Ongoing efforts are under way at Warren County Public Schools (WCPS) to help raise awareness about suicide prevention.
“Our school system is not immune to this tragedy, and we’ve placed an emphasis on mental health,” WCPS Superintendent Christopher Ballenger reported to the Warren County School Board during its Wednesday, September 7, regular meeting.
School Board Chair Kristen Pence, Vice Chair Ralph Rinaldi, and board member Andrea Lo were present. School Board members Antoinette Funk and Melanie Salins were absent.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month — a time to raise awareness of what remains a stigmatized, and often taboo, topic.
“We use this month to shift public perception, spread hope and share vital information to people affected by suicide,” NAMI says. “Our goal is ensuring that individuals, friends and families have access to the resources they need to discuss suicide prevention and to seek help.”
Suicidal thoughts, much like mental health conditions, may affect anyone regardless of age, gender, or background, according to NAMI, and should not be considered normal. Such thoughts often are the result of an untreated mental health condition, and many times indicate more serious issues, the organization says.
Ballenger invited WCPS Special Services Director Michael Hirsch to highlight for board members the ongoing suicide prevention awareness efforts and programs in the school division.
“Even though mental health organizations recognize September as Suicide Awareness Month, working together to develop our collective understanding of awareness of suicide in order to prevent it is done every day” in the school division, said Hirsch. “And we’ve been doing that every day.”
For instance, the WCPS Special Services staff on Thursday, September 8, worked with Skyline High School staff to go over warning signs, risk factors, protective factors, and a variety of suicide intervention strategies that are applicable for school-based personnel, Hirsch told the School Board.
“Once we get feedback from Skyline High School staff…, we’ll be offering it to all of our secondary school staff this month,” said Hirsch.
Additionally, WCPS and its Special Services division work with the Warren County Community Health Coalition — also known as the Warren Coalition — a nonprofit agency established in 1994 to help fill the gaps in health care and substance abuse awareness to the community.
The Warren Coalition began under the guidance of Warren Memorial Hospital as an outreach project but has since grown and was incorporated in 2001. Currently located in the Warren County Community Center, the coalition says it works toward making Warren County a safe, healthy, and drug-free community through the many programs it provides.
Together, the coalition and WCPS offer “a whole host of resilience activities” throughout the year, Hirsch said. Most recently, they collaborated on Rock & Stroll, a May event held at Warren County High School designed to encourage children and pre-teens to make healthy choices, and to give them reasons for those healthy choices. Hirsch said the event is now called Fun Fest, which will be held at “almost every school” in the division.
“The focus is teaching kids about resilience and pro-social coping skills, as well as helping them make good, healthy decisions,” explained Hirsch.
Hirsch (above at podium) also told School Board members (left to right at dais) Lo, Pence, and Rinaldi that WCPS counselors and administrators received “significant training” on suicide awareness and prevention at the end of the 2021-2022 school year from the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services and Northwestern Community Services.
The state department operates Virginia’s public mental health, intellectual disability, and substance abuse services system via 40 locally and regionally run community services boards, which serve children and adults who have or who are at risk of mental illness, emotional disturbance, intellectual disability, or substance use disorders.
Northwestern Community Services is a behavioral health agency with administrative offices in Front Royal, Va. The agency offers an array of outpatient, case management, day support, residential and emergency programs designed to enhance the quality of life for children and adults affected by emotional/behavioral disorders, mental illness, substance use, and intellectual disabilities and developmental disabilities.
The training will be offered again soon to new school counselors and administrators, according to Hirsch.
“Our approach to suicide prevention is not limited to the month of September,” Hirsch said. “This topic is thought about every day.”
For more information, here is a list of some resources:
• Northwestern Community Services: Information, services, and appointments may be made by calling the Warren County Clinic at 540-636-2931; the Winchester Area Clinic at 540-667-8888; the Shenandoah County Clinic at 540-459-5180; or the Page County Clinic at 540-743-4548.
• If you are experiencing a mental health emergency, call 540-635-4804 or 1-800-342-1462.
• The CONCERN Hotline: 540-635-4357 (Warren County); 540-459-4742 (Shenandoah County); and 540-667-0145 (Frederick County, Winchester, and Clarke County).
• The Substance Use Confidential Warmline: 1-833-626-1490.
• Prevention Department at the Northwestern Community Services Board: 540-459-5180, extension 3046.
• Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-784-2433.
• National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255.
• NAMI Helpline: 1-800-950-6264.
National school-choice advocate speaks in Front Royal
The lady who engineered “the biggest school-choice victory in U.S. history in Arizona last fall” spoke on January 29, 2023, before more than a hundred people in Father Ruehl Hall at St. John’s Catholic Church in Front Royal. The subject was the “Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA)” program that went into effect in Arizona in September 2022.
The speaker was Christine Accurso, executive director of the ESA program for the Arizona State Department of Education. Accurso spoke for 20 minutes from a prepared script, then took questions for more than an hour and a half on how the ESA program works. The Front Royal Catholic Civic-Education Group sponsored the event.
Accurso made three main points in her presentation:
• Arizona’s new law makes all of Arizona’s 1.1 million school-aged kids eligible for $7,000 in ESA money that can be spent at any private or religious school. Since the program started last fall, the families of almost 50,000 students in Arizona have signed up for the program. About half have had some public school experience.
• Accurso expects the number of students signing up for the ESA program to double this year to approximately 100,000 students.
• Accurso repeatedly emphasized that ESA money does not go directly from the government to a school — but to a parent, who then decides how the money will be spent.
Accurso said this is exactly how many federally-funded programs —like the GI Bill, Pell grants, pre-K headstart, Medicaid, food stamps, and Section 8 housing — have operated for years. “For some reason,” Accurso stressed, “when it comes to K-12 education, teachers’ unions have built into our heads that it’s not right for public dollars to follow students. That simply is not true.”
Watch the event on this exclusive Royal Examiner video.
Humane Society of Warren County opens thrift store
On November fourth of last year, the Humane Society of Warren County opened a thrift store located at 450 S. Commerce Avenue, adjacent to On Cue and the CVS. As the proceeds go to support homeless animals, Pick of the Litter Thrift Store comes at a time when the HSWC greatly needs it.
“It took a lot of work to put the planning process together,” executive director Megan Bowers explained. Previously HSWC hosted a yard sale once a year in June that generated four to five thousand dollars, but it proved to be lacking due to the requests they were receiving from the community for a place to bring donations.
“We could not have asked for a better community,” store manager Jessie Moore exclaimed. “Every day feels like Christmas!” Her positive outlook characterizes the store she runs, where a patron can help himself to a complimentary coffee and browse the collection of books, DVDs, rows upon rows of clothing, and the occasional odd item like a set of glassware.
Jessie said each day is different, and she never knows what will come in. It is all about “the fur babies,” as she jovially put it. She expressed relief that HSWC has finally generated a more reliable source of funding than the yard sale. Watching Jessie move around the store with her assistant Laura Hickman and interact with customers, it is obvious that they are thoroughly enjoying themselves. Of course, it is all about the fur babies.
This is an establishment that welcomes animals. Anyone browsing the goods is welcome to have their pet alongside them.
“They’ve done really well over there,” Megan said in praise of the Pick of the Litter team. HSWC has three branches: the shelter, the clinic, and the thrift store.
As proud and fond as many are of their four-legged family members, it is a consolation in this cold season to know that such a capable organization is doing everything possible to keep Warren County’s domestic animals on the warm side of the front door.
As an ongoing consequence of pandemic impacts, fitness programs will end this month but rehab services will continue at Valley Health’s Outpatient facility here
Royal Examiner asked Valley Health Public Relations Manager Carol Weare about planned service cuts locally as a consequence of the COVID pandemic outbreak of the past few years. This is what she told us:
“Due to unprecedented financial challenges related to the effects and after-effects of the pandemic, Valley Health has been taking steps to limit additional losses by evaluating all programs and services we offer. Like fitness facilities nationwide, Valley Health’s fitness programs experienced a decline in membership during the pandemic and never rebounded.
“As a result, we made the difficult decision to end our fitness membership programs in Berkeley Springs, WV, Front Royal, VA, and Woodstock, VA, effective Wednesday, February 1, 2023. Members are being notified and any membership balance or un-redeemed personal training or massage gift cards will be refunded promptly.
“We regret the disruption this decision will create for community members, whose fitness commitment and ongoing health are important to us.
“In our assessment, we carefully evaluated each program’s unique operational situation, including finances, building lease contracts and the availability of local fitness facility alternatives within the community.
“The fitness programs in Berkeley Springs and Front Royal are co-located with outpatient physical rehabilitation; those services will continue uninterrupted.
“As Valley Health continues to feel the lingering financial impact of COVID-19, we are evaluating where, when and how healthcare services are provided to ensure our stability as the region’s top care provider and employer of choice well into the future.”
Warren County Department of Fire and Rescue Services Line of Duty Death – Funeral Notification
With great sadness, we announce the passing of District Fire Chief Homer Larry Cross (Age 74) of the Fortsmouth Volunteer Fire Department.
On Monday, January 23, 2023, members of the Fortsmouth Volunteer Fire Department discovered District Chief Cross unresponsive at the Fire Station and began life-saving intervention procedures, but unfortunately, the Chief was pronounced deceased at the station.
Chief Cross began his career as a firefighter with Fortsmouth Volunteer Fire Department in 1983. Later serving his community as a long-tenured District Chief, he dedicated himself to saving lives and helping those in need. Through his years in the fire service, Chief Cross felt honored to work alongside a fantastic group of men and women, many of whom serve in various fire service leadership capacities across the Commonwealth’s Fire Service today.
“District Fire Chief Homer Cross was an inspiration for our Department and a fixture on almost every fire ground,” stated Fire Chief James Bonzano. “He was a dedicated fire officer but, above all else, a great friend whose legacy will certainly live on through the care and compassion he instilled in the next generation of our Fire Department.”
Arrangements for District Chief Cross are as follows:
Family Night will be held Monday, January 30, 2023, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm. at Maddox Funeral Home at 105 W. Main Street, Front Royal, VA.
A Funeral Service with Fire Service and Military Service Honors for District Chief Cross will be held on Tuesday, January 31, 2023, at noon at Riverton United Methodist Church at 55 E. Strasburg Road, Front Royal, VA.
A procession from the church to Panorama Memorial Gardens will be conducted, where final respects will be paid.
The Cross Family will receive guests following the service at the Front Royal Volunteer Fire Station at 221 N. Commerce Avenue, Front Royal, VA.
The Trust Deed Pledge Plan: An investor’s greatest investment aspiration
REAL ESTATE INVESTORS AND REAL ESTATE AGENTS
An original Trust Deed Pledge (TDPP) to help property owners from losing their entire property equity due to a foreclosure has been developed. By rescuing the equity and turning the owner into a qualified investor in plan, the owner continues to grow the funds rescued.
THE SECURED CASH INVESTOR POSITION IN THE TDPP INVESTMENT
The desire to be protected in a safe rewarding and timely investment is what the investor wants and needs and receives in the TDPP.
- Investment amount required? – Ans: ($60,000 total in small amounts by a group of investors)
- What is the reward? – Ans: (Pre-agreed fixed amount of $25,500 up to $42,500)
- What is the timing of investment? – Ans: (Estimated one-year)
- Amount of protection? – Ans: (Collateral exceeds invested amount)
- How is the investor “protected”? – Ans: (With a very strong superior legal position)
REAL ESTATE ACTIVITY EARNINGS
The TDPP offers a way to achieve an exclusive listing to sell (foreclosure free) for the agent/broker finding and introducing the necessary material to the foreclosure owner. There is strong competition, in the regular market place for exclusive listings, that makes it a challenge to accumulate enough listings for the average licensee to earn and build a personal lifetime wealth of a million dollars plus. It is fair to say the TDPP can do it.
The TDPP offers new type real estate earnings, separate from and in addition to a 6% sale commission.
- Introducing an original way to earn 1% of the sales price of a property and a second way to earn 5% of the net sales price of the property.
- There are other original ways to earn a fee of $9,000 and one of $15,000 for new type activity in the TDPP.
- Achieve an exclusive foreclosure free exclusive listing for the person processing the property owner joining the TDPP.
- Other unique exciting opportunities are available to earn profit in original ways within the TDPP!
Go to http://investmentrevelation.com for more information.
Robert L. Evans, President
Foreclosure Answer Affirmed, Inc.
Concern Hotline named beneficiary of Ride with Rotary
Rotary Club of Warren County is excited to announce their beneficiary for the Ride with Rotary 2023 is Concern Hotline! Watch this video with Executive Director, Rusty Holland, as he shares a little about who the Concern Hotline is and what they offer to Warren County and surrounding counties.
Learn more about Concern Hotline: www.concernhotline.org
Concern Hotline is a free 24/7/365 anonymous information & referral, crisis intervention, and suicide prevention hotline serving the Northern Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.
For Concern Hotline calls, dial any of these local numbers:
- CLARKE, FREDERICK, WINCHESTER COUNTY – 540-667-0145
- SHENANDOAH COUNTY – 540-459-4742
- PAGE COUNTY – 540-743-3733
- WARREN COUNTY – 540-635-4357
Ride with Rotary 2nd Annual Bike Event
- April 29th – Check in starts at 8am Rockland Park
- Register Today!
- Interested in being a sponsor? Call Jen Avery at 540-683-0790 to learn about sponsorship options.