Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Valley Guard Supply LLC will invest $1 million to establish a personal protective equipment manufacturing facility in the City of Harrisonburg. A service-disabled, veteran-owned company, Valley Guard produces three-ply disposable masks that are 100 percent made in the United States and intends to manufacture other types of safety and security gear in the future. The project will create 45 new jobs.
“Domestic manufacturers of personal protective equipment are critical as we battle this global pandemic, and we thank Valley Guard Supply for answering the call right here in Virginia,” said Governor Northam. “The company’s new Harrisonburg operation will play an important role in localizing our supply chain and keeping health care workers and citizens safe. Valley Guard is a veteran-owned small business with a strong entrepreneurial spirit, and we extend our gratitude for their service to our Commonwealth and our country.”
Founded by James Madison University alumni, Valley Guard Supply is a new start-up manufacturer of personal protective equipment that launched in April 2020 after the COVID-19 pandemic began. The company has leased a facility, is purchasing machinery and hiring full-time staff to establish its first permanent location in Virginia. Valley Guard has a strong sense of social responsibility and has started working with Harrisonburg officials to donate masks to local nonprofits and community organizations serving families in need.
“We are excited to add this homegrown Virginia company to our roster, and thank Valley Guard Supply for creating 45 new jobs in the Shenandoah Valley,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “This project is a great success story of proud JMU alumni with first-hand knowledge of the region’s assets and talent who are committed to the Harrisonburg community and the Commonwealth. We thank Valley Guard for its investment and look forward to our partnership.”
“Without a doubt, talent was the driving force behind Valley Guard Supply’s decision to locate it’s ‘Made in the USA’ operation in Harrisonburg,” said Andy Perrine, Strategic Advisor at Valley Guard Supply. “James Madison University’s ranking as Virginia’s best school for getting a job and the university’s programs teaching innovation—most notably JMU X-labs—gives the company great confidence that our plans for growth and expansion can rely on a steady stream of top talent.”
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) worked with the City of Harrisonburg to secure the project for Virginia, and connected Valley Guard Supply with GenEdge, which has since approved the company for the GO Virginia-funded Retooling Virginia Manufacturers for Strategic Industries Program. VEDP will support Valley Guard’s job creation through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program (VJIP), which provides consultative services and funding to companies creating new jobs in order to support employee recruitment and training activities. As a business incentive supporting economic development, VJIP reduces the human resource costs of new and expanding companies. VJIP is state-funded, demonstrating Virginia’s commitment to enhancing job opportunities for citizens.
“We are thrilled to have attracted a ‘Made in the USA’ PPE manufacturer to Harrisonburg,” said Harrisonburg Mayor Deanna Reed. “We love seeing JMU alumni launching businesses in our city, especially when that business is showing its commitment to the health and wellness of our community during a time when that is most needed. It speaks to the impact that the people and beauty of The Friendly City have on students who come to Harrisonburg for college.”
“Thanks to Valley Guard for working in partnership with the Commonwealth and the City of Harrisonburg, we have a veteran-owned small business here in the Shenandoah Valley providing more job opportunities,” said Senator Mark Obenshain. “This project will greatly benefit our region and state with an increase in supply of personal protective equipment, which is critical as we continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. As a supporter of small business, I am extremely excited about this announcement.”
“I appreciate Valley Guard Supply’s commitment to Harrisonburg,” said Delegate Tony Wilt. “The pandemic has made clear the need to manufacture personal protective equipment and other medical supplies here in the United States. Having these facilities in our own community is an even greater benefit and a win-win for job creation and public health.”
Front Royal man charged for sexual solicitation of underage victims
On Wednesday, April 14, 2021, Front Royal Police detectives initiated an investigation regarding the solicitation of minors in the Warren County/Front Royal area. Detectives started a proactive approach to apprehend individuals soliciting underage victims for sexual purposes.
An undercover operation ensued, and an adult male began soliciting one of our detectives who he believed to be an underage female for photographs and sexually explicit material. The adult male suspect sent sexually explicit materials to the detective. The initial conversation was unsolicited and started by the offender in this case.
Police identified the suspect as 20-year-old Front Royal resident, Daniel Currence. Currence was arrested on 04/16/2021 and transported to the Rappahannock Shenandoah Warren (RSW) Regional Jail. Currence was ordered to be held on a $5,000 secured bond with a scheduled court date of May 20, 2021 at 9:00 a.m. in Warren County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.
The Front Royal Police Department is an active member of the Northern Virginia/DC Metro (NOVA/DC) Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, which is coordinated by the Virginia State Police. We request anyone with information regarding the exploitation of a minor to contact Front Royal Police Detective M.R. Ramey at (540) 636-2208 or by email at email@example.com.
Virginia Beer Museum and Shae Parker celebrate in-house Aries birthdays
Due to a rash of owner-staff April birthdays over the past week, on Saturday, April 17, Shae Parker headlined an “Aries Birthday Celebration” at the Virginia Beer Museum in Historic Downtown Front Royal. Parker, also an April birthday, of the River Driven band performed three solo sets, 24 songs in all, of original material.
Parker, proprietor of Hanna Signs in town, also produced the event’s very late-1960’s psychedelic-era themed poster that may have led some of the “more mature” attendees into time-space continuum flashbacks to the glory days of the “English Invasion” and Haight Ashbury-centered classic rock & roll they grew up with.
So, Happy Birthday, David (April 14), Jeremy (April 17), Derek (April 19) and Shae (April 14), from this reporter (April 17).
And always remember, Aries, numero uno – the rest will always be followers of the Ram along the celestial path of the zodiac; and whose ruling planet, Mars, as of April 19, 2021, has the first man-made flying object hovering around the surface of another planet as mankind explores for signs of past or present life, and potential sites for future human exploration and colonization on the red planet.
Demonstrators seek dialogue on national incidents of excessive police force against people of color
Royal Examiner spoke to event organizer Laura Cascada of Northern Shenandoah Valley Unites about the message approximately 25 sign-bearing people gathered to make at noon on Saturday, April 17, in front of the Warren County Courthouse grounds. Cascada explained that while the presence of the Confederate soldier’s statue at the courthouse remains an organizational concern, equal justice and treatment under the law was the focus of Saturday’s peaceful demonstration, not statues.
“We are out here to speak up for black lives and speak up against injustice and police brutality against black people and other people of color. And we are speaking out in the wake of Dante Wright’s murder (Minnesota officer mistakes her gun for taser during a traffic stop) and amidst George Floyd’s ongoing murder trial (of former Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin) and just to bring this message close to home and let our community know this is not okay, and we need to end this violence.”
That message comes amidst, not only the two specific police officer killings of black men cited but an ongoing rash of officer-involved incidents, including in the Tidewater region of Virginia (Windsor), where undue, seemingly excessive force has been initiated against people of color even during traffic stops from which no charges were forthcoming.
As to the choice of a location for the April 17 civil rights demonstration under the gaze of the nearby Confederate soldier’s statue on the Warren County Courthouse grounds, Cascada explained:
“As many know, this was the site of controversy last fall over the long-standing (placed 1911) Confederate Monument we have here, which nearly a quarter of the county actually voted to remove or replace to another location. And even though the statue still stands – it’s a great space to open this dialogue and talk about and reflect on our long history of oppression here in Virginia and in Warren County … and today we’re just out here opening the dialogue in a peaceful, positive and uplifting way, talking about valuing black lives and ending the violence.”
In addition to some passing motorists’ apparent honks of support, the Northern Shenandoah Valley Unites demonstration drew one familiar counter-demonstrator, Gary Kushner who faced off with his own signage across East Main Street from the equal treatment under the law demonstrators.
Randolph-Macon Academy 7th grader wins Mathcounts Chapter Invitational, 2nd place
Randolph-Macon Academy (RMA) student Angelina Vincent, a seventh grader, won second place for the Mathcounts Chapter this year. This will be the second time that Angelina has participated, where she advanced to the state competition in Richmond, Virginia, twice!
Angelina credits her family, the RMA students and faculty, and mentor Coach Mackey for all of their support. When asked for parting words, she shared, “Continue to take intellectual risk, and go beyond your comfort zone. Failure is a part of life, and it is important to learn and grow from it.”
Outside of school, Angelina is an avid runner, swimmer and volleyball player. Prior to RMA, Angelina was a student at Stanford Online High School last semester. She is very happy to return to RMA and see all of her teachers and friends again.
Physical therapist assistant program will be offered at Luray-Page County Center this fall
LFCC is excited to announce a new degree being offered at the Luray-Page County Center this fall – Associate of Applied Science, Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA), pending accreditation in coming weeks.
Applications are being accepted from now until May 15. The college is hosting a virtual information session on the degree at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 27.
Physical therapist assistants provide hands-on care and treatment under the direction of a physical therapist, who conducts the patient evaluation and writes the treatment plan.
“There are four times the number of assistants needed as there are physical therapists,” says Dr. Rekha Parameswaran, the PTA program’s site coordinator and a doctor of physical therapy. “It is a challenging degree program, but leads to a very rewarding and lucrative career in healthcare.”
The median salary for PTAs is more than $60,000 a year. PTAs work with patients of all ages in hospitals, long-term care facilities, patients’ homes, outpatient clinics and schools.
The college is partnering with Germanna Community College to offer the PTA degree. Lectures will be distance taught from GCC with Dr. Parameswaran serving as a hands-on instructor with LFCC students the entire time. She will also lead labs for the students multiple times a week at Page Memorial Hospital.
Among the classes students will take are anatomy and physiology, kinesiology, psychological aspects of therapy, musculoskeletal structure and function, therapeutic procedures, medical reporting and pathological conditions.
The number of jobs for PTAs is expected to increase by 26 percent between 2018 and 2028. Medicare will start providing PTAs to at-home patients, said LFCC Director of Health Professions Kristina Simpson.
“There is definitely a push for getting more PTAs on the ground,” Director Simpson said. “Page Memorial Hospital has indicated there is a need for physical rehabilitation in this region.”
While PTAs can go right into the workforce upon receiving their associate degree, to become a physical therapist requires seven years of higher education, according to Dr. Parameswaran, and up to 10 years to reach the doctoral level.
Students’ degrees will be awarded by GCC, which is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). LFCC’s program is currently awaiting approval by CAPTE in spring 2021.
For more information about the program and to get a link to the April 27th information session, visit lfcc.edu/PTA.
June opening of downtown spay/neuter clinic announced; Humane Society of Warren County sets financial records despite pandemic
The Humane Society of Warren County (HSWC) will open its new downtown clinic in early June, ahead, way ahead, of its original schedule, it was announced at the organization’s annual meeting Tuesday, April 13.
With re-modeling construction well underway at its 840-B John Marshall Highway location on the town’s southeast side headed toward Linden, and hiring Martinsburg, West Virginia veterinarian Dr. Alicia Pownall that same afternoon, HSWC Executive Director Meghan Bowers said the clinic should be a “go” by June, offering low cost spay/neuter services for local dog and cat owners with difficulty affording the procedures.
“I’m aiming at June 1, but it may be a little later,” Bowers said in a telephone interview Wednesday. She said Pownall was currently working at the Inwood Animal Center, W. Va., and was a 2019 graduate in veterinary medicine from Mississippi State University. Other staff members would include a veterinary technician and office manager.
At an initial cost of $125,000 the Linda R. Lorber Campus Clinic is named for a principal donor. Linda Lorber came to live in Front Royal in 2004, “departing for the beach (in Delaware)” eight years later with her now 29-year-old cat Louie. She jump-started the fundraising for the clinic with a $70,000 donation, explaining that as a pet owner – she also owned a dog named Grizzle while living in Front Royal – she realized there were many pet lovers who found it difficult to pay the animals’ upkeep and that the clinic would help those out who needed it.
Bowers also sees the clinic as being vital in the HSWC’s efforts to curtail the numbers of stray and feral cats, an increasing problem in Warren County.
At the meeting, Treasurer Michelle Kosiorek reported “a fantastic year,” marked by a record gross income of $865,355 and expenses amounting to $670,851, carrying forward a net income of $194,503.
Detailing the past year’s income – the total includes a $352,000 grant from Warren County – HSWC president Ellen Aders said corporate sponsorships totaling $71,900 were the “best of all years despite the pandemic” as she read off other major details including grants, mostly from foundations, totaling $126,200; more than $189,000 in mostly individual donations (“Save the Paws Alliance”), and $71,927 from fundraising events such as the recent “Polar Plunge” ($13,116);” Holiday Appeal” ($23,065); “Barks & Bags” ($20,546); and a summer “yard sale” ($6,539).
Other monies to benefit the occupants of the Julia Wagner Animal Shelter came from the HSWC Calendar sales ($1,320); Tales & Ales ($5,899); Paws for a Cause ($1,439); and Yappy Hour donations at ViNoVa restaurant on Main Street amounted to $4,549 during the year. Animal bank collection boxes seen on store and other business counters around town collected $3,295 last year.
Bowers paid tribute to the work of volunteers, singling out Frank Maggiore, and complimenting the work of her “leadership team”, Wagner Shelter Manager Kayla Wines, Office Manager Susan Jeffery; Kennel Manager Marie Butler; Volunteer Coordinator Sue Wagoner; and Tiffany Rothgeb, who handles guest relations.
Between them and shelter staff, 487 adoptions were successfully completed and 22 foster families helped 148 cats and 11 dogs. Also, staff worked two free drive-thru food distributions for 194 pets. At a cost of $11,650, the shelter provided veterinary services for pets suffering maladies from dental care, diabetes, ear and eye surgery, cancer, and a leg amputation.
Eighty-five cats were spayed or neutered in 2020.
Most importantly, HSWC retained its coveted “no kill” status last year!
Also at the annual meeting, board members Katrina Meade, Amy Cavalier and Michelle Kosiorek were re-elected by acclamation.