C. Shickle Award and in 2019 was bestowed the honor of having the James Wood High School Football Field named after him.

Coach Barr has been published in The American Football Coaches Guidebook to Championship Football Drills by Jerry R. Tolley 1984 and hosted many football coaches’ clinics while he was at Shepherd University and Shenandoah University.

Paul Wendell “Wendell” Dick  

Last year, on Friday, December 4, 2020, our community said goodbye to a beloved individual and friend to many.  To many of us, Wendell was the face of James Wood High School athletics even after his retirement in 1991.

Wendell grew up in Frederick County, VA and went to James Wood High School (5-12 grades) when it opened in 1950. He graduated in 1958. Dick was recognized as James Wood’s “Outstanding Male Athlete.” While in high school, he was 1stteam District 10 basketball player, earned 14 Varsity letters, and participated in football, basketball, baseball, and track. He was one of the first James Wood High School graduates to have perfect attendance for all 12 years of schooling.

In 1958, Wendell enrolled at Potomac State Junior College in Keyser, WV, on a basketball scholarship where he led the team in free-throw shooting for two years. In 1960, he entered West Virginia University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Physical Education. He was a goalie on the WVU men’s soccer team and earned his MS Degree in Health and Safety. After graduating, he joined the Army National Guard in Winchester. While in Basic Training in Fort Jackson, he was selected as the “Outstanding Trainee” and was catcher of their undefeated softball team. Wendell enjoyed playing for a traveling semi-professional basketball team and fast pitch softball.  Wendell was a Cross-County and Track Official for 50 years (1960-2010). For many years, he was also a “Color Commentator” for 92.5 WINC-FM Sports with Joe Pasquali.

Wendell held lifetime memberships in the James Wood Athletic Association, the Potomac State College Alumni Association, the West Virginia University Alumni Association, the Virginia Retired Teachers Association, and the Greenwood Fire and Rescue Company Association.

For several years, he served as Co-Director of the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival Sports Breakfast.

In 1990, Wendell was inducted into the Fast-Pitch Softball Hall of Fame and in 2000, James Wood High Schooled honored Wendell by establishing the P. Wendell Dick Athletic Hall of Fame.

Russ Potts will accept the award on behalf of the Wendell Dick family.

Ken Mease

If you have attended the Partlow Insurance Sports Breakfast over the years, you will know that Ken Mease cherished the opportunity to visit and participate in the Shenandoah Apple Blossom. Ken began attending the Festival in 1999 where he emceed the Sports Breakfast.  There were only two years between 1999 and 2017 where he was not able to participate in our annual celebration. In addition to emceeing the Sports Breakfast, Ken spoke at the Festival’s Ladies Horticultural Luncheon and served as the Court Ambassador for the Coronation of Queen Shenandoah. In 2018, the Festival recognized Ken by presenting him with a life pass to the sports breakfast.  Ken returned to celebrate the Festival with us in 2019 but did not emcee the breakfast that year.  Ken loves the Festival and continually went out of his way to support the Festival in many ways.

Ken Mease has had a tremendous career in sports television and radio in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region of the US for over five decades.

Ken grew up in Selinsgrove, PA and graduated from Selinsgrove Area Joint High School in 1960. In high school, Mease played basketball and baseball, was band president and served as Lt. Governor and International Trustee in Key Club International. After graduating from high school, Ken attended Susquehanna University from 1960 to 1964.  During college, Mease worked part-time for WKOK-AM-FM as a disc jockey, news, and sports reporter.

In 1963, Ken worked for WUNS-AM in Lewisburg, PA as an announcer and color commentator for Bucknell University Football for their ’64 and ’65 seasons.

Ken joined the Pennsylvania Air National Guard in 1965 where he completed basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, TX.  He attended tech school as a communications specialist at Shepherd Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, TX.  Ken completed his Guard commitment in 1971.

Between 1965 and 1975, Ken continued his work in communications at radio and television stations in Harrisburg, PA, Charlotte, NC, Pittsburgh, PA, and Providence, RI.  While in Providence, Mease anchored sports six days a week and was recognized in 1973 with the Rhode Island Sportscaster of the Year award from the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.

In 1975, Ken served as Director of Athletics for Robert Morris College (now University.)  Ken was instrumental in the University’s leap from junior college status to NCAA Division I.  Ken did play-by-play of Colonials basketball for three seasons, coached the school’s basketball team for one season. While at Robert Morris, Mease laid the groundwork for the school’s Sports Management program.

In 1979, Ken went back to news television as a sports anchor and weekday reporter in Pittsburgh, PA.  Ken was awarded two Golden Quill Awards (the Pittsburgh Emmy) for the “Steeler Monday” sports feature.

From 1986 to 2003, Ken was the sports anchor and reporter for WUSA-TV in Washington, DC.  Ken primarily worked as the station’s weekend sports anchor with weekday reporting duties. Ken covered Sunday night sports specials including Redskin shows. Mease also freelanced where he covered Navy Football radio and George Mason TV basketball play-by-play.

From 2003 to 2010, Mease joined CBS-Westwood One Sports Radio sportscasting including Redskins post game.

In 2010 Ken joined the Washington Freedom, an American professional women’s soccer club in Germantown, Maryland.

Rodney Cowley will accept the award on behalf of Ken Mease.

Tommy Dixon

Born in Winchester, VA, Tommy is the second youngest of seven children to Rachel and Clark Dixon.  Dixon attended first through seventh grades at Douglas School.  After integration, Tommy attended Handley High School from eighth through twelfth grades. While at Handley, Tommy was a three-sport athlete, playing football, basketball and track and field.  He was voted 2nd team All-State in football and basketball.  After high school, Dixon studied health and physical education at Potomac State College in Keyser, WV and Berea College in Berea, KY.

During Tommy’s tenure, he coached football, track and field, and basketball.  Tommy coached football at Daniel Morgan Middle School for nine years where his team only lost two games and had one tie; the rest were wins.  Dixon was an assistant track and field coach when Handley won several state championships.  Tommy coached basketball for 36 years and compiled a record of 403-228.  Tommy coached his teams to nine regular season championships, 10 regional appearances, 3 regional championships, and 6 state tournament berths.  Coach Dixon was also recognized several times as Coach of the Year at the District and Regional level.  Tommy also was selected to coach in the state all-star game in 2000.

In 2001, Coach Dixon was inducted into Handley’s Hunter Maddex Hall of Fame and the Potomac State College Hall of Fame in 2010.  On Saturday evening, December 17, 2016, during a boys’ and girls’ varsity basketball game inside Handley’s Maddex-Omps Gymnasium, the school announced that the basketball court would forever be known as the Coach Tommy Dixon Basketball Court.

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Democrats in Congress press Biden to extend COVID-related prisoner releases

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WASHINGTON — Citing the case of a Baltimore grandmother who was briefly returned to prison for a technical violation, five Maryland lawmakers are urging the Biden administration to reverse a Justice Department opinion that could re-incarcerate as many as 4,500 people now serving sentences at home once the COVID pandemic eases.
Under a provision of the coronavirus relief package that became law last year, the Federal Bureau of Prisons was given the authority to transfer to home confinement inmates who were near the end of their sentences and posed no risk to their communities – a move aimed at reducing the spread of COVID inside overcrowded prisons.
But a Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) opinion, issued five days before President Donald Trump left office, concluded that those released to home confinement would have to go back to prison once the COVID emergency is declared over.
“…Recalling these individuals to prison does not serve the public interest,” the Maryland lawmakers wrote to Attorney General Merrick Garland on Sept. 17. They warned of “the harmful consequences of permitting the current opinion to stand and the importance of finding compassionate solutions for this group of Americans.”
The letter was signed by Democratic Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Reps. Kweisi Mfume, D-Baltimore, Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Timonium, and John Sarbanes, D-Towson.
Donald Murphy, a public affairs spokesperson for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, declined to comment to Capital News Service about whether the OLC opinion is being actively reviewed by the Biden administration.
In their letter, the lawmakers referred to the circumstances of Gwen Levi, a 76-year-old Baltimorean grandmother, who had served 16 years of her 24-and-a-half-year sentence on a non-violent drug conspiracy conviction. As the pandemic swept through prisons, Levi was released in June 2020 to live in home confinement because of her age, lower risk of reoffending, and higher susceptibility to contracting the coronavirus.
She was among about 24,000 prisoners released to home confinement after a rigorous vetting process, but Levi briefly returned to federal prison on June 12, after technically violating the terms of her release by not answering a phone call during a pre-scheduled computer word-processing class in the Baltimore Inner Harbor.
Levi was released on July 6 under an order by Judge Deborah Chasanow of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland. Yet the Maryland lawmakers wrote to Garland that they “were surprised by the department’s opposition” to giving Levi compassionate release.
“She played by the rules. She loved her country. She cherishes her faith and because she was not available for a phone call during her class, we find there was an effort by federal authorities to send her back to prison,” Mfume told Capital News Service. “Without any kind of flexibility, we’re going to find situations like this over and over again.”
Mfume added: “Her case is instructive and we talk about it all the time because we believe if we look at that as a barometer, that the Federal Bureau of Prisons will reconstruct the way they carry out their duties with some sort of empathy for individuals, while at the same time making sure the real persons that need to be incarcerated are incarcerated.”
The congressman, who represents Baltimore, Baltimore City, and Howard Counties, recalled Levi walking into his office shortly after Chasanow’s order released her. She thanked him and the rest of the delegation for helping her.
“She just in a very humble way said that she’s so glad that somebody, meaning myself and others here in Maryland, paid attention to her case because she’d still be where she is,” Mfume said.
Kara Gotsch, deputy director at the Sentencing Project, a Washington-based nonprofit focused on injustices in the criminal justice system, said the Justice Department’s opinion is “devastating” for those who are staying at home and now face the possibility of being sent back to federal prison.
“It is really a shame that the White House and DOJ appear to be standing by that OLC memo issued by the Trump administration,” Gotsch told CNS.
She’s been in communication with the Biden administration, asking for grants of clemency, an executive privilege for commuting prison time, for everybody who’s been serving sentences in home confinement, but the White House is considering granting it to only some, according to Gotsch.
“I think that’s a step in the right direction, but there’s no reason why anyone who has proven themselves to be successful on the home confinement program should be sent back,” she added.
Meanwhile, Rep. David Trone of Gaithersburg has joined with 27 other House Democrats in calling on President Joe Biden to “immediately commute the sentences” of the 4,000 people now in home confinement because of the COVID emergency but facing a return to prison after the emergency is ended.
The lawmakers also urged the creation of an independent board to review a massive backlog of more than 15,000 petitions seeking clemency.
“Nearly all of those released have thrived since returning home by reconnecting with their families and communities, and by engaging actively in civic life,” Trone and his colleagues wrote to the president on Sept. 17. “Mr. President, with a stroke of your pen you could remove the threat of re-incarceration that looms over thousands of people who have already demonstrated their commitment to being productive members of their communities.”
Tiheba Bain, director of coalitions at the National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls, believes Biden has a chance to show his political support as an advocate for criminal justice reform, a promise he made to Americans during last year’s presidential campaign.
“We need to come back around and revisit it,” Bain told CNS. “We believe that Biden as a progressive president, in some sense, is the right platform to actually bring more awareness to it.”
Maryland ranks fifth overall for the highest number of compassionate release petitions filed in any federal district court, according to the U.S. Sentencing Commission’s latest report. A little more than two-thirds of all motions for compassionate release submitted before the U.S. District Court of Maryland was denied; only 193 petitions were granted out of 564 requests.
Gotsch said the home confinement policy is “one of the bright spots” in the federal government’s response to protecting prison inmates from the COVID pandemic.
“This has been a successful experiment that we should learn from and expand instead of retracting,” Gotsch said. “We shouldn’t go back to the way things were. We should learn from this success and build upon it so that we can have a more compassionate, fairer, and safer criminal justice system.”
By GABRIEL PIETRORAZIO
Capital News Service
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Christopher R. Kavanaugh sworn in as United States Attorney for the Western District of Virginia

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ROANOKE, Va. – In a ceremony Thursday evening, Christopher Robert Kavanaugh was sworn in as United States Attorney for the Western District of Virginia. The Honorable Lisa O. Monaco, Deputy Attorney General for the Department of Justice, administered the oath of office at a private ceremony at the Department of Justice in Washington D.C.

Christopher R. Kavanaugh

President Joseph R. Biden nominated Mr. Kavanaugh to be the United States Attorney on August 10, 2021.  The United States Senate confirmed his nomination on October 5, 2021.

“It is the honor of my life to serve as United States Attorney for the Western District of Virginia.  I know that the federal prosecutors here tirelessly serve the citizens of the Western District of Virginia in their pursuit of justice, and I am grateful for the opportunity to lead such a talented and dedicated team of public servants,” U.S. Attorney Kavanaugh said today. “I look forward to working closely with our law enforcement partners, defense counsel, and the court in serving the District.”


U.S. Attorney Kavanaugh, 41, of Charlottesville, is a career federal prosecutor, having served as an Assistant United States Attorney for both the United States Attorney’s Office in Charlottesville as well as the District of Columbia.  During his career, Mr. Kavanaugh directed numerous multi-agency investigations and prosecutions, including the hate crimes prosecution of James Fields for the August 12, 2017 car attack in Charlottesville, Virginia.  Mr. Kavanaugh also served as the District’s chief national security prosecutor and spent time supervising and training fellow prosecutors while serving as the Counsel to the U.S. Attorney and Senior Litigation Counsel.  Most recently, Mr. Kavanaugh was Senior Counsel to the Deputy Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.

Mr. Kavanaugh graduated summa cum laude from Georgia Tech, where received his Bachelor of Science in Industrial and Systems Engineering. He earned his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. Following law school, he clerked for the Honorable James C. Cacheris, U.S. District Court Judge for the Eastern District of Virginia.

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Facebook needs regulation, experts say, but they see roadblocks

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WASHINGTON — Congress should enact regulations to curb harmful practices by social media companies like Facebook, cybersecurity, and privacy experts say. But they are skeptical that lawmakers will act and if they do, whether the pace of policy can parallel the ever-changing technology.

“It’s clear that some of these companies can’t always do the right thing on their own and need a regulatory stick to help them make better decisions,” Amanda Lenhart, a lead researcher at the Data & Society Research Institute, told Capital News Service.

Lawmakers appear to be moving toward a bipartisan consensus that some form of regulation of Facebook and other social media platforms is needed, especially after Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen revealed last week how her former employer allegedly manipulates its technology to focus on its growth rather than protect users from harmful content.

Facebook itself is publicly embracing regulation, at least in theory.

“We need greater transparency, so the systems that we have in place, …they should be held to account, if necessary, by regulation, so that people can match what our systems say they’re supposed to do from what actually happens,” Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice president of global affairs, said on CNN Sunday.


But industry observers say regulating Facebook would be complicated and has potential pitfalls. In any case, such a step would require both technical knowledge that Congress may lack and a drive to overcome inertia, they said.

“They have been trying to pass comprehensive privacy reform for over five years and it hasn’t happened yet,” said Dr. Jessica Vitak, associate professor at the University of Maryland’s College of Information Studies.

In testimony last week before the Senate’s Commerce, Science, and Transportation subcommittee on consumer protection, Haugen revealed that Facebook’s leadership is aware of the dangers its platform’s algorithm poses but said the company is willing to sacrifice users’ safety over profit.

An exchange between Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kansas, and the subcommittee’s chairman, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, underscored bipartisan concerns over the impact of Facebook and other social media platforms are having on children and teens.

Moran suggested the pair should put their differences aside to take on Facebook together.

Blumenthal responded: “Our differences are very minor, or they seem very minor in the face of the revelations that we have now seen, so I am hoping we can move forward.”

In March, Rep. Tom Malinowski, D-New Jersey, re-introduced a bill in the House called “Protecting Americans from Dangerous Algorithms Act.” The legislation would hold social media platforms accountable for the content that leads users to harmful behavior offline. Algorithms are computer calculations that platforms use to determine what content users see.

So far, the House has not acted on the measure.

Haugen repeatedly recommended during her testimony that a federal oversight agency be appointed to regulate tech companies like her former employer, Facebook.

Vitak agreed with Haugen that there are implementable changes that could and should be made related to how technology companies are governed in the U.S.

A new agency could immediately implement “soft interventions,” such as requiring social media platforms to force users to click on a link before resharing that link, according to Haugen.

An oversight committee in Congress, however, could be a problem, warned Dr. Richard Forno, assistant director at the Center for Cybersecurity at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Many lawmakers are far behind the learning curve on technology, he said.

“You can’t have decrepit lawmakers who don’t understand the internet and think it’s this big scary place holding hearings and asking questions as everybody in the room rolls their eyes,” Forno said. “You have congressmen and senators who have never sent emails yet they’re on subcommittees overseeing parts of the internet.”

While some new laws governing social media and minors might be passed by Congress, anything technology-specific is in danger of being outdated, he said.

The more realistic options for regulation include creating a new agency that provides oversight or pumping more resources into the Federal Trade Commission, the agency most responsible for protecting consumer privacy, experts said.

“This is the kind of thing that takes specific industry expertise, it’s the job for a regulatory agency and not a congressional committee,” said Dr. Mark MacCarthy, adjunct professor at Georgetown University and a non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

Continuously updating regulations will be a challenge, said Dr. Joyram Chakraborty, associate professor at Towson University’s Department of Computer and Information Sciences.

“The policy created will have to be revised within six to nine months because technologies are going to change,” Chakraborty said.

Children are not the only ones at risk though, according to Chakraborty.

Anyone who does not fully understand how to use the technology faces potential harm from social media platforms, he said.

Lenhart has spent much of her career studying young people and their use of technology.

If regulations are not created thoughtfully, there will be downstream consequences that aren’t actually beneficial, she told CNS.

Such consequences include creating regulatory dead zones, imposing heavy restrictions on tech companies who in turn, refuse to build any protections at all, Lenhart said.

Some critics of social media platforms want Congress to revisit a provision of federal law, known as Section 230, that currently shields social media platforms from liability for content posted by third parties.

“Most of America doesn’t know about Section 230 and if you pushed a lot of members of Congress, they wouldn’t know either,” Blumenthal said.

In March, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg submitted prepared testimony to the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s subcommittee on consumer protection, proposing changes to that provision.

Platforms should be required to have “systems in place” for identifying unlawful content but they should not be liable if they miss something, Zuckerberg said. He did not testify in person.

Haugen told lawmakers that she strongly supports changing Section 230, but she warned reforms must be much broader.

“The severity of this crisis demands that we break out of our previous regulatory frames,” Haugen said.

There might be some momentum in Congress, but it’s counterbalanced by concerns over protecting free speech, said Dr. Anupam Joshi, director at the Center for Cybersecurity at UMBC.

“On one hand you could argue that large companies like Facebook are sort of getting away with stuff behind Section 230,” Joshi said. “On the other hand, if you repeal it, Facebook is still a behemoth.”

Haugen tweeted on Monday that she will brief the Facebook Oversight Board on what she learned working at the company.

The Oversight Board, consisting of 20 independent experts helping Facebook make content policy decisions, posted on its website that the meeting would take place in the “coming weeks.”

By NATALIE DRUM
Capital News Service

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Social Security announces 5.9 percent benefit increase for 2022

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Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for approximately 70 million Americans will increase 5.9 percent in 2022, the Social Security Administration announced today.

The 5.9 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits payable to more than 64 million Social Security beneficiaries in January 2022.  Increased payments to approximately 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 30, 2021.  (Note: some people receive both Social Security and SSI benefits).  The Social Security Act ties the annual COLA to the increase in the Consumer Price Index as determined by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Some other adjustments that take effect in January of each year are based on the increase in average wages.  Based on that increase, the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax (taxable maximum) will increase to $147,000 from $142,800.

Social Security and SSI beneficiaries are normally notified by mail starting in early December about their new benefit amount.  Most people who receive Social Security payments will be able to view their COLA notice online through their personal my Social Security account.  People may create or access their my Social Security account online at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.


Information about Medicare changes for 2022, when announced, will be available at www.medicare.gov.  For Social Security beneficiaries receiving Medicare, Social Security will not be able to compute their new benefit amount until after the Medicare premium amounts for 2022 are announced.  Final 2022 benefit amounts will be communicated to beneficiaries in December through the mailed COLA notice and my Social Security’s Message Center.

The Social Security Act provides for how the COLA is calculated.  To read more, please visit www.socialsecurity.gov/cola.

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Wildlife biologist to explain changes to deer hunting season during October supervisors meeting

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BERRYVILLE, VA — A wildlife biologist from the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) has been invited by the Clarke County Board of Supervisors to talk about the significant changes to the 2021-22 deer hunting season in Clarke, Frederick, Shenandoah, and Warren counties. Fred Frenzel makes his public presentation during the Supervisors’ evening session at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 19. The session includes public hearings on proposed code changes. The presentation and public hearings are in the second-floor meeting room of the Berryville-Clarke County Government Center at 101 Chalmers Ct.

DWR made changes to this year’s deer season because of chronic wasting disease, Frenzel said. Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a fatal neurological disease that can pass between deer through saliva, feces, and urine as well as through water or contaminated soil. CWD was first diagnosed in deer in West Virginia in 2005. It was first detected in Virginia in 2009, and has been reported in Fauquier, Frederick, Clarke, Culpeper, Loudoun, Madison, Montgomery, Rappahannock, Shenandoah, and Warren counties.

“As a result of chronic wasting disease, DWR made drastic changes to deer season in four of the counties I cover,” said Frenzel, the DWR district wildlife biologist for Clarke, Frederick, Shenandoah, Warren, and Page counties. He said the changes were made to mitigate the spread of CWD, noting only minor changes were made to deer season in Page.

Supervisor Doug Lawrence, who represents the Russell District, requested the Supervisors host a public presentation to address questions about the current deer season. “When they changed deer season, it caught a lot of people by surprise,” Lawrence said. “I thought our hunters should understand the rationale behind the changes.”


Clarke Supervisors have also asked Frenzel to discuss coyote bounties, game bird preserves, and Clarke’s prohibition of hunting within 300 feet of public roads.

Read about Virginia’s 2021-22 deer season at dwr.virginia.gov/hunting/regulations/deer/.

For more information about the Oct. 19 public presentation on deer hunting and/or the public hearings, contact County Administration at (540) 955-5100 or info@clarkecounty.gov.

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September marks second consecutive month of cargo volume in excess of 300,000 TEUs

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Strong import loads at The Port of Virginia® in September have helped the port achieve consecutive months of cargo volume in excess of 300,000 TEUs (twenty-foot-equivalent units).

In September the port processed more than 306,000 TEUs, which is an increase of nearly 50,000 TEUs (+19%) when compared with last September; loaded import volume was more than 152,000 TEUs, or 31,000 units (+26%). In August, the port handled more than 307,000 TEUs. Last September is when the port began seeing a considerable rebound in its volumes from the COVID period.

To see the port’s operational metrics on productivity at the berth, rail ramp and truck gates, click here.

“The growth we’re seeing is not artificial and the movement of loaded and empty containers is up, for both exports and imports,” said Stephen A. Edwards, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority. “Last September is when volumes began coming back and since then we have posted growth each month. The operation is fluid and the Virginia Model of being an operating port, where we own, lease and operate all of the assets, allows us to be agile in meeting the needs of our customers and cargo owners.”


In the last two months, three vessel services, Maersk’s TP20, Hapag-Lloyd and CMA CGM’s Indamex 2 and MSC’s Indus 2 began making Virginia their first-in US East Coast port call. This and the port’s commitment to efficiency is helping to drive growth, Edwards said.

“There is no congestion here and ocean carriers and cargo owners are taking notice of our track record and what we are doing to ensure consistency in our operation,” he said. “We are maintaining our efficiency and service levels because we are monitoring the operation so closely and continuing to add modern assets. The result is that they are choosing Virginia because they see value here.”

With three months left in the calendar year, the port’s TEU volume is 2.58 million TEUs, an increase of 589,136 units (+30%) when compared with the same period last year. Edwards is not anticipating a slowdown in volume before year’s end.

“We may see a dip as the retail season comes to its end, but this is normal and any fall-off in volumes will be small,” Edwards said. “Looking into 2022 we see nothing that leads us to believe that there is going to be a drop in volumes. It is going to take some time before the supply chain returns to normal.”

September Cargo Snapshot (2021 vs. 2020)

  • Total TEUs – 306,219 up 19.4%
  • Loaded Export TEUs – 80,697 up 6.8%
  • Loaded Import TEUs – 152,197, up 25.7%
  • Total Containers – 170,998, up 21.6%
  • Virginia Inland Port Containers – 2,297, down 31%
  • Breakbulk Tonnage – 4,332, up 1.8%
  • Total Rail Containers – 53,405 up 16.4%
  • Total Truck Containers – 110,452 up 25.2%
  • Total Barge Containers – 7,141 up 9.4%

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Upcoming Events

Oct
21
Thu
10:00 am Senior Painting Class with Dottie @ Strokes of Creativity
Senior Painting Class with Dottie @ Strokes of Creativity
Oct 21 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Senior Painting Class with Dottie @ Strokes of Creativity
Senior Painting Class with Dottie at Strokes of Creativity. Tickets: CLICK HERE Cost: $80 for 6 weeks Dates: Thursdays – Oct 21, Oct 28, Nov 4, Nov 11, Nov 18, Dec 4 Time: 10 am[...]
1:00 pm Art Class for 4th & 5th @ Strokes of Creativity
Art Class for 4th & 5th @ Strokes of Creativity
Oct 21 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Art Class for 4th & 5th @ Strokes of Creativity
This class is for Grades 4th and 5th. Perfect for home schoolers. Recommended ages: 9 and 10 years old Tickets: CLICK HERE Tickets are available through Square Up, or can be paid in person at[...]
Oct
23
Sat
11:00 am Fall Farm Days: History of Sky M... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Fall Farm Days: History of Sky M... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Oct 23 @ 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Fall Farm Days: History of Sky Meadows @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area.  During Fall Farm Days History Weekend, step back in time and see history come to life. Stroll through the Historic Area buildings, interact with our living historians and discover our links to historic[...]
11:00 am The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
Oct 23 @ 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
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[...]
1:00 pm Paint Class for Kids Ages 8 and up @ Strokes of Creativity
Paint Class for Kids Ages 8 and up @ Strokes of Creativity
Oct 23 @ 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm
Paint Class for Kids Ages 8 and up @ Strokes of Creativity
This is a painting class for children 8 years old and up. Tickets: CLICK HERE Tickets are available through Square Up, or can be paid in person at Strokes of Creativity. Date: Saturday, October 23,[...]
Oct
24
Sun
11:00 am Fall Farm Days: History of Sky M... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Fall Farm Days: History of Sky M... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Oct 24 @ 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Fall Farm Days: History of Sky Meadows @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area.  During Fall Farm Days History Weekend, step back in time and see history come to life. Stroll through the Historic Area buildings, interact with our living historians and discover our links to historic[...]
11:00 am The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
Oct 24 @ 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
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[...]
6:30 pm Benefit Concert for Front Royal ... @ Riverton Church
Benefit Concert for Front Royal ... @ Riverton Church
Oct 24 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Benefit Concert for Front Royal Police @ Riverton Church
Riverton Church is hosting a benefit concert featuring the Mr. Ron Dye (director) and the Riverton Church Symphonic Wind Orchestra as well as Yesterday Swing Orchestra. Free Admission: Offering taken to benefit the Front Royal[...]
Oct
25
Mon
11:00 am Art Class for K-1st @ Strokes of Creativity
Art Class for K-1st @ Strokes of Creativity
Oct 25 @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm
Art Class for K-1st @ Strokes of Creativity
This class is for Kindergarten and First Grade. Perfect for home schoolers. Recommended ages: Ages 5 and 6 Tickets: CLICK HERE Tickets are available through Square Up, or can be paid in person at Strokes[...]
1:00 pm Art Class for 2nd & 3rd @ Strokes of Creativity
Art Class for 2nd & 3rd @ Strokes of Creativity
Oct 25 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Art Class for 2nd & 3rd @ Strokes of Creativity
This class is for Grades 2nd and 3rd. Perfect for home schoolers. Recommended ages: 7 and 8 years old Tickets: CLICK HERE Tickets are available through Square Up, or can be paid in person at[...]