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Virginia Department of Veterans Services partnering with Virginia’s Community Colleges to provide free laptop computers to veterans and eligible spouses

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The Virginia Department of Veterans Services (VDVS) and Virginia’s Community Colleges today announced that 125 laptop computers are being donated to eligible military veterans and spouses enrolled at Reynolds and John Tyler Community Colleges.

The laptops were refurbished for use by Tech4Troops, a Richmond-based nonprofit organization that provides computers to veterans, and made possible by funds donated by the Altria Group to the Virginia Veterans Services Foundation (VVSF).

The donation funds a project of the VDVS Military Education Workforce Initiative, which creates partnerships with private employers and educational institutions throughout Virginia. The laptops will be distributed free-of-charge on a first-come, first-served basis to student military veterans and spouses attending Reynolds and John Tyler Community Colleges who complete and submit an application form provided by VDVS.

“One of the missions of the Virginia Department of Veterans Services is to assist military veterans who wish to further their education as they transition from active duty to the civilian workforce,” said VDVS Commissioner John Maxwell. “The concept of this project was the result of collaborative discussions among representatives of Virginia’s Community Colleges, the Virginia Veterans Services Foundation and our agency. We are especially appreciative of the Altria Group and their generous donation which made this project a reality.”


Chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges, Glenn DuBois, says the donation will prove immensely beneficial for student military veterans at the two colleges. “In a day of ever-increasing reliance on technology in both the workplace and classroom, these laptops will enable our military-related students to better reach their educational and career goals. We are grateful for our strong partnership with VDVS and their investment in the success of our veteran students.”

“The Virginia Veterans Services Foundation is pleased to partner with Virginia’s Community Colleges and the Virginia Department of Veterans Services in making these computers available to military veteran students and their spouses so they may continue their education,” said John Lesinski, VVSF Board Chair. “It is only because of the generosity of great corporate partners such as the Altria Group that our Foundation can continue to provide resources such as these computers to our Virginia veterans and their families who deserve our continued support.”

“More than ever before, veterans and their spouses need access to technology to effectively participate in the workforce,” said Jennifer Baird, Altria Group’s Director of Community Impact.  “The Virginia Veterans Services Foundation plays a critical role in collaborating with community members to help equip veterans and their spouses for career success.”

“We hope to continue these donations of free laptops to military students at Virginia’s Community Colleges in the future as more donated funds become available,” said Patrice Jones, VDVS Education Workforce Manager, who is coordinating the project.

For more information on this project and to obtain an application to receive a free laptop, please go to dvs.virginia.gov/education-employment. Questions regarding this program may be directed to Patrice Jones, Education Workforce Manager, patrice.jones@dvs.virginia.gov or 804-212-8091.

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Behavioral technician pleads guilty to unlawful wounding

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RICHMOND (October 25, 2021) – Stacey Burrell, 57, of King William, has pled guilty today in New Kent Circuit Court to one count of felony unlawful wounding. The guilty plea is related to injuries suffered by a juvenile patient in 2019 at Cumberland Hospital for Children and Adolescents in New Kent County, while Burrell was employed at the hospital as a behavioral technician. A sentencing hearing, in this case, is scheduled for December 20, 2021.

Stacey Burrell, 57, of King William County.

“The conduct committed by this behavioral technician against a juvenile patient is truly awful and should never occur in a facility that is meant to treat and take care of children,” said Attorney General Herring. “My team and I are dedicated to protecting the vulnerable and holding those who harm their fellow Virginians accountable, especially when they harm our children.”

This guilty plea is part of an ongoing investigation into Cumberland Hospital by the Virginia State Police and was prosecuted by members of Attorney General Herring’s Major Crimes and Emerging Threats Section. Previously, former Cumberland Hospital psychotherapist Herschel “Mickey” Harden was indicted for two felony counts of sexual assault, however, he died by suicide before standing trial.


If anyone has additional information about these or other alleged crimes that may have occurred at Cumberland Hospital for Children and Adolescents they may contact the Virginia State Police’s Bureau of Criminal Investigations at (804) 537-6788.

 

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Virginia Department of Education Board Brief – October 21, 2021 Business Meeting

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October 21, 2021 Business Meeting

The Board approved the minutes of their meetings on September 22-23, 2021.

The Board adopted a resolution of recognition of the 2021 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching State Finalists. They are:

  • Raymond Cotter, an engineering teacher William Fleming High in Roanoke;
  • Stephanie Harry, a chemistry teacher at Tabb High in York County;
  • Yvette Lee, a mathematics and computer science teacher at John Randolph Tucker High in Henrico County;
  • Melinda Liebau, a mathematics teacher at Green Run Collegiate in Virginia Beach; and
  • Geraldine Maskelony, a mathematics teacher at the Arlington Career Center in Arlington County.

The Board also adopted a resolution of recognition to commemorate November 2021 as Family Engagement in Education Month.


Consent Agenda:

The Board approved four consent items:

Action Items:

The Board approved the 2021 Prescriptions to the Standards of Quality (SOQ), which describe the foundational instructional programs and support services all schools must provide and drive approximately 85% of state funding for local school divisions. The Constitution of Virginia requires the Virginia Board of Education to prescribe SOQs for the public schools of Virginia, subject to revision only by the General Assembly. During odd-numbered years, the Board reviews the SOQs and prescribes amendments as necessary.

The Board reviewed proposed amendments to the Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia (also known as the Standards of Accreditation or SOA). The amendments are recommended by the Special Committee established by the Board to review the first years of implementation as well as identify the positive, negative, and unintended consequences of the 2017 SOA revisions. Action to approve this item will be requested at a future meeting, anticipated to be Nov. 18, 2021.

The Board approved the Report on Recommendations for Appropriate Staffing and Funding Levels Necessary for State Operated Programs (SOP) in Regional and Local Detention Centers to be transmitted to the General Assembly by November 1, 2021.

The Board approved the Fast Track Regulatory Action to Conform Definitions of “Traumatic Brain Injury” to ensure alignment in regulatory language and guidance. This action will clarify definitions that currently differ across regulatory chapters.

The Board reviewed the Board of Education’s 2021 Annual Report on the Conditions and Needs of Public Schools in Virginia, which provides an overview of the needs of public education, an update on student achievement and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and highlights the Board’s work over the past year. Additionally, the annual report outlines the conditions of education funding as compared to other states, student enrollment trends, staff vacancies, and graduation and dropout rates. Action to approve this item will be requested at a future meeting, anticipated to be Nov. 18, 2021.

Board actions are unanimous or unopposed unless otherwise noted

The next meetings of the Board of Education are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, November 17 18, 2021. For more information, visit the Virginia Board of Education web page.

The Virginia Board of Education, established in the Virginia Constitution, consists of nine members appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the General Assembly. General supervision of the public school system is vested in the Board of Education, which prescribes standards of quality for the school divisions. Subject to the ultimate authority of the General Assembly, the Board of Education has primary responsibility and authority for effectuating the educational policy of the Commonwealth. The Superintendent of Public Instruction, also appointed by the Governor, serves as the executive officer of the Virginia Department of Education, an executive branch agency. The Virginia Department of Education implements statutory and regulatory requirements. The supervision of schools in each school division is vested in local school boards.

 

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Governor Northam announces $2 billion public-private broadband investment

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RICHMOND—Governor Northam announced that Virginia has received a record number of local and private sector applications to match state broadband investments, putting the Commonwealth on track to become one of the first states to achieve universal broadband access by 2024. Virginia anticipates more than $2 billion in total broadband funding, thanks to local and private-sector matching funds that go beyond the $874 million in state appropriations since the Governor took office in 2018.

“Broadband is as critical today as electricity was in the last century,” said Governor Northam. “Making sure more Virginians can get access to it has been a priority since I took office, and the pandemic pushed us all to move even faster. Virginia is now on track to achieve universal broadband by 2024, which means more connections, more investments, easier online learning, and expanded telehealth options, especially in rural Virginia.”

The Virginia Telecommunication Initiative is the Commonwealth’s broadband program. It was started in 2017 to fund public-private partnerships to extend broadband service to areas unserved by an internet service provider. When the most recent application round closed last month, the program received 57 applications from 84 localities, requesting $943 million to connect more than 250,000 Virginia homes and businesses. These applications leverage $1.15 billion in private and local matching funds. The Department of Housing and Community Development is reviewing applications and expects to award the funds by the end of the year.

Virginia has taken dramatic steps on broadband since Governor Northam took office in 2018, as Virginia’s first rural Governor in a generation. He set out a clear goal: achieve universal access to broadband within 10 years. The goal was bold, as Virginia’s broadband program was investing just $4 million a year and 660,000 Virginians did not have access to high-speed internet.



Since then, Governor Northam and the General Assembly have awarded $124 million in grants to connect more than 140,000 homes, businesses, and community organizations. The Virginia Telecommunication Initiative has awarded 39 projects in 41 different counties, supported by over $94 million in matching private and local funds. Along with private investment and federal broadband grants, the Commonwealth has reduced the digital divide by 65 percent. Plans accelerated further in August, when Governor Northam and the General Assembly allocated $700 million in American Rescue Plan funding to broadband, moving the original goal for achieving universal access to 2024.

“Ensuring that rural Virginians have access to broadband is the number one way we can make sure they have equal access to the economic, educational, and health opportunities that broadband provides,” said Broadband Advisory Council Vice-Chair Delegate Roslyn Tyler. “No Virginian should be left behind. Thanks to Governor Northam’s commitment to getting universal broadband done, we’re seeing record levels of public and private sector matching funds, and we’ll have this critical infrastructure available to all Virginians more quickly than we imagined.”

“Broadband a vital resource for communities across the Commonwealth,” said Broadband Advisory Council Chair Senator Jennifer Boysko. “Broadband access allows our citizens to connect to their workplaces, schools, and doctors and broadens their opportunities and choices about where to live and work. The Northam administration’s investment in broadband, paired with these matching funds, will get universal broadband access to Virginians in record time.”

The overwhelming response to this year’s Virginia Telecommunication Initiative grant round demonstrates that Virginia has built an innovative and successful model for bridging the digital divide.

 

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Mail-in ballot requests due Friday, October 22

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Voters wishing to cast a mail-in ballot in the November 2, 2021 elections have until 5 p.m. on Friday, October 22 to request a ballot be sent to them.

Voters may apply for a mail-in ballot online at the Department of Elections’ Citizen Portal at vote.elections.virginia.gov or by downloading a paper application at elections.virginia.gov/registration/voter-forms, filling it out, and submitting it to their local Voter Registration Office. Forms are available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese and Korean. Application forms may be submitted to the voter’s local Voter Registration Office by mail, fax, or email.

Contact information for your local voter registration office can be found at elections.virginia.gov/VRO. Voters may choose to receive a mail-in ballot for this November General Election only or receive mail-in ballots automatically for every election in which they are eligible, until they request to be taken off the permanent absentee list.

If the voter is print disabled, they may request to receive an absentee ballot electronically to mark their ballot using an electronic ballot-marking tool. If this option is chosen for voting absentee, the ballot will be delivered by email and can be marked using screen reader assistive technology. More information about this option is available by contacting the local voter registration office or at elections.virginia.gov/accessible.


All are encouraged to mail their ballot requests well in advance of the October 22 deadline to ensure it is received in time. Applications received by the local Voter Registration Office after 5 p.m. on October 22 cannot be accepted.

ELECT encourages voters to return their absentee ballot at their earliest convenience. A voter may return their absentee ballot by:

  • Mailing the ballot via USPS or a commercial delivery service (such as FedEx or UPS.) All absentee ballots include pre-paid postage through the USPS (ballot must be postmarked by Election Day);
  • Placing the ballot in a drop-off location listed on their county or city’s official website;
  • Delivering the ballot to the Office of the General Registrar in the voter’s county or city; or,
  • Dropping the ballot off at any polling place within their county or city on Election Day.

More information can be found about absentee and early voting for the November 2 elections online at elections.virginia.gov/absentee.

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Governor Northam announces September revenue increased more than 18 percent

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RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam announced on October 13, 2021, that September General Fund revenue increased 18.4 percent from the previous year, continuing Virginia’s economic momentum.

“Our economy continues to show signs of a strong recovery,” said Governor Northam. “Our strategic and proactive decisions are paying off. In this strong economy, Virginia will continue making critical investments in our communities, our public schools, and statewide infrastructure to bolster our growing economy. Our fiscal responsibility is paying off for Virginians.”

Collections of payroll withholding taxes grew 9.9 percent in September. Collections in non-withholding grew 25.2 percent since September of last year. Collections of sales and use taxes, reflecting August sales, grew 20.6 percent in September. Collections of corporate income tax increased by 41.3 percent in September. Collections of wills, suits, deeds, and contracts—mainly recordation tax collections—were $60.1 million, compared with $56.6 million in September of last year. The first estimated payment of non-withholding and corporate income tax collections for the fiscal year was due in September.

“September completes the first quarter of the fiscal year 2022 and is a significant month for revenue collections,” said Secretary of Finance Joe Flores. “Overall, this quarter’s revenue performance was strong. It is important to remember that we are comparing this quarter’s performance to the heart of the pandemic closures last year when there was still not even a vaccine on the horizon.”



On a year-to-date basis, collections of payroll withholding taxes—62 percent of General Fund revenues—grew by 9.7 percent, well above the annual estimate of 1.7 percent increase. Sales tax collections—17 percent of General Fund revenues—increased 16.7 percent through September, far outpacing the annual forecast of a 4.2 percent decline. On a fiscal year-to-date basis, total revenue collections rose 10.6 percent, well ahead of the annual forecast of an 8.0 percent decrease. Through the first quarter of the fiscal year, corporate income tax collections rose 36.5 percent, exceeding expectations of an annual 16.1 percent decrease. The collections of wills, suits, deeds, and contracts were up 9.0 percent in the first quarter, outperforming the forecasted 31.3 percent decline.

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Social Security announces 5.9 percent benefit increase for 2022

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Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for approximately 70 million Americans will increase 5.9 percent in 2022, the Social Security Administration announced today.

The 5.9 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits payable to more than 64 million Social Security beneficiaries in January 2022.  Increased payments to approximately 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 30, 2021.  (Note: some people receive both Social Security and SSI benefits).  The Social Security Act ties the annual COLA to the increase in the Consumer Price Index as determined by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Some other adjustments that take effect in January of each year are based on the increase in average wages.  Based on that increase, the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax (taxable maximum) will increase to $147,000 from $142,800.

Social Security and SSI beneficiaries are normally notified by mail starting in early December about their new benefit amount.  Most people who receive Social Security payments will be able to view their COLA notice online through their personal my Social Security account.  People may create or access their my Social Security account online at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.


Information about Medicare changes for 2022, when announced, will be available at www.medicare.gov.  For Social Security beneficiaries receiving Medicare, Social Security will not be able to compute their new benefit amount until after the Medicare premium amounts for 2022 are announced.  Final 2022 benefit amounts will be communicated to beneficiaries in December through the mailed COLA notice and my Social Security’s Message Center.

The Social Security Act provides for how the COLA is calculated.  To read more, please visit www.socialsecurity.gov/cola.

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King Cartoons

Front Royal
55°
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Humidity: 79%
Pressure: 29.61"Hg
UV index: 0
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Upcoming Events

Oct
28
Thu
10:00 am Senior Painting Class with Dottie @ Strokes of Creativity
Senior Painting Class with Dottie @ Strokes of Creativity
Oct 28 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Senior Painting Class with Dottie @ Strokes of Creativity
Senior Painting Class with Dottie at Strokes of Creativity. Tickets: CLICK HERE Cost: $80 for 6 weeks Dates: Thursdays – Oct 21, Oct 28, Nov 4, Nov 11, Nov 18, Dec 4 Time: 10 am[...]
1:00 pm Art Class for 4th & 5th @ Strokes of Creativity
Art Class for 4th & 5th @ Strokes of Creativity
Oct 28 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Art Class for 4th & 5th @ Strokes of Creativity
This class is for Grades 4th and 5th. Perfect for home schoolers. Recommended ages: 9 and 10 years old Tickets: CLICK HERE Tickets are available through Square Up, or can be paid in person at[...]
7:00 pm Haunted Tunnel Auto Wash @ White Horse Auto Wash
Haunted Tunnel Auto Wash @ White Horse Auto Wash
Oct 28 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Haunted Tunnel Auto Wash @ White Horse Auto Wash
White Horse Auto Wash is excited for the first Haunted Tunnel at their new Front Royal location this year! Located next to Lowe’s at 214 Country Club Road, Front Royal, VA. The event will be[...]
Oct
29
Fri
9:00 am Volunteer Tree Planting @ Sky Meadows State Park
Volunteer Tree Planting @ Sky Meadows State Park
Oct 29 @ 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Volunteer Tree Planting @ Sky Meadows State Park
Edmonds Lane Field: Join The Piedmont Environmental Council, Friends of the Rappahannock, Goose Creek Association, John Marshall Soil & Water Conservation District and We Plant Trees, for volunteer tree planting at Sky Meadows State Park![...]
6:00 pm Trunk or Treat @ Family Dollar Parking Lot
Trunk or Treat @ Family Dollar Parking Lot
Oct 29 @ 6:00 pm – Oct 30 @ 9:00 pm
Trunk or Treat @ Family Dollar Parking Lot
Non-profit organization Crown Vic Kiings & Queens, of Winchester, Virginia, is hosting our annual car club TRUNK OR TREAT, in Front Royal, on October 29th. The event is free but donations are greatly appreciated, as[...]
7:00 pm Haunted Tunnel Auto Wash @ White Horse Auto Wash
Haunted Tunnel Auto Wash @ White Horse Auto Wash
Oct 29 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Haunted Tunnel Auto Wash @ White Horse Auto Wash
White Horse Auto Wash is excited for the first Haunted Tunnel at their new Front Royal location this year! Located next to Lowe’s at 214 Country Club Road, Front Royal, VA. The event will be[...]
Oct
30
Sat
9:00 am Volunteer Tree Planting @ Sky Meadows State Park
Volunteer Tree Planting @ Sky Meadows State Park
Oct 30 @ 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Volunteer Tree Planting @ Sky Meadows State Park
Edmonds Lane Field: Join The Piedmont Environmental Council, Friends of the Rappahannock, Goose Creek Association, John Marshall Soil & Water Conservation District and We Plant Trees, for volunteer tree planting at Sky Meadows State Park![...]
1:00 pm Fall Craft Festival @ Fort Valley Museum
Fall Craft Festival @ Fort Valley Museum
Oct 30 @ 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Fall Craft Festival @ Fort Valley Museum
Fort Valley Museum Fall Craft Festival – Annual Fundraiser October 30 & 31, 2021 | Saturday 1-4pm, Sunday 2-5pm Come by and support the Fort Valley Museum at our annual Fall Craft Festival (formerly “Christmas[...]
1:00 pm Feed the Homeless Trunk or Treat @ T-Bone's Bar & Grill
Feed the Homeless Trunk or Treat @ T-Bone's Bar & Grill
Oct 30 @ 1:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Feed the Homeless Trunk or Treat @ T-Bone's Bar & Grill
Non-profit organization Crown Vic Kiings & Queens, of Winchester, Virginia, is hosting our annual car club FEED THE HOMELESS/TRUNK OR TREAT on October 30th. The event is free but donations are greatly appreciated, as Crown[...]
7:00 pm Haunted Tunnel Auto Wash @ White Horse Auto Wash
Haunted Tunnel Auto Wash @ White Horse Auto Wash
Oct 30 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Haunted Tunnel Auto Wash @ White Horse Auto Wash
White Horse Auto Wash is excited for the first Haunted Tunnel at their new Front Royal location this year! Located next to Lowe’s at 214 Country Club Road, Front Royal, VA. The event will be[...]