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Governor Northam announces 102 new jobs in Shenandoah County

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NEW MARKET—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Howell Metal, an established manufacturer of copper tubing and line sets for residential and commercial construction markets, will invest $8 million to expand production at its operation in Shenandoah County. Virginia successfully competed with Utah, Mississippi, and Ontario, Canada, for the project, which will create 102 new jobs.

“Howell Metal’s 50-year tenure is a tremendous success story for Shenandoah County, and with this expansion and the addition of more than 100 high-quality jobs, I am confident the company will continue to be a major asset to the local economy,” said Governor Northam. “The Shenandoah Valley offers unique market access and a strong manufacturing workforce, with 14 top-tier colleges and universities ensuring a reliable pipeline of skilled talent. We are honored that Howell Metal is reinvesting in the Commonwealth and look forward to its next phase of growth in the region.”

Howell Metal is a subsidiary of parent company Mueller Industries, Inc. With over a century of experience, Mueller Industries has built a global reputation for providing high-quality products. The companies that comprise Mueller Industries are involved in a wide array of different markets and industries, with a prominent competency in piping systems, climate products, and industrial metals and components. The company is headquartered in Collierville, Tennessee, and employs over 5,000 people worldwide. Interested candidates for employment with Howell Metal may apply at the New Market, Virginia plant or at howellmetal.com.

“Howell Metal has earned respect around the country for excellence in manufacturing, and the company’s expansion is a testament to the region’s ability to attract industry-leading businesses to locate and expand in the Shenandoah Valley,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “Manufacturers benefit from the region’s talent pool, connectivity to markets, infrastructure, and proximity to the Virginia Inland Port. As one of the area’s largest employers, we thank Howell for its major contribution to the local economy and for creating valuable, 21st-century jobs.”

“Howell Metal has been proud to be an important enterprise and supporter of Shenandoah County for over five decades,” said Mueller Streamline Co. President Devin Malone. “Our manufacturing expansion, training initiatives, and other investments in New Market are the latest examples in our ongoing industriousness to work with the town, county, and state authorities to provide jobs, growth, and new opportunities to the region and its people. We are proud to be able to work with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, Shenandoah County, and the Port of Virginia in bringing these new manufacturing capabilities and jobs to the area.”

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Shenandoah County and the Port of Virginia to secure the project for Virginia. Governor Northam approved a $400,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist Shenandoah County with the project. Howell Metal will be eligible to receive Sales and Use Tax exemptions on manufacturing equipment, as well as benefits from the Port of Virginia Economic and Infrastructure Development Zone Grant Program.

“Howell Metal has served our community as one of the largest employers in Shenandoah County for over 50 years,” said Jenna French, Director of Tourism and Business Development for Shenandoah County. “We are thrilled to support the company in its expansion, as it is not only a staple in the County but has also served as a strong partner in driving economic progress locally. We look forward to Howell Metal’s continued success and to working with the company to coordinate training opportunities to fill and support the additional jobs created through this effort.”

“Virginia and Shenandoah County have the tools, talent, and infrastructure to facilitate trade for this growing manufacturing operation,” said John F. Reinhart, CEO and Executive Director of the Virginia Port Authority. “The Port of Virginia is excited to partner with Howell Metal to continue to provide unparalleled port access into the Shenandoah Valley. Howell Metal’s continued investment and job creation within the Commonwealth, paired with the Port’s investments, will ensure Virginia remains the best place to do business and will help both remain sustainable for years to come.”

“I am thrilled that Howell Metal has received a grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to create 102 new jobs in Shenandoah County,” said Senator Mark Obenshain. “This serves as a great example of the potential to foster economic growth by encouraging existing businesses to reinvest and expand their operations here in the Shenandoah Valley.”

“Today’s announcement is a credit to the hard work being done by the dedicated professionals of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership,” said Delegate Todd Gilbert. “Growing and diversifying our economy is critical to the future of our Commonwealth, and I am proud of the work the General Assembly has done to support VEDP’s vital mission of bringing more jobs and prosperity to Virginia.”

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Governor Northam COVID-19 update briefing – August 5, 2020; rapid testing, Tropical Storm Isaias, restrictions in Hampton Roads area

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Governor Northam joins the Virginia Emergency Support Team to share the latest updates on the COVID-19 response. Here are the highlights:

  • COVID-Wise app to send alerts to those who have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. The app is free, and voluntary, to download and use.
  • Joining 7 states to expand the use of rapid antigen testing.
  • Feds to continue to fund the majority of the National Guard’s presence in Virginia in response to both COVID-19 and tropical storms such as Isaias.
  • Increased restrictions remain in place in the Hampton Roads area.
  • Case counts have begun to slowly rise throughout most of Virginia, with a sharp rise in the Eastern Region. Seeing about 1,000 new cases per day, which is similar to the number of new cases per day at the peak. Averaging, statewide, between 15,000 and 20,000 tests per day. Statewide percent positivity is 7.2%.
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Supreme Court of Virginia denies appeals by Goodwin and Ramos for their role in the beating of Deandre Harris during Unite the Right Rally

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Attorney General Mark R. Herring and his team have again successfully defended the convictions of two men who were convicted of malicious wounding for their roles in the beating of Deandre Harris in a Charlottesville parking garage during the August 2017 “Unite the Right” rally. The Supreme Court of Virginia denied Jacob Scott Goodwin’s petition for appeal today and denied Alex Michael Ramos’ petition for appeal in early May.

“The violence, mayhem, injury, and death caused at the hands of the racists and white supremacists who descended on Charlottesville for the Unite the Right rally can never be forgotten, but we can make sure that the individuals who broke the law or incited violence are brought to justice,” said Attorney General Herring. “My team and I will do everything in our power to combat this white supremacist violence that we continue to see in the Commonwealth, and I will not hesitate to hold these racists and white supremacists accountable when they act on their hate.”

In each of the opinions denying the appeals, the Supreme Court of Virginia said, “Upon review of the record in this case and consideration of the argument submitted in support of the granting of an appeal, the Court refuses the petition for appeal.”

Goodwin was sentenced to serve eight years in prison and Ramos was sentenced to serve six years for their roles in the beating of Deandre Harris.

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Virginia State Police urging travel safety during tropical storm

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As the Virginia State Police prepares for Tropical Storm Isaias, Virginians are encouraged to get ready and plan ahead, too. Forecasts are currently calling for the eastern and central regions of the Commonwealth to be significantly impacted by heavy rains and strong winds.

Virginia State Police have all available troopers and supervisors working through the night and Tuesday as the storm makes its way across the Commonwealth. To prevent unnecessary traffic crashes from occurring on Virginia’s highways during the storm, state police advises residents to postpone travel plans and avoid driving, when possible.

If having to travel during the storm, drivers are reminded to do the following:

  • Slow your speed. Though state police works closely with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) to identify problem areas on Virginia’s highways during a storm, drivers still must drive for conditions. Slowing your speed gives you more time to safely react and avoid a crash, downed trees and/or debris in the roadway. Drive your vehicle based on your ability to properly maintain control of your vehicle.
  • Turn Around. Don’t Drown. Never drive through standing water. What looks like a puddle can be deep and swift-moving water. Turn around and find another, safer route to your destination.
  • Don’t tailgate. You need increased stopping distance on wet road surfaces. Give yourself more space between vehicles traveling ahead of you in order to avoid rear end collisions.
  • Use headlights. Increasing your visibility helps you to avoid standing water and/or flooding. Headlights also help other drivers see you better, especially in a downpour when visibility is limited.
  • Buckle Up. Most crashes that occur during inclement weather are caused by vehicles sliding off the road or other vehicles. Wearing your seat belt protects you from being thrown around the inside of your vehicle and suffering serious injury in a crash.
  • Put down your phone. Having to drive in heavy rain requires a driver’s full, uninterrupted attention. Do not text and drive or shoot video of the bad conditions while driving, as these actions put you, your passengers and other vehicles at extreme risk of a crash and/or injury.
  • Check Your Vehicle. Make sure your vehicle is in good working order for the conditions. Fill up the tank in advance. Check windshield wipers, tire tread, battery life, etc.

For the latest in road conditions and updates, please call 511 on a cell phone, download the App or go online to the VDOT Virginia Traffic Information Website at www.511virginia.org.

Virginians are advised to only call 911 or #77 on a cell phone in case of emergency. It is essential to keep emergency dispatch lines open for those in serious need of police, fire or medical response.

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Governor Northam declares State of Emergency in advance of Hurricane Isaias

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Governor Ralph Northam today declared a state of emergency in advance of Hurricane Isaias, which is expected to impact parts of coastal Virginia starting on Monday, August 3, 2020.

“Hurricane Isaias is a serious storm, and current predictions indicate that it may impact parts of Virginia as early as this weekend,” said Governor Northam. “This state of emergency will ensure localities and communities have the assistance they need to protect the safety of Virginians, particularly as we continue to deal with the COVID-19 crisis. I encourage Virginians to take all necessary precautions, monitor local weather forecasts, and stay alert.”

A state of emergency allows the Commonwealth to mobilize resources and equipment needed for response and recovery efforts. While the track of Hurricane Isaias is still uncertain, it appears increasingly likely that Virginia could see impacts and therefore must prepare for the possibility of flooding, high winds, and potential storm surge that could come along with a tropical storm or hurricane.

Virginians are encouraged to consult the Virginia Hurricane Evacuation Guide During the COVID-19 Pandemic, which outlines preparedness, response, and recovery actions designed to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 and protect public health.

The Virginia Emergency Support Team (VEST) is actively monitoring the situation and coordinating resources and information to prepare for this storm. The Virginia Emergency Operations Center (VEOC) will coordinate preparedness efforts with local, state, and federal officials.

The full text of Executive Order Sixty-Nine is available here.

Recommendations for Virginians

• Know your zone. Evacuation may become necessary depending on the track and severity of the storm. Review Virginia’s evacuation zones at KnowYourZoneVA.org. It is important to note that the zone colors have been updated for 2020. Users can enter their physical address in the search bar of the website to view and confirm their designated evacuation zone. If the internet or computer access is not available, call 2-1-1 to learn your zone. Residents not residing in a pre-identified evacuation zone should listen to evacuation orders from local and state emergency agencies to determine if and when to evacuate.

• Make a plan. Virginians residing in eastern and coastal Virginia should consult the Virginia Hurricane Evacuation Guide During the COVID-19 Pandemic, which outlines ways to prepare for both weather and pandemic-related risks. Additional planning resources are available at ready.gov/plan.

• Prepare an emergency kit. For a list of recommended emergency supplies to sustain your household before, during, and after the storm visit VAemergency.gov/emergency-kit. Given the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, emergency kits should include face coverings and sanitization supplies.

• Stay informed. Virginians should follow the Virginia Department of Emergency Management on Twitter and Facebook for preparedness updates and their local National Weather Service office for the latest weather forecast, advisories, watches, or warnings. Download the FEMA app on your smartphone to receive mobile alerts from the National Weather Service. Power outages are always a concern during weather events—make sure you have a battery-operated radio available so you can still receive life-saving alerts.

For more information about preparing your business, your family, and your property against hurricane threats visit VAemergency.gov/hurricanes and ready.gov/hurricanes. Additional information about preparing for hurricanes during the COVID-19 pandemic can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

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AG Herring again defends Virginia’s COVID safety measures

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Attorney General Mark R. Herring has again successfully defended Virginia’s COVID safety measures against legal challenge, making it at least the 13th decision Attorney General Herring and his team have won in defense of the Commonwealth’s COVID mitigation efforts that were put in place to prevent the spread of the virus and keep Virginians and their families and communities safe and healthy.

“Science has shown us that Virginia’s COVID mitigation efforts are proven effective in preventing further spread of the virus and keeping Virginians safe,” said Attorney General Herring. “As we continue to see a surge of cases around the country, including certain areas of Virginia, we know that we must continue to adhere to these critical safety measures to keep Virginians healthy. I am pleased we were once again able to successfully defend these important COVID mitigation measures, and I am really proud of the hard work my team has done to keep their fellow Virginians safe during these unprecedented times.”

The Plaintiff, in this case, William G. Dillon, Jr., who owns the Abbey Road restaurant in Virginia Beach, filed suit challenging the Governor’s executive orders that were passed to keep Virginians safe and healthy and prevent further spread of the deadly coronavirus. The Plaintiff sought a preliminary injunction that would allow him to have more patrons in his restaurant. Judge David W. Lannetti of the Norfolk Circuit Court denied the request for a preliminary injunction, as well as the plaintiff’s petition for writ of mandamus after finding that “Plaintiffs failed to prove that they will suffer irreparable injury without the requested temporary injunction, that the requested relief is in the public interest, and that the equities tip in their favor.” Additionally, Judge Lannetti acknowledges that the COVID-19 situation is ever-evolving, but he makes the point that “Courts…resolve legal – as opposed to social or political – questions; the other branches of government establish and enforce statutes and policies.”

This is the thirteenth decision Attorney General Herring and his team has won in defense of Virginia’s COVID mitigation measures, including two cases that explicitly challenged Virginia’s mask requirement, in addition to winning court cases to protect the vote during the COVID pandemic.

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Governor Northam COVID-19 update briefing – July 28, 2020; Hampton Roads area, CARES Act funds, going back to school

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Governor Northam joins the Virginia Emergency Support Team to share the latest updates on the COVID-19 response. Here are the highlights:

  • 4 out of 5 Virginia health regions are stable
  • Hampton Roads area need attention
  • continue to do the right things
  • wear masks
  • stay at home
  • social distancing
  • checking in on your neighbors
  • vaccines being fast-tracked
  • the nursing home situation turned around
  • testing up to 20,000 people per day
  • new executive order for Hampton Roads area
  • CARES Act funds will be distributed
  • working on quick-turnaround tests for COVID-19
  • “recipe for disaster” if students go back to school without numbers down
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