Recognizing the growing demand for the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), better known as drones, in multiple area industries, LFCC is launching new courses this fall to train operators.
The initial coursework aligns with the aeronautical knowledge required for FAA-approved commercial operations as a remote pilot with small, unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) rating, and prepares students to sit for the FAA part 107 exam. Additional courses will cover maintenance, mission planning, safety, drone programming, flight data management, geospatial technology, and using geospatial data for analysis, presentation, and decision-making.
As part of the college’s School of Professional Programs, course delivery will be through a combination of online instruction and hands-on flying time to gain practice and skill.
“Our region, with the amount of logistics infrastructure, is an ideal location for this coursework, and our goal is to support the business community by training high-quality professional remote pilots for a variety of industries,” said Dr. Craig Santicola, dean of the School of Professional Programs. “It’s vital for us to offer programs that prepare students for jobs of the future, and drones are seeing increased use in so many industry sectors in our region.”
Computer Science Professor Melissa Stange, who is working on multiple drone-related projects at LFCC, said UAS are impacting so many industries, including emergency response, medical, engineering, computer science, information technology, package delivery, physical and cyber security.
“UAS are a technological game changer in the way we solve problems, conduct business, innovate, and view our world,” Dr. Stange said.
The new drones programming has the support of the Winchester Regional Airport Authority, which views drones as an essential technology.
“Increased demand for drone services will bring new economic opportunities,” Authority Executive Director Nick Sabo said. “A post-secondary education program like LFCC is proposing will foster workforce development and spur innovation and business growth within our community. This outcome aligns perfectly with the airport’s strategic vision to connect youths and jobseekers to schools, employers, and training programs that bolster the region’s aerospace workforce.”
Learn more about LFCC’s upcoming drones courses at lfcc.edu/drones. Registration for the programs will open March 28 for current students, and April 4 for new students at lfcc.edu/drone-courses-fall-2022.
Celebrate smart, safe & sober this July 4 holiday weekend
Independence Day traditions include backyard barbecues, festivals, family gatherings and fireworks. To keep all those living, working, visiting and traveling through Virginia safe during the extended holiday weekend, the Virginia State Police is encouraging Virginians to play it smart and plan ahead to ensure everyone on the road is safe and sober.
“Summer days are filled with celebrations, vacations, outdoor festivals and backyard cookouts, but no matter where your plans take you, please make safety your priority,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “With fatal traffic crashes on pace this year to mimic last year’s record number, I urge all Virginians to buckle up, eliminate distractions and never drive buzzed, drunk or under the influence. Together we can make this Independence Day the safest on record!”
If planning to drink alcohol at a July 4 function, plan ahead and arrange a designated driver, use a rideshare service or taxi, or utilize public transportation to be certain you get home safely. Party hosts are encouraged to serve non-alcoholic beverage options, and to help prevent any guests from drinking and driving home from their event.
As part of its ongoing efforts to increase safety and reduce traffic fatalities on Virginia’s highways during the coming holiday weekend, Virginia State Police will increase patrols from 12:01 a.m. Friday (July 1, 2022) through midnight Monday (July 4, 2022) as part of the Operation Crash Awareness Reduction Effort (C.A.R.E.). Operation C.A.R.E. is a state-sponsored, national program intended to reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries due to impaired driving, speed and failing to wear a seat belt.
During last year’s four-day Independence Day Operation C.A.R.E initiative, there were 12 traffic deaths on Virginia highways. Virginia troopers arrested 61 drivers operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs, cited 4,025 speeders and 1,434 reckless drivers, and issued 510 citations to individuals for failing to obey the law and buckle up. Troopers also assisted 1,550 disabled/stranded motorists.
With increased holiday patrols, Virginia State Police also reminds drivers of Virginia’s “Move Over” law, which requires motorists to move over when approaching an emergency vehicle stopped alongside the road. If unable to move over, then drivers are required to cautiously pass the emergency vehicle. The law also applies to workers in vehicles equipped with amber lights.
Virginia Piedmont Heritage Area announces new podcast, “Piedmont Crossroads”
The Virginia Piedmont Heritage Area Association (VPHA) is pleased to announce a new podcast titled “Piedmont Crossroads, The Path to Preservation” covering preservation issues and historic resources in our state-designated Heritage Area that deserve a deeper look. Commentators will address these issues one at a time, and will engage local experts to help the public understand the history and importance of each topic.
Each podcast episode will examine a historic resource that is threatened or may need more attention from the public. They will also address successful preservation efforts that have a positive story to tell. Some issues have been covered at length in the media while others may be little known by the public. Listeners will learn fascinating history, and often about the encroachment of modern development, and the conflicts that result. Discussions will also cover steps being taken to protect these important historic resources and how the public can help support their preservation.
The first episode will explore the history of the “Aldie Assemblage” in the historic village of Aldie, VA, and why those endangered properties should be protected. It will be released on the VPHA website at www.piedmontheritage.org and through all major streaming platforms on Thursday, June 16th.
The mission of the Virginia Piedmont Area Association is Preservation through Education—to educate about the history and advocate for the preservation of the extraordinary historic landscape, culture, and scenery in the Northern Virginia Piedmont for future generations to enjoy. For more information, visit www.piedmontheritage.org.
Social Security Board of Trustees: Outlook of combined trust funds improves
The Social Security Board of Trustees released its annual report on the financial status of the Social Security Trust Funds. The combined asset reserves of the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Disability Insurance (OASI and DI) Trust Funds are projected to become depleted in 2035, one year later than projected last year, with 80 percent of benefits payable at that time.
The OASI Trust Fund is projected to become depleted in 2034, one year later than last year’s estimate, with 77 percent of benefits payable at that time. The DI Trust Fund asset reserves are not projected to become depleted during the 75-year projection period.
In the 2022 Annual Report to Congress, the Trustees announced:
The asset reserves of the combined OASI and DI Trust Funds declined by $56 billion in 2021 to a total of $2.852 trillion.
The total annual cost of the program is projected to exceed the total annual income in 2022 and remain higher throughout the 75-year projection period. Total cost began to be higher than total income in 2021. Social Security’s cost has exceeded its non-interest income since 2010.
The year when the combined trust fund reserves are projected to become depleted if Congress does not act before then is 2035 – one year later than last year’s projection. At that time, there would be sufficient income coming in to pay 80 percent of scheduled benefits.
“It is important to strengthen Social Security for future generations. The Trustees recommend that lawmakers address the projected trust fund shortfalls in a timely way in order to phase in necessary changes gradually,” said Kilolo Kijakazi, Acting Commissioner of Social Security. “Social Security will continue to be a vital part of the lives of 66 million beneficiaries and 182 million workers and their families during 2022.”
Other highlights of the Trustees Report include:
· Total income, including interest, to the combined OASI and DI Trust Funds amounted to $1.088 trillion in 2021. ($980.6 billion from net payroll tax contributions, $37.6 billion from taxation of benefits, and $70.1 billion in interest)
· Total expenditures from the combined OASI and DI Trust Funds amounted to nearly $1.145 trillion in 2021.
· Social Security paid benefits of $1.133 trillion in the calendar year 2021. There were about 65 million beneficiaries at the end of the calendar year.
· The projected actuarial deficit over the 75-year long-range period is 3.42 percent of taxable payroll – lower than the 3.54 percent projected in last year’s report.
· During 2021, an estimated 179 million people had earnings covered by Social Security and paid payroll taxes.
· The cost of $6.5 billion to administer the Social Security program in 2021 was a very low 0.6 percent of total expenditures.
· The combined Trust Fund asset reserves earned interest at an effective annual rate of 2.5 percent in 2021.
The Board of Trustees usually comprises six members. Four serve by virtue of their positions with the federal government: Janet Yellen, Secretary of the Treasury and Managing Trustee; Kilolo Kijakazi, Acting Commissioner of Social Security; Xavier Becerra, Secretary of Health and Human Services; and Martin J. Walsh, Secretary of Labor. The two public trustee positions are currently vacant.
View the 2022 Trustees Report at www.socialsecurity.gov/OACT/TR/2022/.
Valley Health System welcomes new trustees, board leadership
The Valley Health System Board of Trustees has welcomed three new members, named new officers, and recognized two retiring trustees for their long and dedicated tenure. Changes approved by the Valley Health Corporation at its May meeting took effect June 1.
Joining the now-16-member Board are three professionals who bring varied expertise to their service to Valley Health:
- Jeff Boehm is President of Howard Shockey & Sons, Inc. and has a 34-year career in construction and development. A graduate of West Virginia University, he lives in Martinsburg where he has been active in church and community life. He is a board member of the Winchester Medical Center Foundation.
- Julia Connell is Vice President of Goldman Sachs Personal Financial Management. She earned degrees from Shepherd University and West Virginia University and was a hospital CFO for 10 years before completing graduate work in financial planning. She serves on the boards of Community Foundation of Northern Shenandoah Valley and Timber Ridge School and is a past President of Winchester Rotary Club.
- Thomas Wise, MD, is a board certified orthopedic surgeon. He received his bachelor’s and medical degrees from Wake Forest University, completed internship and residency at University of Minnesota, and moved back to Winchester to join Winchester Orthopaedic Associates in 2000. Wise is a team physician for John Handley High School.
“The skills and perspectives of these three individuals will enrich our discussion around the Board table and make a positive impact on those we serve,” said Mark Nantz, Valley Health President and CEO.
Retiring from the Board are Chairman Joseph F. Silek, Jr., of Front Royal, who has served 18 years on the nonprofit health system’s governing body, and Winchester neurosurgeon Patrick Ireland, MD, who has served for 16 years, most recently as Vice Chairman.
“These gentlemen have volunteered an amazing amount of time and energy to Valley Health during a critical period of system growth and maturation, technological investment, and change within the healthcare industry,” said Nantz. “We are grateful for their contributions and thank them for their dedicated service to the health of our community.”
The new Chair, Harry S. Smith, has been a Valley Health trustee for 11 years and also served 12 years on the Winchester Medical Center Board. A native of Winchester, Smith is currently the Market President of United Bank of Winchester, capping a long financial services career in the Northern Shenandoah Valley. He has served on the boards of a number of human service organizations, on the Winchester City Council for two terms, and on several joint city/county committees. As a member of the American Hospital Association’s Regional Policy Board, Smith interacts with hospital system leaders in a six-state area.
“Harry has deep roots in this community, he knows our organization and the complexities of healthcare, and he understands how the Board can help lead Valley Health to an even brighter future,” said Nantz.
“We all share a love for our community and want to see it thrive,” Smith said. “Healthcare is a vital part of the equation. I am honored to lead this talented, hard working group entrusted to ensure the quality, accessibility and stability of our local nonprofit healthcare delivery system.”
Vice Chairman Thomas T. Gilpin is a retired businessman and lifelong resident of Clarke County. A Valley Health trustee since 2010, Gilpin chairs the investment committee, and sits on the Valley Health Quality and Medical Affairs Committee (QMAC), which oversees the system’s quality, safety, patient satisfaction and performance improvement activities. He previously served on the WMC Board for 11 years.
Steven E. Cluss is the new Secretary of the Board of Trustees. He is a retired business owner who joined the VHS Board in 2013 and is a member of the Valley Health Quality and Medical Affairs Committee. He helped forge Valley Health’s engagement to address addiction, which led to the formation of the Northern Shenandoah Valley Substance Abuse Coalition. Cluss also served for six years on the WMC board.
The members of the Valley Health System Board of Trustees, effective June 1, 2022:
- Jeff Boehm
- Steven E. Cluss, Secretary
- Julia M. Connell
- James G. Dale, DO
- Chad L. Dansie, MD
- Melody K. Eaton, PhD
- Thomas T. Gilpin, Vice Chair
- Marie S. Imoh
- Katherine Johnson, MD
- Thomas Leslie, DDS
- Mark S. Nantz, VHS President and CEO
- Mary Beth Price
- Clifton L. (Kip) Rutherford
- Harry S. Smith, Chairman
- Chris Turnbull, MD
- Thomas Wise, MD
Valley Health is a nonprofit health system serving a population of more than 500,000 in the Northern Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, the Eastern Panhandle and Potomac Highlands of West Virginia, and western Maryland. As a healthcare provider, employer, and community partner, Valley Health is committed to improving the health of the region. The system includes six hospitals, more than 60 medical practices and Urgent Care centers, outpatient rehabilitation and fitness, medical transport, long-term care, and home health. www.valleyhealthlink.com
LFCC President Kim Blosser awarded technology leadership award
LFCC President Kim Blosser’s student-focused and technology-driven leadership style has been recognized by the Shenandoah Valley Technology Council, which recently presented her with the Glo Fiber Enterprise’s Dr. Noftsinger Leadership award. She was presented with the award, given to a leader who has served as a catalyst for positive technology-related activity, during the council’s TechNite22.
“As president of LFCC, Dr. Blosser’s vision is that every student, without exception, will have the resources and support they need to succeed and reach their goals,” noted President Blosser’s nomination. “Meeting the needs of the single parent, foster youth, or first-generation college student is what motivates her to work every day to ensure LFCC is open, welcoming, and supportive of the students who need community college the most…LFCC is seen as a leader in the area for workforce development, and Dr. Blosser and LFCC regularly partner with the Workforce Investment Board, GOVirginia, the Shenandoah Valley Partnership, the Regional Commission, and others to ensure the local business community has the needed workforce.”
Technology has been one of the passions driving Dr. Blosser’s career. Her first college-level job was as an adjunct faculty member at Blue Ridge Community College teaching technology classes to public school teachers who were getting classroom computers for the first time. She then became a full-time IT faculty member, and later the chief information officer, which entailed leading IT planning and budgets, managing strategic IT initiatives and overseeing technology purchases, among her other responsibilities.
As president of LFCC, Dr. Blosser has prioritized giving students the option to learn online – in many cases, students can earn their degree entirely online – has expanded the IT department, and has invested in the technology that allows for students and faculty to have more interaction.
The award was presented by Shentel Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer Elaine Cheng, who is a founding board member of Charlottesville Women in Tech, and who delivered the TechNite22 keynote speech exploring how to engage, recruit and develop women in technology and how that will determine success.
“What an honor to receive this award – and to have it presented by Elaine Cheng, someone everyone in IT, but especially women, can look up to. Shentel has been such an asset to LFCC for so many years. For instance, it was thanks to Shentel’s fiber-optic system that we were first able to offer distance learning classes nearly 30 years ago. Today, the possibilities seem endless.
“Now more than ever, our students rely on technology as they chase their goals. Who would have thought just a few years ago that we would be teaching our students to fly and maintain drones, or that our technology students would have the chance to join the U.S. Cyber Command’s (CYBERCOM) Academic Engagement Network, allowing CYBERCOM to meet future workforce needs as it defends our nation and individuals from cybersecurity threats.”
In addition to Dr. Blosser, LFCC Workforce Solutions and Continuing Education was nominated for the Innovation in Higher Education Award. The nomination cited how LFCC’s IT program pathways allow students to earn stackable credentials as they begin IT careers, and the extensive work done by program leaders in collaboration with area employers to build pathways in the local workforce.
Virginia Department of Veterans Services to host Memorial Day ceremonies across the Commonwealth on May 30
The Virginia War Memorial will host the 2022 Commonwealth’s Memorial Day Ceremony on Monday, May 30, 2022 at 11 a.m. EDT. The public is invited and encouraged to attend.
The ceremony will be held outdoors in the E. Bruce Heilman Amphitheater on the Memorial grounds, weather permitting. This is the 66th consecutive year that the Virginia War Memorial has conducted this ceremony, which is the annual tribute to all American service members who gave the ultimate sacrifice serving in our Armed Forces.
The keynote speaker for the 2022 Commonwealth’s Memorial Day Ceremony will be Virginia Lieutenant Governor Winsome Earle-Sears. Virginia War Memorial Director Dr. Clay Mountcastle will serve as Master of Ceremonies.
Music will be provided by the US Navy Fleet Forces Command Band and there will be a special tribute to members of Gold Star Families. The ceremony will also be broadcast and livestreamed and feature both live and pre-recorded content including the Commonwealth’s Memorial Day message from Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin.
Veteran service organizations and other groups are invited to participate in the laying of memorial wreaths in the Memorial’s Shrine of Memory – 20th Century.
The Virginia War Memorial will be open extended hours on Memorial Day from 9 a.m. to sunset. The Richmond Cadet Alumni Band and Friends will present a free concert of patriotic music on the Memorial grounds at 2:30 p.m. There is no admission charge for any of these events. Parking is also free but will be limited onsite. Members of the public are advised to arrive no later than 10:45 a.m. to be seated for the ceremony. For more information, please go to www.vawarmemorial.org or www.dvs.virginia.gov.
Those not attending the Commonwealth’s Memorial Day Ceremony in person may tune into the live broadcast, which will air on WTVR-TV CBS6.1 and 6.3 or to the livestream available on facebook.com/VirginiaVeteransServices, .facebook.com/VirginiaWarMemorial, and other social media channels to be announced.
Memorial Day Ceremonies will also be held at Virginia’s three state veterans cemeteries:
- Southwest Virginia Veterans Cemetery in Dublin. Ceremony begins at 9:30 a.m. EDT. Keynote speaker will be Major General Randal D. Fullhart, (US Air Force, Ret.).
- Virginia Veterans Cemetery in Amelia. Ceremony will begin at 10:00 a.m. EDT. The keynote speaker is State Senator Amanda Chase.
- Albert G. Horton, Jr. Memorial Veterans Cemetery in Suffolk. Ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. EDT. The keynote speaker is Command Sergeant Major Scott A. Beeson, US Army.
Prior to each ceremony, volunteers will place American flags on all gravesites. For information on these ceremonies, please visit www.dvs.virginia.gov.
About the Virginia War Memorial
The mission of the Virginia War Memorial is to Honor Veterans, Preserve History, Educate Youth and Inspire Patriotism in All. Dedicated in 1956, the Memorial includes the names of the nearly 12,000 Virginia heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice during World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf and the Global War on Terrorism. The Virginia War Memorial is and will always be the Commonwealth’s tribute to those who served and most especially, to those who died defending our freedoms.
The Virginia War Memorial is a division of the Virginia Department of Veterans Services and serves as an integral part of its mission in support of all Virginians who have served in our military. It is located at 621 South Belvidere Street, Richmond, Virginia 23220 and is open Monday-Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 12 noon to 4 p.m. Admission is free, except for select events. For more information, please visit www.vawarmemorial.org.
About Virginia’s State Veterans Cemeteries
The Virginia Department of Veterans Services (DVS) operates state veterans cemeteries in Amelia, Dublin, and Suffolk, which provide a final resting place for Veterans, Guardsmen, Reservists, Military Service members who died while serving on active duty, and their eligible dependents. The Virginia Veterans Cemetery is located in Amelia, the Albert G. Horton, Jr. Memorial Veterans Cemetery in Suffolk, and the Southwest Virginia Veterans Cemetery in Dublin. All cemeteries accommodate in-ground burial of casketed remains, in-ground inurnment of cremated remains, and above-ground inurnment of cremated remains in a columbarium. For more information, please visit www.dvs.virginia.gov/cemeteries.
About the Virginia Department of Veterans Services
The Virginia Department of Veterans Services (DVS) is a state government agency with more than 40 locations across the Commonwealth of Virginia. DVS traces its history to 1928 and the establishment of the Virginia War Service Bureau to assist Virginia’s World War I veterans. Today, DVS assists veterans and their families in filing claims for federal veterans benefits; provides veterans and family members with linkages to services including behavioral healthcare, housing, employment, education and other programs. The agency operates long-term care facilities offering in-patient skilled nursing care, Alzheimer’s/memory care, and short-term rehabilitation for veterans; and provides an honored final resting place for veterans and their families at three state veterans cemeteries. It operates the Virginia War Memorial, the Commonwealth’s tribute to Virginia’s men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice from World War II to the present. For more information, please visit www.dvs.virginia.gov.