According to the Virginia Employment Commission, by 2026, Virginia needs to fill 2.6 million jobs that will require more than a high school diploma, but less than a bachelor’s degree. A proposal currently in the General Assembly, G3 (Get a Skill, Get a Job, Give Back), charts a strategic path toward filling that gap.
G3 addresses the critical workforce shortages many local businesses are currently facing. In fact, our colleges have spent the past year listening to leaders in those businesses to identify what skills they need most. G3 is designed to give more individuals in our area access to career and technical training programs in the following high-demand fields: Healthcare; Information Technology and Computer Science; Manufacturing and Skilled Trades; Early Childhood Education; and Public Safety.
G3 is an enhanced financial aid program that makes higher education more accessible to low- and middle-income individuals. G3 provides financial support for tuition, textbooks and cost of living expenses that will help them enroll and complete career-focused workforce training programs.
G3 would make a big difference for people in our communities, including ALICE families and individuals. The United Way introduced us to ALICE, which means Asset-Limited, Income-Constrained, and Employed. In other words, ALICE is the working poor. Two out of five Virginia households are within the ALICE population. You likely know members of ALICE. They are your neighbors, your coworkers, perhaps you or members of your own family. We’d like to share with you the stories of two of our ALICE students.
Jenny is a single parent of three children and a full-time student in our nursing (RN) program. During the week, she is in class three days a week and at her clinical rotation for two days. She drives one hour each way to train with her nurse preceptor at a hospital. This only leaves the weekend to work, where she spends 15-20 hours as a LPN at a care facility.
Because Jenny has a part-time job, she will receive some federal financial aid to cover tuition and books, but likely not a full Pell grant. She also receives a modest scholarship. Yet, there is still a gap between the funds she receives for college and the costs of rent, utilities, gas, and children. G3 is designed to bridge that funding gap and keep Jenny on the path toward a rewarding career with a good salary in a high-demand area.
Mike has been working for a recycling company, and his wife is employed in a manufacturing plant. His job is being phased out and he needs to find another career, so he enrolled in classes with the goal of becoming a manufacturing technician. This grandfather of four does not qualify for federal aid, but G3 could help support him while he learns a new skill to be employed in an industry desperate for employees.
The Valley needs more nurses. We need people in the trades to fix and build things. We need technicians to protect our data. We need more skilled workers to help recruit and support business and industry in our region. Because graduates from G3 programs will be contributing more in state income taxes as they become higher earners, the Commonwealth will enjoy a tangible return on the investment in G3. We encourage each of you and our state legislators to support G3.
Dr. Kimberly P. Blosser – President, Lord Fairfax Community College
Dr. John A. Downey – President, Blue Ridge Community College
Front Royal’s Town Council Race: Candidates Share Visions on Housing and Blight
Candidates Open Up About Their Plans and Backgrounds at Recent Forum.
On September 27, the Warren County Builders Association played host to a riveting forum featuring candidates eyeing a seat on the Front Royal Town Council.
Melissa DeDomenico-Payne: A familiar face in the Front Royal political scene, Melissa has been serving on the Town Council since her appointment in January 2023. A local resident since 1971, she vividly remembers the water pollution issues from Avtex during her younger days. Melissa’s approach to blighted properties leans heavily on beefing up the enforcement of rental rules and town codes. She’s vocal about the need for affordable housing. Melissa’s rich background in public service was a focal point during her closing, and she urged builders to establish better communication channels with the council.
Connie Marshner: Branding herself as the “uncandidate,” Connie brings a fresh perspective, free from the binds of political history. She moved to Front Royal in 1995 and recalls a childhood dictated by her Navy family’s frequent relocations. Her take on neglected properties echoes a common sentiment—more hands on deck. She envisions Front Royal as a “lifelong community” with houses everyone can afford. Ending her segment, Connie painted a picture of Front Royal at a crossroads, emphasizing the need to cherish its unique charm and walkable streets.
Glenn Wood: A true Front Royal son, Glenn’s roots trace back to his school days in the local institutions. After dedicating half a century to manufacturing and human resources, he hung up his professional boots, although his heart remains tethered to community service. Glenn expresses deep concern over blighted properties, advocating for prompt actions. On the housing frontier, he’s all for partnerships that benefit those earning under $50k annually. In wrapping up, Glenn put his planning commission experience on display, pledging to ensure the well-being of Front Royal’s residents.
Missing from the forum was the fourth candidate, Skip Rogers, who couldn’t make it to the event. The discussions from that evening painted a clear picture of each candidate’s vision for Front Royal, especially on burning topics like blight and housing affordability. As election day approaches, the residents of Front Royal are undoubtedly better equipped to cast their votes.
Warren County Builders Association Spotlights School Board Hopefuls: Pence & Mabie Talk Education
Candidates Pence and Mabie Weigh in on Bullying, Homeschooling, and Community Engagement.
With the Warren County Builders Association as the backdrop, a pivotal discussion surrounding the direction of local education was presented, showcasing school board candidates Kristen Pence of the South River District and Amber Mabie of the Shenandoah District. Their perspectives, experiences, and solutions took center stage, providing Warren County residents with an in-depth look into their educational aspirations for the region.
Kristen Pence: A Warren County High School alumna, Pence has roots deeply embedded in the community. With a dual role as a veterinarian and a parent, Pence leveraged her four-year tenure on the school board, emphasizing her unwavering commitment. She drew attention to her consistent efforts over the past term, treating the board seat as a full-time job, and her constant engagement with students, parents, and teachers.
Amber Mabie: Mabie’s narrative was equally compelling. A long-standing resident of Warren County and a mother to eight, Mabie exhibited her intimate familiarity with the local school system. With a rich tapestry of experiences ranging from classroom volunteering to substitute teaching, Mabie made a strong case for her grassroots approach to education. She was passionate in her stance against political interference in schools, underscoring the need for an untainted educational environment.
The Core Issues:
Bullying and Student Violence: Rick Novak, the evening’s moderator, didn’t hesitate to address one of the most pressing issues: the alarming increase in bullying and student violence. Mabie passionately voiced her perspective, emphasizing the paramount importance of teacher safety and advocating for reinforced in-school support. Pence, while echoing the sentiment of robust support, stressed the necessity of not just having discipline policies but also ensuring they are effectively enforced.
Homeschooling vs. Public Schooling: This debate took an interesting turn, with Pence acknowledging the growing homeschooling community in Warren County. She advocated for the respect of diverse educational choices while emphasizing her commitment to bolstering public education. Mabie, on the other hand, emphasized the crucial insights gained from having children within the public system and was candid in her skepticism about school board members without this connection.
As they wrapped up, both candidates exhibited a deep-seated commitment to the community. Pence focused on student behavioral challenges and underscored the importance of family engagement. Mabie, casting a wider societal net, championed inclusivity, safety, and the urgent need to address pressing social challenges affecting students.
As the election date of November 7 nears, voters will undoubtedly be reflecting upon the depth and breadth of perspectives presented during this seminal event.
Solo Spotlight: Candidates Stand Alone at Warren County Builders Association Forum
Warren County Builders Association Hosts Noteworthy Candidate Forum.
Warren County’s Builders Association took a significant stride in strengthening community ties and promoting transparency by hosting its first-ever candidate forum.
George Cline, President of the Warren County Builders Association, expressed gratitude for the overwhelming participation and emphasized the Association’s continuous commitment to the community. Since its establishment in 2006, the association has launched various philanthropic initiatives, from scholarships at the Blue Ridge Tech Center to supporting local veterans and families in need.
Here’s a look at their messages.
- Melanie Salins – North River School Board
Melanie, a re-election candidate, emphasized the importance of parents in the education process. Voicing concerns about elitism in education organizations, she advocated for increased parental involvement. Salins also acknowledged the positive strides Warren County Public Schools have made, including the accomplishments at Blue Ridge Tech.
- Angie Moore – Clerk of the Court
Angie provided an insight into the vast responsibilities of the Circuit Court. During her tenure, she has made significant strides in digitizing documents, securing grants, and maintaining operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Moore showcased her qualifications, emphasizing her commitment to the role.
- John Bell – Commonwealth Attorney
With a personal touch, John shared his family stories and the importance of justice in a small-town setting. He discussed the challenges brought forth by the pandemic and the need for a prosecutor who understands the community.
- Crystal Cline – Warren County Sheriff: Crystal underlined the importance of bolstering resources for the Sheriff’s Office. She commended the dedication of deputies, highlighting the need for specialized training and equipment. Crystal stressed the importance of dedicated school resource officers and effective community support.
- Janice Butler-Shanks – Warren County Treasurer: Janice, the Republican nominee for Treasurer, emphasized the Treasurer’s role in managing and collecting taxes. Drawing upon her extensive background in local businesses and government, she committed to upholding the highest standards in office.
- Sherry Sowers – Commissioner of Revenue: As a long-serving Commissioner, Sherry discussed her dedication to assisting Warren County residents. She addressed the improvements in liaising with contractors regarding business licenses and encouraged community members to seek help when needed.
The inaugural candidate forum by the Warren County Builders Association marked a significant step toward enhancing community engagement. Each candidate, though unopposed, showed a deep commitment to their roles and a vision for a better Warren County.
Warren County’s Crossroads: Voices of the Future
Board of Supervisor Candidates Share Visions for Warren County’s Growth and Governance.
On September 27, 2023, the Warren County Builders Association hosted a Candidate Forum at the Government Center, showcasing the diverse visions of five remarkable candidates for the Board of Supervisors.
Rich Jamieson – North River District
Having dedicated a significant portion of his life to industrial engineering, Jamieson brings a keen analytical perspective to the table. With nearly 30 years of experience focusing on financial and operational enhancement, he firmly believes in the integration of these principles into local governance. Jamieson has consistently promoted the notion that a systematic and engineered approach can solve even the most intricate community issues. His campaign theme, “Professionalism in Governance,” mirrors his dedication to elevating county management standards.
Nicole Wanzer – North River District
Wanzer’s campaign resonates deeply with those who hold Warren County close to their hearts. A third-generation resident, her stories weave a tapestry of love for the land, its history, and its people. She speaks not as a distant politician but as a neighbor, sharing joys, concerns, and hopes for the community’s future. Wanzer is particularly passionate about ensuring the voices of North River residents are at the forefront, pushing for public safety measures, fiscal transparency, and a departure from divisive politics that have plagued community discourse.
Walt Mabe – Shenandoah District
The journey of Mabe, the Shenandoah District representative seeking re-election, stands as a testament to his resilience and adaptability. Although initially challenged by his lack of political experience, Mabe’s narrative is one of growth and transformation. He speaks of lessons learned during his tenure, emphasizing the importance of collective action and continued progress. His message, “We’ve faced challenges, but we’ve always risen,” encapsulates his unwavering optimism for Warren County.
John Stanmeyer – Shenandoah District
Stanmeyer, with his background in economics from the University of Virginia, combines academic rigor with on-ground practicality. He offers a vision rooted in metrics, accountability, and efficiency. He seeks to balance tourism growth while preserving local interests and wants to confront the drug epidemic using data-driven strategies. His campaign, focused on “Data and Dedication,” highlights his belief that evidence-based policymaking is the key to sustainable growth.
Cheryl Cullers – South River District
Cullers, the incumbent representative for the South River District, embodies a legacy of dedication to Warren County. She champions numerous causes, from pushing for broadband access to enhancing emergency services. Her tenure is marked by a non-partisan approach, always prioritizing community needs over political allegiances. Her rallying cry, “I represent you, not the politics,” embodies her service ethos.
Warren County stands at a crossroads, with each candidate offering unique paths forward. Their collective vision showcases a future rich in potential:
- Jamieson: A future of systematic, professional governance.
- Wanzer: A future that embraces history, unity, and community voices.
- Mabe: A future forged through resilience and optimism.
- Stanmeyer: A future steered by data and unwavering dedication.
- Cullers: A future that prioritizes the community over politics.
The impending election is pivotal, shaping the trajectory of Warren County’s journey. It’s more than a vote; it’s a declaration of belief in a prosperous tomorrow.
Building a Better Tomorrow: Candidates for VA Delegate District 31 Outline Their Blueprint at Warren County Builders Assoc Forum
Hopes, Challenges, and Community: Candidates Share Visions for District 31.
On September 27, 2023, the Warren County Builders Association hosted a Candidate Forum at the Government Center. Three hopefuls—Steve Foreman, Grace Morrison, and Delores Oates—took center stage to articulate their aspirations and plans for District 31 of Virginia.
Delores Oates passionately highlighted her deep-seated roots in Warren County. Citing her multifaceted roles in the community, from a baseball mom to a mentor for teen mothers, she emphasized the community’s significance in her life. Expressing concerns over Warren County’s segmented representation in the past decade, she pledged a unified, committed voice in the State House of Virginia.
Steve Foreman’s professional background shone through as he referenced his 25-year tenure with Sprint, delineating duties that married technology with project management. Affirming his commitment to the entirety of District 31, he vowed to equip citizens with the resources they need to thrive.
Grace Morrison brought forth her unique perspective as a conservative independent. With family roots deep in the Virginia building legacy, Morrison presented herself as a bridge between tradition and progress. She underscored her commitment to genuine representation, free from the binds of corporate interests and partisan loyalty.
Moderator Rick Novak probed the candidates on their strategies for maintaining connections with Warren County constituents. Each candidate emphasized accessibility, with Oates advocating for individual conversations and Foreman prioritizing regular community meetings.
In discussing the top issues for Warren County, education was a resonant theme. While Morrison drew from her teaching experience to emphasize support from Richmond, Oates spotlighted the integration of trades in the educational curriculum. Foreman, on the other hand, highlighted the importance of retaining public funds in public schools.
The forum concluded with each candidate outlining their visions. While Oates focused on her roots in Warren County and the importance of economic development, Foreman advocated for pragmatic compromises and solutions that serve communal needs. Morrison reiterated her role as a trustee and servant to the people.
With a shared love for Warren County, each candidate offered their unique lens on progress, challenges, and community welfare. While the election will ultimately decide District 31’s representative, the forum provided a valuable opportunity for the community to gauge the visions and priorities of each contender.
Blue Ridge Wildlife Center Patient of the Week: Mourning Dove
How is a juvenile dove different from other songbirds?
Last week, this little one was the unfortunate victim of a cat attack. Upon admission, this patient was having trouble breathing and multiple puncture wounds were found over the hips. They were in otherwise good condition and well hydrated—signs mom was taking great care of them prior to the attack.
Mourning Doves grow incredibly quickly, which is why renesting a healthy fledgling with their parents is so important when possible—they’re learning a lot and ready to be on their own within just a few short weeks.
This baby will have to grow up under human care due to the extent of their injuries. There are many babies of various species everywhere still, unable to fully fly or run, and are at great risk of predation in general. This is one of many important reasons that cats should be kept indoors.
Mourning Doves are not like other songbirds we often receive. They are in the family Columbiformes, which only includes pigeons and dove species.
They’re characterized by short, stocky bodies and the presence of a crop, which is a muscular pouch off of the esophagus that holds seeds, allowing them to digest slowly.
They also have a gizzard (“second stomach”) that helps grind up these hard seeds, with the assistance of small rocks (“grit”) stored in the organ.
Because this species almost exclusively eats seeds, babies are fed something called crop milk which is produced in the lining of adults’ crops and is regurgitated into the crops of babies.
In rehabilitative care, nestling doves are fed a slurry that mimics the nutritional composition of crop milk until they are ready for seeds.
Thankfully, after just one week, this dove has grown quickly and figured out how to use our “seed tube” to feed itself, allowing us to be more hands-off, which is always the goal in rehabilitation! (Click here to see it in action!)
We expect this bird to be ready for outdoor conditioning in another week or two and released shortly after that.
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