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Prisoners criticize VADOC vaccine rollout, coronavirus response

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Jillian Floyd hasn’t seen her son in a year. She is one of many Virginia prisoners experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic in Virginia’s correctional institutions, where thousands of incarcerated people have tested positive for the coronavirus since March, and more than 50 who died also tested positive for the disease.

Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women in Fluvanna County

 

Floyd, a prisoner at Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women in Fluvanna County, said she talks on the phone every day with her 10-year-old child. She said it is difficult for her son not to see her as he did before COVID-19.

“I used to have video visits with my son, and regular in-person visits too,” Floyd said in an email. “I could see how big he was getting.”


Now, without access to video calls and living in the red zone, an area designated for prisoners who test positive for COVID-19, Floyd said she can’t go outside and that she is expected to stay in her cell. She said she tested positive about two weeks ago. Prisoners in red zones may leave their cells to access phones, kiosks, showers, restrooms, nursing stations, food trays, and laundry, according to Gregory Carter, a spokesperson for the Virginia Department of Corrections.

More than 11,800 prisoners and 4,700 employees have received a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to Virginia Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran. That accounts for approximately half of the prison population. More than 470 prisoners and 210 employees have received a second dose, Moran said.

There are 629 active coronavirus cases as of Thursday among on-site incarcerated individuals, three active cases in hospitals, and 132 active cases among employees, according to VADOC. There have been more than 8,800 total positive COVID-19 cases, and more than 50 prisoners have died who tested positive for COVID-19.

Floyd, among others living in Virginia’s prisons, said she doesn’t think she could get the vaccine right now even if she wanted to.

“Some women have already gotten it but they haven’t told us when we are going to get it,” Floyd said.

Staff is administering two-dose Moderna vaccines, VADOC said in a January news release. The department is offering email stamps, telephone credits, and commissary items that will become available in early March to prisoners who take the vaccine.

“We want all staff and inmates who want the COVID-19 vaccine to get their inoculations as soon as possible,” Director Harold Clarke said in the release. “This effort is important to all in the VADOC community – our staff, inmates, and the community outside the walls, where our staff and inmates’ families live.”

Floyd said she was moved to the yellow zone, a quarantined area for those who may have been exposed to the virus, “in the middle of a freezing cold rain storm” after her previous roommate tested positive for COVID-19. Floyd said she initially tested negative but felt sick after moving to the yellow zone. She was worried she had the virus but wasn’t tested again for days.

“When I finally got tested, I tested positive and was moved to the red zone,” Floyd said. “The nice thing about the red zone is the kind of let us pick who we wanted to live with, so I’m with someone I knew already.”

Floyd said staff removed personal belongings from those moving into the red zone to quarantine the items, but two of her bags were lost in the move. She now sleeps without a pillow under a borrowed blanket and sheet, she said. The state issues linens to prisoners and they may request replacements, Carter said.

Shannon Ellis, an attorney with the Legal Aid Justice Center, a statewide legal aid and advocacy organization, said Floyd’s experience is consistent with what she’s heard from prisoners across the commonwealth.

“I think it’s fair to say that there has been a lot of chaos within [VADOC] in handling the coronavirus,” Ellis said.

Ellis is a co-leading attorney in long-running litigation against Fluvanna Women’s Correctional Center, she said. Ellis’ duties include counseling incarcerated women living in the facility and evaluating healthcare standards following a settlement agreement under which VADOC would improve Fluvanna’s medical care.

Ellis said her legal partners conduct between 100 and 200 interviews with incarcerated women per year, and she receives around 60 emails and letters every week.

Fluvanna Women’s Correctional Center has reported more than 630 COVID-19 cases among prisoners, ranking fifth in total positive inmate cases among the commonwealth’s correctional institutions, according to VADOC data.

“What we’re hearing from our clients at Fluvanna and what I’m hearing from other advocates that work with other facilities around the state is that there’s a lot of vaccine hesitancy that’s being caused simply by poor education and counseling ahead of time with the vaccines,” Ellis said.

Women living in Fluvanna have “had to say yes or no” to the COVID-19 vaccine without the opportunity to consult a doctor or a nurse despite having multiple serious health conditions and medication regimens, Ellis said.

“That’s a big problem,” Ellis said.

Prisoners are able to directly consult with a nurse or a doctor before receiving the vaccine, Carter said.

VADOC follows guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and communicates with local health districts regarding COVID-19 protocol and vaccine rollout, Moran said.

“We feel it’s going smoothly,” Moran said. “So if there are complaints, then you know, we’ll try to address those. But as of now, I’m being told it’s going fairly well in terms of the delivery of the vaccines.”

The Virginia Department of Health began offering COVID-19 vaccines to people living in state prisons and local jails in January, expanding eligibility for who can get the shot under phase 1b of the commonwealth’s distribution plan. For the public, the phase now includes frontline workers, people aged 65 or older, and people living in correctional facilities, homeless shelters, and migrant camps. People aged 16 to 64 years old with an underlying condition were added to phase 1b, though the vaccines aren’t readily available to them yet.

 

Moran said those in law enforcement, including correctional officers, were a priority in the early days of phase 1b.

“As we went to the prisons to do the correctional officers, it was a matter of operational efficiency … to do all individuals at the facility,” Moran said. “And in recognizing the particularly vulnerable population of those who are in confined spaces, it was determined that we would include inmates for the vaccinations.”

Moran said his office is focused on having an aggressive vaccination and testing program to drive down positive cases in correctional institutions. However, the process is not running smoothly, Ellis said.

“I think that Brian Moran has heard many complaints from advocates and from family members of incarcerated people across the state,” Ellis said.

Some cells in the COVID-19 red zone at Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women don’t have call buttons, Ellis said. This prevents women inside the cell from being able to quickly communicate if they are in a crisis.

“For example, if they’re having difficulty breathing,” Ellis said. “The only way to get attention is by shouting and basically banging on your closed locked cell door to try to get the attention of a guard, which, if you’re in a medical crisis, you may not even be able to do.”

Carter said cell intercom systems are not required by the American Correctional Association, the accrediting body for VADOC. Some facilities have cell intercom systems and some do not.

“Security and medical staff make regular rounds to check the inmates’ status and address specific needs,” Carter said in an email.

Carter said department staff provides mental health resources and services to prisoners. He said services vary by location but generally include periodic newsletters from mental health staff; a toll-free number to ask questions and the opportunity to share concerns and receive information from mental health staff.

“We also provide psychiatric services as needed and other programs and services as needed,” Carter said.

The department uses several methods to educate prisoners on the vaccine. This includes recorded interviews with medical and public safety authorities that are shared with staff and prisoners, Carter said.

“Our health services staff has done tremendous work these last few weeks getting shots into arms,” VADOC Director of Communications Lisa Kinney said in an email.

Regarding VADOC’s incentive packs for those who receive the vaccine, Floyd said it doesn’t change her mind about the shot.

“I think I’m going to get it, but I’m not going to base my decision about whether to take it on free stuff,” Floyd said. “If it gets people to take it that’s great.”

Nicholes Callahan, a prisoner at River North Correctional Center in Grayson County, said he recalls when VADOC offered similar incentives to encourage getting the flu shot in the fall. He said it did not play a part in his decision to get the shot.

“I feel like the incentive pack is a bribe,” Callahan said in an email.

Callahan said he’s unsure if he wants to get vaccinated. He is concerned about the vaccine’s possible side effects.

“Some other inmates have gotten it this week so now I am going to see if they have any immediate side effects,” Callahan said.

Callahan said he was moved into quarantine after his cellmate tested positive for the virus. Prior to COVID-19, he said he would spend the entire day out of his cell with in-person visits and two weekly trips to the gym. Now, he is out of his cell for about three hours a day “if we are lucky,” he said.

“I feel they have done the best they can in River North,” Callahan said. “It would have been nice to not have lost so much rec time in them doing it.”

David Bomber, a prisoner of Nottoway Correctional Center, said he lives in a cell that is about 8 feet tall and 6 feet wide with a sink and a toilet. The cell is designed for one person but he has a cellmate, Bomber said.

“We basically live in a toilet,” Bomber said.

VADOC’s average daily population has decreased from 29,136 in March 2020 to 23,811 in January, Carter said. He did not respond directly to whether one-man cells are used to house more than one prisoner.

Bomber tested positive for COVID-19 in December with about 200 other prisoners, he said. Bomber and roughly 40 other men moved into quarantine in an area that previously served as a restrictive housing unit, Bomber said. These areas are intended to separate prisoners from the general population.

“The conditions were punitive at best,” Bomber said.

Bomber said he received temperature checks twice daily and only suffered from a headache. He’s now out of quarantine and on modified lockdown but doesn’t know if he’s eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

“They’re not putting out no kind of memos; there’s no exchange of information,” Bomber said.

Bomber said he hasn’t heard of incentives for getting the vaccine, but he remembers when he received bags of peanuts and Doritos for getting the flu shot several months ago.

As Bomber spoke on the phone, someone in the background announced with a megaphone that prisoners could sign up for the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I think if they’re going to offer it, I’m going to go ahead and take it,” Bomber said.

By Andrew Ringle
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.

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Virginia launches playing cards designed to solve cold cases

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On August 11, 2022, Attorney General Miyares announced that playing cards to help close unsolved homicides have been distributed to Richmond City Justice Center inmates for recreational use. The Attorney General partnered with the Richmond Sheriff’s Office, Richmond Police Department, Commonwealth Attorney’s Office, and Crime Stoppers to launch this project.

“The loss of a murdered loved one is devastating. Not receiving justice makes it even worse. I’m hopeful that this creative tool will help law enforcement provide answers and justice to these families,” said Attorney General Miyares.

“Families of loved ones who were taken from our community deserve closure, and we’ve seen this be an effective resource in other jurisdictions,” said Richmond Chief of Police Gerald Smith.”We are proud to participate in this endeavor as this is a creative method for generating interest and information on pending cases that could help generate new leads.”

The deck of playing cards, in the four standard suits, displays a photograph, name, and case details, while the reverse side includes the P3 tip line information and how to provide information regarding the case. The goal is that current inmates will recognize the face of the victim or remember a detail that could help law enforcement close the case.


If the inmate does have information, a family member or themselves would contact the tip line. If the information is valid and valuable, a reward will be given.

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August recognized as Hidden Heroes Month in Virginia

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Governor Glenn Youngkin has officially recognized August as Hidden Heroes Month in the Commonwealth of Virginia to honor the millions of military and veteran caregivers in Virginia and throughout the United States who care for those wounded, ill, or injured who have served our nation throughout wars and conflicts.

“Virginia is proud to partner with the Elizabeth Dole Foundation and their Hidden Heroes program to support and acknowledge caregivers that receive little support or acknowledgment for their selfless sacrifices,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “In fact, most of these Hidden Heroes simply consider the challenging work they do as unconditional love or carrying out their civic and patriotic duty, without realizing they should be categorized as caregivers. I call on all my fellow Virginians to join me in thanking and supporting them. They deserve nothing less.”

“As a veteran, I have seen the devotion that these caregivers provide every day to their loved ones who sacrificed so much for our Nation,” said Virginia Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs Craig Crenshaw. “If Virginia is going to remain the best state for veterans and their families to live, work and thrive, we must never forget how important these Hidden Heroes are and provide them with the support they need and deserve. This we pledge to do today and always.”

“I’ve seen first-hand the tremendous impact 5.5 million young spouses, mothers, dads, siblings, and other loved ones make in the lives of wounded warriors every day, in neighborhoods large and small, in states like Virginia and across the country,” said Senator Elizabeth Dole, Founder of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. “Today, we are one step closer to ensuring that these caregivers are woven into the fabric of our nation’s appreciation of the military. My heartfelt thanks to Governor Youngkin and his team for their strong support of military caregivers, America’s hidden heroes.”


“For those Hidden Heroes throughout Virginia who would like to know what resources are available for them in their community and for others who wish to help these caregivers, all of us at the Virginia Department of Veterans Services (DVS) stand ready to assist,” said Daniel Gade, Commissioner of DVS.

In the Certificate of Recognition, Governor Youngkin recognizes that many of these caregivers are the parents, spouses, siblings, and friends of these wounded, ill, or injured men and women. Their daily tasks can include bathing, feeding, dressing, and dressing grievous injuries, administering medications, providing emotional support, caring for the family and home, and working outside the home to earn essential income.

Click here to read Governor Youngkin’s Certificate of Recognition for August 2022 as Hidden Heroes Month in Virginia.

For more information about the Hidden Heroes Program and the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, go to www.HiddenHeroes.org or www.elizabethdolefoundation.org.

About the Virginia Department of Veterans Services
The Virginia Department of Veterans Services (DVS) is a state government agency with more than 40 locations across the Commonwealth of Virginia. VDVS traces its history to 1928 and the establishment of the Virginia War Service Bureau to assist Virginia’s World War I veterans. Today, DVS assists veterans and their families in filing claims for federal veterans benefits; provides veterans and family members with linkages to services including behavioral healthcare, housing, employment, education, and other programs. The agency operates long-term care facilities offering in-patient skilled nursing care, Alzheimer’s/memory care, and short-term rehabilitation for veterans; provides an honored final resting place for veterans and their families at three state veterans cemeteries. It operates the Virginia War Memorial, the Commonwealth’s tribute to Virginia’s men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice from World War II to the present. For more information, please visit www.dvs.virginia.gov.

For questions regarding caregiver programs in Virginia, email info@dvs.virginia.gov, or visit your local DVS office.

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MurLarkey Distilled Spirits to invest more than $8M, create 42 new jobs

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RICHMOND, VA – Governor Glenn Youngkin announced that the highly awarded MurLarkey Distilled Spirits will be relocating and expanding its operations within Prince William County. The company, currently located in Bristow, will establish a large new distillery and tasting room on the campus of Farm Brew LIVE in Innovation Park, Manassas. The 12-acre entertainment area, owned by Marcus Silva of Villagio Hospitality Group, is home to 2Silos Brewing, the Black Sheep restaurant, and a live music venue, drawing over 10,000 visitors weekly. The company sources 100% of its grain from Virginia farms and through this project will increase its production eight-fold over the next three years. The project represents nearly $8.1M in new investment, 42 new jobs, and over the next three years will lead to an additional $429,860 (885,000 pounds) in purchases of Virginia-grown grains.

“Virginia’s food and beverage industry continues to thrive as surging consumer spending and our world-class business environment combine to give company after company confidence that they can grow and succeed in the Commonwealth,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “With burdensome pandemic restrictions behind us, this growth and optimism is especially evident in our craft beverage sector as returning consumers bring newfound vibrancy to the industry.”

“Virginia’s craft beverage industry provides Virginia’s farmers a great way to connect with consumers. I commend companies like MurLarkey who are helping to build that connection by committing to sourcing 100% of their grain from the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Matthew Lohr. “MurLarkey’s continued investment in Prince William County represents the company’s commitment to the region and to Virginia’s grain producers, who are successfully marketing their Virginia-grown inputs to the industry.”

“MurLarkey is both humbled and honored by the amazing support we have received from our state, county and local community. We’re excited to expand upon and further enhance the guest experience which MurLarkey has become famous for,” said MurLarkey CEO Thomas Murray. “What started as a second career / family business has evolved into something which truly touches people, something broader reaching; much more than a craft spirits brand, MurLarkey has become a true lifestyle brand leading Virginia’s bourgeoning Spirit Trail. This new facility will enable us to continue this journey on the Farm Brew LIVE campus with The Villagio Group as an incredible strategic partner allowing us to better accommodate our local aficionados, patrons and tourists from far and wide seeking the MurLarkey experience.”


“MurLarkey has always had the pioneering spirit, so it’s no surprise they are Prince William County’s first AFID Facility Grant award,” said Prince William Board of County Supervisors Chair Ann B. Wheeler. “We are thrilled to embrace and invest in agribusinesses that make our county a destination for residents and visitors from around the region.”

“Home-grown, family-owned small businesses like MurLarkey Distilled Spirits are vital to the character of our region’s business community,” said Senator Jeremy S. McPike. “From the company’s contributions during COVID producing and donating hand sanitizer, to their commitment to using only local ingredients in their award winning spirits, MurLarkey shows that businesses like these are not only important drivers of our economy, but also represent the fine character of our community.”

“Entrepreneurship and collaboration are what makes our economy strong, so it is terrific to see some of our finest entrepreneurs, Tom Silva and the MurLarkey team, join together to create a great new business and amenity for the community,” said Delegate Michelle Maldonado. “I wish MurLarkey the best in this new venture and look forward to celebrating with them once they open.”

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services worked with Prince William County and MurLarkey Distilled Spirits to secure this project for Virginia with a $250,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund, which Prince Williams County will match with local funds. This is Prince William County’s first ever AFID Facility Grant award, an economic development tool to help localities support new and expanding agriculture- and forestry-based businesses.

Founded in 2013 by brothers Mike and Jim Larkin and their cousin Tom Murray, MurLarkey Distilled Spirits is a family-owned business using exclusively Virginia-grown corn, rye and barley to produce award-winning spirits representative of the founders’ Irish heritage. Through the work of Jim Larkin their COO and Master Distiller George “Papi” Zwetkow, MurLarkey has earned dozens of top awards for their spirits and their visitor experience. The company also received Prince William County’s 2020 Human Rights Award for providing more than 3,000 gallons of hand sanitizer to the community during the pandemic. In addition to supporting Virginia farmers through a major increase in production, the company will continue to offer all its spent grain to local farmer’s free-of-charge for use as cattle feed.

 

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Attorney General Miyares joins 22 states in support of ending unlawful CDC mandate

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Attorney General Jason Miyares joined 22 states in filing an amicus brief in support of the plaintiff in Health Freedom Defense Fund Inc. vs. Joseph R. Biden, Jr., President of the United States. The attorneys general argue that the district court correctly vacated the federal mask mandate. President Biden’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s interstate travel mask mandate exceeds its authority and infringes on each state’s ability to enact its own public health rules.

“Mask Mandates across the country have been lifted in virtually every aspect of daily life. For months, Americans have been traveling safely while making their own autonomous decisions. The CDC mask mandate on public transportation, like air travel, is obsolete and no longer necessary – not to mention a clear example of federal overreach,” said Attorney General Miyares.

In a brief filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, the attorneys general argue that the CDC’s unlawful mandate exceeds the agency’s authority in several ways.

First, the CDC grounds its authority to issue a mask mandate in its power to require “sanitation” measures under 42 U.S.C. § 264(a). That authority cannot support the mandate. Additionally, according to the statute, the CDC cannot demand that domestic travelers be examined without evidence that they are carrying disease—but that is what the mandate requires, a visual inspection of every traveler without any individualized suspicion.


The brief also argues that the mandate is invalid because it failed to go through notice and comment procedures. The CDC rule is arbitrary and capricious, with numerous exceptions that the agency did not explain or justify. Beyond that, the rule violates the agency’s own regulations. The brief states: “CDC regulations say that it cannot act unless it finds local measures inadequate. But here, the CDC never even studied local measures, much less developed a method to determine whether those measures are adequate.”

Attorney General Miyares joins the attorneys general of the following states in filing the brief: Florida, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia.

To read the full brief, click here.

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136th generation of new Virginia State Police Troopers graduate

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On Friday, Aug. 12, 2022, the Commonwealth will graduate its 136th generation of Virginia State Troopers. The 18 new troopers will be presented their diplomas during commencement exercises at 10 a.m. at the State Police Training Academy located at 7700 Midlothian Turnpike in Chesterfield County.

“The 136th has completed one of the toughest law enforcement academies in the country and are now joining a long line of distinguished troopers,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “2022 marks the 90th anniversary of the Virginia State Police and these new troopers will forever be part of our valued history. We are proud to have them as part of the Virginia State Police family.”

The new troopers have received more than 1,300 hours of classroom and field instruction in more than 100 different subjects, including de-escalation techniques, strategies to assist people in mental health crisis, ethics and leadership, fair and impartial policing, constitutional law, emergency medical trauma care, and public and community relations. The members of the 136th Basic Session began their 28 weeks of academic, physical and practical training at the Academy Jan. 26, 2022.

The soon-to-be graduates of the 136th Basic Session are from every corner of the Commonwealth, as well as California, Iowa, Maryland, New Hampshire and Washington.


Upon graduation, the new troopers will report to their individual duty assignments. For their final phase of training, each trooper will spend an additional six weeks paired up with a Field Training Officer learning his or her new patrol area.

 136th BASIC GRADUATING CLASS:

Name – Hometown – Assignment

  • Gilmar Raymund Bulado Alcasid – Lakewood, California  – Portsmouth/Suffolk/Chesapeake
  • Usman Asif – Leesburg – Fairfax
  • Emily Marie Ball – Meriden, New Hampshire – Prince William
  • Cornelius Clyde Boykins, Jr. – Williamsburg – Prince William
  • Jarrad Jeffrey Byrd – Gate City – Prince William
  • Patrick Arthur Cantrell – Pound – Botetourt
  • Jason B. Chatman, Jr. – Richmond – Henrico
  • Morgan Bethany Douglas – Chesterfield – Dinwiddie
  • Coltin Allen King – Fort Chiswell – Fluvanna
  • Clayton Ander Linville – Richmond – Hanover/Henrico
  • Noah Aaron Maxfield – Castlewood – Rockbridge
  • Andrew Ray Murley – Sac City, Iowa – Rockingham
  • Jimmy Williams Nguyen – Frederick, Maryland – Fairfax
  • Joshua Michael Nowacki – Fredericksburg – Stafford
  • Bryan Baxter Pitts – Puyallup, Washington – Hampton/Newport News
  • Justin Lee Ramey – Sperryville – Rockingham
  • Nicholas Ryan Thompson – Chesapeake – Hampton/Newport News
  • Roosevelt Westbrook – Norfolk – Norfolk/Virginia Beach
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Virginia-based conservation company to construct first commercial pyrolysis facility in the Commonwealth

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RICHMOND, VA – On August 8, 2022, Governor Glenn Youngkin announced that Restoration Bioproducts LLC will construct the Commonwealth’s first biochar production facility in Sussex County. Co-located in the Town of Waverly with wood pellet manufacturer Wood Fuel Developers, the company will use pyrolysis technology to convert waste wood from the mill into biochar and syngas, a form of natural gas. Over the next three years, Restoration Bioproducts will invest $5.8 million into a new facility, create five high-paying jobs and purchase 34,560 tons of Virginia-grown wood products, while also bringing major business benefits to Wood Fuel Developers.

“Technology and entrepreneurship are powerful forces driving the Commonwealth’s economy forward. Today’s announcement is further evidence that Virginia is the location of choice for companies looking to transform their industries through innovation,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “I congratulate Sussex County on bringing a first-of-its-kind green energy project to Virginia and commend Restoration Bioproducts for demonstrating the power of private-sector led, sustainable waste solutions.”

“Forestry is Virginia’s third largest private sector industry and is often the major economic driver in many of our rural communities. Therefore it is critical that entrepreneurs and innovators, like Restoration Bioproducts, apply new technologies to solve the business problems of today,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Matthew Lohr. “This project highlights the power of collaboration and sustainable solutions, two hallmarks of a thriving forest products industry.”

“Our partners have all worked in Virginia for many years, and we are very pleased to bring our first project using this exciting new technology to the Town of Waverly and Sussex County,” said Jeff Waldon, Managing Partner of Restoration Bioproducts LLC. “Pyrolysis and biochar application has been identified as an important technological approach to assisting agricultural producers improve soil health, and sequester carbon in soils to address climate change.”


“Sussex County is thrilled that Restoration Bioproducts chose to locate its operations in one of Virginia’s timber industry hubs. We’re excited by the innovative potential of their biochar and syngas products and wish them the greatest success,” said Susan Seward, Chair of the Sussex County Board of Supervisors. “We also greatly appreciate our partnership with the Town of Waverly and the Commonwealth in bringing this new business to the county.”

“We’re excited to welcome Restoration Bioproducts to Waverly. The jobs, revenue, and overall activity emanating from their facility will bring additional vitality back to our growing town,” said Angela McPhaul, Mayor, Town of Waverly. “Thank you to the Commonwealth of Virginia and Sussex County for partnering with us to make this a reality.”

“We are always looking for innovative businesses to join our community here in Sussex County and Southern Virginia, and Restoration Bioproducts is exactly that,” said Senator L. Louise Lucas. “I am very excited about this announcement and the sustainable solutions this project brings to our community and the Commonwealth.”

“I am pleased Restoration Bioproducts has chosen to invest in Sussex County for the Commonwealth’s first commercial pyrolysis facility,” said Delegate Otto Wachsmann. “Innovative green energy investments like this not only bring new jobs and economic boost to our community, but will also help preserve the quality of life we all enjoy.”

Restoration Bioproducts is a Virginia-based, private-sector conservation company that provides custom-engineered, environmentally-sustainable business solutions for companies dealing with agricultural or forestry waste. The company deploys pyrolysis-based solutions to sustainably produce biochar and syngas.

Biochar is a highly-porous, stable and carbon-rich charcoal-like product with a variety of applications, but is most commonly used as an agricultural soil amendment, odor absorber or animal feed additive. For this project, the syngas will be used to power the pyrolysis reaction chamber, as well as a 500kw electric generator to provide low-cost, behind-the-meter electricity to Wood Fuel Developers. In this win-win project, Restoration Bioproducts benefits from a guaranteed supply of low-cost biomass and market for its electricity, while Wood Fuel Developers is offloading nuisance wood waste and reducing the costs associated with utility-supplied electricity.

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services worked with Sussex County and Restoration Bioproducts LLC to secure this project for the Commonwealth. Governor Youngkin approved a $50,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund, which Sussex County and the Town of Waverly will match with local funds.

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Aire Serv Heating and Air Conditioning

Apple Dumpling Learning Center

Apple House

Auto Care Clinic

Beaver Tree Services

Blake and Co. Hair Spa

Blue Ridge Arts Council

Blue Ridge Education

BNI Shenandoah Valley

C&C's Ice Cream Shop

Christine Binnix - McEnearney Associates

Code Ninjas Front Royal

Cool Techs Heating and Air

Down Home Comfort Bakery

Downtown Market

Dusty's Country Store

Edward Jones-Bret Hrbek

Explore Art & Clay

Family Preservation Services

First Baptist Church

Front Royal Women's Resource Center

Front Royal-Warren County Chamber of Commerce

G&M Auto Sales Inc

Garcia & Gavino Family Bakery

Gourmet Delights Gifts & Framing

Green to Ground Electrical

Groups Recover Together

House of Hope

I Want Candy

I'm Just Me Movement

Jen Avery, REALTOR & Jenspiration, LLC

Key Move Properties, LLC

KW Solutions

Legal Services Plans of Northern Shenendoah

Main Street Travel

Makeover Marketing Systems

Marlow Automotive Group

Mary Carnahan Graphic Design

Merchants on Main Street

Mountain Trails

National Media Services

No Doubt Accounting

Northwestern Community Services Board

Ole Timers Antiques

Penny Lane Hair Co.

Philip Vaught Real Estate Management

Phoenix Project

Reaching Out Now

Rotary Club of Warren County

Royal Blends Nutrition

Royal Cinemas

Royal Examiner

Royal Family Bowling Center

Royal Oak Bookshop

Royal Oak Computers

Royal Oak Bookshop

Royal Spice

Ruby Yoga

Salvation Army

Samuels Public Library

SaVida Health

Skyline Insurance

St. Luke Community Clinic

Studio Verde

The Institute for Association & Nonprofit Research

The Studio-A Place for Learning

The Valley Today - The River 95.3

The Vine and Leaf

Valley Chorale

Vetbuilder.com

Warren Charge (Bennett's Chapel, Limeton, Asbury)

Warren Coalition

Warren County Democratic Committee

Warren County Department of Social Services

Warrior Psychotherapy Services, PLLC

WCPS Work-Based Learning

What Matters & Beth Medved Waller, Inc Real Estate

White Picket Fence

Woodward House on Manor Grade

King Cartoons

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19
Fri
6:00 pm Fire Pit Fridays @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
Fire Pit Fridays @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
Aug 19 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Fire Pit Fridays @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
…and be sure to attend our Fourth of July event!
Aug
20
Sat
11:00 am National Honeybee Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
National Honeybee Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Aug 20 @ 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
National Honeybee Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area The bees are buzzing at Sky Meadows State Park! Meet the Beekeepers of Northern Shenandoah as they perform a honey extraction. Learn about beekeeping, honeybees and the art of apiculture. Support beekeeping and[...]
Aug
21
Sun
12:00 pm Meet the Beekeepers @ Sky Meadows State Park
Meet the Beekeepers @ Sky Meadows State Park
Aug 21 @ 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Meet the Beekeepers @ Sky Meadows State Park
Carriage Barn in the Historic Area. What’s that buzzing? Meet with local apiarists of the Beekeepers of Northern Shenandoah (BONS) and discover the art of Apiculture (a.k.a. Beekeeping). This monthly program series examines all aspects[...]
Aug
23
Tue
3:00 pm Valley Chorale Audition Day @ Calvary Episcopal Church
Valley Chorale Audition Day @ Calvary Episcopal Church
Aug 23 @ 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm
Valley Chorale Audition Day @ Calvary Episcopal Church
If you have choral-singing experience, you’re invited to join The Valley Chorale! Rehearsals this fall culminate in our always-popular Christmas concerts in December. This year, we have a truly fantastic Christmas program planned. Auditions are[...]
Aug
24
Wed
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Aug 24 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
Aug
26
Fri
6:00 pm Fire Pit Fridays @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
Fire Pit Fridays @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
Aug 26 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Fire Pit Fridays @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
…and be sure to attend our Fourth of July event!
Aug
27
Sat
10:00 am Habitat Detectives: A Late-Summe... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Habitat Detectives: A Late-Summe... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Aug 27 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
Habitat Detectives: A Late-Summer Children's Walk @ Sky Meadows State Park
Sensory Explorers’ Trail. Join Virginia Master Naturalist and teacher, Barbara Ermler, on a walk of exploration. Use your five senses to uncover clues to how various organisms – plants, animals, and more – work together[...]
7:00 pm Appalachian Chamber Music Festival @ Middleburg Community Center
Appalachian Chamber Music Festival @ Middleburg Community Center
Aug 27 @ 7:00 pm – 9:30 pm
Appalachian Chamber Music Festival @ Middleburg Community Center
Join the Appalachian Chamber Music Festival on Thursday, August 25, at 7:00 pm, for a concert at Middleburg Community Center as part of their 2022 Festival! ACMF brings this concert of festival highlights to the[...]