Middletown, VA. – The Lord Fairfax Small Business Development Center is proud to announce the 2019 Virginia Small Business Veteran of the Year Award from the Virginia Small Business Development Center (VASBDC) will be presented to its client, U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force veteran Brian Steorts. Steorts is the founder and president of Flags of Valor in Frederick County.
The award is given each year to a veteran small-business owner based on his or her contributions to the military, their business and the community. VASBC Director Jody Keenan will present the award during Lord Fairfax Community College’s annual Appreciation Luncheon April 19 on the Middletown Campus.
Steorts started Flags of Valor after being injured during his military service. After rehabilitation, he missed wearing the flag as part of his daily attire. When he tried to order a large wooden flag for his home, he could only find ones made in China.
That’s when Steorts decided to create his small business, Flags of Valor, and provide jobs to disabled veterans who could produce beautiful wooden flags here in the United States. He moved the workshop to Frederick County two years ago. That’s when he turned to the Lord Fairfax Small Business Development Center.
“Brian is an exceptional business leader and member of our community,” says the development center’s director, Christine Kriz, who has consulted with Steorts. “His dedication to his employees and his passion for our country shine bright. We are very fortunate to have veteran small business owners like Brian to support our returning veterans!”
Steorts’s and his team’s commitment to providing a top-quality products and connecting with each customer has led to huge success. He has been featured in numerous media, including NBC News, Fox News, ABC World News, Entrepreneur and ESPN Radio.
Steorts even presented a flag to President Donald Trump, which can be seen in this video:
In addition to employing dozens of veterans, Flags of Valor has raised nearly $700,000 for veteran and first-responder charities.
Steorts is civically engaged as a member of the Top of Virginia Regional Chamber, the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and as a Small Business Council Board member.
Steorts’s military awards and commendations include:
• Airman’s Medal, the highest non-combat medal
• Air Medal with 10 oak-leaf clusters for 200 combat missions
• Aerial Achievement Medal
• Air Force Commendation Medal
• Army Commendation Medal
• Meritorious Unit Award with two oak-leaf clusters
• National Service Defense Medal
• Afghanistan Campaign Medal with one service star
• Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
• Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
• Armed Forces Services Medal
• Air Force Overseas Ribbon
• Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon with gold border and six oak-leaf clusters
• Air Force Longevity Service Ribbon with two oak-leaf clusters
• Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon with one star
• Army Service Ribbon
• NATO Medal
• 2018 Capital One Small Business Award for Veteran and Military Spouse Employment
Monday afternoon fire burns one acre, destroys vacant home
On Monday, March 30, 2020, at approximately 2:00 pm, the Warren County Department of Fire and Rescue Services received a report of a residential structure fire in the area of the 200 block of Summit Drive in Front Royal.
Units arrived on the scene to discover a single story, single-wide house trailer with an addition with significant fire conditions throughout the home and approximately one acre of wooded area on fire. The home appeared to be vacant at the time of the fire and firefighters worked to extinguish the wildland fire and the structure fire from the exterior of the home for safety concerns.
As a result of the significant nature of the structure fire and wildland fire, firefighters received assistance from the Virginia Department of Forestry. Firefighters utilized the Town of Front Royal Hydrant System to supply water to the fire incident which caused the closure of John Marshal Highway for several hours, the Front Royal Police Department assisted with traffic control. It took firefighters approximately one hour to bring the fire under control. Units remained on the scene for several hours ensuring the fire was completely extinguished and assisting the Office of the Fire Marshal and Virginia Department of Forestry.
The cause of the fire was determined by the Warren County Fire Marshal’s Office to be a result of an electrical malfunction that caused a groundcover fire that spread to the abandon home. The fire caused an estimated $50,000.00 in property damage which rendered the house a total loss. The Fire Marshal’s Office received assistance from the Town of Front Royal Police Department Criminal Investigations Division, Loudoun County Fire Marshal’s Office and the Town of Front Royal Electric Department.
Units on the call:
- Engines 1, 4, 6, and 2
- Brush 6 and 2
- Chief 100
- Fire Marshal 1
Humane Society’s plea for adopters and fosters in response to COVID-19
To all animal lovers, the Humane Society of Warren County has a few announcements:
- Hours are changing: HSWC will be closed on Sundays until further notice.
- We are operating by appointment only!
- This Friday and Saturday, 4/3/2020 and 4/4/2020, we will extend our hours for adoption appointments. We will schedule appointments from 10am-6pm.
- You must have an approved application for an appointment and they can be found on our website.
- Adoption fees will be waived through Saturday, 4/4/2020. Please share far and wide!
WE NEED YOUR HELP!
Now more than ever, we need adopters and foster homes. We are preparing for the worst at this point, as we are entering kitten season and we don’t want to be inundated with more animals than we can handle. HSWC currently has 111 animals in our care and anticipate those numbers rising in the coming months.
Several staff members have already chosen to self-quarantine, and we have had to cut hours for staff members; layoffs are merely days away. Much of the work — cleaning, feeding and walking — is falling on a skeleton crew. Meanwhile, adoption events and fundraisers — the life blood of our organization — have been cancelled.
A new pet offers a way to help ease the isolation that comes with orders to shelter in place. Animals provide company and comfort during times of uncertainty. Being forced to stay home is not only optimal for house training, but it gives humans and their new animals plenty of time to bond.
We absolutely do not want to resort to euthanasia as a source of population control, which many shelters are facing the harsh reality of this being a possibility.
If you are not in a position to foster or adopt, please consider making a donation – whether it be companion animal food for our pet food pantry or monetary. We want to keep our pantry stocked and available for members of the community who are financially strapped due to the virus. Before this all started, HSWC was already helping nearly 50 families with pet food.
If you are interested in adopting or fostering, please fill out an adoption/foster application on our website and call us at 540-635-4734.
AG Herring takes further steps to crackdown on price gouging
~ Herring has sent warning letters to 42 businesses about which Virginians have complained ~
RICHMOND (March 31, 2020) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring has taken further actions to crack down on price gouging in Virginia by sending warning letters to certain businesses about which Virginians have complained. The letters inform the businesses that they are the subject of a price-gouging complaint, ask for documentation pertaining to the complaint, and advise the businesses to immediately stop any illegal price gouging practices. So far, Attorney General Herring’s Consumer Protection Section has sent 42 letters to businesses in response to complaints made by Virginians.
“It is unfortunate that businesses will take advantage of a situation like a public health crisis to try and make more money off of necessary goods like hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies, face masks, or water,” said Attorney General Herring. “My office and I take price gouging complaints very seriously and I hope that these letters will send a strong message to businesses across Virginia that price gouging will not be tolerated here.”
The letters explain that the Office of the Attorney General has the authority to investigate possible violations of Virginia’s Post-Disaster Anti-Price Gouging Act and to bring enforcement actions to enjoin violations, seek restitution for affected consumers, and recover civil penalties, attorney’s fees, and expenses. The letters seek certain documentation from the businesses regarding their pricing practices before and after Governor Ralph Northam’s declaration of a state of emergency on March 12, 2020. Importantly, the letters warn the businesses that the failure to cease and desist from engaging in any unlawful price gouging may be considered evidence of a willful violation for purposes of an award of civil penalties under the Virginia Consumer Protection Act.
Governor Ralph Northam’s declaration of a state of emergency triggered Virginia’s Post-Disaster Anti-Price Gouging Act, which prohibits a supplier from charging “unconscionable prices” for “necessary goods and services” during the thirty-day period following a declared state of emergency. Items and services covered by these protections include but are not limited to water, ice, food, cleaning products, hand sanitizers, medicines, personal protective gear and more. The basic test for determining if a price is unconscionable is whether the post-disaster price grossly exceeds the price charged for the same or similar goods or services during the ten days immediately prior to the disaster.
Additionally, last week Attorney General Herring joined 32 attorneys general in urging Amazon, Facebook, eBay, Walmart, and Craigslist to more rigorously monitor price gouging practices by online sellers who are using their services.
Suspected violations of Virginia’s Anti-Price Gouging Act should be reported to Attorney General Herring’s Consumer Protection Section for investigation, as violations are enforceable by the Office of the Attorney General through the Virginia Consumer Protection Act.
Consumers can contact Attorney General Herring’s Consumer Protection Section for information or file a complaint:
Governor Northam COVID-19 update briefing – March 30, 2020
Governor Northam issues statewide stay at home order
Governor Ralph Northam today, March 30, 2020, issued a statewide Stay at Home order to protect the health and safety of Virginians and mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. The executive order takes effect immediately and will remain in place until June 10, 2020, unless amended or rescinded by a further executive order.
The order directs all Virginians to stay home except in extremely limited circumstances. Individuals may leave their residence for allowable travel, including to seek medical attention, work, care for family or household members, obtain goods and services like groceries, prescriptions, and others as outlined in Executive Order Fifty-Three, and engage in outdoor activity with strict social distancing requirements.
The executive order also directs all Virginia institutions of higher education to stop in-person classes and instruction. Private campgrounds must close for short-term stays, and beaches will be closed statewide except for fishing and exercise.
“We are in a public health crisis, and we need everyone to take this seriously and act responsibly,” said Governor Northam. “Our message to Virginians is clear: stay home. We know this virus spreads primarily through human-to-human contact, and that’s why it’s so important that people follow this order and practice social distancing. I’m deeply grateful to everyone for their cooperation during this unprecedented and difficult time.”
Last week, Governor Northam issued Executive Order Fifty-Three closing certain non-essential businesses, prohibiting public gatherings of more than 10 people, and directing all K-12 schools to remain closed for the rest of the academic year. A Frequently Asked Questions guide about Executive Order Fifty-Three can be found here.
For the latest information about the COVID-19 outbreak, visit virginia.gov/coronavirus or CDC.gov/coronavirus.
Valley Health offers new services to streamline care
Valley Health has implemented three services this week to streamline access to safe and timely COVID-19-related outpatient care: a COVID-19 Respiratory Care Phone Line, telehealth visits with providers, and a new Respiratory Care Clinic.
“The vast majority of patients who contract COVID-19 won’t require inpatient care in a hospital setting,” says Jeffrey Feit, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Valley Physician Enterprise. “We felt strongly that we needed a way to care for the community that provides a full spectrum of care for patients with respiratory complaints and reduces the chances of well patients and patients with chronic illnesses becoming sick when going to a regular office visit.”
COVID-19 Respiratory Care Phone Line
Valley Health has developed a new service for people who have a fever, cough, or other respiratory symptoms and need evaluation. Community members may call our dedicated phone line at 540-536-0380, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., and be guided to their primary care provider or a Valley Health Family Medicine/Urgent Care office for a telehealth visit.
Telehealth at Valley Health Urgent Care Centers and Medical Practices
Following recent changes by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to allow the broad use of telehealth visits by providers and health systems, several Valley Health Family Medicine, Urgent Care, and Specialty offices successfully piloted a new platform this week that enables patients to be seen by providers from the comfort of their homes.
“We are committed to caring for patients with respiratory illness in the safest way possible, and also want to offer other patients an expedient way to be evaluated,” says Jacob Meza, Senior Director of Valley Regional Enterprises, a division of Valley Health. “By Monday, all Valley Health Urgent Care centers and most Valley Health medical practices will have telehealth in place.”
After making an appointment, the office determines if telehealth is a good option instead of, or in addition to, a face-to-face office visit. If so, the patient receives a link which, when clicked, puts them “in” the exam room, ready to see their provider.
The new platform does not require the user to download any new software and may be accessed with any iPhone, Android phone, tablet or computer with a web camera, using Chrome, Safari or Firefox. Additionally, all telehealth visits have waived copays at the time of the visit to remove as many barriers as possible to help people receive the right care in the safest manner.
Visit www.valleyhealthlink.com/telehealth for a list of participating practices.
Respiratory Care Clinic
Patients who need an in-person provider visit now have a “next step” opportunity for care at a new outpatient Respiratory Care Clinic located adjacent to the COVID-19 test collection site at Rutherford Crossing in Winchester. Opened Thursday, March 26, the clinic is a resource for patients who need chest x-rays and other physical exams following a telehealth visit. A referral is required from a patient’s primary care physician. Watch for additional locations in other Valley Health communities.
Other updates related to COVID-19:
Request to Employers – Valley Health’s hospital Emergency Departments, Urgent Care Centers, and physician practices have reported a growing number of patients requesting a note to return to work. We are unable to accommodate that request. Consistent with guidelines from the CDC and state agencies, we ask area employers to waive the required healthcare provider’s note for employees who are sick with acute respiratory illness to validate their illness or to return to work. Our emergency departments and doctor’s offices are not in a position to provide this documentation in a timely way.
Supply Donations –Many businesses and individuals have offered to share their time and talents by making home-sewn masks. We are heartened and encouraged by this show of support and concern for the safety of our patients and staff. Donated masks will help us preserve our supply of personal protective equipment (PPE). In order to ensure the highest possible level of protection, we have step-by-step instructions for making masks with elastic and masks without elastic on our website.
Blood Donors Needed – Many are asking what they can do to help. We urge all residents who are able to roll up their sleeves and help maintain our supply of blood products. The Red Cross donor center in Winchester has daily collection times. In West Virginia, bloodmobiles are scheduled in Keyser on March 31, Berkeley Springs on April 2, Ranson on April 3, and Bunker Hill on April 4. For more information, visit redcrossblood.org and enter your zip code or call 1.800.RED.CROSS.