On Saturday, September 15, the fourth annual Samuels Public Library “Sami.Con” festival continued its theme of popular culture fantasy, sci-fi and wizardry with the “Fantastic Books – And Where to Find Them” takeoff on the Harry Potter offshoot hit movie “Fantastic Beasts – And Where To Find Them”.
Previous themes have tagged landmark and never-ending sequel series and movie engines from “Star Trek” with “Read Long and Prosper” for all you of Vulcan ancestry; to Star Wars-inspired “Discover the Force – of Your Library” for the Jedi in training; and the initial Marvel Comics superhero-themed “Discover the Power of Your Library Card”.
Costume tributes to, not only the current, but all previous themes were apparent in the costuming for the well-attended 2018 event.
The local Sami.Con takeoff on the national Comi.Con celebration of comic books impact on popular culture coincides with National Library Card Sign-Up Month – still in progress through the end of September.
The Bookmobile lands
Appropriately considering the technology-themed aspect of Sami.Con, a wizardly-attired Samuels Library Director Harold Hayes noted the presence at this year’s event of the Digital Bookmobile. The digital Bookmobile is a galactic emissary of Cleveland, Ohio-based “OverDrive” a subsidiary company of Tokyo-based Rakuten – how’s that for an intergalactic connection!
According to company officials in Cleveland base, Rakuten-OverDrive is the leading digital reading platform for over 40,000 libraries and schools worldwide, delivering the industry’s largest catalog of e-books, audio-books, magazines and other digital media.
“We want to get the word out – because many people are not aware we have this service through which you can upload e-books and audio-books through your phone or computer,” Hayes told this technological dinosaur.
“Huh,” the tech dinosaur replied.
However, a quick visit with the helpful “crew” of the Bookmobile situated strategically in the library landing zone, I mean parking lot, cleared things up – as much as things can be cleared up for someone still carrying what at best might be described as a semi-smart phone.
According to the literature available on the Bookmobile intergalactic vessel – at least it felt like the interior of an “Interstellar Overdrive” (with a nod to Pink Floyd) ship to this earthling – the “Libby” app enabling e-book and e-audio downloads is available “from your device’s app store”; part 2 – “Open the app and find your library … by name, city or zip code; part 3 – “Browse your library’s collection and borrow a title. When prompted sign in” – you’ll need your library card to complete this step; and part 4 – your borrowed titles appear on your “Shelf and download to the app automatically so you can read them when you’re offline.”
And for the technology-impaired for whom the free “Libby” app is not compatible with your device – “Libby” is available for Android, iOS and Windows 10 devices – do not lose hope! “If you can’t get “Libby” on your device, you can try using the original OverDrive app – for more help, visit <help.overdrive.com>
And may the force of all those fantastic beasts from a galaxy far, far away be with you, prospering for all eternity.
A Samuels shout out
Library officials acknowledged provision of the Lego Table pictured here, courtesy of the Shenandoah Discovery Museum in Winchester. Death Star Storm Troopers set up earth base camp at Legion Post 501 we were informed by sources.
A few of the other businesses and organizations library personnel said deserved a shout out are: Michaels of Front Royal who contributed supplies and staff to help attendees create wands and slime; Selah Theater who performed a Readers Theater from Beedle the Bard; Terry Fox with The Turning Point, who demonstrated making wooden wands and then gave them to attendees; Front Royal Brewing Company who made nonalcoholic butter beer for attendees; and Penguin Random House who donated many of the giveaways.
Funding for SamiCon comes from The Friends of Samuels Library.
“And that doesn’t even begin to cover the many volunteers and vendors, mostly local businesses who shared their time and talents. We were truly blessed to have so many different businesses and organizations come together to make this the most successful event to date with more than 3100 attendees as the final door count at the end of the day,” said Adult Reference Supervisor Kitti McKean.
Front Royal based substance abuse recovery program receives grant
Harvest Missions Outreach Center’s Exodus program has been awarded the Rappahannock Electric Power of Change grant. Each month Rappahannock Electric members give to The Power of Change. These donations are invested back into Rappahannock Electric communities through grants to organizations that work towards improving REC communities.
Harvest Missions Outreach Center’s Exodus program is a faith-based intensive outpatient substance abuse recovery program. The program utilizes evidence-based curriculum in a faith-based setting to provide a comprehensive recovery program. The grant made it possible to expand their curriculum to include the Matrix Model for Criminal Justice Settings. The Matrix program, which is used by drug court programs across the country, is designed to meet the needs of law-involved clients who struggle with addiction to alcohol and other drugs. The program focuses on overcoming criminal thinking and strategies for successful recovery skills. With the implementation of the Matrix curriculum, the Exodus program will be able to provide services to those who are in the criminal justices system in Warren County.
To assure that finances are not a barrier to treatment, there is no fee for the Exodus program. The program is supported by grants, contributions from local churches and individual donations (Clients are asked to make a contribution of whatever they can afford, even if it is only $1.00).
Harvest Missions Outreach Center is located at the former United Methodist Church in Happy Creek (1652 Happy Creek Rd). To find out more about the program, visit harvestmissionscenter.org or call (540) 645-6450.
Element Risk Management acquires new agency, expands local footprint
Element Risk Management has acquired Stoneburner-Carter Insurance, located in Front Royal, Virginia.
Stoneburner-Carter Insurance was established in 1985 and is a three-generation family firm based in Warren County, Virginia, formerly at 11 Water Street, Front Royal, VA 22630. Stoneburner-Carter has served their clients well by putting them first and delivering first-rate customer service. For over 35 years, they have taken pride in knowing that the insurance they offer is the best for their clients’ families and businesses. Stoneburner-Carter has been committed to working with and protecting their community.
“Stoneburner-Carter has always treated their clients as friends and neighbors. That is a core value of Element Risk Management and we will continue to provide the personalized service that their clients are accustomed to. We look forward to them joining us at Element Risk Management,” said Dave Rivell, Partner at Element Risk.
Element Risk Management is an independent insurance agency based out of West Chester, Pennsylvania. Element provides personal, commercial, and specialty insurance, as well as risk management solutions. For more information, visit www.ElementRisk.com.
Kindness is contagious at LFK Elementary School
On Monday, January 24, 2022, Leslie Fox Keyser Elementary School kicked off The Great Kindness Challenge week. LFK joins other schools and millions of students around the world in the Great Kindness Challenge 2022. Students and staff are creating a kinder and more compassionate community by practicing how easy it is to be kind to others during this week-long event.
The GKC initiative, presented by Kids for Peace, is a global campaign that promotes kindness in kindergarten through grade twelve schools. It is a positive, action-based bullying-prevention initiative that creates a school culture of kindness, compassion, unity, and respect.
Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind. – Henry James
Update: Bentonville teen dies off Chincoteague Bay after boat capsizes, boy, 17, missing
Update January 22, 2022 – The Virginia Marine Police are investigating a boating incident that left one dead and one missing.
At approximately 9:22 am on January 22, 2022, the Virginia Marine Police received a call regarding a capsized vessel in the Chincoteague Bay near Curtis Merritt Harbor. Witnesses reported that a 16-foot John Boat carrying four people was struck by a wave causing the vessel to capsize. All four people went into the water. A Good Samaritan was able to rescue two people who remained with the vessel. The United States Coast Guard (USCG) recovered one deceased adult male, identified as Corey Alles of Bentonville Virginia. A 17-year-old male remains missing.
The Virginia Marine Police will resume the search for a missing 17-year-old male in the morning. The other adult male and a 17-year-old male were transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
The United States Coast Guard, Virginia Marine Police, Virginia State Police, Maryland State Police, and the Chincoteague Police Department are assisting with the investigation.
The Virginia Marine Police and the Virginia Marine Resources Commission offers its deepest condolences to the families during this time.”
More information to follow as it becomes available.
A Bentonville teen died, and another teen is missing after their Jon boat capsized it Saturday morning in the Chincoteague Bay, according to a media release from the Virginia Marine Resources Commission.
The incident occurred around 9:20 a.m. near Curtis Merritt Harbor at the southern end of the island. A wave apparently hit the 16-foot boat, according to Marine Police and all four people went into the water.
Marine police stated that on board were two 17-year-olds, a 19-year-old and 18-year-old Corey Alles of Bentonville, VA.
A good Samaritan rescued two of the passengers near the boat, while the U.S. Coast Guard recovered the body of Alles. Officials say the 19-year-old man and one of the 17-year-olds were taken to the hospital with injuries considered non-life-threatening.
The release said that a 17-year-old male is still missing, and marine police will continue their search for him in the morning.
The U.S. Coast Guard, Virginia Marine Police, Virginia State Police, Maryland State Police, and the Chincoteague Police Department are all jointly
conducting the investigation. The families and the next of kin have been notified.
Officials declined to comment if the missing teen was from the Front Royal/Warren County area. This story will be updated as more information becomes available.
VSP investigating a fatal crash in Fauquier County
Virginia State Police Senior Trooper J. Lewis is investigating a fatal two-vehicle crash in Fauquier County. The crash occurred Friday, January 21, 2022, at 6:51 p.m. along Route 17 (Winchester Rd.), 2 tenths of a mile north of Interstate 66.
A 2021 Jeep Wrangler was traveling north on Rte. 17 when it crossed a double solid yellow centerline and collided head-on with a southbound 2017 Dodge Ram.
The driver of the Jeep, Gilbert F. Dzakpasu, 43, of Germantown, Md., died at the scene of the crash as a result of his injuries. Dzakpasu was wearing a seatbelt.
The driver of the Dodge, a 22-year-old male, of Marshall, Va., suffered serious, but non-life-threatening injuries in the crash and was flown to INOVA Fairfax Hospital for treatment. The male was wearing a seatbelt.
Speed is considered a factor in the crash.
Valley Health distributes COVID test kits to community partners in region
At a time of high community COVID-19 positivity, Valley Health is distributing more than 150,000 free COVID-19 test kits throughout its rural service area, courtesy of the federal government.
The 2-test kits began arriving last week through a Biden Administration initiative of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), in an effort to address the needs of residents in medically underserved areas.
Valley Health operates 19 federally-designated Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) in Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland to ease a shortage of primary medical care. HRSA’s program provides test kits through its network of RHCs to clinic staff, patients, and surrounding communities.
In addition to offering test kits to RHC staff and patients, Valley Health is distributing them to other physician practices and dozens of community agencies and organizations for use by their staff and those they serve. The distribution includes law enforcement, fire and rescue, free medical clinics, health departments, churches, and detention centers, shelters, and other congregate settings.
“We are entering our third year of caring for patients with COVID-19 and trying to protect the community from the ravages of this virus,” said Jeffrey Feit, MD, Valley Health Population and Community Health Officer. “The current Omicron variant is particularly contagious and there’s an overwhelming demand for testing. We are thrilled to be the conduit for these do-it-yourself test kits from the U.S. government to help our community take decisive steps if they are positive: isolate and protect others, and seek care if they have significant symptoms or underlying health conditions.”
Each test kit box contains two tests with clear instructions and the nasal swab and reagent needed to obtain fast, easy-to-understand results in 10 minutes. It is recommended that individuals use the second test over two to three days, with at least 24 hours and no more than 36 hours between tests.
Jason Craig, EdD, Valley Health Director of Community Health, has delivered thousands of test kits this week and learned first-hand how vital the rapid tests are for community agencies struggling to make safe decisions during the pandemic. The Salvation Army’s residential program manager, Deborah Moody, expressed her appreciation and offered insight on the value of the rapid tests to an organization trying to serve as many individuals as possible.
“We are currently running at half capacity because we were unable to know if someone was coming in with COVID and needed to isolate them for five days before releasing them into the population,” Moody explained. “This will allow us a shorter isolation time. Being the winter, it is crucial that we offer services to individuals experiencing homelessness. Thank you for helping to make that happen.”
Valley Health’s six hospitals are working on a plan to give kits to patients on discharge from the hospital, Craig added. ”We are putting them in the hands of many local family medicine and specialty care practices to help distribute throughout our communities. We want to be a good community partner and are eager to put the test kits we requested from HRSA to use for the health and safety of our friends and neighbors.” Valley Health is also asking employees to take two kits for their families and give two to a friend or neighbor “so that we can extend into the communities where our employees live,” Craig said.
Craig suggested that anyone unable to find a COVID-19 test kit through one of the practices or community organizations on Valley Health’s initial distribution effort should submit a request to receive by mail from www.covidtests.gov.