The approximately 60 nesting pairs of Purple Martins leave the Autumn Glen HOA in Stephens City by mid-August and migrate to their winter quarters in Brazil.
Every October, the Autumn Glen volunteer Bird Management Team removes the 10 bird condominiums from their 15-foot aluminum poles on the HOA’s beautifully landscaped 52 acres and the houses are meticulously cleaned, tarped, and stored for the winter.
Martins breed in Canada, the United States, and Mexico, and then winter in Brazil. Most adults do not seek new breeding sites but will return to the exact same site from the previous year. Yearling Martins will typically colonize new breeding sites. The older adult Martins (called scouts) will begin to return to their Stephens City nesting sites in late March.
The Martins eat moths, flying beetles, dragonflies, mosquitoes, and squash bugs, just to name a few. They will also keep away blackbirds and crows and are welcomed in backyards across the United States. Martins as all swallows, are aerial insectivores, feeding on insects in flight.
Democratics to hold assembled caucus to select 29th District House of Delegate candidate
The 29th District House of Delegates Nominating Committee will hold an assembled caucus on June 10, 2021, from 5:00-6:00 pm at the Rotary Shelter in Jim Barnett Park, Winchester, VA for the purpose of selecting the Democratic Candidate for the 29th District Democrat Candidate.
Candidates who seek the nomination as the 29th District Democrat Candidate must file the ELECT-511 with The 29th District House of Delegates Nominating Committee postmarked not later than 5 pm June 8, 2021, at H29 Delegate Selection, P.O. Box 2215, Winchester, VA 22604.
Filing forms may be found at the State Board of Elections website at https://www.elections.virginia.gov.
This event WILL BE CANCELLED if the candidacies are uncontested (by close of business June 8th). More information here.
LFCC recognizes 125 registered nursing graduates in pinning ceremony
LFCC honored 125 newly-minted registered nurses during a virtual pinning ceremony on Saturday. There were 97 RN graduates on the Middletown Campus and 28 on the Fauquier Campus.
For the second straight year, the Covid-19 pandemic meant the ceremony could not take place in person on each campus. However, nursing graduates who took part in drive-thru diploma walks last week were able to be pinned in person at that time.
During the virtual celebration, LFCC President Kim Blosser told the graduating nurses the college is proud of them.
“You have persevered, you have completed this program, you have done things no other nursing student has probably ever done in their program,” she said. “Many of you have been part of our vaccination clinics. You have treated covid patients on your clinicals. You have done things that will serve you well in your nursing career. We are so, so proud of all that you have been able to accomplish.”
Teena Stevic was the class speaker for the Fauquier Campus cohort of RN students.
“Little did we know that halfway through our first year, the world around us would be greatly impacted by a pandemic and our education would change [to] an almost immediate transition into online schooling,” she said. “Labs, clinicals, were canceled. Again, [we were] wondering, ‘what have we signed up for? Will we be able to do this? How are we going to learn to care for patients when we’re learning online?’”
Thankfully, LFCC’s nursing professors reassured their students, “You can do this,” Stevic said.
“We found ourselves at the frontline of the pandemic, working with contact tracing and later, when vaccines became available, we administered vaccines at the hospital, first to health care workers and later, to residents in our community,” she said.
Rather than discouraging them from their calling, the pandemic highlighted “the determination, the courage and the adaptability” of the nursing students, faculty and hospital partners, said Chad Godfrey, who was the class speaker for the Middletown Campus’s nursing program.
“For some of you, this is your first college experience; others, like myself, took a bit longer to discover nursing,” said Godfrey, a U.S. Army veteran. “Regardless of our backgrounds or the paths that we traveled getting here, it is our calling to care for others that unites us.”
The pinning ceremony was also a chance to present awards, including the Outstanding Graduate for each campus.
Fauquier Campus nursing program lead Amanda Brooks said the award goes to the student with the highest grade-point average for nursing courses only. This year, the campus had three students who graduated with a 4.0 GPA: Stephanie Hoshauer, Colleen Manfre and Tyler Willis.
“These students have been mentors to their classmates, have juggled families, school, work and volunteer time, and are always willing to lend a hand to their fellow classmates,” said Dr. Brooks.
Four Outstanding Graduates, all with 4.0 GPAs, were named on the Middletown Campus: Donna Kelly, Francis Atangan, Emma Delaney and Christopher Williams.
“They have demonstrated professionalism, conscientiousness, critical thinking, and above all, determination to overcome obstacles,” said Kristina Simpson, nursing lead in Middletown and the director of health professions at LFCC. “They have been leaders and have gone above and beyond to ensure their success both in the classroom and in clinical settings.”
The following awards were also presented during the pinning ceremony:
- Spirit of Nursing Award, Fauquier: Michael Williams
- Spirit of Nursing Award, Middletown: Chad Godfrey, Francis Atangan
- Transcendence Award, Fauquier: Irene Mburu
- Transcendence Award, Middletown: Gabby Piteira and Shandi Stanford
To watch the pinning ceremony, visit www.lfcc.edu/commencement.
Governor Northam urges Virginians to participate in “It’s Our Shot, Virginia Statewide Day of Action”
Only May 17, 2021, Governor Ralph Northam reminded Virginians about the “It’s Our Shot, Virginia: Statewide Day of Action” taking place tomorrow, Tuesday, May 18 to help Virginia residents make a plan to get vaccinated. Virginians are encouraged to get involved in their communities by serving as trusted messengers and amplifying the Commonwealth’s vaccination efforts.
“I’m proud of Virginia’s vaccination progress, which has helped slow the spread of COVID-19 in our Commonwealth to its lowest level in over a year,” said Governor Northam. “Putting this pandemic behind us once and for all requires everyone doing their part—that means making sure you are informed, getting your free COVID-19 vaccine, and helping your friends, family members, and neighbors make a plan to get vaccinated.”
To participate in the It’s Our Shot, Virginia: Statewide Day of Action, Virginians are invited to:
Get your shot and help others make a plan to get vaccinated. Getting a shot has never been easier—vaccines are readily available at many supermarket pharmacies, hospitals, doctor’s offices, local health department clinics, and state-run Community Vaccination Centers. To find a vaccine provider near you, visit vaccinate.virginia.gov, call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682), or text your zip code to GETVAX (428829). Call center representatives are available from 8:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday. All Virginia residents ages 12 and over are eligible to get vaccinated.
Share your vaccination story on social media. Add a Facebook profile photo frame, upload a backdrop to your next virtual meeting, and record a short 30-60 second video highlighting why you chose to get vaccinated using the hashtag #VaccinateVirginia.
Become a COVID Community Ambassador. Ambassadors will help share COVID-19 updates and materials from top experts and sources with their networks and in their local community. Sign up to become a COVID Community Ambassador here.
Fight misinformation. Do you want to get the facts and counter common vaccine myths? Do you want to better understand COVID-19 vaccines, how they are made, and why they work? Do you need help talking to your employees, loved ones, or family members about the vaccines? Even if you aren’t a COVID Community Ambassador, you can still share important information with your community by visiting the resource library and downloading the mythbusters toolkit here.
Virginians also are encouraged to visit any of the Commonwealth’s Community Vaccination Centers (CVCs) between the hours of 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. to get vaccinated. CVCs will offer both Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines and all sites are now taking walk-ups, so no appointment is required. Virginia’s CVCs include:
Prince William County: former Gander Mountain, 14041 Worth Avenue, Woodbridge, Virginia 22192
Portsmouth: Portsmouth Sportsplex, 1610 Summit Avenue Recreation Center, Portsmouth, Virginia 23704
Suffolk: Hilton Garden Inn Suffolk Riverfront, 100 East Constance Road, Suffolk, Virginia 23434
Petersburg: Virginia State University (Multi-Purpose Center), 20809 2nd Avenue, Petersburg, Virginia 23803
Hampton: Hampton Coliseum, 1000 Coliseum Drive, Hampton, Virginia 23666
Fairfax: former Lord & Taylor, 7950 Tysons Corner Center, McLean, Virginia 22102
Virginia Beach: Virginia Beach Convention Center, 1000 19th Street, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23451
Newport News: 13785 Warwick Boulevard, Newport News, Virginia 23602
Since March, the Commonwealth has deployed Educate Vaccinate organizers to provide culturally competent vaccination information and ensure equitable, easy access to vaccines in many communities hit hard by the pandemic. Educate Vaccinate organizers are on the ground in the cities of Richmond, Hampton, Roanoke, and Danville, and Prince William County, Henrico County, Nottoway County, Buckingham County, Prince Edward County, Bland County, and Wythe County.
If you are interested in joining the Educate Vaccinate team, apply online here or email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about paid opportunities to serve your community.
Virginia has administered over 7 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines. More than 4 million people have received at least one dose of the vaccine, representing over 63 percent of Virginia’s adult population. Governor Northam remains confident the Commonwealth will meet President Biden’s goal of having 70 percent of adults vaccinated with at least one dose by July 4.
Additional information about COVID-19 vaccinations in Virginia is available here.
Two-vehicle collision Sunday on Rt. 55 East leaves Front Royal man dead
Virginia State Police Trooper W. Diberardine is investigating a two-vehicle fatal crash in Warren County. The crash occurred Sunday, May 16, 2021, at 2:08 p.m. along Route 55 (John Marshall Hwy.) just East of Greenfield Road.
A 2001 Ford Ranger was traveling West on Rte. 55 when it crossed a double solid yellow centerline and collided head-on with an Eastbound 2011 Ford F-150.
The driver of the Ranger, Austin E. Howard, 65, of Front Royal, VA, died at the scene of the crash as a result of his injuries. Howard was wearing a seatbelt.
The driver of the F-150, a 42-year-old male, of Annapolis, MD, suffered minor injuries and was treated on the scene. The male was wearing a seatbelt.
A passenger in the F-150, a 7-year-old male, suffered minor injuries and was transported to a local hospital for treatment. The male was wearing a seatbelt.
The crash remains under investigation.
(From a Virginia State Police Press Release)
Front Royal Rotary distributes $20,000 in scholarship funds to four local high school graduates
Four county high school students equally shared $20,000 in scholarship money, courtesy of the Rotary Club of Front Royal. The checks and certificates were distributed Friday, May 14, at Rotary’s regular weekly meeting at the Villa Avenue Community Center.
The cash awards – most of it raised by the club’s annual golf tournament which this year comes around on May 27 at the Shenandoah Valley Golf Club – went to, in order of presentation: Mackenzi Bates, Morgan Berry, John “Jackson” Pond, and Michael Kelly.
Dr. Robert Meltvedt, chairman of the Rotary Club’s Scholarship Committee for 21 years of its 22-year history, said at the scholarship presentations by club President Derrick Leisure that some $195,000 has been raised for the scholarship fund over the history of his committee. Each year, local high schools, including private institutions, are invited to nominate students for the scholarships.
The four teenagers, two girls, and two boys were on hand to receive their awards, along with their parents, each giving short speeches of thanks after describing their future ambitions as they proceed to their chosen colleges.
Pond graduated at the top of his senior class at Warren County High School and said he was aiming at becoming a career officer in the U.S. Coast Guard. He will attend the Coast Guard Academy in the fall.
Bates, described as an exemplary student, well respected by her peers and teachers at WCHS, plans a career in nursing and will attend Shenandoah University.
Skyline High grad Berry is off to the University of Virginia in the fall, planning to major in Global Development Studies. Her long-term goal is to obtain a job with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
And Kelly, a history buff graduating from WCHS, aims at majoring in Political Science at the College of Charleston, following which he says he “aims to make the world a better place.”
Governor Northam lifts mask mandate to align with CDC guidance, announces Virginia to end COVID-19 mitigation measures on May 28
On May 14, 2021, Governor Ralph Northam lifted Virginia’s universal indoor mask mandate to align with new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Governor Northam also announced that Virginia will ease all distancing and capacity restrictions on Friday, May 28, two weeks earlier than planned. The updates to Virginia’s mask policy are reflected in amendments to Executive Order Seventy-Two and will become effective at midnight tonight along with previously announced changes to mitigation measures.
Virginia is able to take these steps as a result of increasing vaccination rates, dramatically declining COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and statewide test positivity rates, and revised federal guidelines.
“Virginians have been working hard, and we are seeing the results in our strong vaccine numbers and dramatically lowered case counts,” said Governor Northam. “That’s why we can safely move up the timeline for lifting mitigation measures in Virginia. I strongly urge any Virginian who is not yet vaccinated to do so—the vaccines are the best way to protect yourself and your community from COVID-19. The message is clear: vaccinations are how we put this pandemic in the rearview mirror and get back to being with the people we love and doing the things we have missed.”
The CDC guidelines state that fully vaccinated individuals do not have to wear masks in most indoor settings, except on public transit, in health care facilities, and in congregate settings. Businesses retain the ability to require masks in their establishments. Employees who work in certain business sectors—including restaurants, retail, fitness, personal care, and entertainment—must continue to wear masks unless fully vaccinated, per CDC guidance. Those who are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated are strongly encouraged to wear masks in all settings.
The state of emergency in Virginia will remain in place at least through June 30 to provide flexibility for local government and support ongoing COVID-19 vaccination efforts. Governor Northam will take executive action to ensure individuals have the option to wear masks up to and after that date. Masks will continue to be required in K-12 public schools, given low rates of vaccination among children.
To encourage all Virginians to take advantage of available COVID-19 vaccines, Governor Northam is inviting Virginians to participate in the “It’s Our Shot, Virginia: Statewide Day of Action” on Tuesday, May 18.
Virginians can take part in the Day of Action by:
• Signing up to be a COVID Community Ambassador. Ambassadors will help share COVID-19 updates and materials from top experts and sources with their networks and in their local community. Sign up to become a COVID Community Ambassador here.
• Sharing your vaccination story on social media. Add a Facebook profile photo frame, upload a backdrop to your next virtual meeting, or record a short video highlighting why you chose to get vaccinated using the hashtag #VaccinateVirginia.
Virginia has administered nearly 7 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines. More than 4 million people have received at least one dose of the vaccine, representing over 63 percent of Virginia’s adult population. Governor Northam has said he remains confident the Commonwealth will meet President Biden’s goal of having 70 percent of adults vaccinated with at least one dose by July 4.
COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and the percent of positive tests continue to fall throughout the Commonwealth. Virginia is currently reporting a positivity rate of 3.5 percent, which is lower than at any time since the start of the pandemic. The Commonwealth’s seven-day average of new cases is 555, the lowest number in over 10 months. Virginia is currently recording its lowest number of COVID-19 hospitalizations at 684. For additional data on COVID-19 on Virginia and vaccination efforts, please see the Virginia Department of Health’s data dashboards.
Virginians over the age of 12 can schedule a vaccination appointment by visiting vaccinate.virginia.gov or calling 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682, TTY users call 7-1-1). Beginning Monday, May 17, the call center hours will change to 8 a.m. until 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
The full text of Seventh Amended Executive Order Seventy-Two and Order of Public Health Emergency Nine, which takes effect on May 15, can be found here.
The full text of Executive Order Seventy-Nine, which takes effect on Friday, May 28, can be found here.
Visit virginia.gov/coronavirus/forwardvirginia for more information and answers to frequently asked questions.