RICHMOND, Va. – As families, friends, and law enforcement gather this Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022, for the National Day of Remembrance for Homicide Victims, many are hopeful that Virginia’s new Cold Case website will help renew the public’s attention to those cases that remain unsolved. The website, which is available to the public, is a searchable database that features information, photographs, and contact information for unsolved homicides, unidentified persons, and missing person cases that have remained unsolved for at least five years.
The Virginia State Police is required by the Code of Virginia 52-34.16 to host the website for Virginia local and state law enforcement agency participation. Virginia Delegate Danica Roem sponsored the legislation to create the searchable, online database that became law in 2020. The website was initially piloted in June 2022 with a limited number of Virginia State Police “cold cases” featured. Since then, the website has expanded to include 44 unsolved homicides, nine missing persons, and seven unidentified persons with 12 reporting agencies. To date, state police have trained and provided access to upload cases to the website to 19 local police and sheriff’s offices across the Commonwealth.
“There really is no such thing as a ‘cold’ case,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “That moniker is misleading because no matter how many years have passed that a homicide, missing person investigation, or unidentified person case has gone unresolved, it never truly goes ‘cold.’ Virginia law enforcement agencies continue to pursue unresolved investigations until justice is rendered for the victim and that victim’s family. Unfortunately, some cases simply take longer than others to achieve that end goal of an arrest and closure.”
“Working with state and local police, we have developed a cold case database that is now live here in Virginia to bring justice for those who have been killed, gone missing, or are unidentified,” said Delegate Danica A. Roem, 13th District of the Virginia House of Delegates. “I would implore the public to look at the cold case database at least once to see if you recognize any case on this list. You can visit it at https://coldcase.vsp.virginia.gov/.”
“This website gives every unsolved case worldwide reach, and we are hopeful that it will generate new tips and quality leads for Virginia’s law enforcement agencies to pursue,” said Settle.
How well do you know Independence Day? Take the Star-Spangled Quiz!
Independence Day celebrated on July 4th, is a day filled with fireworks, barbecues, and patriotism. But how much do you really know about this historic holiday and the country it commemorates? Take our star-spangled quiz to test your knowledge and discover fascinating facts about Independence Day!
- Question: What year did the U.S. declare independence from Great Britain? Options: A. 1876 B. 1776 C. 1787 D. 1812
- Question: Which country manufactures most of the fireworks and American flags used in the July 4 celebrations? Options: A. China B. Thailand C. U.S.A. D. Mexico
- Question: What is the most popular food consumed on July 4? Options: A. Hamburgers B. Corn dogs C. Apple pie D. Hot dogs
- Question: Which of the following founding fathers did NOT sign the Declaration of Independence? Options: A. Benjamin Franklin B. Roger Sherman C. George Washington D. Samuel Adams
- Question: Which of these former presidents did NOT die on July 4? Options: A. John Adams B. James Monroe C. Zachary Taylor D. Thomas Jefferson
- Question: What was the U.S. population the year it declared independence? Options: A. 2.5 million B. 10 million C. 5 million D. 790,000
- Question: What Hollywood actor starred in the movie Independence Day? Options: A. Tom Cruise B. Denzel Washington C. Wesley Snipes D. Will Smith
By taking this star-spangled quiz, you’ve put your knowledge of Independence Day to the test. Whether you aced it or learned something new, this quiz reminds us of the historical significance and cultural traditions associated with July 4th. So, as you enjoy the festivities, take a moment to appreciate the rich history and the shared values that make America a land of freedom and opportunity.
- (B) Only 58 percent of U.S. residents know this.
- (A) Over 90 percent of American flags and fireworks are imported from China.
- (A) Eighty-five percent of Americans eat burgers every July 4, with steak and hot dogs taking second and third place.
- (C) George Washington was defending New York City when the document was signed.
- (C) John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died five hours apart on July 4, 1826.
- (A) Today, the U.S. population is almost 332 million.
- (D) Will Smith starred in the film “Independence Day.”
Sobriety Tips for the Fourth of July Holiday
The Fourth of July is America’s top beer-drinking holiday. Over one billion dollars is estimated to be spent nationally on beer during the holiday. It is an incredibly festive time across the state. Families come together to celebrate freedom.
There will be fireworks, parades, festivals, concerts, BBQs, and family gatherings. The days are filled with food and drink. While this is a time to celebrate, it can be challenging for someone sober or in recovery from alcoholism or drug addiction.
Fortunately, there are practical approaches that anyone can use to maintain sobriety during the July Fourth holiday.
“Environments that promote excessive alcohol or recreational drug use are a recipe for disaster, especially when newly sober; it’s a good idea to plan ahead,” said Marcel Gemme of Addicted.org.
Statistically, in Virginia, 16% of adults over 18 binge drink at least once per month.
Consider some of the following tips to help stay sober this Fourth of July holiday:
Begin to know and identify relapse triggers. This could be particular situations or environments, a person, or a group of individuals. Knowing these triggers makes it possible to avoid or manage them. In addition, having a healthy outlet to manage negative emotions or feelings is also important.
Avoid environments that promote binge drinking or recreational drug use; this is undoubtedly a bad idea for anyone newly sober.
Bring sober friends or family to July Fourth celebrations or attend sober events. Consider also bringing non-alcoholic beverages or mocktails. This can help avoid those pesky relatives who insist you always have an alcoholic beverage in your hand.
Plan ahead and have an exit plan if things become too much to manage. It’s ok to say no and turn down invitations. Do not feel obligated to place yourself in difficult situations.
Finally, lean on support when needed. This can be particularly important during the early days months of sobriety.
Independence Day is about celebrating freedom in all its forms. Being free from the chains of addiction is a fantastic feeling. Take this opportunity to create new memories and traditions. Spend quality time with loved ones and celebrate the 4th of July to the fullest.
Michael Leach has spent most of his career as a healthcare professional specializing in Substance Use Disorder and addiction recovery. He is a Certified Clinical Medical Assistant and contributor to the healthcare website Recovery Begins.
Celebrating Father’s Day: The integral role of dads in child development
We know what day it is, Father’s Day! It’s that special time of the year when we acknowledge and celebrate the indispensable role that fathers play in our lives. But let’s not forget being a dad isn’t just about bringing home the bacon. It’s about investing meaningful time in your child’s development.
Recent research has shed light on just how significant fathers are in shaping their kids’ future interactions with the world and other people. Interactions during infancy and toddlerhood, it turns out, are more influential than we ever thought possible.
A fascinating study from the University of Regensburg in Munich, Germany, delves into the power of play. Children who enjoyed sensitive, supportive, and challenging playtime with their dads at the age of two were found to form closer and more trusting relationships with others at ages 10 and 16. By the age of 16, the impact of fathers’ play proved even more predictive than the mother-child bond. It seems that a dad’s playful interactions make a uniquely pivotal contribution to their child’s growth.
Let’s not forget the power of storytelling, either. Those family stories about how your parents and grandparents overcame adversity don’t just pass the time; they shape resilience. A study from Emory University demonstrated a fascinating link in children aged 14 to 16: those who could retell their parents’ stories showed a lower rate of depression and anxiety. So, when you share your stories, eye-to-eye, you’re not just reminiscing, you’re equipping your children to view the world with optimism.
So, on this Father’s Day, let’s take a moment to appreciate all the fathers out there – the storytellers, the playmates, and the providers. Thank you for all that you do. You’re making more of a difference than you realize. Happy Father’s Day!
10 little things dads do that mean a lot
Your dad probably helped shape the person you are today. In honor of Father’s Day, here are ten little things that your dad may have done for your growing up that have stuck with you for a lifetime.
1. Read you bedtime stories
2. Played dress up
3. Left encouraging messages in your lunchbox
4. Supported your interests by going to your concerts, recitals, and sports meets
5. Built a couch fort in your living room
6. Taught you how to ride a bike, fish, or play catch
7. Initiated a dance party
8. Gave you spending money
9. Prepare a family meal together
10. Said “yes” to something that’s usually off-limits, like dessert before supper
This Father’s Day, return the favor and make your dad feel special, noticed, cared for, and loved. Spend quality time together or buy him a unique local gift.
5 bonding activities to do with your dad
Although you can buy your dad a beautiful or thoughtful gift, sometimes spending quality time together is the best present of all. Here are five bonding activities to do with your dad on this special day.
1. Go to the movies
Whether your dad loves comedies, heart-pounding action films, or psychological thrillers, there are plenty of good flicks to watch on Father’s Day. Reserve seats at a nearby movie theatre and splurge on popcorn and drinks to complete the day.
2. Plan a spa day
Spa days aren’t just for the ladies. If your dad appreciates being pampered, book him a luxurious massage, pedicure, or facial. Make sure you join him to create lasting memories.
3. Get out in nature
Enjoy the great outdoors with Dad by hitting a local hiking or biking trail. Pack a picnic lunch with his favorite goodies to make the most of the day.
4. Play board games
Check out a board game café with your dad for the evening. You can play an unlimited number of games and enjoy a good meal. Get ready to strategize your way to a win.
5. Go to a beer or spirits tasting
If your dad enjoys knocking back a few cold ones or casually sipping on fine whiskey, arrange a tasting at a local brewery or distillery to discover a new favorite.
You don’t have to spend much money to have loads of fun!
5 unique Father’s Day gift ideas
Father’s Day is fast approaching! Have you bought your gift? Does your dad insist he doesn’t need anything at all? Finding a unique or useful present for the dad that seemingly has everything can be challenging. Here are a handful of unique ideas to inspire you.
1. Smart home gadgets
Connected technology is the perfect gift for the geeky dad. For example, a smart doorbell, thermostat, or a set of smart LED bulbs are something he typically wouldn’t buy for himself but would be grateful to own.
2. Reading accessories
If your dad is a bookworm but already has shelves full of reading material, get him some fun accessories to improve his reading experience. For example, a set of stylish bookends, a clip-on book light, a bathtub caddy book stand, a page anchor, or “lazy reading glasses” will allow your dad to dive into a great read. If your dad listens to audiobooks, get him a nice pair of noise-canceling headphones.
3. Outdoor equipment
If you have an outdoorsy dad, consider getting him something he can use while enjoying nature. For instance, a pair of binoculars, a fancy multi-tool, an insulated camping chair, or a soft-sided beer cooler make great gifts.
4. Cooking utensils
Does your dad love to cook or grill? Help him elevate his food game with a unique gift. A digital meat thermometer, barbecue tool set, handheld food torch, or salt block are gifts that are sure to please. You could also buy him a subscription to a monthly meat or spice box.
Visit your local shops to curate the ideal gift for your dad this Father’s Day.