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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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Bill advances to remove statue of segregationist

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A Virginia House of Delegates committee voted Friday to advance a bill to remove the statue of former state Gov. Harry F. Byrd Sr. from Capitol Square.

House Bill 2208, introduced by Del. Jay Jones, D-Norfolk, instructs the Department of General Services to place the statue in storage until its final location is chosen by the General Assembly.

“This statue serves only as a reminder to the overt and institutional racism that has and continues to plague our commonwealth,” Jones said.

The bill’s supporters included Rita Davis, counsel to Gov. Ralph Northam, who described Byrd’s work as preventing African Americans from voting, being seen or being heard.

“Had Mr. Byrd had his way, I would never have the opportunity to be before you, because I’m Black,” Davis said during the committee hearing. “The question is not whether we should remove Mr. Byrd’s statue from Capitol Square, but rather ‘Why on earth would we keep it at Capitol Square?’”

 Speaker of the House Del. Eileen Filler-Corn, D-Springfield, indicated during the hearing that the League of Women Voters also supported the bill.

The five Republicans serving on the committee voted against the measure.

Byrd, a Democrat, served as Virginia’s governor from 1926 to 1930 and as a U.S. senator from 1933 to 1965. He strongly opposed desegregation of public schools and led a “massive resistance” campaign in the South against the ruling of Brown v. Board of Education, according to documents from Old Dominion University’s Desegregation of Virginia Education collection. His statue was erected in Richmond’s Capitol Square in 1976 after his death in 1966.

Debate around the statue’s removal began last session, when Del. Wendell Walker, R-Lynchburg, introduced a bill to remove it, though the bill was ultimately stricken from the docket. The General Assembly passed legislation last year allowing local governments to remove Confederate monuments. The removal of statues in Richmond was accelerated following protests after George Floyd died in the custody of a Minneappolis police officer who has since been charged with second-degree murder.

The Department of General Services estimates the removal to cost approximately $250,000, according to the bill’s impact statement. Storage costs are estimated at $7,000 per year until the final home of the statue is determined.

The Rules Committee passed the measure on a 13-5 vote. The bill now heads to the House floor for consideration.

By Zachary Klosko
Capital News Service

Capital News Service is a program of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Robertson School of Media and Culture. Students in the program provide state government coverage for a variety of media outlets in Virginia.

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44 new troopers graduate Virginia State Police Academy

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The 44 men and women of the Virginia State Police 132nd Basic Session graduated in a virtual ceremony on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. Due to COVID-19 protocols, a virtual ceremony was the safest means of allowing the graduates and their families to celebrate the culmination of 27 weeks of the trooper-trainees’ hard work, sacrifice, and dedication. Also in virtual attendance were state police executive staff, academy staff, and Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran. A previously-recorded video of Governor Ralph Northam congratulating the new troopers was played during the ceremony.

“This Basic Session class has been like no other. Every one of these steadfast men and women heeded strict attention to detail as they navigated the ever-evolving COVID-19 safety protocols,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “The attention to detail wasn’t just to ensure a safe environment for the entire class, their families, academy staff, and instructors, but also for the greater good, something all Virginia State Troopers understand as they put their lives to the test daily to protect and serve the citizens of the Commonwealth. I could not be more proud of this graduating class and I know they will represent us well as they serve their communities.”

The new troopers 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 a 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 132nd Basic Session began their 27 weeks of academic, physical, and practical training at the Academy on June 29, 2020.

The graduates of the 132nd Basic Session are from every corner of the Commonwealth, as well as Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and New York. They include two second-generation troopers, four first-generation Americans, and numerous prior military service personnel.

For their final phase of training, each trooper will spend an additional six weeks paired with a Field Training Officer learning his or her new patrol area.

132nd Basic Graduate Assignment
Arfan M. Arif  – Fairfax County
Michael L. Albert – Shenandoah County
Zachary T. Barnes – York County
Moses I. R. Blakey – New Kent County
Vontasia T. Britton – York County
Andrew J. Brown – Prince William County
Taylor C. Brown – Prince William County
Jawaan D. Cook – Greensville County
William T. DiBerardine  – Warren County
Hunter C. Dickenson  – Gloucester County
Julian B. Edwards – Prince William County
Kayla B. Edwards – Surry County
Christian L. Elkins – Prince William County
Arthur P. Falin – Greensville County
Jacob A. Farmer – Prince George County
Adelaide E. Fischer – Hampton / Newport News
Robert L. Flynn – Accomack County
Tony Fuentes – James City County
Austin K. Gallaway – Hampton / Newport News
Zachary M. Homlish – Caroline County
Hunter C. Jensen – New Kent County
Stephanie H. Kapusta – Fairfax County
Sarah A. M. Kendrick – Prince William County
Aaryn J. Kerry – Cumberland County
Steven R. King – Accomack County
Timothy L. LaFountain – Buckingham County
Joshua O. McClure – Frederick County
Alexander W. Meyers – King George County
Thomas J. Mills – York County
Justin R. Mull – Caroline County
Connor R. O’Quinn – Hampton / Newport News
Earl J. Pritchett – Prince George County
Andrew R. S. Sanders – Sussex County
Gabriel A. Santillan – Fairfax County
Austin M. Sloan – King William County
Jeffrey A. Spencer – Fairfax County
Sean M. Stinnett – Clark County
Seth A. Sullivan – Accomack County
Andrew M. Toth – Fairfax County
Joseph J. Trombley – Shenandoah County
Richard C. Warner – Gloucester County
Jacob K. Weitzman – Fairfax County
Isaac D. Wilson – York County
Joseph T. Worley – Greensville County

State police are currently hiring for future Basic Session Academy classes. Those interested in joining the ranks of the Virginia State Police are encouraged to visit www.vatrooper.com for more information.

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Governor Northam COVID-19 update briefing – January 14, 2021

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

Highlights include:

  • vaccine distribution to 160 sites
  • receiving 110,000 vaccine doses per week
  • the goal is to distribute 25,000 does per day
  • your turn will come, be patient
  • important to reopen our schools
  • possibility of year-round school
  • addressed threats of violence leading up to next week’s inauguration

Briefing begins about 8 minutes into the broadcast.

Governor Northam delivers State of the Commonwealth Address

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IRS Criminal Investigation warns Virginia taxpayers about new wave of COVID-19 scams

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The Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI) is warning Virginia taxpayers about a new wave of COVID-19-related scams as the agency delivers the second round of Economic Impact Payments.

In the last several months, IRS-CI has seen a variety of Economic Impact Payment (EIP) scams and other financial schemes designed to steal money and personal information from taxpayers. Criminals are taking advantage of the second round of Economic Impact Payments – as well as the approaching filing season – to trick honest taxpayers out of their hard-earned money.

“IRS-CI wants to make sure all Virginians are aware of potential scams, in hopes of preventing them from being victimized,” said Special Agent in Charge Kelly R. Jackson.  “Please stay vigilant of potential scammers looking to steal your identity and your money.”

Some common COVID-19 scams include:

  • Text messages asking taxpayers to disclose bank account information under the guise of receiving the $1,200 Economic Impact Payments.
  • Phishing schemes using email, letters and social media messages with key words such as “Coronavirus,” “COVID-19,” and “stimulus” in varying ways. These communications are blasted to large numbers of people and aim to access personally identifying information and financial account information (including account numbers and passwords).
  • The organized and unofficial sale of fake at-home COVID-19 test kits (as well as offers to sell fake cures, vaccines, pills, and professional medical advice regarding unproven COVID-19 treatments).
  • Fake donation requests for individuals, groups and areas heavily affected by the
  • Bogus opportunities to invest in companies developing COVID-19 vaccines while promising that the “company” will dramatically increase in value as a result.

Although criminals are constantly changing their tactics, taxpayers can help protect themselves by acting as the first line of defense. The best way to avoid falling victim to a scam is knowing how the IRS communicates with taxpayers. The IRS does not send unsolicited texts or emails. The IRS does not call people with threats of jail or lawsuits, nor does it demand tax payments on gift cards.

IRS-CI continues investigating hundreds of COVID-19-related cases with law enforcement agencies domestically and abroad and educating taxpayers about scams.

COVID-19 scams should be reported to the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline at 1-866-720-5721 or submitted through the NCDF Web Complaint Form. The NCDF is a national coordinating agency within the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division dedicated to improving the detection, prevention, investigation and prosecution of criminal conduct related to natural and man-made disasters and other emergencies.

Taxpayers can also report fraud or theft of their Economic Impact Payments to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA). Reports can be made online at TIPS.TIGTA.GOV.

Taxpayers who receive unsolicited emails or social media attempts to gather information that appear to be from either the IRS or an organization closely linked to the IRS, should forward the message to phishing@irs.gov. Taxpayers are encouraged not to engage potential scammers online or on the phone.

To learn more about COVID-19 scams and other financial schemes visit IRS.gov. Official IRS information about COVID-19 and Economic Impact Payments can be found on the Coronavirus Tax Relief page, which is updated frequently.

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Governor Northam delivers State of the Commonwealth Address

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Governor Ralph Northam delivered his annual State of the Commonwealth address on Wednesday, January 13, 2021. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the governor spoke from the House Chamber of the Virginia State Capitol before a virtual joint session of the General Assembly.

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DMV closed for 2021 State Holidays and Observances

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All Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) full-service customer service centers will be closed on the following days for state holidays and observances:

• January 18: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

• February 15: George Washington Day

• May 31: Memorial Day

• June 18: Juneteenth

• July 5: Independence Day

• September 6: Labor Day

• October 11: Columbus Day and Yorktown Victory Day

• November 2: Election Day

• November 11: Veterans Day

The holiday schedule for Thanksgiving and Christmas will be announced at a later date.

DMV customers are encouraged to save time by taking advantage of more than 40 transactions available online at dmvNOW.com. Appointments are required for in-person transactions.

Also, some DMV Select locations, run mostly by local governments, may operate outside the state holiday closing schedule. DMV Select offices process mostly vehicle-related transactions including registration renewals, titles, and license plates; driver’s licenses and ID card services are not available. To find out if a DMV Select in your area is open on a state holiday and whether an appointment is required, visit dmvNOW.com/DMVSelect.

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Upcoming Events

Jan
29
Fri
12:30 pm Opioid Overdose and Naloxone Edu... @ Online Event
Opioid Overdose and Naloxone Edu... @ Online Event
Jan 29 @ 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm
Opioid Overdose and Naloxone Education @ Online Event
Save a Life: Free REVIVE! Opioid Overdose and Naloxone Education January 29th The Northwestern Prevention Collaborative and Northwestern Community Services Board will offer a free virtual REVIVE! Training on January 29th from 12:30 pm to[...]
Jan
30
Sat
2:00 pm Paint Camellias with The Studio @ The Studio - A Place for Learning
Paint Camellias with The Studio @ The Studio - A Place for Learning
Jan 30 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Paint Camellias with The Studio @ The Studio - A Place for Learning
We will paint these beautiful camellias on Saturday, January 30th at 2 pm at The Studio. This will be the first in a series of floral paintings we will do over the course of 2021.[...]
6:00 pm Parent’s Night Out @ Code Ninjas
Parent’s Night Out @ Code Ninjas
Jan 30 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Parent's Night Out @ Code Ninjas
Help Code Ninjas Front Royal celebrate our Grand Opening! We are hosting our first Parent’s Night Out! $35 per child, space limited to 5! – Drop them off. Go have fun. Just remember to pick[...]
6:00 pm Robert Burns Night 2021 @ Virginia Beer Museum
Robert Burns Night 2021 @ Virginia Beer Museum
Jan 30 @ 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Robert Burns Night 2021 @ Virginia Beer Museum
Known in medieval Celtic culture as a storyteller, verse maker, and composer, the word ‘Bard’ has become synonymous with the world’s greatest poets. However, few are as celebrated as Scotland’s own ‘National Bard’, Robert Burns,[...]
Feb
9
Tue
10:00 am Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training @ Online Event
Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training @ Online Event
Feb 9 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training @ Online Event
The Warren Coalition, in partnership with Northwestern Prevention Collaborative, will offer area residents two opportunities to take a free, virtual Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training in February. This course is designed to provide information about identifying[...]
Feb
11
Thu
6:30 pm Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training @ Online Event
Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training @ Online Event
Feb 11 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training @ Online Event
The Warren Coalition, in partnership with Northwestern Prevention Collaborative, will offer area residents two opportunities to take a free, virtual Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training in February. This course is designed to provide information about identifying[...]
Feb
13
Sat
6:00 pm Parent’s Night Out @ Code Ninjas
Parent’s Night Out @ Code Ninjas
Feb 13 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Parent's Night Out @ Code Ninjas
Help Code Ninjas Front Royal celebrate our Grand Opening! We are hosting our first Parent’s Night Out! $35 per child, space limited to 5! – Drop them off. Go have fun. Just remember to pick[...]
Feb
15
Mon
9:00 am Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Feb 15 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Free tax preparation will be available again this year through the AARP Tax Aide at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Front Royal, Monday and Wednesday mornings beginning Feb. 15th. To make an appointment, please call[...]
Feb
16
Tue
10:00 am Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training @ Online Event
Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training @ Online Event
Feb 16 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training @ Online Event
The Warren Coalition, in partnership with Northwestern Prevention Collaborative, will offer area residents two opportunities to take a free, virtual Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training in February. This course is designed to provide information about identifying[...]
Feb
17
Wed
9:00 am Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Feb 17 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Free tax preparation will be available again this year through the AARP Tax Aide at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Front Royal, Monday and Wednesday mornings beginning Feb. 15th. To make an appointment, please call[...]