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Metro budget cuts would hurt workers and residents

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WASHINGTON – Proposed budget cuts at Metro threaten thousands of jobs, the closure of 19 stations, the suspension of 19 bus lines, and an end to weekend rail service.

“We’re facing a historic budget crisis,” Metro General Manager and CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld said in a Nov. 30 online press briefing.

Wiedefeld’s proposed the fiscal year 2022 budget cuts, which would take effect July 1, 2021, were released ahead of a Friday WMATA Board meeting. The moves are an attempt to overcome a $494 million operating deficit caused by a loss of riders during the coronavirus pandemic.

But the plan to slash service drew sharp attacks from a variety of critics.

Tara Maxwell, the political coordinator for Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689, said the cuts would be devastating for transit workers.

“They don’t have any concern for the people that it’s affecting, or for their families,” Maxwell told Capital News Service.

Transit advocates like Robert Puentes said the cuts would be devastating to the economy and transit network in the capital region.

“It would have devastating effects on the city,” said Puentes, president, and CEO of the Eno Center for Transportation, a non-profit research and policy foundation in Washington. Cuts of this magnitude, according to Puentes, will make it hard to retain riders and scale services back up after the pandemic.

Stewart Schwartz, the executive director of the Coalition for Smarter Growth, told CNS that the service cuts would hurt other essential workers who depend on buses and trains to get to work.
“They’re the ones who would be most devastated by severe cuts to bus and rail service, the people who work in our grocery stores and hospitals, support city government services, public safety, healthcare, eldercare, childcare,” Schwartz said.

Metro’s woes are mirrored by transit systems in other cities, like New York, where cuts to the MTA could mean thousands of job losses, and Los Angeles, where Metro authorities approved a $1.2 billion cut.

“The pandemic has plunged the nation’s transit agencies into a profound crisis,” the National Association of City Transportation Officials says on its website.

“Strong federal support is essential for providing essential services, including transit, throughout this crisis and in its aftermath,” the group says. “Without at least $32 billion in additional emergency aid for transit, our cities and economy cannot fully recover.”

The American Public Transit Association, an international association of public transit groups, called on Congress to pass tens of billions of dollars of emergency funding. APTA cited a poll from the First View that found more than three-quarters of American voters supported emergency funds for public transit.

“Americans not only want actions now to save public transit during the pandemic, but they want continued long-term actions that preserve and expand public transit services,” APTA CEO Paul Skoutelas said in a Nov. 19 statement.

According to Schwartz, the loss of jobs and transit opportunities could drive parts of the Washington area workforce elsewhere, while leading to heavier car traffic and more severe greenhouse gas emissions, as more workers and tourists are forced to drive.

Maxwell said job losses will also impact Black workers, noting that most of the Local 689 members are Black. Job losses will hurt Maryland as well as the District of Columbia, as more than 7,000 members of Local 689 live in Prince George’s County, he said.

Transit advocates agree with WMATA that the monetary problems caused by the pandemic are stark.

“The cuts reflect the reality that the agency is in,” Puentes said.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Mechanicsville, said the fate of WMATA’s workers and services depends on Senate action.

“The House passed two major pieces of legislation that would provide WMATA with desperately needed funding to avoid these drastic measures, yet the Senate has refused to act,” Hoyer said in a statement Tuesday.

Schwartz echoed the sentiment and said that Republicans and Democrats in Congress needed to intervene to save transit authorities, whose CARES Act funding has run out.

“We can’t believe that it’s gotten to this point and Congress is still dithering,” Schwartz said.

Absent congressional action, both Maxwell and Schwartz think there are things local authorities, particularly Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s administration, can do to soften the blow.

“We cannot and could never afford boondoggles like the maglev proposal, and hyper loops and new toll lanes,” Schwartz said. “We must put our existing transit systems first.”

Maxwell questioned the utility of such projects at a time when thousands of workers in existing transit services face unemployment.

“But even if I was a millionaire, why would I want to pay $50 per person for a toll,” Maxwell said.

“They’re spending millions of dollars right now on research and information that they’re finding out is not favorable toward the maglev you know, but they are still spending that money. That money could go to the operational need for transit,” Maxwell said.

He added that transit operators have worked through the pandemic, despite the risk of exposure to coronavirus.

“They stood in the gap. They transport other essential workers to and from work and home,” Maxwell said. “They did their part, but it doesn’t seem to be enough.”
Schwartz said services would take a long time to recover.

“It would mean a declining economy, greater unemployment, greater inequity, in terms of ability to gain access to jobs, a traffic Armageddon, setting back the D.C. region decades,” Schwartz said.

By ANEURIN CANHAM-CLYNE
Capital News Service

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Crime/Court

Delaware man facing multiple charges after I-81 pursuit

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A New Castle, DE, man is behind bars on multiple charges after he fled law enforcement Sunday, January 10, 2021. Virginia State Police have charged Marquez D. Adams, 27, in Shenandoah County with one felony count of eluding law enforcement, one count of reckless driving by speed, one count of reckless driving failure to maintain control, one count of driving with a revoked license, and one count of driving with a phone in hand.

Marquez D. Adams. Photo / RSW Regional Jail

State Police initiated the traffic stop at approximately 7:50 p.m. as a 2002 BMW 330CI was traveling South on Interstate 81 at the 286 mile-marker in Shenandoah County. The violation was for speeding, as the BMW was driving 100 mph in a posted 70 mph zone.

The pursuit continued onto Rt. 42 in Woodstock, Rt. 11 in Edinburg, and in Mount Jackson before ending back on I-81 South. The BMW eventually ran off the left side of the roadway causing it to collide with a State Police patrol car before being contained on the right shoulder on I-81 at the 263-mile-marker. The driver, Adams, was taken into custody and transported to RSW Regional Jail and held without bond.

No troopers were injured during the course of the pursuit.

The pursuit reached speeds of up to 130 mph.


Vehicle pursuit through Warren County results in multiple struck vehicles before ending on 6th Street in Front Royal

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Marie Washington of Warrenton named Top 10 Criminal Defense Attorneys for 2020

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Marie Washington, Esq. of Warrenton, Virginia has been named Top 10 Criminal Defense Attorneys for 2020 by Attorney & Practice Magazine.  Attorney and Practice Magazine Top 10 award is an achievement reserved for only those lawyers who have demonstrated the highest degree of excellence in his or her area of law. Because of our stringent standards, less than 1% of attorneys nationwide will receive this invitation for membership, subscription and list inclusion which is published on www.attorneyandpractice.com as well as our quarterly magazine.

Our list recognizes the significant achievements of those lawyers whose practice elevates the standards of their State’s Bar as well as provided a benchmark for other practitioners. Our list encompasses industry leaders who have been featured on networks such as ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, FOX, the New York Times, The Washington Post, Time and Newsweek.

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Today at Fauquier Health; 2021 year in review

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In healthcare, each day is filled with new discoveries and new possibilities. We embrace this spirit at Fauquier Health. We are inspired every day to deliver amazing care to our community, and we are constantly evolving and striving to find new ways to support the health and wellbeing of all the people we serve in Fauquier, Culpeper, Rappahannock and other surrounding counties.

Last year was full of unprecedented challenges. These challenges greatly impacted our hospital, our frontline healthcare workers and first responders, and those living in our communities. Together, we faced loss and sacrifice. It is during challenging times like these that it is important to focus on the positive by celebrating the accomplishments and achievements.

Even though last year we all were stretched beyond comprehensible limits, we held onto hope for a brighter future. That hope enabled us to identify strength within and find opportunity for growth. In 2020, Fauquier Health expanded the services we provide by welcoming several new physicians and providers to our hospital family including a certified nurse midwife, a neurologist, three interventional radiologists to establish full time coverage, and a new OB/GYN provider. With these new additions, our medical staff has grown to more than 200 providers strong. This vibrant community is one of extraordinary talent and passion for elevating the quality of care available to the region.

This growing medical staff has allowed us to expand important services regionally. Last year, we expanded our women’s health program through a new midwifery program, we expanded upon our surgical weight loss and bariatric program, and improved upon our ability to offer minimally-invasive robotic surgery with our new DaVinci Xi robot and dedicated Globus ExcelsiusGPS Spine robot for spine surgery. Our cardiac catheterization lab, which opened in 2019, saw a tremendous 125% growth in volume. We understand every minute matters in the case of an emergency, so having the abilities to provide lifesaving operations locally is instrumental for the health needs of our community. We have fully moved all cancer, hematology, and infusion services into the new Cancer Center facility to provide care through the latest advances in technology and combined with comfort for a patient centered approach. All of these programs continue to grow and accept new patients.

In addition to adding new programs and services, we have enhanced our efforts in the areas of patient safety and quality. Fauquier Health has achieved reaccreditation by the Commission on Cancer, Joint Commission re-accreditation for Advanced Primary Stroke Center and Lab, as well as reaccreditation for Chest Pain by the American College of Cardiology all in the year of 2020.

All of this great work could not have been accomplished without our extraordinary team. We are grateful for our providers, nurses, clinical staff and all of our hospital, practice and long-term care employees, who are on the front lines providing high-quality care for our patients with fortitude, grace and compassion.  We also appreciate the outpouring of encouragement and support we have received from our community partners and the community at large – the parades, meals, donations of PPE and other supplies have meant the world. Thank you for recognizing and supporting our healthcare heroes.

As we start a new year, we remain focused on safeguarding our community from the effects of this pandemic and expanding access to care. Fauquier Health is proud to partner with our local health department to support vaccination efforts and curb the spread of this dreadful virus in our communities. We look forward to expanding services and programs as we continue to recruit new clinicians, invest in facility and technology upgrades and partner with local organizations and community partners.

In closing, we are proud of our history of caring for our region and are proud of our many accomplishments, but it’s a new day at Fauquier Health, and we are looking ahead with our commitment to the future. It’s why we’re here, providing a range of services to help our family, friends and neighbors be their best. We have the experience and resources to meet the unique and evolving health care needs of our community, close to home.

Thank you for your continued support as we advance our mission of Making Communities while building a health system our communities can count on today and for generations to come.

Chad Melton, CEO
Steve Wojcik, Board Chairman

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Fauquier Health recognized for excellence with ACC Chest Pain Center Accreditation

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The American College of Cardiology has recognized Fauquier Health for its demonstrated expertise and commitment in treating patients with chest pain. Fauquier Health was awarded Chest Pain Center Accreditation in December based on a rigorous evaluation of the staff’s ability to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients who may be experiencing a heart attack.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 730,000 Americans suffer a heart attack each year. The most common symptom of a heart attack for both men and women is chest pain or discomfort. However, women are more likely to have atypical symptoms. Other heart attack symptoms include, but are not limited to, tingling or discomfort in one or both arms, back, shoulder, neck or jaw, shortness of breath, cold sweat, unusual tiredness, heartburn-like feeling, nausea or vomiting, sudden dizziness and fainting.

Hospitals that have earned ACC Chest Pain Center Accreditation have proven exceptional competency in treating patients with heart attack symptoms. They have streamlined their systems from admission to evaluation to diagnosis and treatment all the way through to appropriate post-discharge care and recommendations and assistance in patient lifestyle changes.

“Fauquier Health has demonstrated its commitment to providing Fauquier County with excellent heart care,” said Phillip D. Levy, MD, FACC, chair of the ACC Accreditation Management Board. “ACC Accreditation Services is proud to award Fauquier Health with Chest Pain Center Accreditation.”

Hospitals receiving Chest Pain Center Accreditation from the ACC must take part in a multi-faceted clinical process that involves: completing a gap analysis; examining variances of care, developing an action plan; a rigorous review; and monitoring for sustained success. Improved methods and strategies of caring for patients include streamlining processes, implementing of guidelines and standards, and adopting best practices in the care of patients experiencing the signs and symptoms of a heart attack. Facilities that achieve accreditation meet or exceed an array of stringent criteria and have organized a team of doctors, nurses, clinicians, and other administrative staff that earnestly support the efforts leading to better patient education and improved patient outcomes.

Erin Steele, Cardiac Cath Lab Manager and Chest Pain Coordinator, commented on what this means, “Thanks to the hard work, dedication, and collaborative efforts of our team, Fauquier Health is proud to be an Accredited Chest Pain Center by the American College of Cardiology. Over the last several years, our hospital system has invested in improving the cardiovascular health of our community through the addition of advanced technology, opening a new cardiac catheterization lab, and implementing processes to ensure our patients benefit from evidence-based best practices in the evaluation and treatment of acute coronary syndrome.”

The ACC offers U.S. and international hospitals like Fauquier Health access to a comprehensive suite of cardiac accreditation services designed to optimize patient outcomes and improve hospital financial performance. These services are focused on all aspects of cardiac care, including emergency treatment of heart attacks.


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.

About the American College of Cardiology

The American College of Cardiology envisions a world where innovation and knowledge optimize cardiovascular care and outcomes. As the professional home for the entire cardiovascular care team, the mission of the College and its more than 52,000 members is to transform cardiovascular care and to improve heart health. The ACC bestows credentials upon cardiovascular professionals who meet stringent qualifications and leads in the formation of health policy, standards and guidelines. The College also provides professional medical education, disseminates cardiovascular research through its world-renowned JACC Journals, operates national registries to measure and improve care, and offers cardiovascular accreditation to hospitals and institutions. For more, visit acc.org.

For more information about ACC Accreditation Services, visit accreditation.acc.org, or call toll-free 1-877-271-4176.

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Fauquier Health welcomes three New Year’s babies

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Fauquier Hospital Family Birthing Center welcomes the first new year baby, Eli.

Fauquier Health is ringing in 2021 with the year’s first bundles of joy. This year, not only did Fauquier Hospital’s Family Birthing Center welcome one bundle, they welcomed three bundles of joy.

Little Eli, was the first New Year’s baby born on Friday, January 1 at 7:03am. Jennifer (mom) and Abraham (dad) were grinning from ear to ear when holding their newest addition. They had one word to describe their experience and delivering doctor – Dr. Diamond, “Amazing.”

The second bundle of joy, was a baby girl. Sweet little Amelia belongs to Kristina (mom) and Matthew (dad). Amelia, was born on Friday, January 1 at 11:09am.

Fauquier Hospital Family Birthing Center welcomes the second new year baby, Amelia.

“We had an incredible experience at Fauquier Health. We really couldn’t be happier. My husband and I were blown away by the entire staff at the hospital.” Said Kristina. “It felt like everyone was a big family and it made the entire experience so much more comfortable. Dr. Iskander and Dr. Diamond were both amazing. The lactation consultant, Lisa was extremely helpful, and last but not least, our nurse Pam was so sweet and attentive. During these times with COVID, it can be hard as our family could not be present, but the staff at Fauquier made up for this. Everyone truly cares and it really shows.”

The third bundle of joy was another baby girl going by the name of Theresa. Little miss Theresa was born on Friday, January 1 at 7:17pm to Katie (mom) and Jamin (dad). Theresa’s big brother, Judah, was beyond excited to meet her.

Fauquier Hospital Family Birthing Center welcomes the third new year baby, Theresa.

The mother, Katie, commented, “After a whirlwind birth and a challenging start for baby Theresa, we very much appreciated the care and support of the exceptional NICU nurses at Fauquier Hospital!”

Fauquier Health is committed to providing high quality, compassionate care close to home for new and expecting parents in the region. Fauquier Health’s Family Birthing Center offers same room labor to delivery, a Neonatal Intermediate Care Nursery, state-of-the-art equipment with a dedicated surgical suite, lactation specialists, and more.

Fauquier Hospital’s Family Birthing Center is located at 500 Hospital Drive, Warrenton, VA. To learn more or to schedule an appointment with Fauquier Health OB/GYN, please call 540.316.5930, or visit us online at FauquierHealth.org. Online scheduling and telehealth options are also available.


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.

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D.C., Maryland, Virginia call for additional federal funding for WMATA

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Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, and Virginia Governor Ralph Northam today urged the incoming Biden-Harris administration to provide increased federal support for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). The leaders met virtually yesterday afternoon to discuss regional issues, including the COVID-19 response.

In a letter to President-elect Joe Biden, the leaders urge the president-elect to commit to making the federal government a fourth partner in WMATA funding.

“We strongly believe that maintaining a safe and reliable public transit system for the nation’s capital is a national priority and should be treated in that way,” the leaders write. “WMATA serves as a linchpin to federal government operations, yet the lack of a federal contribution for operating WMATA fails to reflect this fact… We encourage the Biden-Harris administration to renew the federal government’s commitment to Metro’s future and strongly consider joining the three jurisdictions as our fourth partner in funding WMATA’s operations.”

The leaders highlighted WMATA’s financial challenges resulting from the pandemic.

“Without additional federal support, WMATA faces major budget shortfalls that will force layoffs and additional service interruptions, further hindering our region’s economic recovery… When pandemic relief funding runs out, WMATA will be forced to make draconian service cuts and eliminate more than 3,800 positions. This is more than one-third of its workforce when combined with this year’s layoffs.”

In addition to the president-elect, the letter is copied to Transportation Secretary-designate Pete Buttigieg and members of the Biden-Harris transition team.

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