Sometimes words remain appropriate, not only for the era in which they are spoken, but for multiple eras, and perhaps for the length of humanity’s struggle to overcome the worst aspects of our collective nature – greed, avarice, hypocrisy and the bondage of others to forward one’s own self interests – in other words, FOREVER.
Martin Luther King Jr.’s words of March 4, 1967 now known as the “Beyond Vietnam” speech are such words. They illustrate the depth of Dr. King’s comprehension that the Civil Rights Movement was a struggle of more than one race in one nation at one point in time.
These words, spoken exactly one year to the day before his assassination, are why some pause each January to remember and celebrate his life; while others are simply reminded of why he was, and continues to be hated by those attracted to power without compassion.
And this year of 2021, as in each since these words were uttered, we must again ask ourselves one final question – how close to the “too late” moment Dr. King described in 1967 are we as a people and a nation today?
– Due to the speech’s length, some introductory comments and other details on the Vietnam era have been edited out – deletions are indicated by (…) and some points have been emphasized with bold highlights.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
I come to this great magnificent house of worship tonight because my conscience leaves me no other choice. I join you in this meeting because I am in deepest agreement with the aims and work of the organization that brought us together, Clergy and Laymen Concerned About Vietnam. The recent statements of your executive committee are the sentiments of my own heart, and I found myself in full accord when I read its opening lines: “A time comes when silence is betrayal.” … The truth of these words is beyond doubt, but the mission to which they call us is a most difficult one …
Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government’s policy, especially in time of war. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one’s own bosom and in the surrounding world … Some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak. We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak. And we must rejoice as well, for surely this is the first time in our nation’s history that a significant number of its religious leaders have chosen to move beyond the prophesying of smooth patriotism to the high grounds of a firm dissent based upon the mandates of conscience and the reading of history … For we are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness that seems so close around us …
“Why are you speaking about the war, Dr. King?” “Why are you joining the voices of dissent?” “Peace and civil rights don’t mix,” they say. “Aren’t you hurting the cause of your people,” they ask?
And when I hear them, though I often understand the source of their concern, I am nevertheless greatly saddened, for such questions mean that the inquirers have not really known me, my commitment or my calling. Indeed, their questions suggest that they do not know the world in which they live …
Since I am a preacher by calling, I suppose it is not surprising that I have seven major reasons for bringing Vietnam into the field of my moral vision. There is at the outset a very obvious and almost facile connection between the war in Vietnam and the struggle I and others have been waging in America. A few years ago there was a shining moment in that struggle. It seemed as if there was a real promise of hope for the poor, both black and white, through the Poverty Program. There were experiments, hopes, new beginnings. Then came the buildup in Vietnam, and I watched this program broken and eviscerated as if it were some idle political plaything on a society gone mad on war. And I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic, destructive suction tube. So I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such …
My third reason moves to an even deeper level of awareness, for it grows out of my experience in the ghettos of the North over the last three years, especially the last three summers. As I have walked among the desperate, rejected, and angry young men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they asked, and rightly so, “What about Vietnam?” They asked if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today – my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent …
Now it should be incandescently clear that no one who has any concern for the integrity and life of America today can ignore the present war. If America’s soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read “Vietnam.” It can never be saved so long as it destroys the hopes of men the world over. So it is that those of us who are yet determined that “America will be” are led down the path of protest and dissent, working for the health of our land.
As if the weight of such a commitment to the life and health of America were not enough, another burden of responsibility was placed upon me in 1964. And I cannot forget that the Nobel Peace Prize was also a commission, a commission to work harder than I had ever worked before for the brotherhood of man. This is a calling that takes me beyond national allegiances.
But even if it were not present, I would yet have to live with the meaning of my commitment to the ministry of Jesus Christ. To me, the relationship of this ministry to the making of peace is so obvious that I sometimes marvel at those who ask me why I am speaking against the war. Could it be that they do not know that the Good News was meant for all men – for communist and capitalist, for their children and ours, for black and for white, for revolutionary and conservative? Have they forgotten that my ministry is in obedience to the one who loved his enemies so fully that he died for them? What then can I say to the Vietcong or to Castro or to Mao as a faithful minister of this one? Can I threaten them with death or must I not share with them my life?
… Finally, as I try to explain for you and for myself the road that leads from Montgomery to this place, I would have offered all that was most valid if I simply said that I must be true to my conviction that I share with all men the calling to be a son of the living God. Beyond the calling of race or nation or creed is this vocation of son-ship and brotherhood. Because I believe that the Father is deeply concerned, especially for His suffering and helpless and outcast children, I come tonight to speak for them. This I believe to be the privilege and the burden of all of us who deem ourselves bound by allegiances and loyalties which are broader and deeper than nationalism and which go beyond our nation’s self-defined goals and positions. We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for the victims of our nation, for those it calls “enemy,” for no document from human hands can make these humans any less our brothers.
And as I ponder the madness of Vietnam and search within myself for ways to understand and respond in compassion, my mind goes constantly to the people of that peninsula … They must see Americans as strange liberators … We have destroyed their two most cherished institutions: the family and the village. We have destroyed their land and their crops … Now there is little left to build on, save bitterness … They question our political goals and they deny the reality of a peace settlement from which they will be excluded. Their questions are frighteningly relevant. Is our nation planning to build on political myth again, and then shore it up upon the power of new violence?
… At this point I should make it clear that while I have tried in these last few minutes to give a voice to the voiceless in Vietnam and to understand the arguments of those who are called “enemy,” I am as deeply concerned about our own troops there as anything else. For it occurs to me that what we are submitting them to in Vietnam is not simply the brutalizing process that goes on in any war where armies face each other and seek to destroy. We are adding cynicism to the process of death, for they must know after a short period there that none of the things we claim to be fighting for are really involved … and the more sophisticated surely realize that we are on the side of the wealthy and the secure, while we create a hell for the poor.
Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now.
I speak as a child of God … I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as one who loves America, to the leaders of our own nation: The great initiative in this war is ours; the initiative to stop it must be ours.
This is the message of the great Buddhist leaders of Vietnam. Recently one of them wrote these words, and I quote: “Each day the war goes on the hatred increases in the heart of the Vietnamese and in the hearts of those of humanitarian instinct. The Americans are forcing even their friends into becoming their enemies. It is curious that the Americans, who calculate so carefully on the possibilities of military victory, do not realize that in the process they are incurring deep psychological and political defeat. The image of America will never again be the image of revolution, freedom, and democracy, but the image of violence and militarism.”
The war in Vietnam is but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit … and if we ignore this sobering reality, we will find ourselves organizing “clergy and laymen concerned” committees for the next generation. They will be concerned about … Guatemala and Peru. They will be concerned about Thailand and Cambodia. They will be concerned about Mozambique and South Africa. We will be marching for these and a dozen other names and attending rallies without end, unless there is a significant and profound change in American life and policy.
And so, such thoughts take us beyond Vietnam, but not beyond our calling as sons of the living God. In 1957, a sensitive American official overseas said that it seemed to him that our nation was on the wrong side of a world revolution … It is with such activity in mind that the words of the late John F. Kennedy come back to haunt us. Five years ago he said, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” Increasingly, by choice or by accident, this is the role our nation has taken, the role of those who make peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investments.
I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin … the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.
A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa, and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say, “This is not just.”
It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of South America and say, “This is not just.”
The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them, is not just … America, the richest and most powerful nation in the world, can well lead the way in this revolution of values. There is nothing except a tragic death wish to prevent us from reordering our priorities so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war. There is nothing to keep us from molding a recalcitrant status quo with bruised hands until we have fashioned it into a brotherhood …
We must not engage in a negative anti-communism, but rather in a positive thrust for democracy, realizing that our greatest defense against communism is to take offensive action in behalf of justice … It is a sad fact that because of comfort, complacency, a morbid fear of communism, and our proneness to adjust to injustice, the Western nations that initiated so much of the revolutionary spirit of the modern world have now become the arch anti-revolutionaries … A genuine revolution of values means in the final analysis that our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies … This call for a worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one’s tribe, race, class, and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing and unconditional love for all mankind … When I speak of love I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response … I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality … This Hindu-Muslim-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief about ultimate reality is beautifully summed up in the first epistle of Saint John: “Let us love one another, for love is God” …
We are now faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late … Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words, “Too late.”
There is an invisible book of life that faithfully records our vigilance or our neglect. Omar Khayyam is right: “The moving finger writes, and having writ moves on.” We still have a choice today: nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation. We must move past indecision to action. We must find new ways to speak for peace … and justice throughout the developing world, a world that borders on our doors. If we do not act, we shall surely be dragged down the long, dark, and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight … Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter, but beautiful, struggle for a new world …
As that noble bard of yesterday, James Russell Lowell, eloquently stated:
“Once to every man and nation comes a moment do decide,
“In the strife of truth and Falsehood, for the good or evil side;
“Some great cause, God’s new Messiah offering each the bloom or blight,
“And the choice goes by forever ‘twixt that darkness and that light.
“Though the cause of evil prosper, yet ‘tis truth alone is strong
“Though her portions be the scaffold, and upon the throne be wrong
“Yet that scaffold sways the future, and behind the dim unknown
“Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above his own.”
And if we will only make the right choice, we will be able to transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of peace. If we will make the right choice, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our world into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. If we will but make the right choice, we will be able to speed up the day, all over America and all over the world, when justice will roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.
Incoming – the Town Pavilion’s indoor restrooms arrive, without keys
The arrival of an important auxiliary building portion of the new Town Pavilion arrived at the Village Commons area in the heart of Front Royal’s Historic Downtown Business District Tuesday morning, March 2. The first clue something was up, was a towering crane pointing toward the heavens – and at a passing airliner that may have had to alter its course slightly to avoid a collision. Just kidding, it wasn’t quite THAT tall.
Town crews on hand, along with five contractors’ personnel were present at least in part to place an enclosed restroom facility adjacent to the pavilion. When the project is completed you can say “goodbye” to those downtown Village Commons’ Johnny Blues.
With the bulk of the Commons-Gazebo area parking lot closed to traffic, a large Midland Equipment flatbed carried the restroom facility into place at the pavilion’s front after the construction site parking lot fencing was removed. The crane jockeyed its huge arm in position to place its hook, eventually sporting multiple hoisting cables, above the building headed for the east side of the pavilion shell.
Being a bathroom facility that will hook into the Town Water-Sewer Utilities, inside access was required by town staff to line up the piping connections. But who had the keys to the locked up for transport building? No one on-site, it turned out. Public Works Director Robbie Boyer was reportedly headed back to departmental headquarters on a key-finding mission. Shortly, word came back to the site that the keys were in McLean, apparently at the building’s source point.
“It’s always something” was the construction, transport, and related crews assessment on the ground. But after an hour-plus delay, things began moving again as one way or another inside access was achieved. An attempt to reach Boyer prior to publication for details on the solution to the inside access problem was unsuccessful.
But here’s a nod to whatever solution was achieved – word on the ground was that the Town would have been charged by the day for equipment required to be maintained on-site to completion of the job. And our guess is that the crane belonging to H&W Construction of Winchester wasn’t coming cheap.
In addition to Town crews, Midland Equipment and H&W Construction on site were Smith-Midland Concrete, Well’s Roofing, and Lantz Construction of Winchester. And following placement of the restroom facility, in addition, to hook up work there, crews were on the pavilion roof and on the base beneath that roof. Stay busy boys, completion of the pavilion project is slated for at least “substantial completion” by the end of March, according to Town Manager Hicks report on Town business to the County EDA Board of Directors last week.
According to Town Finance Director B. J. Wilson, the total cost of the pavilion project approved by the Town Council on September 8, 2020, is $225,715. The pavilion is seen as an additional, covered, outdoor events facility to augment the Gazebo-Village Commons area at the East Main and Chester Street intersection. And a March-April completion will be JUST in time for the next round of warm weather weekend downtown walking mall street closings, should the newly aligned council elect to revisit that popular COVID-launched concept of outdoor restaurant seating to aid downtown businesses through pandemic-restricted indoor seating restrictions.
And then there is that downtown, outdoor high school prom idea being floated for spring.
Christendom College conducts emergency operations training exercise with Front Royal and Warren County First Responders
Christendom College hosted a tabletop exercise testing the college’s emergency preparedness on Wednesday, February 24, in coordination with senior leadership from the Town of Front Royal and Warren County. Chief Executives from the town’s Police Department and Fire and Rescue, along with the Warren County Sherriff’s Office and Warren Memorial Hospital, all attended the event, which successfully tested the emergency response coordination between the college and public safety and health agencies.
“We are preparing for something that we hope and pray never happens — nevertheless, if something like this should happen, we want to ensure that we are as prepared as we possibly can be,” said College President Dr. Timothy O’Donnell. “All of you, as first responders, please know that you all share our gratitude for all that you do to keep Christendom College safe and for being here today.”
The tabletop exercise was the result of years of work by the college’s Emergency Operations Team and their external crisis consultant management consultant, who helped the college prepare extensively for the exercise on February 24. Over the course of the afternoon, the exercise helped the college and town and county personnel perform an extensive review of what resources are in place for a variety of crisis-level events, from neutralizing threats to assisting victims to effectively communicating during and after a crisis.
The exercise proved to be fruitful not only for testing emergency preparedness, but also for building up relationships between the college and surrounding law enforcement, fire and rescue, and health agencies.
“We applaud the administration at Christendom College for recognizing the need to have emergency planning in place and developing the relationship with public safety partners,” said Front Royal Police Department Chief Kahle Magalis.”They have been very accommodating in providing facilities for us to train our personnel in emergency response over the past several years. Clearly, they have witnessed the complexity of emergency operations and identified key personnel within their staff to form their emergency operations team, as well as their plans to integrate into the emergency response. My hat is off to them for devoting valuable resources to this endeavor.”
Attendees for the event included: Christendom’s President Dr. Timothy O’Donnell and Executive Vice President Mark Rohlena, along with the college’s entire Emergency Operations Team; Front Royal Police Department Chief Kerry Magalis; Warren County Fire and Rescue Fire Chief James Bonzano and Emergency Coordinator Lietutenant Rick Farrall; Warren County Sheriff Mark Butler; Warren Memorial Hospital Safety and Emergency Management Manager Daniel Mulcahy and Emergency Department Clinical Manager Delores Gehr; and Golden Seal Enterprises President and CEO Frank Yurkovich, along with other members of all the above agencies.
Sheriff Butler stated that “the Sheriff’s Office applauds the Emergency Operations Team of Christendom College for taking a strong leadership role for ensuring the safety and education of its students and staff alike. In a world where the unexpected – is to be expected, it takes a concerted and enduring relationship between all agencies to sustain a steady state of preparedness for such events. By training and exercising together we learn best how to support one another, manage expectations and ensure a confident and safe response to all-hazards.”
The tabletop exercise was the latest in a series of exercises conducted on campus in conjunction with Front Royal and Warren County agencies, including mass casualty incident training that was conducted in August of 2020. All of the exercises contribute to ensuring that the college is as well prepared as possible in the event of a crisis.
About Christendom College: Christendom College is a four-year coeducational Roman Catholic Liberal Arts College with undergraduate and graduate programs offered in four locations in Front Royal and Alexandria (Virginia), Donegal (Ireland), and Rome (Italy). Founded in 1977 in response to the devastating blow inflicted on Catholic higher education by the cultural revolution which swept across America in the 1960s, Christendom’s goal is to provide a truly Catholic liberal arts education in fidelity to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church and thereby to prepare students for their role of restoring all things in Christ.
Virginia restaurants grapple with plastic foam container ban
From vermicelli bowls to crispy chicken, Pho Luca’s, a Vietnamese-owned Richmond restaurant, uses plastic foam containers to package takeout meals. That may soon change after the General Assembly recently passed a bill banning such packaging.
After negotiations on a Senate amendment, the House agreed in a 57-39 vote last week on an amendment to House Bill 1902, which bans nonprofits, local governments, and schools from using polystyrene takeout containers. The Senate passed the amended bill in a 24-15 vote.
“We’re just leveling the playing field,” said Del. Betsy B. Carr, D-Richmond, about the amendment. “So not only do restaurants, but nonprofits and schools will be subject to this ban in 2025.”
Food chains with 20 or more locations cannot package and dispense food in polystyrene containers as of July 2023. The remaining food vendors have until July 2025. Food vendors in violation of the ban can receive up to $50 in civil penalty each day of violation.
Carr said she is glad Virginia is taking the lead to curb plastic pollution and that the measure will “make our environment cleaner and safer for all of our citizens (by) not having styrofoam in the ditches and in the water and in the food that we consume.”
This is the second year the bill was sent to a conference committee. Last year’s negotiation resulted in a reenactment clause stipulating the bill couldn’t be enacted until it was approved again this year by the General Assembly.
The COVID-19 pandemic loomed over this year’s bill dispute as businesses shift to single-use packagings, such as polystyrene, to limit contamination.
Lawmakers skeptical of the polystyrene ban spoke out on the Senate floor, arguing the ban will hurt small businesses who rely on polystyrene foam containers, which are known for their cheaper cost.
“The places that give me these Styrofoam containers are the places that are struggling the most right now,” said Sen. Jen A. Kiggans, R-Virginia Beach.
The pandemic has financially impacted the restaurant industry. In 2020, Virginia’s food services sector lost more than 20% of its employees from 2019, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Like many small businesses, Pho Luca’s has relied on polystyrene foam takeout packaging because it is affordable and functional.
Dominic Pham, the owner of the Pho Luca’s, said he has been in contact with several vendors that sell polystyrene alternatives, but it has been a challenge for Pham to find suitable alternatives.
Pho Luca’s currently uses plastic foam containers that cost about a nickel per container, Pham said. The alternatives will cost about 55 cents more. However, Pham said he is willing to make the change, recognizing that polystyrene containers are detrimental to the environment.
Pham said he distributed surveys to consumers on the possibility of raising prices to offset the cost of polystyrene alternatives. The results were overwhelmingly positive.
“Even if we have to upcharge them a dollar for the recyclable, reusable containers, people (are) happy to do that, they don’t mind,” Pham said.
The use of plastic foam containers has risen during the COVID-19 pandemic. Several states and cities have reversed or delayed restrictions and bans on single-use plastics since April 2020, according to a USA Today report.
The pandemic also has resulted in an increase in single-use plastics, such as plastic bags and personal protective equipment. A 2020 report in the Environmental Science & Technology journal estimated plastic packaging to increase 14% as consumers seek out prepackaged items due to sanitary concerns.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic sparked renewed interest in single-use plastics, environmental organizations and businesses have spoken against the use of plastic foam containers. Polystyrene biodegrades slowly and rarely can be recycled, posing a risk to wildlife and human health, according to Environment Virginia.
MOM’s Organic Market, a mid-Atlantic grocery chain, has used compostable containers and cups since 2005.
“I think that it’s the right thing to do for the environment, for communities, for our residents,” said Alexandra DySard, the grocery chain’s environment, and partnership manager.
DySard said purchasing compostable takeout containers instead of polystyrene foam containers has not financially hurt the chain. She said using a plastic lid that can be recycled locally is a better alternative than using polystyrene foam.
Polystyrene alternatives will become more affordable and accessible the more businesses use those products, DySard said.
“If it’s a statewide change, that’s kind of the best-case scenario because everybody makes the change at once,” Dysard said. “And it’s driving demand for the product up and costs down.”
The bill now heads to the governor’s desk. If signed, Virginia will join states such as Maryland and Maine to ban polystyrene foam containers.
By David Tran
Capital News Service
Capital News Service is a program of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Robertson School of Media and Culture. Students in the program provide state government coverage for a variety of media outlets in Virginia.
Lydia Lancie of Front Royal named to Cedarville University Deans List
Lydia Lancie of Front Royal, VA, was named to the Cedarville University Dean’s List for fall 2020. Lydia is a freshman at Cedarville and has maintained a 4.0 GPA. The Dean’s List recognition requires a 3.5 minimum GPA while carrying a minimum of 12 credit hours.
Lydia is majoring in Social Work, with a minor in Art. Judy and Mark Lancie of Front Royal, and her two sisters, are very proud of her accomplishment.
Lydia choose Cedarville University based on its Social Work accreditation that allowing graduates to complete the Master of Social Work program in about one year. Some have gone on to complete a law degree and have become legal advocates for the poor and disenfranchised.
Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 4,550 undergraduate, graduate, and online students in more than 150 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, strong graduation, and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and high student engagement ranking. For more information about Cedarville University, visit www.cedarville.edu.
Virginia lawmakers pass COVID-19 Workers’ Compensation bills
The Virginia General Assembly passed multiple bills allowing health care workers and first responders to receive workers’ compensation benefits if they are disabled or die due to COVID-19.
“We did it!” Del. Chris Hurst, D-Blacksburg, said in a Twitter post. “Health care heroes who got COVID on the job will get the retroactive workers’ comp presumption they deserve!”
Hurst’s House Bill 1985 expanded workers’ compensation benefits for health care workers “directly involved in diagnosing or treating persons known or suspected to have COVID-19,” including doctors and nurses. The bill provides coverage from March 12, 2020, until Dec. 31, 2021.
The health care worker must have been treated for COVID-19 symptoms and been diagnosed by a medical provider to qualify for compensation before July 1, 2020. The individual must have received medical treatment and a positive COVID-19 test to be eligible for compensation after July 1, 2020.
The bill also said health care workers who refuse or fail to get vaccinated for COVID-19 will not be eligible for workers’ compensation. The aforementioned rule doesn’t apply if a physician determines vaccination will risk the worker’s health.
“This is how we honor our brave health care heroes that put themselves in harm’s way to treat those infected with this horrible virus,” Hurst said in a press release. “They sacrifice for us and deserve our utmost praise and admiration, but they also deserve our help.”
There were concerns about the bill’s costs, according to Hurst. The Senate tried to remove the bill’s retroactive clause, but the bill passed the House and Senate with bipartisan support following negotiations.
The Virginia Nurses Association said the bill will make it easier for nurses to access benefits.
“Unfortunately, too many Virginia nurses caught COVID-19 while treating patients,” the association said in a Facebook post. “For those that got very sick, there is no easy way to file for workers’ compensation, and many have suffered not only physically, but financially.”
Senate Bill 1375 and HB 2207 cover workers’ compensation for first responders who are diagnosed or died from COVID-19 on or after Sept. 1 of last year. The measures include firefighters, police officers, correctional and regional jail officers, and emergency medical services workers. The bills require an official diagnosis through a positive COVID-19 test and symptoms of the disease.
The House bill, sponsored by Del. Jay Jones, D-Norfolk, originally included a retroactive clause that compensated cases going back to March 2020, but that was taken out of the legislation’s final version.
“We fought tooth and nail to provide our first responders – the real heroes of the pandemic – coverage under workers’ compensation for COVID, and we got it done,” Jones said in a Twitter post.
By Sam Fowler
Capital News Service
Capital News Service is a program of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Robertson School of Media and Culture. Students in the program provide state government coverage for a variety of media outlets in Virginia.
Fauquier Health moves from zero-visitor policy to a limited-visitor policy
Prior to the holidays on December 11, 2020, Fauquier Health implemented a zero-visitor protocol at the hospital due to the documented increase in confirmed positive cases in our region. Fauquier Health has since announced, that due to the decreased number of confirmed positive cases, they have been able to move back to a limited-visitor policy. This decision comes after the recent trends reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Virginia Department of Health (VDH).
This means that Fauquier Hospital is limiting visitors to the facility if they are essential for the patient’s physical or emotional well-being and care (e.g., care partners). Some exceptions may still apply that prevent a visitor from entering the facility. The hospital still encourages the use of alternative mechanisms for patient and visitor interactions such as video-call applications on cell phones or tablets.
Points of facility entry will continue to be limited to ensure all patients and visitors can be properly screened for any symptoms of the COVID-19 illness. If fever or COVID-19 symptoms are present, visitors will not be allowed entry into the facility.
Fauquier Health also announced that the Bistro on the Hill is now serving outside patrons for takeout only. Anyone coming into the bistro to grab a to-go-meal between the hours of 7 am and 2 pm, will still be required to enter through the main lobby to receive screening. Outside patrons are not permitted to dine in and will be required to exit the facility upon completing their meal purchase.
Fauquier Health reminds the public to continue doing their part to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by practicing social distancing, avoiding large gatherings, washing your hands regularly, and wearing a mask or face covering while in public.
For a detailed list of policies and updates, please visit the COVID-19 Preparedness page at FauquierHealth.org.
COVID-19 Vaccine Update and Registration Details
Fauquier County is operating under Phase 1B of the vaccine rollout as directed by the Rappahannock-Rapidan Health District (RRHD)/Virginia Department of Health (VDH). Community members who are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine include frontline essential workers, persons aged 65 years and older, people living in correctional facilities, homeless shelters, migrant labor camps, and people aged 16 through 64 years with a high-risk medical condition or disability that increases their risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
Eligible community members can visit the Rappahannock-Rapidan Health District’s website to learn how to register or click on the link below to pre-register through the new statewide system at vaccinate.virginia.gov.
All individuals who have previously filled out a survey or signed up for a waitlist to be vaccinated through their local health district will be automatically imported into the new statewide system. Individuals will maintain their current status in the queue and will be able to search that they are in the new system
Questions or concerns? If you need any assistance registering or have any registration questions, please contact the Fauquier County COVID-19 Call Center at 540.422.0111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Fauquier Health
Fauquier Health is a community health system dedicated to high-quality, patient-centered care in a unique environment that considers the multiple facets of healing and respects the individuality of each and every patient. Located at 500 Hospital Drive in Warrenton, Virginia, Fauquier Health serves the residents of Fauquier and several surrounding counties. It comprises Fauquier Hospital, a fully-accredited, 97-bed hospital; Fauquier Health Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, a 113-bed long-term care and rehabilitation facility; the Villa at Suffield Meadows, an assisted living facility; the Wound Health Center and a medically supervised Wellness Center offering health and wellness programs. Fauquier Health also operates nine physician’s offices, including primary care and specialties. More information on Fauquier Health is available online at FauquierHealth.org or by calling 540.316.5000.