Andrew Saul, Commissioner of Social Security, reminds the public that Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefit payments will continue to be paid on time during the COVID-19 pandemic. The agency also reminds everyone to be aware of scammers who try to take advantage of the pandemic to trick people into providing personal information or payment via retail gift cards, wire transfers, internet currency, or by mailing cash, to maintain Social Security benefit payments or receive economic impact payments from the Department of the Treasury.
“Social Security will pay monthly benefits on time and these payments will not be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Commissioner Saul said. “I want our beneficiaries to be aware that scammers may try to trick you into thinking the pandemic is stopping or somehow changing your Social Security payments, but that is not true. Don’t be fooled.”
The Department of the Treasury will soon provide information about economic impact payments under the recently enacted law, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act. Treasury, not Social Security, will be making direct payments to eligible people. Please do not call Social Security about these payments as the agency does not have information to share.
The agency continues to direct the public to its online self-service options whenever possible. Local offices are closed to the public but are available by phone. People can find their local field office phone number by accessing the Field Office Locator.
To allow available agents to provide better phone coverage, the agency is temporarily changing the National 800 Number hours starting on Tuesday, March 31, 2020. The hours will change from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. local time to 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. local time. The agency is experiencing longer than normal wait times on the 800 Number and asks the public to remain patient, use its online services at www.socialsecurity.gov, or call their local office.
Please visit the agency’s COVID-19 web page at www.socialsecurity.gov/coronavirus/ for important information and updates.
Blue Ridge Wildlife Center Patient of the Week: Northern Flicker
When we know better, we do better.
This female Northern Flicker came to the Center after a window collision that caused bleeding into the lungs and brain injury.
In the past, after a window strike, rehabilitators (ourselves included) typically recommended containing the bird and allowing it to rest for a few hours before seeing if it could fly off. That’s no longer the case!
When we know better, we do better. Even when these birds have no obvious injuries and are able to fly off, it’s been found that many suffer ongoing internal bleeding, eye damage, and delayed effects of traumatic brain injury. These issues are likely to result in death if released without professional care.
We don’t expect humans to “walk it off” after high-speed collisions – we get them medical attention. For birds, who need to be in top physical shape just to survive in the wild, this is even more important.
Just remember, if the birds hit hard enough that you can grab them and contain them, they should be seen ASAP by a rehabilitator – don’t let them go, even if they seem like they’ve “recovered”!
After a few days with supplemental oxygen and anti-inflammatories, this woodpecker patient is feeling better and has moved out of our intensive-care area.
Help protect our birds by taking steps to prevent window collisions in your own home!
- Vertical or horizontal lines, spaced no more than 2” apart, are very effective at preventing strikes (lines should be at least 1/8” wide and can be made using tape, washable tempera paint, or specific products you can purchase for this purpose).
- Decals can be effective, but only if spaced as described above – a few decals on a large picture window is not an effective deterrent.
Close shades when not in use. Turn off lights after dark to help nighttime migrants.
UPDATE: Last week’s Patient of the Week has now been returned to its found location at Sherando Park!
This goose was lucky to not sustain any fractures, only soft tissue damage, when it became entangled in fishing line. After a week of time to rest, this goose was ready to get home.
Please help wildlife that live near ponds, lakes, rivers, beaches, etc. by taking your trash home with you and cleaning up lures and fishing lines when you see it out in the environment!
Although there were no geese in the lake at the time of release, geese tend to frequent the same spots and they are regularly seen at this lake, so we suspect this patient will find its flock again quickly.
Watch the release video here:
Building Community, One Tree at a Time
On Saturday, November 13th, community members from Front Royal came together to do their part in helping our town achieve its Tree City USA designation by planting six Willow Oaks at the Gertrude E. Miller Community Park. The tree planting was made possible through leadership from the Warren County Democratic Committee (WCDC), in collaboration with the Town of Front Royal Public Works, Warren County Parks & Rec, the Front Royal/Warren County Tree Stewards, and Town Arborist, Jim Osborn. Funding for the trees was procured by WCDC through the Virginia Department of Forestry’s (VDOF) Virginia Trees for Clean Water grant.
“This was a great opportunity to get our membership involved with a project that benefits the community and our local environment,” commented Paul Miller, outreach director for the WCDC. “What we all have in common here in Front Royal is a love and respect for our beautiful valley.”
More than 20 volunteers assisted with the planting at the Gertrude E. Miller Community park, adjacent to Bing Crosby Stadium. The location was chosen because the newly planted trees will offer shade to the playground equipment, which is hot to the touch in summer months, and because it accomplishes one of the key metrics of the DOF grant — to convert turf to trees. Osborn explained the choice of tree: “We chose Willow Oaks because they are hardy and can tolerate various soil conditions. They grow up to 60 ft tall with a roughly 35 ft spread, which means they’ll provide good shade and a healthy canopy for residents and wildlife to enjoy.” After a planting demonstration, all six trees were in the ground within two hours, firmly staked to keep them growing straight and lined with a mesh to keep the bark safe from any wildlife inclined to rub or nibble.
Justin Proctor, a local conservationist assisting with the effort, was excited to see months of planning come to fruition. “Planting trees around our town is a win-win for everyone — we all get to share in more aesthetically engaging landscapes, we create habitat and food for our birds and pollinators, and we cool the town down during our hot summer months. The added benefits of carbon sequestration and oxygen production just sweeten the deal!”
After such a successful planting, everyone is eager to keep the momentum going. Melody Hotek, President of the Tree Stewards, sums up that feeling well: “Our Town has held the Tree City USA status for over 20 years, and that’s something to be proud of! Planting and caring for trees is such an all-around rewarding experience, but it takes time, effort, and collaboration to continue fostering healthy urban forestry throughout Front Royal. We really encourage more of our residents to get involved by contacting our group.”
If you’re interested in learning more, and/or participating in a future planting, don’t hesitate to connect with the Tree Stewards via their website: treesfrontroyal.org. And be sure to swing by the playground at the Gertrude E. Miller Community Park to see the new Willow Oaks!
Warren County EDA reaches bank agreement on McDonald parcel, moves C-CAP rental forward among other actions in final meeting of 2021
The Board of Directors of the Front Royal and Warren County Economic Development Authority (EDA) held the combined November and December meeting via Zoom. All Board members attended the meeting.
The Board adopted two resolutions. One resolution to approve C-CAP using Suite C located at the EDA office building to store food for distribution. The use of Suite C is at no cost to the organization while it transitions to a lease in Suite B and C-CAP will provide evidence of an insurance policy to cover the use of Suite C. The EDA and C-CAP will negotiate the terms of a lease on Suite B and possibly Suite C at the Kendrick office location at an agreed rental rate.
The second resolution authorizes the EDA Chair and Treasurer to finalize details of an agreement with Atlantic Union Bank where it gives up its claim in the Jennifer McDonald bankruptcy and the EDA will release its claim on the property formerly owned by “Little Rugratz” on Virginia Avenue. The existing bank loan is more than the value of the property and the release of the EDA claim allows the bank to sell the property. In return, by the bank releasing its claim in the bankruptcy, the EDA can recover a higher percentage of the recovery from the McDonald bankruptcy and save money in attorneys’ fees.
The Board is working with Public Works to address the maintenance issues at the Kendrick Lane building including HVAC repairs and installation of water shut-off valves.
The EDA and County are working on soliciting bids for appraising all the EDA properties. The first priority is the Baugh Drive building.
Chair Jeff Browne updated the board on Nature’s Touch and the VDOT grant. Scott Jenkins stated all the marketing material for the Commonwealth is updated and was approved by VEDP (Virginia Economic Development Partnership).
Greg Harold presented the final draft of three Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) that will be used as guides for EDA and prospective purchasers of EDA property. He stated the documents were not “static”, but are “living” documents that will be modified as needed. The three SOPs approved are Letters of Intent, Contract Management, and Property Disposition Due Diligence. The documents will be posted on the website by December 15.
The EDA and Warren County are working on a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to govern the transition of EDA’s staff moving to the County payroll and EDA’s role in future economic development in the county. One change beginning immediately is the County will permanently take over receiving and coding EDA bills prior to the EDA Chair and Treasurer approving the expenses.
The EDA Board approved the meeting schedule for 2022 and future meetings will be in person. The next EDA meeting will be on Friday, January 14th at 9 a.m. The location will be posted on the website as well as the remaining dates for 2022.
(From an EDA Press Release of December 5th)
WATCH: Christmas Parade 2021
If you missed the Christmas Parade or want to see it again, sit back and enjoy!
This year the Front Royal/Warren County Chamber of Commerce Christmas Parade was hosted by Mike McCool, Publisher of the Royal Examiner. Thanks to Connor Clark for operating the video camera and the parade sponsor Lindsay Chevrolet.
Winners in this year’s parade are:
Best in Show – Edward Jones
Walking Group – Warren County High School Band
Best Large Float – White Horse Car Wash
Best Small Float – Samuels Public Library
Explore Art & Clay opens on Main Street Front Royal
Explore Art & Clay has opened a gallery at 501 East Main Street in Front Royal. The Gallery features locally handmade pottery, ornaments, mugs, glasswork, plates, paintings, cards, ink work and so much more. Local potters, artists, photographers, and makers work added every day. Love Front Royal? Love Virginia? This is the shop for you!