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Governor Northam announces final action and signature of budget

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RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today (May 2, 2019) announced his final action and signature of House Bill 1700. In a letter to the General Assembly, Governor Northam details his veto of language constraining the funding for a pilot program to distribute long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) to low-income women across the Commonwealth.

While the budget signed today reflects many of the priorities Governor Northam laid out for the General Assembly’s consideration earlier this year, it also includes disappointing and out-of-touch provisions that will harm Virginians with respect to fighting climate change, women’s access to reproductive healthcare, and the use of body-worn cameras by law enforcement. These provisions will not restrict the governor’s budget development this fall and will be addressed in his introduced budget later this year.

Governor Northam’s full letter detailing his action on the budget is included below.

May 2, 2019

I have completed my review of House Bill 1700. Overall, I am very proud of what we accomplished together. We have achieved many of the priorities I laid out for your consideration in December, and we also moved forward with new achievements during the regular and reconvened sessions.

This year’s budget actions make significant investments in education. We are providing over $200 million in new funding for our public schools, including additional funding for our most at-risk schools, funds for school construction, the largest single-year pay raise for teachers in 15 years and funding for more school counselors. We are also investing in early childhood education and in financial aid for students attending higher education institutions.

This budget invests in critical infrastructure improvements like expanding access to broadband and replacing Central State Hospital. We provide funding for affordable housing and eviction diversion and prevention. We also put additional resources into our cash reserves, helping to protect against future economic downturns.

Importantly, beginning on July 1st, Virginians will no longer face driver’s license suspensions because of a failure to pay court fines and fees. This policy change will help over 600,000 individuals.

While I am pleased with most of this budget, I am extremely disappointed that the General Assembly included several provisions in the budget that will harm Virginians.

First, this budget restricts the Commonwealth’s ability to participate in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) — a critical avenue for reducing carbon emissions in the Commonwealth and addressing the negative effects of climate change, which is impacting the health and safety of people who live, work, and vacation in our great state. The Department of Environmental Quality recently finalized a regulation to reduce carbon pollution from fossil fuel fired power plants by 30 percent over the next decade. While the General Assembly has restricted the Commonwealth from participating in RGGI, I am directing the Department of Environmental Quality to identify ways to implement the regulation and achieve our pollution reduction goals.
Second, this budget restricts the use of state funds for abortions in the case of a gross and totally incapacitating fetal anomaly. While these instances are rare, expecting parents who receive the devastating news that something has gone very wrong with their pregnancy deserve compassion and support. The General Assembly’s action is cruel and out of touch with the difficult reality some families face. While the General Assembly has prohibited the use of state resources to deliver a critical service for Virginia families, I am hopeful that other medical providers in the Commonwealth are able to accommodate families in need.

Third, this budget restricts state agencies and authorities from purchasing and implementing the use of body-worn cameras. This provision unnecessarily prohibits state law enforcement officers from providing the accountability that both citizens and law enforcement officers deserve.

These and other provisions in the budget do a disservice to the citizens of the Commonwealth. I will not be constrained by these provisions as I develop my proposed budget this fall.

Overall, I am proud to sign this budget. However, pursuant to Article V, Section 6, of the Constitution of Virginia, I have vetoed the following item. The effect of this Veto will be to return the item to its original enactment in Chapter 2, 2018 Acts of Assembly, Special Session I.

Item 292, pages 319, 320, 321, 322 – Community Health Services
Action: I veto this item including all appropriations and conditions that appear on pages 319, 320, 321, and 322.
Ralph S. Northam, May 2, 2019

The re-enrolled bill changes language the General Assembly and I agreed to last year providing funding for a pilot program to distribute long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) to low-income women across the Commonwealth. s are the most effective form of contraception and are associated with reducing pre-term births and lower birth weight babies, as well as decreasing abortion rates. The language as passed by the General Assembly will constrain the program, preventing individuals in need from receiving this important service. By vetoing all of Item 292, the budget will revert back to the original language, which satisfies the intent of the program.

Respectfully submitted,
Ralph S. Northam

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Governor Northam recognizes Virginia Police Week and Peace Officers Memorial Day

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RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam has issued a proclamation declaring May 12–18, 2019, as Virginia Police Week, and May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day in the Commonwealth.

Both National Police Week and National Peace Officers Memorial Day have been recognized every year since 1962, when President John F. Kennedy signed the first proclamation to honor the men and women who work to protect our communities, often at great personal sacrifice.

“I am proud to recognize the brave and selfless service of Virginia’s law enforcement officers who face countless risks in the line of duty each and every day,” said Governor Northam. “In observing Virginia Police Week and Peace Officers Memorial Day, we also honor the memories of fallen officers and express our gratitude for the tremendous sacrifices made by officers and their families in order to protect our communities and ensure our Commonwealth remains a safe place to live, work, and raise a family.”

“Law enforcement is a challenging and often dangerous profession,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian J. Moran. “We are proud of the men and women in Virginia who make this daily sacrifice to ensure our safety, and I encourage all Virginians to take a moment this week and thank these courageous officers.”

There are approximately 22,500 men and women serving as law enforcement officers in Virginia. In 2018, one Virginia law enforcement officer died in the line of duty and over 1,400 were victims of offenses ranging from a simple assault to aggravated assault.*

*Statistics generated from the VA UCR files that the Department of Criminal Justice Services Research Center receives from the Virginia State Police and from the Officer Down Memorial Page.

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Martinsville-based doctor, was found guilty today of 861 federal drug charges

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Abingdon, VA – Joel Smithers, a Martinsville-based doctor, was found guilty today of 861 federal drug charges at the conclusion of a nine-day jury trial in U.S. District Court in Abingdon, United States Attorney Thomas T. Cullen announced.

The jury convicted Smithers, 36, after seven hours of deliberation, on one count of maintaining a place for the purpose of illegally distributing controlled substances, one count of possession with the intent to distribute controlled substances, and 859 counts of illegally prescribing Schedule II controlled substances. The jury also found that the oxycodone and oxymorphone Smithers prescribed to a woman from West Virginia caused her death.

“This defendant not only violated his Hippocratic Oath to his patients, but he perpetuated, on a massive scale, the vicious cycle of addiction, despair, and destruction,” U.S. Attorney Cullen stated today. “We have no higher priority than investigating drug-dealing physicians and other corrupt health-care practitioners and putting them in federal prison.”

Evidence presented at trial showed Smithers opened an office in Martinsville in August 2015, and prescribed controlled substances to every patient in his practice, resulting in over 500,000 Schedule II controlled substances being distributed. The drugs involved included oxymorphone, oxycodone, hydromorphone, and fentanyl. A majority of those receiving prescriptions from Smithers traveled hundreds of miles, one-way, to receive the drugs. Smithers did not accept insurance and took in over $700,000 in cash and credit card payments prior to a search warrant being executed at his office on March 7, 2017.

United States District Court Judge James P. Jones ordered Smithers taken into custody pending sentencing. Sentencing is scheduled for August 16 at 10:00 a.m. in Abingdon. Smithers faces a mandatory minimum sentence of imprisonment for a term of twenty years and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. He also faces a maximum fine of more than $200 million dollars.

The case was investigated by the Roanoke offices of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Tactical Diversion Squad and the Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General. Task force officers with the police departments of Bristol, Martinsville, Buena Vista, Roanoke, and Roanoke County; the Sheriff’s Offices of Henry County and Pittsylvania County; and the Virginia State Police assisted in the investigation. Assistant United States Attorneys Cagle Juhan, Randy Ramseyer and Zachary T. Lee prosecuted the case for the United States.

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Remaining Members of California-Based White Supremacist Group plead guilty to federal rioting charges in connection with August 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA – Benjamin Drake Daley and Michael Paul Miselis, members of the white-supremacist organization known as the Rise Above Movement (RAM), pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Charlottesville to one count of conspiracy to riot in connection with the August 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville and other alleged political rallies in California. Daley, one of the founders of RAM, was chiefly responsible for organizing the group’s presence at the Unite the Right rally. The announcement was made by United States Attorney Thomas T. Cullen, Special Agent in Charge David W. Archey of the FBI’s Richmond Division, and Colonel Gary T. Settle of the Virginia State Police.

“These avowed white supremacists traveled to Charlottesville to incite and commit acts of violence, not to engage in peaceful First Amendment expression,” U.S. Attorney Cullen stated today. “Although the First Amendment protects an organization’s right to express abhorrent political views, it does not authorize senseless violence in furtherance of a political agenda.”

“As RAM members, Daley and Miselis trained to engage in violent confrontations and attended the Unite the Right Rally with the expectation of provoking physical conflict with counter-protestors that would lead to riots,” Special Agent Archey said today. “The FBI will continue to work with the Virginia State Police and the United States Attorney’s Office (WDVA) to investigate and prosecute these violations. We are grateful to the Charlottesville community and the Commonwealth of Virginia for their cooperation during these investigations.”

“Pursuing and bringing these violent individuals to justice have been of priority for the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation since that fateful day in August 2017 in the city of Charlottesville,” said Colonel Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “Those from the Virginia State Police, FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office assigned to this case are to be commended. Because of their dedicated, investigative efforts, no other communities, from Virginia to California, are at risk of being terrorized by the hate and violence spawned by this now-defunct, white-supremacist organization.”

According to plea documents filed during today’s hearing, Daley, 26, of Redondo Beach, Calif., and Miselis, 30, of Lawndale, Calif., were members of RAM, a now-defunct, California-based, combat-ready, militant group that represented itself as part of the new nationalist and white supremacy movement. They are the final two RAM members to plead guilty to federal riot act charges. Cole White and Thomas Gillen each previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to riot.

From March 2017 to August 2017, RAM and its members, including Daley and Miselis, traveled to multiple political rallies and organized demonstrations in Virginia and California where they prepared to, and engaged in, acts of violence. RAM regularly held hand-to-hand and other combat training for members and associates to prepare to engage in violent confrontations with protestors and other individuals at purported political rallies. They attended these rallies with the intention of provoking physical conflict with counter-protestors, which they believed would justify their use of force against the counter-protestors and shield them from prosecution for their acts of violence. Daley and Miselis attended several such training events and rallies.

On March 25, 2017, Daley and Miselis attended a political rally in Huntington Beach, Calif., with several RAM members. At that event, several RAM members pursued and assaulted groups of protestors and other individuals. Following the rally, photographs depicting RAM members assaulting protestors and other individuals were covered on local news stations and on the “front page” of various Neo-Nazi and white-supremacist websites. RAM members celebrated this coverage and used the internet to post statements, photographs, and videos of the assaults committed by RAM members at this rally in order to recruit members to engage in violent confrontations at future events.

On April 15, 2017, Daley, Miselis and other RAM members attended a rally in Berkeley, Calif., Daley, Miselis and other RAM members were dressed in gray clothing, goggles, and black scarfs or masks to cover the lower half of their faces. Throughout the day, there were violent clashes between some rally attendees and individuals protesting the rally. At one point, RAM members, including Daley and Miselis, crossed a barrier separating the attendees and the protestors, and assaulted protestors and other individuals.

In August 2017, Daley and Miselis, along with defendants Gillen and White, planned to travel to Charlottesville to attend the Unite the Right Rally. Daley and Miselis expected the event would become a riot and that their experience in riots at Huntington Beach and Berkeley would be valuable.

On August 11, 2017, the evening prior to the scheduled Unite the Right Rally, Daley, Miselis and other members of RAM, joined hundreds of individuals in a torch-lit march on the grounds of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Throughout the march, participants chanted, “Blood and Soil!” and “Jews will not replace us!” The march culminated near a statue of Thomas Jefferson where a small group of students gathered to protest white supremacy. Violence erupted among the crowd, with some punching, kicking, spraying chemical irritants and swinging torches. During and in furtherance of this riot, RAM members, struck multiple individuals with torches. As part of their plea, the defendants admitted these actions were not in self-defense.

On the morning of August 12, 2017, Daley, Miselis and other members of RAM, with hands wrapped in white athletic tape, were part of a large group of over 40 individuals seeking entry into Emancipation Park by way of Second Street when they were told by law enforcement to enter at a different location. The group, including Daley, Miselis and other RAM members, turned, lined up, and began to make their way through a group of over 20 individuals who had come to the rally to protest against discrimination. As they made their way through the group of protestors, the RAM members collectively pushed, punched, kicked, chocked, head-butted, and otherwise assaulted several individuals, resulting in a riot. As part of their pleas, the defendants admitted these actions were not in self-defense.

The investigation of the case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Virginia State Police. United States Attorney Thomas T. Cullen, Assistant United States Attorney Christopher Kavanaugh, and Assistant United States Attorney Justin Lugar are prosecuting the case for the United States.

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Thomas Gillen admits to conspiring to riot in connection with the August 2017 “Unite the Right” Rally in Charlottesville

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Anthony Crider; cropped by Beyond My Ken (talk) 20:37, 9 April 2018 (UTC) [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA – Thomas Walter Gillen, a member of the white-supremacist organization known as the Rise Above Movement (RAM), pleaded guilty today (April 29, 2019) in U.S. District Court in Charlottesville to one count of conspiracy to riot in connection with the August 2017 “United the Right” rally in Charlottesville and other purported political rallies in California. United States Attorney Thomas T. Cullen, Colonel Gary T. Settle of the Virginia State Police, and Special Agent in Charge David Archey of the FBI’s Richmond Division made the announcement.

“The First Amendment protects an individual’s or organization’s right to speak, assemble, and espouse political views, but it does not license insensate acts of violence committed under the guise of First Amendment expression,” U.S. Attorney Cullen stated today. “As Mr. Gillen has admitted as part of his guilty plea, he and other members of RAM attended the Unite the Right rally and other purported political demonstrations in California to incite and commit acts of violence, not to exercise their rights to free speech. We are grateful for the commitment of the FBI and the Virginia State Police in bringing these defendants to justice.”

“When the defendant conspired to commit violent acts at the Charlottesville rally, he damaged an entire community,” Special Agent Archey said today. “The FBI and its partners will continue to aggressively investigate these types of violations. We are grateful for the partnership of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia and the Virginia State Police on this case.”

According to plea documents filed during today’s hearing, Gillen, 25, of Redondo Beach, Calif., was a member of RAM, which was a California-based, combat-ready, militant group that represented itself as part of the new nationalist and white supremacy movement. Fellow RAM members Benjamin Drake Daley, Michael Paul Miselis and Cole Evan White were indicted in October 2018, along with Gillen, and charged with violating the federal riots statute.

White pleaded guilty on November 30, 2018 to one count of conspiracy to riot.

RAM openly identified as “alt-right” and “nationalist” and its members and associates frequently posted photographs and videos of themselves engaging in physical training and mixed martial arts street-fighting techniques, along with messages and propaganda related to their alt-right, anti-Semitic, and white-supremacist views. In addition, RAM members and associates expressed and promoted violence against those who they believed held opposing political views.

From on or about March 2017 to on or about August 2017, RAM and its members, including Gillen, traveled to multiple political rallies and organized demonstrations in Virginia and California where they prepared to, and engaged in, acts of violence.

On March 25, 2017, Gillen attended a political rally in Huntington Beach, Calif. with several RAM members. At that event, RAM members pursued and assaulted protestors, and others, and later celebrated the news coverage depicting photographs of the assaults. RAM members went so far as to use the photographs and videos of the assaults to recruit members to engage in violent confrontations at future events.

On April 15, 2017, Gillen attended a purported political rally in Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Park in Berkley, Calif. There were violent clashes between attendees and protestors throughout the day. As the rally broke up, Gillen and other RAM members followed and attacked a group of protestors as they left the area. Specifically, Gillen punched one protestor several times and stomped on him once. Gillen’s encounter was captured on video and subsequently posted to YouTube. Following the rally, Gillen sent a text message to a friend with the YouTube video attached. In the message, he wrote: “20 seconds in I’m in the grey shirt turning up a commie.”

RAM members further celebrated the violence in Berkley. For example, the RAM Instagram account posted a photograph of a RAM member wearing a black skull mask at the Berkley event along with the comment, “#rightwingdeathsquad.”

In August 2017, Gillen, Daley, Miselis, and Cole planned to travel to Charlottesville, Va., to attend the Unite the Right Rally. Gillen purchased a one-way ticket from American Airlines departing August 11, 2017. At the time of his travel, Gillen expected that either he or his fellow RAM members would engage in violent confrontations with protestors or other individuals at the upcoming events in Charlottesville.

Upon arrival and in anticipation of violence, RAM members, including Gillen, purchased athletic tape at Wal-Mart to wrap their wrists to prevent their hands from breaking when they engaged in street violence.

On August 11, 2017, the evening prior to the scheduled Unite the Right Rally, Gillen and other members of RAM, joined hundreds of individuals in a torch-lit march on the grounds of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Throughout the march, participants chanted “Blood and soil!” and “Jews will not replace us!” The march culminated near a statue of Thomas Jefferson where a small group of students gathered to protest white supremacy. Violence erupted among the crowd, with some punching, kicking, spraying chemical irritants and swinging torches. During and in furtherance of this riot, RAM members, including Gillen, struck multiple individuals with a torch. These actions were not in self-defense.

On the morning of August 12, 2017, Gillen and other members of RAM, with hands wrapped in white athletic tape, were part of a large group of over 40 individuals seeking entry into Emancipation Park by way of Second Street when they were told by law enforcement to enter at a different location. The group, including Gillen and other RAM members, turned, lined up, and began to make their way through a group of over 20 individuals who had come to the rally to protest against discrimination. As they made their way through the group of protestors, the RAM members collectively pushed, punched, kicked, chocked, head-butted, and otherwise assaulted several individuals, resulting in a riot. These actions were not in self-defense.

The investigation of the case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Virginia State Police. United States Attorney Thomas T. Cullen, Assistant United States Attorney Christopher Kavanaugh, and Assistant United States Attorney Justin Lugar are prosecuting the case for the United States.

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Governor Northam announces ‘Virginia is for Learners’ Education Initiative

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RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today launched Virginia is for Learners, an initiative to engage students, parents, educators, and employers with the Commonwealth’s efforts to better prepare Virginia students for success in the 21st-century workforce and adapt to a changing world. The initiative includes a public information campaign and a coordinated set of future-focused strategies to accompany recent major changes the Commonwealth has made to public education.

“Over the past few years, the Commonwealth of Virginia has worked to transform the way we deliver public education, aligning our approach with the needs of a modern economy,” said Governor Northam. “The goal of this initiative is to provide Virginians with information on each of these changes, why we are making them, and what we hope those changes will achieve. Virginia is for Learners represents our commitment to do everything we can to offer every student, no matter where they live, the world-class educational experience they need to build successful lives as adults, and an opportunity to learn in ways that are relevant to their lives, their communities, and their future aspirations.”

Each of the pillars of the initiative supports the goal of modernizing curriculum, instruction, and testing to ensure that students master important content while also developing the real-world skills that are more important to employers than ever. The future of work is changing—and this initiative is designed to change the future of learning in Virginia to meet the need of students and suit the needs of modern employers.

The Virginia is for Learners initiative includes the Virginia Department of Education, the Virginia Board of Education, and partner organizations including Jobs for the Future, the Virginia Association of School Superintendents, the Virginia Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development, the Virginia School Consortium for Learning, and several schools of education, including those at William & Mary and George Mason University. The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation provided initial support for policy and practice activities that made the launch of this initiative possible.

The key components of Virginia is for Learners include:

• A Stronger Focus on Deeper Learning: Students in every grade are experiencing an approach to instruction that deepens the focus on key skills for success in a modern world—critical thinking, creative thinking, communication, collaboration and citizenship skills. This approach ensure students develop the content knowledge and the skills they need to succeed after graduation.

• New High School Graduation Requirements and Career Pathways: Virginia high school graduation requirements have been revised to incorporate the “Profile of a Virginia Graduate,” which ensures graduates have the knowledge, skills, and experiences identified by employers and educators as most critical for life after high school. For the first time, all Virginia graduates will leave high school with life changing work-based learning experiences that put them on the path for career and economic advancement. This Profile went into effect for this year’s freshman class.

• Modernizing the Virginia Standards of Learning: Over the past several years Virginia has reduced the number of high-stakes tests. The Commonwealth is also updating testing to better track not only what a student knows, but how ready they are to apply their knowledge and skills in the real world. Parents will begin to see these new testing approaches—such as performance assessments—in their kids’ schools as students are asked to demonstrate their true understanding of concepts through short essays, projects and other vehicles.

• An Increased Emphasis on Early Childhood Education: The Virginia Department of Education helps prepare all children to become lifelong learners, which is critical in the modern economy, and recognizes the need to build that foundation in a child’s earliest years. The Commonwealth supports birth to five programming, including the Virginia Preschool Initiative and Early Childhood Special Education. Virginia is for Learners promotes key classroom practices, such as using of high-quality curriculum and assessment, supporting positive teacher-child interactions and ongoing family engagement. A goal of this initiative is to ensure every student enters kindergarten ready to learn and prepare for a successful life after graduation.

• New Standards of Accreditation for Virginia Schools: Standards of Accreditation for school performance place new emphasis on cultivating real-world skills, eliminating achievement gaps and incentivizing continuous school quality improvement. Virginia’s new accreditation system measures what matters, gives credit for student growth, and focuses on equity outcomes. These new standards use the latest research and technology to advance Virginia’s position as a national leader in school accountability. The Virginia Department of Education remains focused on excellence and accountability while ensuring that Virginia is a place where every student is has the opportunity to succeed.

• Maximizing the Potential of All Students: Education is our most effective tool to reduce poverty, address racism, and sustain economic advancement for all Virginians. The Commonwealth is committed to ensuring that students and families in Virginia, regardless of their race, economic status, or the languages they speak at home, feel welcomed in their schools. The Virginia Department of Education will continue to focus on the changing needs of its diverse student population, recognizing that significant achievement gaps currently exist. Our commitment is to ensure that the Commonwealth’s public education system is positioned to achieve equitable academic outcomes for all students.

“Taken together, these policy changes transform the way Virginia prepares our students for successful careers and lives after graduation,” said Secretary of Education Atif Qarni. “Virginia is for Learners is our vehicle for communicating and engaging with the public about the changes happening in their schools and promoting future reforms to build on our momentum. If we work together we can prepare every student for a successful career in the economy of the future.”

“Virginia has always led the way on thoughtful and modern innovations to connect students with the skills and knowledge they need to thrive after graduation,” stated Virginia Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane. “Virginia is for Learners is about recognizing our responsibility to adapt to a changing economy and make sure that every student has the knowledge, skills, and experience to build a successful life after graduation.”

“On behalf of the Virginia Board of Education, I am proud of the on-going work that state, local and private partners have undertaken to better ensure our education system prepares students from every corner of our state for success in the modern workforce,” said Board of Education President Daniel Gecker. “Virginia is for Learners is a strong platform to highlight the important revisions the Board made to the Standards of Accreditation that focus on continuous improvement for all students and the persistent equity work of the Board, the Department and our public schools across the Commonwealth.”

Stephanie Malia Krauss, Senior Director for Special Projects at Jobs for the Future added, “The jobs of the future require students to be lifelong learners who can pair strong content knowledge with real-world skills. Virginia is for Learners is a national model for how states can modernize their educational approach to ensure every student who earns a high school diploma is ready to thrive in a rapidly changing world. This initiative is a true collaborative effort of state and local education leaders in partnership with a number of strong national partners, all working together on behalf of Virginia students.”

Donna Colombo, President of the Virginia PTA added, “Virginia is for Learners is the culmination of years of work by public and private partners to transform how Virginia prepares students for future success. We are proud to support this important effort to inform Virginia parents and students about the changes happening in their schools and how they will lead to better outcomes for children in every corner of the Commonwealth.”

For more information on the Virginia is for Learners initiative visit www.virginiaisforlearners.virginia.gov.

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Governor Northam announces $2.2 million in Virginia Housing Trust Fund Homeless Reduction Grants

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RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced $2.2 million in Homeless Reduction Grants through the Virginia Housing Trust Fund (VHTF) for 30 projects in Virginia. The selected projects will result in targeted efforts to reduce homelessness around the Commonwealth. The grants will support 16 rapid re-housing projects, 12 existing permanent supportive housing projects, and the pre-development of two permanent supportive housing projects.

Successful efforts by the Governor and the General Assembly to increase the Virginia Housing Trust Fund allowed 16 additional projects totaling $1.1 million in funding to be awarded this fiscal year. Additional affordable housing construction loans will also be made possible with the increased funding which will be announced in the coming months.

“Virginia is focused on targeting our funds toward systematic strategies that have been proven successful in reducing homelessness, like rapid re-housing and permanent supportive housing,” said Governor Northam. “We know that having a stable, safe, and affordable place to live is key to achieving positive educational outcomes, securing a good job, and leading a healthy, productive life—with this funding, we are working to strengthen our communities and ensure that no Virginian is left behind.”

Since 2010, overall homelessness in Virginia has decreased 34 percent, and homelessness among families has decreased 44 percent. Homelessness among veterans has decreased 48 percent since 2011, and in 2015, Virginia became the first state in the country to functionally end veteran homelessness. These successes have been driven by the leadership of the Governor’s Coordinating Council on Homelessness, collaboration between state and local partners, and the allocation of funding to support a systematic approach at the community level. Resources to address homelessness in Virginia are administered through the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development’s Virginia Homeless Solutions Program, which is a combination of state and federal funds.

“The Virginia Housing Trust Fund is a key resource in our efforts to reduce homelessness and make affordable housing more readily available for all,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “Housing is the foundation to building and sustaining healthy and vibrant communities for all Virginians.”

At least 80 percent of the funds allocated to the VHTF must be used to provide loans that reduce the costs of affordable rental housing and homeownership. Up to 20 percent may be used for grants to reduce homelessness. Eligible activities of the Homelessness Reduction Grant pool include rapid re-housing, support services for permanent supportive housing for the chronically homeless, and pre-development of permanent supportive housing projects for chronically homeless individuals or families.

The applications were reviewed, evaluated and scored, and $2.2 million was allocated for 30 projects. The increase in the Housing Trust Fund in the state budget allowed all projects meeting the scoring threshold to be funded.

2019 Homeless Reduction Grant Awardees:

 

Organization Project/Activity Award Communities Served
Action in Community Through Service (ACTS) ACTS Permanent Supportive Housing Supportive Services $41,525 Cities of Manassas and Manassas Park, and Prince William County
Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network, Inc. (A-SPAN) The A-SPAN Supportive Housing Project $35,000 Arlington County
City of Chesapeake Homeless Youth Rapid Re-Housing Project $100,000 Cities of Chesapeake, Franklin, Norfolk, and Suffolk, and Isle of Wight and Southampton counties
City of Hampton Youth Homelessness $100,000 Cities of Hampton, Newport News, Poquoson, and Williamsburg, and James City and York counties
Cornerstones Rapid Re-Housing Plus $100,000 Fairfax County and the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church
Council of Community Services Housing Trust Fund Rapid Re-Housing Project $35,000 Cities of Covington, Roanoke, and Salem and Alleghany, Botetourt, Craig, and Roanoke counties
Doorways for Women and Families Doorways for Women and Families Housing Trust Fund Fiscal Year 2019 $25,000 Arlington County
ForKids, Inc. ForKids Bridge Rapid Re-Housing $50,000 Cities of Chesapeake, Franklin, Norfolk, Suffolk, and Isle of Wight and Southampton County
HomeAgain Single Individuals Rapid Re-Housing Initiative $100,000 City of Richmond and Chesterfield, Henrico, Hanover, Goochland, New Kent, Charles City, and Powhatan counties
Mercy House, Inc. Mercy House Rapid      Re-Housing Program $100,000 Cities of Harrisonburg and Winchester, and Clarke, Frederick, Page, Rockingham, Shenandoah, and Warren counties
Micah Ecumenical Ministries Fredericksburg Continuum of Care Permanent Supportive Housing $51,500 City of Fredericksburg and Caroline, King George, Spotsylvania, and Stafford counties
Micah Ecumenical Ministries Fredericksburg Continuum of Care Rapid Re-Housing Program $77,250 City of Fredericksburg and Caroline, King George, Spotsylvania, and Stafford counties
Miriam’s House Community First Rapid Re-Housing $100,000 Cities of Bedford and Lynchburg, and Amherst, Appomattox, Bedford, and Campbell counties
New Hope Housing –Alexandria Alexandria Housing First Apartments Program $55,000 City of Alexandria
New Hope Housing – Arlington Arlington Permanent Supportive Housing Project $100,000 Arlington County
New Hope Housing – Fairfax Fairfax County Housing First Permanent Supportive Housing Program $55,000 Cities of Fairfax and Falls Church, and Fairfax County
Northern Virginia Family Services (NVFS) NVFS Greater Prince William Rapid Re-Housing and Stabilization Services $100,000 Cities of Manassas and Manassas Park, and Prince William County
People Inc. King’s Housing Trust Fund $10,000 City of Bristol and Buchanan, Dickenson, Russell, Tazewell, and Washington counties
People Inc. Hope Center $91,410 Prince William County
Samaritan House, Inc. Rapid Re-Housing $100,000 City of Virginia Beach
Shelter House Shelter House Rapid Re-Housing 2019 $100,000 Fairfax County and the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church
St. Joseph’s Villa Continuation of the Petersburg High School Housing Stability Pilot Program $62,725 City of Petersburg
St. Joseph’s Villa Fiscal Year 2019 St. Joseph’s Villa Housing Trust Fund $55,000 Cities of Colonial Heights, Hopewell, Petersburg, and Emporia, and Dinwiddie, Greensville, Prince George, Surry, and Sussex counties
Steps, Inc. Heartland Local Planning Group/Steps, Inc. $13,590 Amelia, Buckingham, Cumberland, Lunenburg, Nottoway, and Prince Edward counties
Virginia Supportive Housing 2019 The Crossings $82,000 City of Charlottesville and Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, and Nelson counties
Virginia Supportive Housing 2019 Gosnold and Church Street $100,000 Cities of Chesapeake, Franklin, Norfolk, and Suffolk, and Isle of Wight and Southampton counties
Virginia Supportive Housing 2019 Cloverleaf and Crescent Square – Virginia Beach $100,000 City of Virginia Beach
Virginia Supportive Housing 2019 New Clay and South Richmond Studios – Richmond $100,000 City of Richmond and Chesterfield, Henrico, Hanover, Goochland, New Kent, Charles City, and Powhatan counties
Virginia Supportive Housing Cool Lane Apartments $100,000 City of Richmond and Chesterfield, Henrico, Hanover, Goochland, New Kent, Charles City, and Powhatan counties
Virginia Supportive Housing 2019 Heron’s Landing – Chesapeake $60,000 Cities of Chesapeake, Franklin, Norfolk, and Suffolk, and Isle of Wight and Southampton counties
TOTAL $2,200,000
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Upcoming Events

May
19
Sun
all-day Local 5K for Lyme Awareness Month @ Anytime Fitness
Local 5K for Lyme Awareness Month @ Anytime Fitness
May 19 all-day
Local 5K for Lyme Awareness Month @ Anytime Fitness
It’s Lyme Awareness month and one of your local Lyme patients has organized a 5K to support Lyme awareness and research! Lauren Nicole is no stranger to Lyme disease. She has personally dealt with Lyme[...]
May
20
Mon
10:00 am Design a chair for the SPCA CHAI... @ SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties
Design a chair for the SPCA CHAI... @ SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties
May 20 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Design a chair for the SPCA CHAIR-ity Brunch @ SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties
Calling all artists!! Design a chair for the SPCA CHAIR-ity Brunch and save homeless animals. Pick up a chair from the SPCA Thrift Shop, build a chair, up-cycle a chair, paint a chair, or upholster[...]
May
21
Tue
1:30 pm Watercolor Landscapes: In and Ou... @ Art in the Valley
Watercolor Landscapes: In and Ou... @ Art in the Valley
May 21 @ 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm
Watercolor Landscapes: In and Out of the Studio @ Art in the Valley
This four week course will focus on learning basic skills to create watercolor landscape paintings: basic composition and use of color and value to create a sense of depth and distance. During the first class[...]
May
22
Wed
6:30 pm Rose Wine Class @ Element
Rose Wine Class @ Element
May 22 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Rose Wine Class @ Element
Join us for Rose’ Wine Class & Tasting at Element on Wednesday, May 22, 2019 at 6:30pm led by our own Caitlin Love! APRIL SHOWERS BRING MAY ROSE! Come join us as we celebrate the[...]
May
23
Thu
9:30 am Painting: Composition and Color @ Art in the Valley
Painting: Composition and Color @ Art in the Valley
May 23 @ 9:30 am – 12:30 pm
Painting: Composition and Color @ Art in the Valley
Explore your painting potential by creating unique compositions. We’ll find out what motivates you to paint and how to express your point-of-view on canvas. Learn methods of developing a composition and how to best use[...]
1:30 pm Portraits for Beginners: People ... @ Art in the Valley
Portraits for Beginners: People ... @ Art in the Valley
May 23 @ 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm
Portraits for Beginners: People and Pets @ Art in the Valley
Learn to create realistic portraits of people and pets. Students will practice drawing and painting techniques used in portraiture. Class meets once a week for five weeks. Students are required to bring their own reference[...]
3:00 pm The Employer Expo @ War Memorial Building @ Jim Barnett Park
The Employer Expo @ War Memorial Building @ Jim Barnett Park
May 23 @ 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm
The Employer Expo @ War Memorial Building @ Jim Barnett Park
Have you been thinking about a career change? Are you nearing graduation and not quite sure what you want to do, or what your next step should be? Are you a parent of a student[...]
6:00 pm Painting the Landscape with Oils... @ Art in the Valley
Painting the Landscape with Oils... @ Art in the Valley
May 23 @ 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Painting the Landscape with Oils: Late Spring @ Art in the Valley
This class provides a hands-on experience for painting with oils. Students will focus on techniques for painting landscapes. Class meets once a week for five weeks. Students are recommended to bring their own reference photos[...]
6:30 pm Confederate Memorial Day ceremony @ Prospect Hill Cemetery's Soldiers Circle
Confederate Memorial Day ceremony @ Prospect Hill Cemetery's Soldiers Circle
May 23 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Confederate Memorial Day ceremony @ Prospect Hill Cemetery's Soldiers Circle
The Warren Rifles Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy will again lead the annual Confederate Memorial Day ceremony on the anniversary of the Battle of Front Royal. Where: at Prospect Hill Cemetery’s Soldiers[...]
May
25
Sat
1:00 pm Meet the Author: Stephen Hudak @ Royal Oak Bookshop
Meet the Author: Stephen Hudak @ Royal Oak Bookshop
May 25 @ 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Meet the Author: Stephen Hudak @ Royal Oak Bookshop
Of Dreams and Leadership: Learning to lead and sharing along the way by local author, Stephen Hudak In this collection of essays, Stephen Hudak shares his thoughts on Leadership and Learning.