Home to a flight program that has taught teenagers to fly since 1985, Randolph-Macon Academy added drones to the curriculum with an “Unmanned Flight Operations” class in 2017. Now, with the hiring of Brian J. Kelly in November, the Academy will be taking the drone program to a level no other high school in the country can claim.
A pioneer in the field of drones, Mr. Kelly is the founder and CEO of National Drone Services. He is also an award-winning television executive producer, writer, and director. Having been on board at R-MA for only a few weeks, he has already laid the groundwork for a drone program that will impact not just the Academy and the students, but the local community as well.
The purpose of the developing drone program is to train students on the skills, platforms, and technologies needed for them to be successful in a variety of career paths that involve the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). The drone industry is growing rapidly, with nearly 100,000 jobs expected to be added within the next five years. Through experiential and classroom learning and real-world projects, R-MA graduates will be uniquely poised to take advantage of this rapidly emerging market.
The overall program will focus on five career pathways: Engineering and Construction, Agriculture, Aerial Cinematography (for television and film), Energy and Infrastructure Management, and Emergency Response Management. Students will accomplish the FAA certification (a.k.a. Part 107) while gaining hands-on experience flying drones.
“The FAA drone certification process is currently only a knowledge test and does not require students to have any experience actually flying drones,” said Mr. Kelly. “As a result, there is a tremendous need for drone pilots who have operational experience.”
The R-MA program includes drone aircraft that are capable of capturing thermal imagery, rendering point cloud 3D models and conducting multispectral scanning of plant health life. They can be used to search and rescue, manage construction products, conduct biological research and even manage crops.
Mr. Kelly has already reached out to a number of organizations in the region to discuss forming community partnerships where students will have the opportunity to work on actual projects while gaining valuable hands on experience. Interest in the R-MA program has been immediate. On December 11th, as part of an agreement with the Warren County Economic Development Authority, Mr. Kelly and new EDA Executive Director, Doug Parsons, brought a team of students out to a local commercial property that the EDA is hoping to sell. The R-MA team was tasked with conducting an aerial roof inspection and survey of the property located at 426 Baugh Drive in Front Royal. EDA is currently courting several firms considering relocating to Front Royal. The sale of the multi-use commercial property could mean hundreds of jobs for the local community.
“This program represents a unique opportunity for R-MA students,” said Mr. Kelly. “They are gaining experience working with ‘clients,’ planning missions, flying missions, collecting imagery, and providing actionable data that clients can and will use. With this type of experience students can obtain summer jobs, enhance college prospects, or head directly into the (post high school) workforce. I am not aware of any other high school in the U.S. that is operating a drone program at this level.”
Mr. Kelly will run a three-week course during the Academy’s upcoming J-Term beginning on January 7th. He will continue to develop curriculum and community partnerships over the next few months. A summer drone course will be offered, and the full range of drone classes will be available for the 2020-21 academic year.
LFCC and Shepherd University sign nursing transfer agreement
LFCC and Shepherd University have signed a new 2+2 (two years at LFCC and two years at Shepherd) R.N.-B.S.N. agreement that will provide a seamless pathway for nursing students from LFCC to earn their bachelor’s degree at Shepherd.
Under the agreement, LFCC students who earn an associate of applied science degree in nursing, have a minimum grade point average of 2.7, and who have not matriculated at any other institution of higher education will be guaranteed transfer admission to Shepherd to earn a bachelor of science degree in nursing.
“We now more than ever need healthcare professionals,” said Dr. Scott Beard, Shepherd provost, during a July 30 virtual signing ceremony. “We’re in an area with vulnerable populations where there is a lack of access to healthcare, and there’s a critical shortage of nurses and advance practice nurses nationwide, so this initial pathway from the R.N. to the B.S.N. is just one step in those students’ journeys.”
Dr. Anne Davis, LFCC vice president of academic and student affairs, called the agreement a win-win for students.
“This feels like it’s a great fit for our students because they’re accustomed to an environment with that personal touch and small class size,” Davis said. “I think Shepherd is a place where LFCC students will find a home, somewhere where they’ll be valued for who they are as a person. It’s an exciting opportunity. It’s pivotal for healthcare in the environment that we’re in now, so we thank Shepherd for opening its doors to our students and giving them this pathway.”
“We’re just thrilled to receive Lord Fairfax students,” said Dr. Sharon Mailey, dean, College of Nursing, Education, and Health Sciences, and director, School of Nursing at Shepherd. “They’re motivated, they’re excellent academically, we just really enjoy having them here, and we want to make this their home. We also want them to keep the connectivity with Lord Fairfax. They don’t lose their identity; they just take on a new mantle of being a B.S.N. from Shepherd University.”
Learn more about LFCC’s nursing program at lfcc.edu/nursing.
Adopters can help Winchester SPCA’s holiday wishes come true with $100K from the Petco Foundation
Individuals who have adopted a pet from the Winchester SPCA are invited to share how their pet has changed their life to help give your local SPCA a chance to receive a $100,000 grand prize Holiday Wishes grant award from the Petco Foundation. In partnership with BOBS from Skechers, the Petco Foundation is granting more than $750,000 this holiday season to qualified animal welfare organizations across the country. Awards will range from $5,000 to $100,000, and adopters with winning submissions will receive up to a $1,000 Petco shopping spree and a prize pack with BOBS from Skechers shoes.
“We’re calling on all Winchester SPCA adopters to help us earn a lifesaving grant award this holiday season from the Petco Foundation by sharing their stories,” said Winchester SPCA Executive Director Lavenda Denney “Thank you for choosing adoption; now you can make our holiday wishes come true by helping us earn lifesaving funds to bring more pets in need together with loving families.”
Through September 23, adopters can submit their story at petcofoundation.org/holidaywishes. Stories should highlight how pets have changed their adopter’s life for the better, in big and small ways, and should celebrate the love of their adopted pet. Submissions must include four photos to illustrate the story and can include video as well. Adopters must contact the Winchester SPCA for the organization’s point of contact, email and phone number to include in their submission. Adopters are also encouraged to visit the Holiday Wishes homepage for more information and to read stories from previous winners.
The deadline to submit a Holiday Wishes story is September 23, 2020, noon CST. Winners will be announced during the holiday season. For a full list of prizes and submission FAQs, visit petcofoundation.org/holidaywishes.
State Police release details of high-speed chase, arrest of Herndon woman
On Wednesday, August 12, the Virginia State Police (VSP) issued a press release on the circumstance of the multi-jurisdiction pursuit and arrest of Herndon resident Jennifer L. Arnn. The release indicates the date of the incident as Thursday, August 6. Our initial report indicated the incident occurred on Friday, August 7, which is listed as her booking date on the RSW Jail website. VSP Public Information Officer Brent Coffey explained that Arnn spent Thursday night at the hospital for injuries incurred during the incident, which appear to be reflected in her jail booking mug shot.
That incident began with a reckless driving “Be on the Lookout” issued in Berkley County, West Virginia, after which VSP spotted the vehicle on I-81 in Frederick County, Virginia.
Below is the VSP release in its entirety:
WARREN CO., Va. – A Herndon, Va. woman is behind bars on multiple charges after she fled law enforcement Thursday (August 6, 2020). Virginia State Police have charged Jennifer L. Arnn, 39, in Warren County with three felony counts of assault on law enforcement, one felony count of intentional damage, one felony count of eluding law enforcement, one felony count of animal cruelty, one misdemeanor count of driving under the influence, and one misdemeanor count of possession of marijuana.
On Thursday at approximately 11:17 a.m. the Berkley County Sheriff’s Office issued a “Be On the Lookout” for a reckless driver. A short time later state police observed the suspect vehicle, a 2016 Mazda CS-X on I-81 at the 307-mile marker in Frederick County. State police initiated a traffic stop on the Mazda which stopped but took off when approached by a trooper.
The Mazda continued on Rt. 277 in Frederick County. The Mazda was eventually contained and stopped on I-66 at the 4.6-mile marker in Warren County. The driver, Arnn, was taken into custody without further incident. Arnn was transported to RSW Regional Jail and held without bond.
During the course of the pursuit, Arnn pushed her dog out the window. State police were able to locate the dog, but it did not survive its injuries.
Arnn struck three state police cruisers during the pursuit. One of the state police troopers suffered minor injuries during the incident.
The pursuit reached speeds of up to 100 mph.
Lynchburg City Council appoints Doug Stanley as new City Manager
On Tuesday, August 11, Lynchburg City Council ended its search for a new City Manager with a vote to appoint Douglas P. Stanley to succeed the current City Manager, Bonnie Svrcek who will retire effective September 1, 2020. Stanley is the former County Administrator for Warren County, Virginia. He will assume his duties as City Manager on September 1, 2020.
Before taking a public vote during City Council’s work session, Mayor MaryJane Dolan stated that City Council had conducted a nationwide search for the City Manager’s position, and they were pleased with having had a number of very qualified candidates to consider. “Even with having to deal with a nationwide pandemic, we had a very competitive pool of talented candidates from across the country,” said Dolan. “Council has been very deliberate in making its choice, and we have complete confidence in Doug being the right person to lead the organization. Bonnie leaves behind a strong leadership team that will provide great support for him as he becomes acclimated in his new position.”
Stanley served as Warren County’s administrator for 20 years. He began his career in public service at the age of 25 when he was hired by Warren County as a Zoning Administrator. He became Planning Director at the age of 27 and then County Administrator in 2000, only the fourth person to hold the position of administrator in the county.
During his tenure with Warren County, he directed the construction of an over $200 million Capital Improvement Program including the construction of a new high school, renovation of a junior high school to a high school, the renovation of a former high school to a middle school and the construction of a new middle school, a library, a community center, and the renovation of a baseball stadium. He also spearheaded the concept and development of the creation of a three jurisdiction regional jail and served as its board chair.
Stanley is a graduate of Mary Washington College where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Geography. He received a Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Graduate Certificate in Public Administration from Shenandoah Institute, Marsh Institute. Stanley is also a graduate of the Senior Executive Institute-Weldon Cooper Center at the University of Virginia.
His wife Jenny is an English teacher, and they have two children, Jenna and Whill.
“I want to thank the Lynchburg City Council for selecting me to be the next City Manager. My family and I look forward to this fantastic opportunity the next chapter in life brings. For me, it is not simply the job; it is about getting involved and becoming part of the community. I look forward to meeting citizens and stakeholders and becoming an active participant in our community.
Lynchburg is known throughout the Commonwealth for its stable and visionary leadership both at the Council and staff levels. I am honored to be following in the footsteps of Bonnie Svrcek and Kim Payne, two people who I have a tremendous amount of respect for, and I look forward to working with the dedicated staff of the City of Lynchburg in moving this community forward. I have a proven track record of 20+ years of local government management experience having been successful in Warren County, Virginia in helping the community rebuild its tax base, improve its infrastructure, and build strategic relationships with community partners and stakeholders. I am proud to have left Warren County a stronger, more vibrant, and resilient community, and I look forward to bringing that experience to the Hill City.”
(Press release from the City of Lynchburg)
New Student Welcome Week coming up at LFCC
With the start of this fall semester’s first classes less than two weeks away, LFCC is rolling out the welcome mat – virtually, in most cases – for its new students.
A series of online sessions is scheduled to provide information on everything from career pathways, to available resources, to what a typical college day is like. Additionally, LFCC swag and important information will be handed out during curbside pickups.
“This year, with physical and social distancing a must, we’ve been given the chance to reinvent our New Student Welcome program, using both the virtual platforms – like Zoom – that we are now so accustomed to using while still keeping up with the traditional in-person festivities, but with a twist,” campus life and student engagement specialist Chris Lambert said. “Instead of just one day to welcome our new students, we have extended it into an entire week, which will allow us to introduce new sessions and programming options.”
The first set of fall classes starts Monday, Aug. 24, with other classes beginning Sept. 8 and Oct. 19. Most classes will be delivered remotely, but some classes that require in-person delivery will be on campus.
A busy slate of information and introductory sessions is scheduled for Aug. 17-22. Highlights include:
- A New Student Panel that will let students know how they can get involved at the college, and what student life looks like these days. The panel will feature current LFCC students and is at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 17 on Zoom.
- Ask the Faculty is a general question and answer session that will be on Zoom at 2 p.m. Aug. 20.
- President Kim Blosser, Fauquier Campus Provost Chris Coutts and other college officials will have a special session just for parents and supporters of students to ask questions about LFCC and college resources during a Zoom session at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 19.
- Curbside welcome pickups will be all week at all locations, with varying times.
- Resource chats for everything from campus safety, to online learning, to academic accommodations are planned.
- Zoom sessions on career pathways, including health professions, engineering, business, education, humanities and arts, transfer planning and undecided students are lined up.
For in-person classes, LFCC will follow the latest guidelines issued by the Virginia Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Students attending these classes will be required to sign an agreement stating they won’t attend class when sick or if they’ve been exposed to someone with coronavirus, will wear a mask while in class and will practice social distancing and follow other safety measures.
To see the full schedule of events, and get Zoom codes, visit lfcc.edu/welcomeday.
School Board to consider moving start date of school to September 8th
Dr. Chris Ballenger, Warren County Schools Superintendent, issued a press release on August 11, 2020, to notify parents and the community that they will propose to the Warren County School Board, moving the start date of school from August 27, 2020, to September 8, 2020. This proposal will be presented at the School Board meeting on August 19, 2020.
School officials indicated that more time is needed for longer delivery times of supplies and delays in implementing the Learning Management Systems. This change will also provide more time for teachers and staff to learn the new Learning Management Systems which will be the main portal students will use to access the virtual learning materials and courses.
The proposed calendar includes the following dates:
September 8 – First day of school for students
November 10 – End of 1st advisory
November 11 – Holiday
November 25-27 – Thanksgiving Break
December 23-January 1 – Winter Break
January 18 – Holiday
January 29 – End of 2nd advisory/1st semester
February 15 – Holiday
March 29-April 5 Spring Break
April 13 – End of 3rd advisory
April 30 – Professional Day
May 31 – Holiday
June 17 – Last day of school for students