Walmart limiting store capacity, instituting one-way movement

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Photo Credit: fotosipsak/iStock Photo

Beginning today, Walmart stores across the country will be limiting the number of customers who can be in a store at any one time.

Stores will now allow no more than five customers for each 1,000 square feet at a given time, roughly 20 percent of a store’s capacity.

Walmart will also institute one-way movement through aisles beginning next week in a number of its stores, using floor markers and direction from associates.

“We always want people to feel welcome at Walmart, and we know that in ordinary times a store is a gathering place for members of a community to connect and socialize. We look forward to the time when that is again the case; however, we now want to prioritize health and safety by encouraging customers to do their shopping at a distance from others, then head home,” said Dacona Smith, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Walmart U.S.

To manage the store capacity restriction, associates will mark a queue at a single-entry door and direct arriving customers there, where they will be admitted one-by-one and counted.

Associates and signage will remind customers of the importance of social distancing while they’re waiting to enter a store – especially before it opens in the morning.

Once a store reaches its capacity, customers will be admitted inside on a “1-out-1-in” basis.

“As the COVID-19 situation continues to develop, our leaders and operations teams will continue to listen to advice from medical experts, associates and customers, and consider how we can best serve people while helping slow the spread of the virus. The health and safety of our associates and customers is what matters the most,” Smith said.

3.2-Mile Run in Remembrance goes virtual for 2020

3.2-Mile Run in Remembrance

Photo courtesy Virginia Tech.

Every year alumna Ashley Winkeler joins thousands of other Hokies who take part in the 3.2-Mile Run in Remembrance.

She said that won’t change this year. Even though the world around all of us has.

Winkeler and countless others will participate virtually.

From April 16-18, Virginia Tech will host a virtual run during a three-day period to encourage proper distancing and adhere to state and local public health guidelines. Hokies can run, walk, or jog on their own and post a picture online using #VT32Run.

“Our university’s motto is Ut Prosim (That I May Serve),” Winkeler said. “This is a way for us to live out Ut Prosim and connect with Hokie Nation. It doesn’t matter how you get to the 3.2 miles. What truly matters is honoring and remembering those who were lost.”

The annual community event is now in its 12th year and draws tens of thousands of Hokies to participate in Blacksburg to honor and remember the 32 students and faculty who lost their lives on April 16, 2007.

Amid the worldwide effort to combat COVID-19, Virginia Tech Rec Sports announced last month the traditional event would be canceled, but has worked to organize a virtual offering to bring Hokies together while maintaining social distance.

“For years the run has been a way for all Hokies to remember and celebrate the lives of lost Hokies and be in community,” said Alison Cross, Rec Sports director. “By asking people to share their experience virtually, we hope everyone continues to see the power of this event.”

Cross added that the exact distance isn’t important, but rather the sense of community Hokies can create.

“We want everyone to join by walking or running, but any distance will connect us to our goal,” she said.

A printable bib is available online for people participating. Hokies are also encouraged to wear their favorite orange and maroon and share photos online through their own social media channels or through the run’s Facebook event.

Maddie Tran, a Virginia Tech junior, has lined up for the Run in Remembrance each year since she was a freshman, and she was determined not to miss it this year. A few weeks ago, she began mapping out a 3.2 mile course on a trail near her home in Oak Hill, Virginia. She plans to run the distance, starting at 9:43 a.m. on April 18, as part of the virtual event.

She mentioned her plans to her Virginia Tech Sigma Kappa sorority sisters, and now, a group will join her virtually on the same date and time. The students plan to take pictures of themselves after they complete the 3.2 miles and post them on the sorority’s Instagram account.

“When I first did it [the run] as a freshman, it was the first time where I felt that I was part of the Virginia Tech community,” said Tran. “By all running it virtually, it shows that we are still united and that we are part of Hokie Nation.”

Tran, a member of Virginia Tech’s field hockey club team, plans to wear her maroon and orange field hockey tank top for the virtual run, as she has done every other year.

Winkeler, who is the community service representative for the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, has been working to encourage alumni in that area to participate. A 2018 grad, Winkeler quickly found fellow Hokies through the chapter when she moved to Pittsburgh in May.

When she heads out to do the run in two weeks, though, it won’t be in Pittsburgh.

“Currently I’m at home,” she said.

Winkeler is a graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh where she’s studying occupational therapy, and like students across the country her spring semester has been upended.

“I’m at home in Blacksburg where my parents live. I’m just taking my classes online,” she said. “It’s been an interesting transition to go to online learning. Our professors have been pretty supportive, and it is nice to be home. It’s been an interesting change, but a good one.”

She’ll complete the run on the Huckleberry Trail.

For more information or to participate, visit the Rec Sports website.

Information from Virginia Tech Media Relations

CAT implements 10-passenger capacity guideline

Charlottesville Area TransitTo ensure the safety of passengers and drivers, Charlottesville Area Transit has limited each bus to a 10-passenger capacity. This service standard change comes from the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Guidance for Transit Agencies.

CAT encourages the public to help keep CAT drivers and the community safe by only taking essential trips.

Additional service adjustments may occur as COVID-19 conditions change.

For more updates, please visit www.catchthecat.org or find CAT on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

If you have any questions, please email CAT@charlottesville.org or call customer service at (434) 970-3649.

 

Culpeper District Traffic Alerts,: Week of April 6-10

road

Photo Credit: carterdayne/iStock Photo

The following highway work is scheduled, weather permitting, in the Culpeper District during the upcoming week. Traffic movements may be restricted and speed limits reduced in work zones. (NEW) or (UPDATE) indicate revisions since last week’s report.

Culpeper District traffic information is also available on Twitter at @VaDOTCulp and on VDOT’s website at www.virginiadot.org/travel/travel_alerts/culpeper/default.asp.

Albemarle County

(NEW) Interstate 64 – Eastbound bridge work over Route 29 at exit 118.

  • Extended eastbound lane closures are scheduled during the following times (note new work hours), weather permitting:
  • 6 p.m.Friday, April 3 until noon Monday, April 6
  • 8 p.m. Friday, April 17 until 6 a.m. Monday, April 20
  • 8 p.m. Friday, April 24 until 6 a.m. Monday, April 27
  • The entrance ramp from southbound Route 29 to eastbound I-64 and the eastbound I-64 exit 118B ramp to northbound Route 29 will also be closed.
  • Anticipate brief traffic stops on Route 29.

(NEW) Interstate 64 – Eastbound roadside maintenance between mile marker 107 and mile marker 114. Left lane closed daily starting Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Interstate 64 – Roadside maintenance in both directions between mile marker 100 and mile marker 131. Be alert for operations with workers on both shoulders Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

(NEW) Interstate 64 – Vegetation control operations in both directions from mile marker 100 to mile marker 124. Expect alternating lane closures Sunday through Wednesday from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m.

(NEW) Route 6 (Irish Road) – Pipe replacement between Route 722 (Porters Road) and Route 626 (Langhorne Road). Expect alternating lane closures controlled by flagging Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Route 29 (Seminole Trail) – Road and utility work under VDOT permit for new development. Expect nightly lane closures from north of Route 649 (Proffit Road) to Northside Drive. Median crossovers closed. Follow traffic controls.

Route 29 (Monacan Trail Road) – Preparation for bridge work. Expect lane closures in both directions at Interstate 64 Monday through Friday from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.

(UPDATE) Route 29 (Monacan Trail Road) – Mowing operations from Route 692 (Plank Road) to Interstate 64. Expect slow moving vehicles and intermittent lane closures Monday and Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Route 851 (Dominion Drive) – Road closed to through traffic at entrance to 29th Place Shopping Center due to failing pipe. Nearby utilities must be relocated before replacement activities can begin.

Culpeper County

Business Route 15 (Remington Road) – Rehabilitating bridge over Rappahannock River at the Fauquier County line. Road closed to through traffic with posted detour. Anticipated completion Oct. 2020.

Waterloo Bridge – Bridge restoration over the Rappahannock River. Anticipated completion April 2021.

Fauquier County 

(NEW) Interstate 66 – Westbound resurfacing operations between mile marker 21 to mile marker 18.5 (Delaplane to Markham). Expect alternating lane closures Sunday through Friday from 6 p.m. to 10 a.m.

(NEW) Interstate 66 – Debris removal operations in both directions between mile marker 14.7 and mile marker 36.7. Expect mobile, alternating lane closures Monday and Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Interstate 66 – Debris removal operations in both directions between mile marker 16 and mile marker 28. Expect vehicles on the right shoulder Monday through Friday.

Interstate 66 – Work on the shoulder. Eastbound right shoulder closed at mile marker 30 Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Business Route 15 (Remington Road) – Rehabilitating bridge over Rappahannock River at the Culpeper County line. Road closed to through traffic with posted detour. Anticipated completion October 2020.

Route 15 (Lee Highway) – Roadside maintenance in both directions from Cedar Run Drive to the Prince William County line. Expect alternating lane closures Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

(NEW) Route 15/17/29 (James Madison Highway) – Roadside maintenance in both directions from Route 651 (Freemans Ford Road) to Route 687 (Opal Road). Expect mobile, alternating lane closures Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Route 15/17/29 (Eastern Bypass) – Construction of grade-separated interchange near Route 880 (Lord Fairfax Road):

  • Expect intermittent nighttime lane closures
  • Expect intermittent daytime lane closures on Business Route 15/17/29
  • Contractor will maintain 11-foot travel lanes with barrier in place in both directions.

Route 17 (Marsh Road) – Utility work under VDOT permit between Route 844 (Fayettesville Road) and Route 15/17/29 (James Madison Highway). Expect intermittent lane closures and slow roll operations by law enforcement Monday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

(NEW) Route 604 (Burell Road) – Resurfacing operations from Route 667 (Old Dumfries Road) and Route 605 (Dumfries Road). Expect lane closures Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

(NEW) Route 616 (Beach Road) – Resurfacing operations from Route 643 (Meetze Road) to Route 674 (Green Road). Expect lane closures Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Route 643 (Meetze Road) – Road work under VDOT permit between Route 674 (Lunsford Road) and Route 670 (Old Meetze Road). Right lane closed Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Follow traffic controls.

(NEW) Route 651 (Lees Mill Road) – Resurfacing operations from Route 687 (Opal Road) to Route 15/17/29 (James Madison Highway). Expect lane closures Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

(NEW) Route 745 (Liberty Road) – Resurfacing operations from Route 28 (Catlett Road) to Route 837 (Old Marsh Road). Expect lane closures Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

(NEW) Route 755 (Grassdale Road) – Resurfacing operations from Route 651 (Summerduck Road) to the dead end. Expect lane closures Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

(NEW) Route 837 (Old Marsh Road) – Resurfacing operations from Route 17 (Marsh Road) to Route 663 (Balls Mill Road). Expect lane closures Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Route 880 (Lord Fairfax Road) – Shoulder closures and intermittent flagging operations near Route 15/17/29 (Eastern Bypass) for Warrenton Southern Interchange project. Be alert for workers near the travel lanes Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Waterloo Bridge – Bridge restoration over the Rappahannock River. Anticipated completion April 2021.

Fluvanna County 

Route 53 (Thomas Jefferson Parkway) – Construction of a roundabout at Route 618 (Lake Monticello Road). Expect daytime flagging operations on weekdays. Plan extra travel time. Anticipated completion Nov. 17.

Greene County 

(NEW) Route 33 (Spotswood Trail) – Mowing operations in both directions between Route 29 (Seminole Trail) and the Rockingham County line. Expect mobile lane closures Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Route 670 (Preddy Creek Road) – Replacing large pipe structure that carries Preddy Creek under the road. Road closed to through traffic starting Monday. Anticipated completion July 10.

Louisa County 

Interstate 64 – Roadside maintenance in both directions between mile marker 131 and mile marker 147.5. Be alert for mobile operations with workers on the roadway shoulders Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

(NEW) Route 33 (Jefferson Highway) – Pipe replacement east of Club Road. Road closed to through traffic from 7 a.m. Monday until late afternoon Thursday. Detour via Route 22/208 and Route 767 (School Bus Road).

Route 624 (Mount Pleasant Church Road) – Rehabilitating bridge over Christopher Creek. Road closed to through traffic. Follow posted detour. Anticipated completion April 30.

Orange County 

Route 20 (Constitution Highway) – Construction of a roundabout at Route 231 (Blue Ridge Turnpike). Expect flagging operations, traffic pattern changes and shoulder closures. Anticipated completion Dec. 7.

(NEW) Route 231 (Blue Ridge Turnpike) – Resurfacing operations from Route 33 (Spotswood Trail) to Route 655 (Weyburn Road). Expect lane closures controlled by flagging Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Route 522 (Zachary Taylor Highway) – Resurfacing operations from Route 719 (Belmont Road) to the Spotsylvania County line. Expect alternating lane closures starting Friday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

(NEW) Route 635 (Greenwood Road) – Replacing bridge over the Norfolk SouthernRailroad. Construction begins April 7. Expect intermittent daytime flagging operations. Existing bridge will remain open to traffic during construction. Anticipated completion June 2021.

Rappahannock County 

Route 612 (Old Hollow Road) – Rehabilitating bridge over the North Fork Thornton River. Road closed to through traffic. Follow posted detour. Anticipated completion April 24.

Road conditions and other real-time travel information can be found on the 511 Virginia website, the free VDOT 511 mobile app or by calling 511 from any phone in Virginia. VDOT updates are also on Facebook and the district’s Twitter account, @VaDOTCulp.

Charlottesville announces availability of trash stickers by bail

CharlottesvilleThe City of Charlottesville will now process orders for individual and business trash stickers by mail.

Trash Disposal Options

Large Item Pickup

Large item collection will resume on Monday, April 13th and occur every other week, instead of every week.

Federal aid to states, local governments crucial in containing COVID-19

Don BeyerCongressman Don Beyer has released a report arguing that federal aid to state and local governments is crucial for containing the coronavirus and preventing economic disaster and should be a major focus of Congress’s fourth legislative response to the public health crisis.

As the report shows, states are being simultaneously strained by skyrocketing spending to combat the coronavirus and large losses in revenue (i.e. sales tax, income tax, tourism). Furthermore, since almost every state is required by law to balance its budget, this may force many to cut spending in areas like education.

Budget cuts at the state level will in turn force budget cuts at the local level, creating a downward spiral that will slow response and recovery nationwide.

“State and local governments are crying out for assistance, and our health and economy depend on Congress helping them,” Beyer, D-Va., said. “If Congress does not respond with aggressive aid, we risk repeating the mistakes of the Great Recession, which lasted years longer for state and local governments because the federal government left them to fend for themselves.”

Beyer continued, “No one should think that this is someone else’s problem. While the fire is hottest in New York right now, it soon will burn from state to state, especially if Congress does not do enough to help state and local governments. As a result, every town in America will be crushed by the coronavirus and our economy will fall a lot further than it has already fallen.”

As the report shows, Medicaid will account for much of states’ increased spending since individuals who lose their jobs (and employer-sponsored health insurance) will need to enroll and many current enrollees will contract the coronavirus and need to be cared for. While the second coronavirus response package includes a 6.2 percentage point increase in the federal government’s share of Medicaid funding (known as the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage or FMAP), the increase was about 3.8 percentage points less than the average increase in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. On average, states cover about 40 percent of the cost of Medicaid with the federal government paying the rest.

“One of the most important things Congress’s fourth legislative response must do is increase the federal government’s share of Medicaid funding—the current increase is less than what was given to states during the Great Recession and should be much higher, especially when you consider that the joint federal-state health insurance program is states’ second biggest cost and 10 million people have filed for unemployment over the last two weeks,” Beyer said. “The last thing we want states to do is reduce Medicaid eligibility in the middle of a public health crisis.”

Beyer continued, “Congress’s fourth legislative response must increase aid to state and local governments and allow the Federal Reserve to purchase long-term state and local debt.”

Staunton officials to provide budget update to City Council

stauntonStaunton City Council will receive an update concerning the FY2021 Budget at its meeting on April 9.

The related agenda briefing is available online as part of the City Council package. 

The following are highlights from that briefing:

The FY2021 Budget as initially presented to City Council on March 26, will be need to be significantly adjusted to address the impacts of the COVID-19 public health emergency.  Although all data is not yet available, it is certain that the City’s revenues will be negatively impacted and modifications, both before and after the budget is adopted, will be required.  Strategies for responding to the unanticipated revenue challenges in the FY2021 Budget are being developed and will be reviewed with City Council over the course of upcoming work sessions and public hearings.

City officials have acted with urgency to address fiscal challenges even as final revenue projections are being developed, with a focus on reducing departmental expenditures as follows:

  • Department heads have been directed to impose a hiring freeze and freezes on operating and capital expenditures for the remainder of the current fiscal year, FY2020, with limited exceptions.
  • For FY2021, department heads have been requested to review their department’s entire operation and identify total operational reductions of 5%, 10% and 15% as a proactive measure to identify potential savings.
  • The City’s Chief Finance Officer is meeting with individual department heads to review their FY2020 budgets to identify further cost saving opportunities in the current fiscal year that can potentially cushion impacts in FY2021.
  • The FY2021 budget calendar has been adjusted to afford staff additional time to assess the fiscal effects of the emergency and provide ample feedback opportunities for the public and work session time with City Council to revise the budget.

City officials are implementing new tools and technologies to allow involvement in the upcoming budget process in the absence of traditional public meetings and public hearings.

Up to date information on how the public can observe and engage in the budget process can be found at ci.staunton.va.us/government/city-council, and city officials strongly encourage Staunton residents to stay active and informed as important financial decisions are being made to guide the City’s future.

George Mason forward Goanar Mar to enter transfer portal

george masonGeorge Mason forward Goanar Mar has announced his plans to enter the transfer portal.

The Mankato, Minn., junior played in 83 career games for the Patriots, including 31 in 2019-20.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time at Mason, but I’ve decided to move on to finish my career,” Mar said. “My teammates and coaches mean a lot to me and I really appreciate how they’ve helped make my experience at Mason special. I also want to thank Mason Nation for all of their support during my time in Fairfax.”

Mar scored 488 career points in a Mason uniform while tallying 254 rebounds and 58 assists over his three seasons.

“Goanar has been a valuable member of our program and has represented Mason with incredible integrity and character on and off the court,” head coach Dave Paulsen said. “He has been one of my favorite players to coach. I certainly understand and support his decision. We will miss him and wish him the absolute best. He will always be a member of Mason Nation.”

ACC honors for UVA swim, dive team members

uva swimming divingThe Virginia women’s swimming and diving team earned three ACC end-of-year honors, with junior Paige Madden leading the honorees as ACC Swimmer of the Year.

Kate Douglass was named the ACC Freshman of the Year, and head coach Todd DeSorbo was named the women’s ACC Swimming Coach of the Year.

Madden led the Cavaliers at the ACC Championships, winning individual titles in the 200, 500 and 1650-yard freestyle and helping the 400 and 800-yard freestyle relay teams to victory. The five-time conference champion was named the ACC Swimmer of the Meet and was the conference’s top point scorer with 96 points. Madden concluded the season with the second-fastest 500-yard freestyle time in the NCAA, in addition to ranking sixth in the mile, seventh in the 200-yard backstroke and seventh in the 200-yard freestyle. She is the first Cavalier to win the award since Lauren Purdue was named the conference Swimmer of the Year in 2011.

Douglass had a strong start to her collegiate career winning five conference titles and scoring 91 points for the Cavaliers at the conference championships. She won individual titles in the 200-yard individual medley and 100-yard butterfly and helped capture relay titles in the 200-yard medley relay, 200-yard freestyle relay and 400-yard freestyle relay. She also placed third in the 200-yard breaststroke and second in the 400-yard medley relay. The freshman set an ACC record in the 200-yard individual medley, recording the fourth-fastest time by an individual in NCAA history. Douglass led the nation in the 200-yard individual medley and ranked third nationally in the 200-yard breaststroke, fourth in the 100-yard butterfly and fifth in the 50-yard freestyle. She is the first Cavalier to win the award since Jennifer Marrkand in 2015.

DeSorbo was named the Women’s ACC Coach of the Year after leading the Cavaliers to an ACC title, the team’s 16th overall conference championship and DeSorbo’s second since he was named head coach in 2017. Virginia set a conference record for most points scored at the ACC Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships, scoring 1,492.5 points over the four-day meet. Virginia won 10 conference titles which included winning six individual races and four relay events. The team also tallied 36 All-ACC honors at the meet. Virginia finished the season ranked second in the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association’s final regular season poll. DeSorbo won his first ACC Women’s Swimming Coach of the Year of the honor with the Cavaliers and is Virginia’s first recipient to win since 2016.

Information from Virginia Athletics

Spanberger hosts virtual town hall on COVID-19

Abigail SpanbergerAbigail Spanberger yesterday hosted a telephone town hall with representatives from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the U.S. House Appropriations Committee, and the Office of the Governor of Virginia.

During the interactive forum, Spanberger and her guests answered questions directly from Central Virginians about the immediate economic impacts of COVID-19 on Central Virginia workers and small businesses, as well as the resources currently available to them.

More than 3,400 Central Virginians tuned in to participate in Spanberger’s telephone town hall. Click here to listen to a full audio recording of the event.

“During last night’s telephone town hall, I heard from small business owners, self-employed individuals, the recently unemployed, and working families who are feeling the immediate sting of the coronavirus’ impacts on our local economy. Their personal stories and concerns are shared by thousands of others across Central Virginia, and their stories need to be matched by a strong response at all levels of our government,” said Spanberger. “I’d like to thank those who participated in last night’s telephone town hall, and I hope additional Central Virginians will reach out to my office if they are experiencing issues with the Small Business Administration or any other federal agency during this challenging time. Our small businesses and workers are the foundation of our economy, and we need to put them on the right footing to weather this crisis, keep their operations afloat, and maintain the capital they need to eventually reopen their doors.”

Spanberger was joined on the call by Carl B. Knoblock, Richmond District Director of the U.S. Small Business Administration; Shalanda Young, Staff Director of the U.S. House Appropriations Committee; and Dr. Megan Healy, Chief Workforce Advisor to Virginia Governor Ralph Northam.

Harrisonburg Fire Department receives donation of homemade masks

Mask

HFD Interim Chief Stephen Morris receives the donated masks from Phillip Helmuth, who organized the effort. Photo courtesy City of Harrisonburg.

The Harrisonburg Fire Department received a donation of homemade masks for first responders in the city to use as needed.

Harrisonburg resident Phillip Helmuth organized the production of the masks, which were made using design recommendations from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Helmuth was able to organize more than 60 volunteers from the Mennonite community to include, Old Orders, Dayton Mennonite Church, Park View Mennonite Church, Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community, Zion Mennonite Church, Lindale Mennonite Church, Dressed Up Threads, and Mennonite Disaster Service, willing to take their time to sew.

Dressed Up Threads, a business located in Dayton, donated the material and cut the material to spec for all the volunteer sewers.

“We are very grateful to volunteers who stepped up to provide either talents, time or material,” HFD Interim Chief Stephen Morris said. “With personal protective equipment at a premium, these masks will be critical in protecting our first responders during this unprecedented time.”

The group has promised up to 1,000 of the homemade masks over the next several weeks.

For individuals or groups interested in assisting in making PPE for City first responders, please contact the Harrisonburg Fire Department, Monday through Friday, at 540-432-7703.

CDC: Yeah, wear cloth face masks in public now

breaking news

(© yuttapholstocker – stock.adobe.com)

CDC is now recommending that people wear simple cloth face coverings in public settings like grocery stores and pharmacies where social-distancing measures are difficult to maintain.

The new recommendation was handed down on Friday, after days of back and forth in public health circles.

The recommendation is based on a new understanding that asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic COVID-19 individuals can transmit the virus to others.

This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms

It is being emphasized that maintaining six-feet social distancing remains important to slowing the spread of the virus.

Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.

The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.

This recommendation complements and does not replace the President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America, 30 Days to Slow the Spread, which remains the cornerstone of the  national effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

CDC will make additional recommendations as the evidence regarding appropriate public health measures continues to develop.

Augusta Health updates COVID-19 response: Three weeks in

Augusta HealthAugusta Health has re-engineered the entire health system to care for the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Two primary sources of patients for a community hospital, surgery and imaging, have been reduced significantly to preserve resources for an anticipated surge in COVID-19 patients.

Some services, such as cancer treatments and delivering babies continue. In March, more than 100 babies were born at Augusta Health.

In the last three weeks, a significant investment of time and resources have been expended to plan and implement new services and units as Augusta Health prepares to treat patients as we fight COVID-19.

These services and units, which all became operational after March 16, include:

  • The COVID Care Call Center: (540) 332-5122—a phone line, staffed by registered nurses, to answer questions and screen patients for COVID-19—without the patient needed to leave home. The Call Center is staffed sever days a week from 8 am until 4:30 pm. They’ve taken more than 750 calls, and through screening questions have referred about half to either the Assessment Center for respiratory illness or to a primary care illness for other medical concerns.
  • The COVID-19 Assessment Center at the Waynesboro Urgent Care—to assess, treat and educate about respiratory illness. This center sees about 40 to 45 patients per day, 500 patients since opening. More than 200 COVID-19 tests have been processed, with availability of testing improving. So far, there have been 5 confirmed positive test results.
  • The COVID Care Call Center and COVID-19 Assessment Center work together to keep those with respiratory systems separate from those with other medical concerns, alleviate concerns and direct patients to the resources they need.
  • The COVID Care Management Team—contacts every patient who is screened for COVID-19 while they are waiting for their results, to provide answers to questions and guidance on what to do. They also connect with those who test positive and are recovering at home.
  • Outpatient Behavioral Health Telehealth—so patients can receive care without leaving their homes and risking exposure. The Telehealth audio/visual session will be held using Doxy.Me, which is a secure and HIPAA compliant platform. Visits are available Monday through Thursday from 8 am until 5 pm and on Fridays from 9 am – 2 pm. To schedule an appointment, call (540) 213-2525.
  • A Spiritual Care Call Line—for patients, families, and staff to contact Chaplain Services and request services, operating Monday through Friday, 10 am – 4pm at (540) 294-4207.
  • Expanded Child Care Services—for essential employees with school age children so they can continue to work while school has been canceled.
  • ED Patient and Family Liaisons—to provide support to families and patients in the ED and connect patients and families to physicians and staff. They listen to concerns, ensure communication and help meet the needs of both the patient and the family waiting in the ED. They are available from 7 am until 11 pm, seven days a week.
  • Surge Plans—Including re-engineering the entire First Floor of the Patient Tower to be a Respiratory Care Unit, adding 11 negative pressure rooms in the Emergency Department, creating 32 additional isolation rooms in the hospital (total of 50) and turning the entire Waynesboro Urgent Care into a Isolation Unit, and preparing other units to be converted as needed. The Commonwealth of Virginia expects each hospital to be able to surge to at least 20% above its licensed bed census. Augusta Health’s plans exceed that mandate; Augusta Health can surge to at least 50% above its licensed bed status in the hospital.

UVA Health establishing drop-off site for PPE donations

uva healthA special donation center will be established at UVA Health to receive donations of personal protective equipment (PPE) – including masks, hand sanitizer, liquid hand soap and non-latex disposable gloves – from community members, local businesses and philanthropic groups.

To ensure the safety of those donating supplies, care providers and patients, UVA Health has developed a process to safely accept and distribute these generous donations, which will help UVA Health continue to maintain the PPE needed to care for COVID-19 patients from across the region.

“We are extremely grateful to the community for supporting our healthcare workers and each other during this unprecedented time,” said K. Craig Kent, MD, UVA’s executive vice president for health affairs. UVA especially wants to recognize the collaboration with and collective efforts of Equip Cville, the local organization working around the clock to collect and redistribute donated PPE.

UVA Health will continue to partner with the community to support local healthcare needs.

How to Make a Donation

  • Where: The loading dock behind the Education Resource Center (1240 Lee St.) at UVA Health. There will be signage posted to direct community members to the donation center.
  • When: The donation center will be open 10 a.m.-5 p.m., seven days a week.

Questions?

Please call 434.924.2390.

Emergency funding will help shelter Virginia homeless

Virginia covid-19

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An initial $2.5 million in emergency funding will go toward sheltering Virginia’s statewide homeless population during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The emergency support will provide temporary housing for the approximately 1,500 Virginians who are currently unsheltered or rely on shelters that require them to leave every day. The funding will also provide housing for individuals in shelters that may need to be quarantined, or where social distancing is not feasible.

“As we battle this unprecedented public health crisis, we must make sure no one is left behind,” Gov. Ralph Northam said. “I have issued a statewide Stay at Home order, but we know there are many Virginians with no home to stay in. With this funding, we will ensure people experiencing homelessness have access to immediate housing options and help prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

Funding will be used for hotel and motel vouchers, case management, food, cleaning supplies, and medical transportation. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will provide partial funding to support individuals experiencing homelessness who are 65 and older, those with other pre-existing conditions, and those who have tested positive for COVID-19.

People experiencing homelessness are more likely to have chronic health conditions that go untreated, and are among the populations most vulnerable to the spread of COVID-19. In recent years, Virginia has seen an increase in the number of older adults experiencing homelessness.

Virginia’s housing support system also relies largely on the use of congregate shelters, which can lack adequate space for social distancing. The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) and the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) have provided guidance to homeless shelters on best practices to safely serve the homeless population during the COVID-19 epidemic.

In addition, DHCD is preparing additional housing options for an estimated 10 percent of the 3,890 Virginians currently in shelters to allow space for social distancing and safe quarantine practices as needed.

The Commonwealth has implemented a number of state and federal protections against housing insecurity during the COVID-19 crisis. The Supreme Court of Virginia has suspended eviction proceedings in all district and circuit courts through April 26, and evictions for all Housing Choice Voucher holders are halted for 120 days.

For all mortgages guaranteed by federal mortgage programs, including Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA) mortgages, the mortgage provider will defer mortgage payments—principal plus interest—for up to three months for those who have lost income due to COVID-19.

Additional resources and information about Virginia’s COVID-19 response are available at virginia.gov/coronavirus.

Shenandoah University donates 2,500 masks to Valley Health

shenandoah universityShenandoah University donated about 2,500 hospital masks to Valley Health on Friday. Approximately 2,100 of these masks are the N95 respirator masks used by health care professionals.

The Wilkins Wellness Center on Shenandoah’s Winchester campus provided a portion of the masks, which were purchased this year to address the COVID-19 pandemic and in years past to prepare for future potential pandemics. The nursing, health professions and pharmacy departments provided the remainder of the masks.

Because classes are all online and there are so few people on campus, Shenandoah officials decided the masks should be used by the local health system.

“Shenandoah is ready and willing to help our community and our local health care system in any way we can,” said President Tracy Fitzsimmons, Ph.D. “Donating these masks is just one way we can aid in the fight against COVID-19 while protecting the health of our local medical personnel.”

The masks will help frontline staff who are taking care of COVID-19 patients, as well as staffers who are screening and testing patients.

Spanberger stresses efficiency in PPP loan process

Abigail SpanbergerThe SBA has launched the Paycheck Protection Program, a new federal loan assistance program intended to deliver immediate financial relief to small businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Under this program, loans will be fully forgiven if used by businesses to cover payroll costs, mortgage interest, rent, and utilities. Last Friday, President Trump signed the PPP program into law as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Following the opening of the PPP application today, Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., urged the SBA and participating lenders to make sure these funds are delivered to Central Virginia businesses, sole-proprietorships, and self-employed individuals in the most efficient and expedient way.

“In conversations with employers, sole-proprietors, and contractors across Central Virginia, I’ve heard absolutely heartbreaking stories. I’ve heard about extreme economic hardships, and I’ve heard businesses express deep concerns about whether government assistance will come soon enough to pay their dedicated employees and keep their longstanding operations afloat,” said Spanberger. “The administration needs to recognize how grave the current financial situation has become for Main Street. In response to this crisis, PPP loans must be distributed as soon as possible, because these loans have the power to preserve the livelihoods of many of our neighbors. The SBA must act quickly to implement this program — and I encourage any Virginian needing help or experiencing issues with the PPP program to reach out to my office. Our small businesses and their employees can’t afford to wait for federal bureaucracy to sort itself out — they need assistance now.”

A sample PPP application form can be found here.

PPP loans are available to any business with 500 or fewer employees—and loans will be available during a covered period for independent contractors, self-employed workers, and sole proprietors. If a business fires employees or cuts employee pay, this loan forgiveness will be reduced.

Last night, Spanberger hosted a telephone town hall with representatives from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the U.S. House Appropriations Committee, and the Office of the Governor of Virginia to discuss the impacts of COVID-19 on Central Virginia workers and small businesses. More than 3,400 Central Virginians listened in to the telephone town hall. Click here to listen to the full event.

And earlier this week, Spanberger released a small businesses resource guide to help Central Virginia small businesses navigate the financial impacts of COVID-19. Click here to download the small businesses resource guide.

Warner urges feds to issue guidance on benefits for gig workers

covid-19 economy

(© Alexander Borisenko – stock.adobe.com)

A week after Congress responded to the coronavirus pandemic with a $2.2 trillion package designed to provide economic relief to workers and businesses that for the first time provided unemployment benefits to gig workers and the self-employed, states are struggling to implement its provisions and swiftly provide financial aid to Americans who are part of the “gig economy.”

Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), a longtime national leader on labor issues affecting contractors and the contingent workforce, today called on the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to issue better guidance to states allowing them to quickly implement the provisions in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act allowing these workers to access unemployment benefits in the midst of a growing economic emergency. Though DOL issued initial guidance on the CARES Act to states late yesterday, it failed to address several key issues, leaving many states flailing in their efforts to quickly make the new unemployment benefits accessible to Americans who need it, and ensuring that it may be weeks before some workers can access the financial relief as Congress intended.

“The CARES Act directs states to stand up a new program, the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Program, to disburse benefits to workers who would normally not be eligible for unemployment assistance, such as gig workers or freelancers. Unfortunately, we are already hearing reports from unemployment officials from around the country that it will likely take weeks to stand up a new program and disburse benefits to these newly eligible workers,” Sen. Warner wrote in a letter to Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia. “In the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, with unemployment claims overwhelming state systems, there is no time to waste. While I appreciate the initial round of guidance that was released yesterday, the Department of Labor should have already issued more comprehensive guidance to states this week.”

In order to enable the rapid implementation of the CARES Act, Sen. Warner urged DOL to issue guidance on several problems that were missing from its release yesterday. Sen. Warner called on DOL to: streamline the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance process by removing burdensome regulatory barriers limiting worker participation; require states to accept electronic documentation and allow them flexibility to make determinations on eligibility for the program on a case-by-case basis; take the lead on contracting innovative technologies to implement the program and avoid all 50 states having to each “reinvent the wheel”; and increase flexibility for states to calculate and disburse weekly benefits.

In early March, Sen. Warner successfully called on leading gig worker platform companies to commit that independent contractors who deliver their services will not be penalized for following recommended health procedures to protect the public from further spread of the coronavirus. For years, Sen. Warner has championed legislation to establish portable benefits systems that would allow gig workers, independent contractors, and the self-employed to access benefits and protections that are commonly provided to full-time employees, such as paid leave, workers’ compensation, skills training, unemployment insurance, tax withholding and tax-advantaged retirement savings.

Following the March 18 passage of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, Sen. Warner also led several of his colleagues in urging state governors and workforce administrators to implement its provisions easing restrictions on emergency unemployment benefits as swiftly as possible.

Chris Graham, Scott German talk ACC Basketball


 

About Chris Graham

Chris Graham, the editor of The Augusta Free Press, an award-winning journalist and editor, is a 1994 graduate of the University of Virginia, and has covered Virginia politics since 1997.

An author of seven books, Chris co-wrote Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championshippublished in 2019, and also co-wrote a book on the history of University of Virginia basketball, Mad About U: Four Decades of Basketball at University Hall, which was published in 2006.

Chris has covered University of Virginia sports since 1995, and is a sports broadcaster with experience as a play-by-play man and color analyst on ESPN3 and ESPN+ broadcasts of college baseball, college football, collegiate wrestling and women’s water polo.

He is a member of the Football Writers Assocation of America, the U.S. Basketball Writers Association and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association.

From 2009-2014, Chris was the play-by-play voice of the Waynesboro Generals, a team competing in the Valley Baseball League, a premier college summer baseball league affiliated with Major League Baseball and the NCAA.

The former co-host of ACC Nation, a syndicated radio show that ran for four years, ending in 2007, Chris is currently a contributor to The Mark Moses Show on 95.9-The Fan in Melbourne, Fla.

Chris also served as a member of the creative team and on-air TV commentator for Awesome Wrestling Entertainment on AWE’s Night of the Legends live pay-per-view event in 2011.

Chris wrote a book on that experience, The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, that was published in 2018.

He is also the former co-host of “Viewpoints” on WVPT, a weekly news affairs TV show that aired from 2016-2017.

About Scott German

Scott German covers UVA Athletics for AFP, and is the co-host of “Street Knowledge” podcasts focusing on UVA Athletics with AFP editor Chris Graham. Scott has been around the ‘Hoos his whole life. As a reporter, he was on site for UVA basketball’s Final Fours, in 1981 and 1984, and has covered UVA football in bowl games dating back to its first, the 1984 Peach Bowl.

Tips for social media marketing during quarantine

business coronavirus

(© Paolese – stock.adobe.com)

In 2020 humanity battles a new threat. Coronavirus is a tragedy that has hit us in every single sphere of daily life. And so it brings our attention back to virtual life, to social media channels along with likes and followers, thus starting the new spiral of social culture. Never before people were consuming online content like that. With the danger that it bears, COVID-19 also gives us a giant push to innovations in social media.

New reality to discover

This is not the first worldwide quarantine the humankind meets. In history, we know a few cases like that, e.g. Spanish flu, which was the closest to our time outbreak of a disease. But then people didn’t have such technology to help them cope with isolation, despair, and a certain economic crisis.

But this time we have just a perfect tool to keep calm and carry on. Although this virus is a serious threat to our health, we have achieved the possibility to develop online. And possibility to connect with society with the help of social media channels like Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, etc. That statement suits business, brands, lifestyle blogs, workshops, etc.

A good time to show yourself

Everyone is rediscovering the Internet. The digital and real worlds as we know them are collapsed. And now brands, big and small businesses, popular bloggers and beginners are digging in the depths of Social Media Marketing.

The Internet today has so many places to develop your blog experience, increase followers and get likes on Instagram, or YouTube, for example.

Let’s find out how to keep up your social media with the upcoming new era of online!

Let’s get it started

Have you always wanted to start a blog and were waiting for the right moment? Here it is. It is time to form your point of view and present it to the world:

  • Work on your image in your social media, and make sure everything in there is corresponding to your plans;
  • Begin producing content. At this stage, the camera on your smartphone and simple editing software will do;
  • Plan your promotion. To boost up faster, you can use some paid services. There is no need to go big at once. For starters, on this page you can buy 500 likes, which is perfectly enough for the first leap.
  • Don’t forget to collaborate and communicate: share your experience and emotions, buy Instagram likes fast, for example, use group challenges and interactive games to keep the good mood amid your auditory of followers.

What should I do if I have a business in Instagram?

In the circumstances given, the global community wants to see unity and collaboration in every sphere of social and economic life. In years of its existence, Instagram has turned the tracks of business in another direction. Coronavirus outbreak is now pushing that to the limit. Lots of followers and potential customers are there, lurking online. And the ones, who can handle the new era of online shopping, whatever big or whatever small they are, will get to the top.

The key to do that is collaborating, empathizing and using all the impact you have as a brand to receive orders, get Instagram likes, views and new subscribers.

Communicate with your followers. Show that you intend to help the world to fight the crisis.

Go with the flow

The topic of the coronavirus outbreak has taken over the internet, especially social media channels. Everyone is speaking of it now. It is natural to catch up with it. You can show to your followers the situation around the place where you live. But don’t make it worse by spreading the information you are not sure about! The consequences of that could be dire.

When posting about COVID-19 to encourage your followers and get likes fast, remember a few things:

  • Choose carefully and check on the information you are about to share;
  • Focus on good news and deeds that you have heard of, seen or taken part in;
  • Stay objective and be respectful when translating your personal opinion;
  • Try to give your followers as much comfort and hope as it is possible. These days people seek it the most;
  • Do not dive any medical advice unless you are currently involved in the medical industry;
  • Be a good example to your followers and stick to the main trend of spring 2020 – wash your hands!

It’s so good to be home

Authorities around the globe encourage us to stay at home. Make a new trend out of it! That’s a perfect time to improve and share with followers your daily routine. They have plenty of time to put likes on your Instagram posts. It is also important to stay optimistic and friendly. You can say that your content is running to an end. Think of any fun activity for you and your subscribers. Get creative – new pajamas are ready for Home Fashion week!

Or you can turn your daily activity like cleaning the wardrobe into fun interactive challenges with your subscribers.

Staying at home helps you to look at things from the other side and revalue important things. Many people now are feeling anxious and stressed, so cozy and warm home stories or posts that demonstrate good deeds can help them to find comfort. And you can easily understand how to get 500 likes on Instagram as a minimum.

Teach and learn

In the days of isolation people are bereft of cinemas, bars or sports complexes. And they choose to invest their unexpected free time in education. So it’s definitely the right moment to get some attention to your skills. Invest your time in studying. For example, take some SEO lessons, SMM strategy courses and see how much better you can manage your blog and Instagram account or another social media profile. Engage your followers to learn new things with you, try to involve them in different activities, launch new challenges or share your experience to get likes.

You could also become a teacher yourself if you have any special knowledge or skills.

How to stay productive during the quarantine

Coronavirus pandemic has shaken all the world and caused a massive social distancing. You can suffer from social deprivation, thus your blog, Instagram and other social media accounts will be impacted by that and producing content may seem hard. Here are some tips to keep yourself productive:

  • Maintain your daily routine, even though your lifestyle is changed because of the lockdown.
  • Look through your social media content plans and adjust them according to new obstacles
  • Find inspiration from other bloggers, movies and books, etc.
  • Let yourself have more free time and relaxation
  • Wash your hands and stay at home!

#Team AFP COVID-19 News Update: Friday, April 3


 

About Chris Graham

Chris Graham, the editor of The Augusta Free Press, an award-winning journalist and editor, is a 1994 graduate of the University of Virginia, and has covered Virginia politics since 1997.

An author of seven books, Chris co-wrote Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championshippublished in 2019, and also co-wrote a book on the history of University of Virginia basketball, Mad About U: Four Decades of Basketball at University Hall, which was published in 2006.

Chris has covered University of Virginia sports since 1995, and is a sports broadcaster with experience as a play-by-play man and color analyst on ESPN3 and ESPN+ broadcasts of college baseball, college football, collegiate wrestling and women’s water polo.

He is a member of the Football Writers Assocation of America, the U.S. Basketball Writers Association and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association.

From 2009-2014, Chris was the play-by-play voice of the Waynesboro Generals, a team competing in the Valley Baseball League, a premier college summer baseball league affiliated with Major League Baseball and the NCAA.

The former co-host of ACC Nation, a syndicated radio show that ran for four years, ending in 2007, Chris is currently a contributor to The Mark Moses Show on 95.9-The Fan in Melbourne, Fla.

Chris also served as a member of the creative team and on-air TV commentator for Awesome Wrestling Entertainment on AWE’s Night of the Legends live pay-per-view event in 2011.

Chris wrote a book on that experience, The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, that was published in 2018.

He is also the former co-host of “Viewpoints” on WVPT, a weekly news affairs TV show that aired from 2016-2017.

About Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the digital and social media editor of The Augusta Free Press and vice president of Augusta Free Press LLC.

A graduate of Virginia Tech, she is a member of Gamma Phi Beta.

Crystal began her professional career at The News Virginian (Waynesboro, Va.) in 1999. She has worked as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design.

Crystal covers news and sports for Augusta Free Press. Her news coverage includes a series on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and national and local politics. She also covers UVA athletics for Augusta Free Press, and has covered Nascar, ACC Football Kickoffs and the 2017 and 2018 ACC Basketball tournaments. She is a regular contributor to the “Street Knowledge” podcast also produced by Augusta Free Press.

She was the co-host of Viewpoints, a weekly TV news show on WVPT, a PBS affiliate in Harrisonburg, Va., from 2016-2017, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show on WVPT that aired from 2004-2005. Her work on Virginia Tonight earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.

Crystal served on the board of directors of the Virginia chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and was the area director for AFSP’s Virginia chapter in 2017. Under her leadership, the chapter raised $641,155.43 in campus and community walks. In 2017, the chapter also increased event participation (190 events to 111 previous year), educated more people (10,839 vs 3,711 in previous year) and increased community partners from 38 to 98. The team also secured more than 120 corporate sponsorships during walk season and organized the most successful month of fundraising at Baker’s Crust in the restaurant’s history.

In 2017, she received the Dr. and Mrs. C. Lennart Sanquist Prevention Award from Mental Health America of Augusta for her work in suicide prevention including the formation of a Suicide Prevention Roundtable. Graham was certified in 2019 by LivingWorks Education to teach safeTALK, a half-day workshop that teaches participants to be a suicide alert helper. In 2016, Crystal completed a two-day facilitator training for a Survivors of Suicide Loss Peer-to-Peer Support Group and helped launch a Staunton, Va.-based group. She completed the two-day ASIST intervention training in 2016 also offered by LivingWorks Education and has presented programs to local populations (general public, high school and colleges) including Talk Saves Lives, More than Sad, and It’s Real. In 2017, she also participated in a Dale Carnegie training in Chicago titled “How to Win Friends and Influence People: Leadership Lessons” with Stephen Holgate and Sarah Mannone. Crystal completed a grant writing workshop with Laurie Jarrett Rogers through the University of Virginia School of Continuing and Professional Studies in Richmond. She served on the mental health expert review committee for the Virginia Department of Education working on revisions to the mental-health portions of the SOLs.

In 2019, she started a Facebook Page titled The Ditto Project to further the cause of suicide prevention and education. Her dedication to prevention stems from the loss of her identical twin sister, Christina, who died by suicide and suffered from depression. In addition to suicide prevention and mental health, she also advocates for animals, the arts, youth and LGBTQ+ rights.

She has also previously served as the associate director of the Wayne Theatre Alliance, marketing director of the Waynesboro Generals collegiate summer baseball team and was a volunteer business ambassador with the Greater Augusta Regional Chamber of Commerce.

She is most proud of her series covering local efforts to rebuild after Hurricane Katrina, a prevention campaign with the Central Shenandoah Office on Youth titled “Be the Influence” and efforts around Mental Health Month and a Suicide Prevention Roundtable started in 2016 by Graham.

Businesses excelling during COVID-19

covid-19 economy

(© Alexander Borisenko – stock.adobe.com)

This is a unique time in the history of business because of the COVID-19. Certainly, struggling businesses are making headline news because of the virus outbreak. It is easy to acknowledge the fact that starting a small business is a very challenging task. It takes a certain type of independent, entrepreneurial personality to succeed where others bite the dust.

In addition, it takes strong motivation and passion for the work performed. Without these two traits, the business will struggle. These strange times have led to a new day for those in small business.

There are actually several types of businesses that are making big profits during the COVID-19 outbreak while the stock market predicts failure for some once profitable business stock trading ventures.

The Home Delivery Market

Perhaps, you had your eye on starting a business that involved some type of home delivery structure, but was hesitant because the market was already flooded with this type of business.

The good news is that this is a perfect time for anyone with a home delivery based business to exceed and succeed beyond their wildest dreams. Before recent times people would work hard and party hard on the weekend. They would venture out to their favorite theaters, restaurants, and vacation spots.

Now, more and more people are finding it necessary to use a home delivery service like Dominos, Amazon, Walmart, eBay, Target, and others that make it possible to have food to household goods and more shipped to the home. Shopping online is necessary and a growing market. The customer base for this market is getting larger and larger in the recent scenario of unemployment.

Entertainment

Here is some eye-opening facts that should be noted well. More and more people are confined to the home. Of course, those people that are confined during this outbreak are getting restless and bored. They are struggling to fill their days with some sort of structure that also involves entertainment.

Consequently, another type of business that is exceeding during this time is a platform that provides entertainment to those at home. Think about services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Movies, Hulu. They and other lesser-known sources are really exceeding all economic predictions. The work and play at home economy have led to numerous home entertainment services like video streaming expanding, growing, and earning enormous profits.

Remote Services

Remote services are also thriving. Now, it is possible to provide people with the required help while you are at a remote location that is across town or across the world. Clearly, this is very encouraging for anyone that runs any type of remote service for those at home.

Those who are stuck at home still require medical services and some type of home care that is critical to their existence. For example, TeleMed services are experiencing rapid growth because they provide a critical service to people of all ages that are stuck at home.

Other services like remote schooling or tutoring are also exceeding in this new type of economy. These services provide convenience and ease of access for millions on a daily basis.

Stock Trading

The COVID-19 crisis has certainly affected the stock market and stock trading. The stocks like tesla and others are dropping at enormous rates. People are looking for words of encouragement. The Dow Jones just keeps dropping.

On the surface, this might appear like very negative news for the investor or company with the falling stocks. The good news is that this is a good time for the new investor or established investor to stretch their goals out to new markets. This is an amazing time in stock trading history to really exceed once the crisis is over. Stocks are losing points and the market is certainly dwindling. However, some predict that this is the perfect time to buy low and earn profits, once the market starts to recover. For example, striving retailers and specialty stores like Starbucks watched their stocks take a hit. However, people will soon be back to their old shopping habits and the stocks will recover. Thus, making now a great opportunity to purchase stock at lower market prices.

The fact still remains that it is easy to succeed once you find a market that is hungry for a service or product offered by the company.

Final Thoughts

Well, it’s unfortunate that the International Monetary Fund declared a recession. And that the forecasts predict lockdowns to last longer.

Perhaps trading could work out for you. Remember, you need to be a good critical thinker in this industry as it’s not easy to trade. Nevertheless, the hard work and risk in investing could actually pay off.

Also, before you start and jump on stocks, it’s best to find a credible broker or brokerage that would fit your needs. Find the one that could help you succeed in the field. There are a lot of brokerages out there, that’s why you need to only trust the best.

Aside from that, keeping yourself updated is a must in this field. You must be up to date with the latest and hottest news to be able to keep up with the ever-growing market.

Article by Sudip Mazumdar. Mazumdar is a mechanical engineer as well as a passionate blogger. He is a contributor in many renowned sites, including hackernoon and innovationenterprise.

Unemployment benefits still not coming: ‘Fixing the problem’?

Virginia covid-19

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A March 17 press release from the office of Gov. Ralph Northam promised “Support for Affected Workers,” and in bold reported: “No waiting for unemployment benefits.”

More from there: “Northam has directed the Commissioner of the Virginia Employment Commission to waive the one-week waiting period to ensure workers can receive benefits as soon as possible.”

A local business owner who saw this and decided to shutter so that his employees could quickly get in line for unemployment benefits tells us today that, more than two weeks into this, none have received their first check.

This is unconscionable, as is this notice on the Virginia Employment Commission website, and its half-assed explanation as to what’s going on:

“Currently, the online claim filing system is operational but not sending confirmation numbers. Claims are being received and we are working on fixing the problem.”

And then this bit of nonsense, also from the VEC site:

“VEC will begin issuing $600 provided for by the CARES Act once we have received guidance from the United States Department of Labor and have modified our system to implement that guidance.”

Northam has no trouble doing his best to scare the bejeezus out of people with his breathless pronouncements on how the situation we’re in now won’t last for weeks, but months, no doubt scoring points for himself in terms of just how danged serious he is on COVID-19 wherever they keep score on such things.

People who made decisions based on words that came out under his name are now left to fend for themselves due to Northam’s stunning incompetence.

Business owners who hope to be able to reopen once the current distancing restrictions are relaxed worked the calculus on how much it would cost to keep employees given reductions in economic activity and how the governor said there would be “no waiting for unemployment benefits” and made painful calls to put people on furlough.

Two and a half weeks later, and the best we get is, sorry, we’re working on fixing the problem, and we’re waiting to hear from the feds before we do anything else.

Bullshit.

Look, we can’t go back and retroactively get ourselves ready in terms of the public-health situation we’re in now, though, being fair there, as much criticism as has been thrown at our president, and rightly so, for dropping the ball at the federal level, state leaders have their fair share of blame to bear on this.

Nothing stopped Northam from deciding back on Jan. 20 to start scrounging around for ventilators and N95 masks, implementing physical distancing, making sure hospitals across the Commonwealth were ready.

Nothing stopped him when he took office in 2018 from making sure hospitals had adequate capacity to be able to accommodate a pandemic, and taking steps to get us better ready, as need be, for that matter.

Can’t fix those things, though we’d better make sure, once this crisis has passed, that we’re never that lax again.

But in terms of the unemployment benefits situation, “fixing the problem” ain’t going to cut it.

There are plenty of IT firms currently looking for things to do right now that could be engaged to assist in the effort, and if we need more manpower to answer phones and process claims, well, again, tens of thousands of Virginians who were gainfully employed two weeks ago could be engaged to pitch in and help out.

The sense you get from Northam when he runs in front of the cameras in his pressers is that he expects you to be sad and scared.

What you need to be is pissed off.

You’re following orders, and he’s not following through with what he promised.

Maybe forego the pressers until you get this basic damn thing fixed, huh, bub?

Story by Chris Graham

Augusta County BOS to hold regular meeting with remote participation

news

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The Augusta County Board of Supervisors will hold a regular meeting on Wednesday, April 8, at 7 pm at the Government Center and invites the public to participate remotely.

Members of the public who wish to speak during the meeting are asked to sign up ahead of time online. Only those speakers who have signed up to speak by Wednesday, April 8, at 5 pm will be able to speak during the meeting. Those registered to speak must provide a phone number of where they can be reached between 7-9:30 pm on April 8. The public can also register to speak by calling 540-245-5600.

Gerald Garber, Board of Supervisors Chair, said, “We are paring down our agenda to only include business that is either important to progress or quick to resolve to make the meeting run as efficiently as possible. One important item that we do not want to delay is consideration of the budget and advertising for a future public hearing.”

In order to adhere to the state order prohibiting a public gathering of more than 10 people, only seven board members and three members of staff will be allowed in the boardroom. At the appropriate time, speakers who have signed up and left their phone numbers will be called and will join the meeting live and in-progress.

The public may also make comments or ask questions of the Board using the same online form. Comments will be noted at the meeting and placed in minutes. People can also call 540-245-5600 to leave a comment for the meeting.

Board meetings are also livestreamed on the Augusta County Facebook page.

The agenda packet for the meeting is available online along with the Fiscal Year 2020-21 Proposed Budget.

 

Harrisonburg Police investigating aggravated assault

police

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A victim was stabbed in the arm in the area of Hawkins Street in Harrionburg late Wednesday, and Harrisonburg Police are investigating.

Officers with the HPD received a report at 11 p.m. on April 1 of a victim at Sentara Rockingham Memorial Hospital with an apparent stab wound.

Further investigation revealed that the victim was stabbed in the arm during an altercation that is believed to have occurred in the area of Hawkins Street within half an hour before the victim was brought to the hospital.

The victim is being treated for serious, but non-life-threatening injuries.

HPD’s Major Crimes Unit is currently investigating this incident, which appears to be isolated in nature. It is unknown if the victim and suspect were known to each other at this time.

Anyone who may have witnessed this incident or has information regarding the circumstances or suspect’s identity is asked to contact Detective A.J. Dyer.

To remain anonymous, information may be provided to HPD through Crime Solvers by calling 540-574-5050 or by texting “HPD”
plus the tip to 274637 (CRIMES).

The impact of COVID-19 on sports media

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Among the parts of life impacted by COVID-19: sports media. Which you know if you’re a sports fan, and you came to realize quickly: there’s nothing to watch, talk about endlessly, scramble in the morning to catch up on.

Seton Hall University shared with us a discussion on the impact of COVID-19 on sports media featuring B.J. Schecter, a veteran journalist who spent the last 20 years at Sports Illustrated and most recently served as executive editor of SI and SI.com, and Branden Buehler, an assistant professor of visual and sound media, who teaches general media studies courses and sports media courses, including classes such as “Sports, Media, and Culture,” “The Future of Sports Media,” and “Sports and Film.”

Making me jealous of today’s kids looking to break into sports media, because we didn’t have those kinds of classes 25 years ago, but I digress.

Thanks to Schecter and Buehler, and thanks to Seton Hall, for sharing this.

How is the sports media industry being affected by the current state of COVID-19, such as with sports, tournaments, and now the Olympics being cancelled?

Schecter: The novel coronavirus has affected sports like nothing in history. Usually when there is a significant world event, sports serve as a distraction and a way to unify people. We saw that with 9/11, Hurricane Katrina and many other events throughout history. In this pandemic, sports is a central part of the story, part of the problem. The virus easily spreads in large crowds and I think it will be months, if not years, before people feel comfortable attending events with 80,000-plus people.

Buehler: To speak specifically to sports television, the last few decades have witnessed a huge rise in the number of sports television outlets — a rise that first followed along with the growth of cable television and then, more recently, the growth of internet-distributed television. To a great extent, the expansion of sports television over the last few decades has relied on live sporting events — not just to generate live event coverage itself, but also to generate content that can be discussed in the many studio shows that also fill these outlets’ programming schedules. Without those live sporting events, these many sports television outlets have had to look to alternative programming to fill their schedules. A notable example has been the many outlets uncharacteristically turning to replays of older event telecasts. Of course, the loss of live event coverage has dramatic financial implications.

As more and more television viewers either time shift or watch on demand, and in the process bypass advertising, live sports coverage has had great appeal for advertisers, with viewers largely reluctant to watch sporting events on delay. Both advertisers and sports television networks will be struggling to adjust to the loss of that valuable programming. More generally, sports television networks will, like the rest of the television industry, also potentially have to adapt to a broader decline in advertising as companies reevaluate their marketing budgets.

What are broadcasters and sports journalists talking and writing about?

Schecter: There are still a lot of stories to cover and write about. The beauty of sports is it touches every part of society and is ingrained in our culture. Nearly everyone can relate to sports. In addition, famous athletes (and even some journalists) have a tremendous platform on social media. Many are now using that platform to communicate with the general public and urge them to practice safe measures and social distancing.

Buehler: Without live sporting events to generate coverage, broadcasters have placed even greater emphasis on transactions, with the NFL’s free agency period dominating the coverage on many sports television outlets.  In recent decades, sports media coverage has increasingly focused on managerial activities, with more and more attention paid to player transactions and other roster maneuverings. This trend is perhaps best exemplified by the increasing interest in NFL draft coverage over the last few decades. Unsurprisingly, too, the coronavirus and its effects on the sports world have also dominated discussions.

What role have sports journalists played during this pandemic?

Schecter: A sports journalist is still a journalist, and many have been showcasing their reporting and storytelling skills in news, business and community reporting. They have told and shared so many good stories. They have also spread the message to take the stay-at-home measures seriously (see NBA broadcaster Mike Breen’s video on social media) and have shifted to covering the news of the pandemic.

How do you foresee the next few months taking shape as it relates to Sports Media?

Schecter: Sports is going to play a central role in our recovery and getting back to normalcy. When live sporting events return, people will feel safer and better about things. Many events will begin without fans in attendance, but slowly we’ll get back to normal. I truly believe that once people feel safe going to a baseball or basketball game, they will feel safe resuming their normal lives.

Buehler: Without any certainty regarding the return of live sports, I would expect transactional coverage to continue to play a large role. For example, I would assume that as many outlets as possible will supersize their NFL draft coverage. I also expect that the effects of the coronavirus will continue to dominate coverage, with many discussions centering around either what it might mean to resume suspended seasons or to transition into new ones. Moreover, television networks will likely also keep experimenting with other types of programming that might be able to fill their programming schedules, such as esports coverage. Meanwhile, television networks and advertisers will continue to have to figure out how to adjust to inevitably lower ratings and the loss of event coverage that could be counted on to gather large, live audiences.

Do you have any tips to share with students/community on how to stay tuned with the sports industry during this time?

Schecter: Support media outlets and read, watch and consume everything you can. There is tremendous journalism and storytelling out there. Learn from it and try and add to it. Students have the opportunity to add to the conversation. For instance, Pirate Sports Network seniors Joe Binder and Keith Egan did an incredible job with the series that chronicled the men’s basketball team’s journey through this special season. If you haven’t seen their “One Shining Moment” video yet, you can watch it and the other chapters here.

Buehler: In the Future of Sports Media class that I’m offering this semester — now online — I’ve been asking my students to pay careful attention to sports television programming schedules. These schedules make it abundantly clear how much sports television networks have had to adjust over the last few weeks. These altered schedules then also make it apparent just how much these outlets typically rely on live event coverage.

More on the experts

In 2017, Professional-in-Residence B.J. Schecter was appointed to develop a collaborative and uniquely interdisciplinary Sports Media program at Seton Hall University and, to that end, is working with the College of Communication and the Arts, the  Stillman School of Business’ Center for Sport Management as well as the Seton Hall Sports Poll. Additionally, Schecter serves as the faculty adviser to the University’s award-winning student newspaper, The Setonian.

Currently the editorial director for Baseball America, Schecter has an illustrious background with 25 years of sports media experience. Students in Schecter’s classes directly benefit from his industry experience in editing, writing and producing sports-related content for major media outlets. He has taught journalism courses at high-profile universities throughout the New York metropolitan area, the sports media capital of the world, including Columbia University, CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, Fordham University and the University of New Hampshire School of Law.

An accomplished multimedia editor, Schecter worked in a variety of roles at Sports Illustrated. Over the years, he has supervised investigative teams, reported on college sports, managed website content and edited special projects such as “Crime in College Football” and “50 Most Influential Minorities in Sports.” Prior to Sports Illustrated, Schecter spent five years as a reporter with The Boston Globe.

Branden Buehler is a media studies scholar whose research centers around sports media, with a particular focus on sports television and sports media industries. He received his Ph.D. in Critical Studies from the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts and has published work in The Velvet Light Trap, the Journal of Sport History, and the collection Mapping Queer Space(s) of Praxis and Pedagogy.

Buehler is currently working on a book manuscript exploring the rise of managerial sports media oriented around transactions and player evaluations.

Jay Huff: On yoga, free throws, testing the NBA Draft waters

jay huff

Photo by Daniel Grogan.

Jay Huff said what the rest of us have been thinking about what the 2020 NCAA Tournament could have been for defending champ Virginia: “I think everyone could tell that we were kind of hitting our stride.”

“We actually finished out the season 8-0. And a lot of those games were close, but it was games that, you know, early in the season, we might have lost, you know, we lost a bunch of close ones early on,” the 7’1” redshirt junior said. “So, I think that it was good that, you know, we figured out how to win a lot of those. It’s not like we were blowing teams out, obviously. But a win’s a win, and just, you know, we figured out how to win games.”

The champs, Huff said, had put themselves in a position where they could “do some damage in the tournament.”

“Obviously, who knows, because it’s the NCAA tournament, anything can happen, but it would have been really cool to at least try for another tournament, win another championship,” Huff said.

As it is, the 2019-2020 season ended with the ‘Hoos at 23-7, a second-place finish in the ACC, a 3-2 cumulative record against Florida State, Duke and Louisville.

That 8-0 streak to finish out.

Eleven wins in their last 12.

It took some time to process how it all ended – not with a basketball game, but at a shootaround, when word got to the team that the ACC Tournament had been cancelled, and then the final word on the trip back to Charlottesville that there would be no NCAA Tournament.

“I figured, you know, I think the ACC tournament, I figured we were going to play it. And then once NBA season kind of stopped, me and Mamadi (Diakite) were watching in our room, and once that started getting postponed, and they started sending people home from that, I was like, there’s no way we’re going to play our games, because I could see that things were kind of moving quickly, so I didn’t expect to play. You know, we went to shootaround thinking, you know, we weren’t gonna have fans, but I just wasn’t sure how long that was going to be the case and how quickly that might change,” Huff said.

Then everything else got shut down. For Huff, a redshirt junior in terms of basketball eligibility, but a fourth-year student on course to graduate next month, it meant finishing up his classes online, and not being able to properly say goodbye to college friends.

“I was looking forward to once the season was over, getting to spend some time with some of my friends in school, some of my friends that would be graduating and moving on, because as we all know, I have a fifth year. So, I was looking forward to that,” Huff said.

“It’s not just the end of the season, you know, it’s the end of so many people’s, you know, kind of lives, as they know for the foreseeable future. So, it was it was a lot that just kind of took some time to process, like, just with things going on now, you know, with school with, you know, friends and family, what they were going to do, that whole thing. So, it was really, it took a little bit of time on the drive back to process at first.

“I was just like, well, it’s cancelled, and then eventually, it kind of set in, like, man, like that’s kind of it for the season. So, it was very strange for sure.”

In the here and now, Huff is working on his daily routine – classes, conditioning, including adding yoga to his routine.

Think of 7’1” Jay Huff doing yoga.

“If you think I look funny doing yoga, imagine Jack Salt,” said Huff, planting another image in your head that you won’t be able to erase anytime soon.

“I’m not flexible at all, but just trying to, you know, stay limber and work on the core a little bit, just doing a little bit extra, you know, with all the free time I have, kind of, same as everybody else just trying to find stuff to do. But it’s been good. I’ve enjoyed it.”

Keep this in mind next year when you see Huff racing back a split-second quicker after a hard hedge on a screen and roll, or stretching a little higher to block a shot at the rim.

It was the offseason yoga.

Seriously, Huff made a huge leap on the defensive end this past season. You would have not believed, a year ago, that you’d look at the sports-reference.com list of national leaders in defensive rating and see the name Jay Huff at #1, but there it is.

Huff has always been an elite rim protector, but where he’d get himself in trouble was on his other key responsibility as a big in Tony Bennett’s Pack-Line – the hard hedge, which requires the big to be able to help the guard trap the ball-handler to eliminate the dribble-drive, then after stopping the dribble penetration, racing back to the paint to pick up his man.

“Yeah, I definitely think I got way more confident,” Huff said. “Just, you know, a lot of that, you know, Coach Bennett’s system is obviously really good, but I also think that I was just getting to the point where I didn’t think about it as much, you know. I would get the points in games where I was on the floor for long periods of time, and I would kind of go into autopilot, and I wouldn’t have to think, and I was able to just figure that out, which I think was really good.

“Personally speaking, I like to think that the, you know, the defense spoke for itself, and that the way I was able to help the team was impactful,” Huff said. “You know, a lot of that is just the way our team plays defense as well, like Mamadi, and Braxton (Key), Kihei (Clark). Those are three guys that, you know, I think we can we could stop any team in the country. So I think that, you know, being there to know whether play help defense, or to blow up a ball screen, I think that we figured out how each other works and how we play well together, and just got more comfortable throughout the year, so I think that was a big part of it.”

Huff spent almost the entirety of a roughly 20-minute Zoom conference call with beat writers Thursday talking about next season being something involving him being at Virginia, but he did concede, in response to a question about the possibility of putting his name into the NBA Draft pool, that he is considering testing the waters.

“Yeah, a lot of that depends on, you know, if there’s waters to test,” Huff said. “You know, I did submit the feedback form, the UAC form, just, you know, to hear feedback. Ideally, it would be really cool to test the waters, but it kind of just depends on, you know, what happens, and if there’s workouts to be had, and if there’s, you know, a combine or anything like that. So, you know, we’ll see.”

Huff is, very clearly, the kind of player that NBA front offices covet. You can’t teach 7’1”, for one thing, and then there’s his ability to protect the rim, and that he can hit the three, and work off the three with his athleticism to get himself to the rim off pump-fakes.

There are things he knows he needs to work on.

“I mean, I’d like to realistically improve a lot of it, you know, my free throw percentage, I think could definitely go up,” said Huff, who somehow shot just 54.0 percent from the line this past season, which is odd considering his other shooting numbers – a career 38.5 percent from three-point range, and 59.0 percent from the field.

“I consider myself a good shooter, so that was just never something that made sense to me, you know. I should obviously shoot better than I do from the free throw line. So, I’ve been working on that a lot. And I think I’ve fixed a good portion of that,” Huff said.

Huff also needs to do more in the post: “You know, just developing a couple more moves, and just, you know, using that more.”

One thing about basketball, unlike other sports, is that you can work on so many thinks on your own.

“Kind of just working on everything, with, again, with all this time that I have,” Huff said. “It’s actually really nice it’s a good time to be able to work on my game whether or not, you know, you can get into a gym or not. Always got the hoop in the driveway, at the very least have a ball.”

Assuming he returns, Huff will play a second season as a defending national champ.

“Oh, yeah, people joke a little bit (about that),” Huff said. “I mean, that was kind of, I think, the whole team’s first thought, like, when that we were at shootaround when we got the news that the ACC tournament was canceled, and then everything spiraled after that. But our initial thought was, well, you know, if the season’s over, we’re still technically champs. So, that was, I don’t mind it. I think it’s a good thing. Some people have joked about it, not in a negative way. So, I don’t mind it at all.”

Story by Chris Graham

Indonesia sports betting: Insider scoop on how to make the most of every bet

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Indonesia is a particularly famous land that attracts potential quantity of game fanatics from all over the world. Yes. People do tend to flock towards the enigmatic spell of Indonesia Sports Betting which stands its ground as a pretty lucrative option for those who really want to make it big in the arena of online betting. Indonesia brings you a truly thriving market in the form of sports betting and e-sports betting. You can count on it as you will be able to enjoy the best aspects of the market provided you choose to play putting your heart and mind into it.

Sports betting in Indonesia is like total fun. In case, you are in love with virtual sports betting and happen to be on the prowl for the best betting destinations in the world, then Indonesia is where you should look for your options. The protocols will go easy on you. The best part of the deal is that you will never run out of your options.

Regulated and safe betting ambiance

It is the beauty of Indonesia that you can get to have a seamless access to a highly regulated and controlled betting atmosphere. There’d be nothing like unsolicited and underworld gambling. Things are supposed to be properly monitored here. Thus, it definitely leaves you with a completely legal version of betting where you can choose to play officially and make some fortune out of it.

Different betting options

If you really make it a point to be a part of the effervescent world of Indonesia Sports Betting then this domain has something for you. As you choose to play, you will get your chances to bet in badminton, football, baseball, basketball, Sepak Takraw, Tennis, Sbobet88, Pacuan Kuda, Formula 1 game, Boxing, Tina, horse racing etc. Each one of the betting options happens to be profit belching and you would definitely love to venture into them more profoundly.

Benefits you can get from Indonesia Sports Betting

You will find a perfect route to a bevy of soul stirring benefits after you get the pleasure of Indonesia Sports Betting. As you plan to play Sbobet88, you will get access to immediate benefits. The benefits are indeed alluring. Here’s a quick spec of a trail of interesting benefits that you attain after playing the game.

  • Easy payment methods
  • Discounts and bonus points
  • Live streaming options
  • HTTPS encryption
  • Multilingual support systems
  • A volley of entertaining e sports available
  • Huge betting marketplace in Indonesia
  • Video tutorials are available to make you an ace in this game
  • Positive odds to your advantage
  • Statistics segment in most of the sites which will immensely help you perfect your gaming style
  • Support available from virtual private network
  • Facility of e-wallet
  • Sports books are available for you to take a look at the best options
  • More than 1000 websites available where from you can start playing

Would it be safe?

Sports Betting Indonesia stands apart from nefarious gambling options which one might come across online. These games are thoroughly monitored by Indonesian government and this is the reason that makes it a safe option for you. As it comes to playing Sbobet88, you can consider yourself lucky because this game is one of the most secure game options. The laws being a bit stringent you can stay out of cyber threats and other kinds of trouble. Besides, you can take the guidance from ace players here who have been in the domain for long. That would make you proficient in the subtleties of this trade. However, you should always make it a point to dig deep inside the gambling laws. Doing the same, you will know what is going to be right for you and how.

Superior customer support offered by all major gaming sites

As you decide to take a wager in the domain of Indonesia Sports Betting fraternities especially with an intention of playing Sbobet88, you can at least rest assured that you will be in receipt of a great deal of empathetic support from the service providers in this territory. When you choose to venture into a particular site (dealing in sports betting in Indonesia) you can get enough tech support from the representatives of the site which will eventually help you notch up your gaming style.

At the fag end of the discussion, we do believe that you are definitely going to make quite a fortune after you choose to safely play a wager in the domain or world of Indonesia Sports Betting. You can bet that there would be many laurels to claim and you will find yourself in a comfy situation with torrential profit margins at your credit. So, if you are really looking for sports betting which combines fun with profits, then hit the jackpot in Indonesia. This is the place on earth which awaits you with the best odds.

ACLU offers voting tips during COVID-19 pandemic

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The ACLU of Virginia provided a series of recommendations earlier this week to Gov. Ralph Northam on how to alleviate the negative impact COVID-19 will have on the ability of Virginians to participate in upcoming elections.

The specific recommendations show how the administration can ensure that voting in all 2020 elections can occur safely and without disenfranchising any eligible voters. Additionally, the ACLU of Virginia pulled out seven steps that require urgent action and laid out how each one can be implemented immediately using the legislative process.

The document focuses on three main issues: safely expanding access to voting by mail, ensuring fairness in returning and counting absentee ballots, and maintaining in-person polling locations.

“Government officials must act quickly and decisively to protect all Virginians during this time of crisis, but it cannot be used as an excuse to curtail our civil rights,” said Executive Director Claire Guthrie Gastañaga. “We must preserve the cornerstone of our democracy – the right to vote – even when it’s difficult.”

The ACLU of Virginia urged the governor to work together with the Department of Elections and local registrars and electoral boards to adopt and fund the list of recommendations.

The ACLU of Virginia has also set up a hotline to receive information on civil right and civil liberties violations in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Anyone with information should email COVID19@acluva.org or call (804) 803-3566.

Sexual, domestic violence advocates warn of increased risks

Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action AllianceThe Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance joins with the Legal Aid Justice Center’s call to public officials to take aggressive action to protect low-income Virginia residents and communities of color and reiterates the critical importance of ensuring the safety of all survivors of sexual assault and intimate partner violence during this public health crisis.

As a result of physical distancing measures designed to support public health, perpetrators have increased access at home to those they harm.  Accordingly, we are seeing an increase in the need for services to survivors.  It is imperative that public officials take urgent action to protect the well-being and safety of survivors.

Even in times of crisis, the justice system must work to ensure the safety of victims of sexual assault and intimate partner violence. Specifically, the Action Alliance makes the following recommendations:

  • As courts consider suspending civil dockets, exceptions for “emergency filings” must include all services needed for victims of sexual assault and intimate partner violence to maintain health, safety, and well-being.  This includes civil protective order filings, emergency custody and child support filings, and certain pendente lite filings.
  • As Judges and Magistrates consider releasing people who appear before them to prioritize their health and safety, victim safety must remain a primary consideration.  High risk perpetrators of sexual assault or intimate partner violence should not be released without consideration to and planning for the safety and well-being of victims of violence when such release could lead to continued violence or even loss of life and jeopardize community safety.  This is particularly important given the mobility limitations victims now face which create additional barriers to escaping abusive situations.
  • Although missed appearances in court should not result in bench warrants, default judgments are still appropriate in emergency circumstances where a party fails to appear or file a responsive pleading. This includes civil protective orders and emergency custody and support orders where relief is needed to ensure the safety and well-being of victims and their families.
  • Although Judges should authorize suspending the collection of fines, fees, and costs related to court cases, Judges should not suspend orders for family support and financial restitution.  Victims and their children are particularly vulnerable to eviction, homelessness, and economic insecurity during this time.  Orders for child or spousal support should continue to be enforced and should not be suspended without an alternative plan in place to ensure the safety and well-being of victims and their families.
  • As law enforcement officers and deputies consider using summons as a last resort, arrests should continue to be made in intimate partner violence and sexual violence situations where necessary to ensure the safety of victims and their families.  Officers should not issue mutual arrests or request mutual warrants, particularly during this time where victims are left with few options and may be required to defend themselves.  Officers should continue to consider the factors found in Virginia Code § 19.2-81.3 when determining which person is the predominant physical aggressor when intimate partner violence has occurred
  • Law enforcement officers and Commonwealth Attorneys should consistently enforce protective orders during this time, and, in particular, protective order violations.  Priority should be given to preventing firearm access for respondents in protective orders, and, where possible, safe collection of firearms when serving protective orders.  The presence of firearms significantly escalates lethality in sexual assault and intimate partner violence, and this is even more true during this time of national crisis.
  • Like many of our partners, we share concerns about the safety, health, and well-being of Virginians who are incarcerated. We agree that the Virginia Department of Corrections (DOC) and local jails should examine all release processes and mechanisms under their control and consider employing them liberally and expeditiously except in cases where an incarcerated individual poses an ongoing risk to the health and safety of others.  We must insist that officials prioritize safety for survivors of sexual and domestic violence from all communities during this time of limited mobility and access to services. They can do so by applying evidence-based assessments for risk of future violence and by taking steps to invest in community corrections and alternatives to incarceration which seek to increase health and safety while also managing high risk behaviors and risk of recidivism.  At this time when domestic and sexual violence is escalating and access to community support for survivors and families is becoming more limited, it would be reckless to ignore the fact that this violence often repeats and intensifies during times of natural disaster, pandemics, and other crises.

For survivors and concerned family and friends

While Action Alliance staff have moved to working remotely, the Statewide Hotline is operational and continues to be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

If you need support or help with planning for safety:

Philipp Hana discusses next-generation design and branding for businesses

marketing strategy

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It is becoming increasingly apparent that the next generation of new companies will handle crucial elements such as design and branding much more flexibly with agencies as they do today. Many also seem to be seeking complete independence. Philipp Hana, the founder of X10 design is at the forefront of what global start-ups deal with on a day to day basis. He answered a few questions on how entrepreneurs and business owners can approach the creative process right now.

As we enter Q2 in 2020, we are at a time of guaranteed protracted recession on a global scale. In terms of keeping a new business lean and competitive: how do businesses respond and what is your advice to them?

Philipp Hana: This is a good question, and I will look at new companies first: The temptation with new companies reacting to economic downturns is first, to cut costs and second, to be too certain that there is a huge market for their product or service. This misconception seems likely, given the rose-coloured glasses of many start-up founders. However, these are exactly the times that need to be used to push forward and outpace the competition. But: We know, it is difficult to combine good marketing and cost savings.

Large companies and established businesses tend to remain unaffected by such an economic situation, or at least that is what they believe. In these cases, we see a greater need for re-engagement and customer retention, followed by innovative diversification in their offerings. As a design and brand strategy consultancy, we use different ways to help both of these segments communicate their message effectively, in a way that stands out from the competition.

Are we in a time when a lot of new consultants are popping up?

Philipp Hana: Yes, we seem to be entering such a time, amongst other factors, because facing massive lay-offs that affect entire industries, there are many experts who lose jobs too – and they might start their own consulting businesses. The same holds true for non-consulting businesses. I am reminded of what we saw during the 2008 recession – we’re seeing that again now. There are massive shifts taking place in the job market. To me it is exciting because having years of experience in helping new businesses to grow rapidly, we can provide that missing component that they need during the early stages of their businesses. Remember that many consultants, other experts and innovators are great at doing their job – but owning a business or creating a new brand: well, it might be their first time, so we have to support them diligently.

How can a new business communicate a core vision, especially in troubled times?

Philipp Hana: Good question, it makes me smile since that is actually what our core vision revolves around. We want to enable founders to communicate their core vision. I concentrate on the founder of a company specifically since they usually understand this better than anyone: they know what the brand values are and should therefore be involved closely during the design phase, when their professional brand appearance gets created. My ethos is to make all the necessary tools and design guidelines available so that innovators can own the process themselves. This is saves money and time and also reduces a lot of frustration when a non-designer has to trust an agency. Agencies typically re-invent the wheel with unnecessary research and associated costs. Having faced some of those challenges myself, this inspired me to create X10.

Can you tell us more about X10?

Philipp Hana: It was created as an effective market solution to provide complete and easy guidance to improve design, so that non-designers can confidently express their concept. In an omnichannel environment with mobile phones and one-button instant image editing, it is more important than ever to deliver design that convinces, that can elicit emotion and be differentiated from the competition. Well, any good agency can achieve this, but at what cost? The idea behind X10 is to enable convincing results that don’t bear our signature, but the signature of the founder. Beyond my online material, I am of course also available for a more comprehensive 1:1 consulting service for entrepreneurs and business owners who want to refine their concept or get deeper into advanced design strategies using 3D, VR and other advanced design tools. At X10 we focus on how you can improve, rebuild or start your ideal brand and design and then take it to next level.

Can you share more about your guidebook on design fundamentals?

Philipp Hana: Sure. It is something that was developed to help non-professionals to quickly grasp the most important elements of design so that they can use their own inspiration and ideas to create exactly what they have in mind, in a way that potential customers perceive it well. You can think of it as simple steps to create a professional brand.

Has COVID-19 made you worried about your food supplies? This home grower may be able to help

covid-19 economy

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COVID-19 looks as if it is here to stay for some time, and that being the case, the best thing we can all do now is to start planning and preparing for the long months ahead.

We can use this terrible virus to reflect on our dependence on mass-produced, supermarket supplied food and consider making a change to become home growers.

With the world-altering events that have occurred as a consequence of the terrible Coronavirus pandemic, many people are concerned whether they have enough food supplies and whether they will be able to replenish what with the panic buyers stripping shelves in every supermarket.

Unfortunately, there may be no short-term solution to this other than trying to reserve your current supplies and requesting home deliveries to ensure you keep in line with the current social distancing protocol.

If however you were to start trying to break your reliance on the supermarkets and begin to home grow, in as little as a few months you could have your own food supply that you can be confident is safe, healthy and nourishing for you and your family.

Don’t worry, it’s not as hard as you think…

One of the first issues that any prospective home grower will have to overcome is that of finding an optimal grow space.

For those of you with gardens or plots of land this shouldn’t be an issue and not only will it fully utilize this space but will also give you some great exercise and relieve the boredom of quarantine with a nice little hobby.

Individuals who do not have a garden or outdoor area, don’t worry!

Experience has shown it is actually far easier and less physically demanding if you use an indoor grow tent setup.

There are various different types of indoor grow tents or grow tent kits available to purchase and of course each one has its own particular set of specifications in terms of both space and functionality.

For new home growers, we recommend following these three simple hints:

1. Grow Tent Size & Potential Yield

It is important initially to have a baseline of how many plants you wish to grow as this will have a direct impact on the size of your tent you will need.

It follows of course that this will be dictated by your available space. A good rule of thumb to follow though is

  • 1-2 large plants/vegetables or 4 small = 2ft x 2ft grow tent
  • 4 large plants/vegetables or 16 small = 4ft x 4ft grow tent
  • 6 large plants/vegetables or 20 plus small = 5ft x 5ft grow tent

2. Nutrients Required for Indoor Growing

Whether you opt for a soil-based grow or one of the soilless grows such as with hydroponics, aquaponics or aeroponics you will still need to give your plants and vegetables the required nutrition.

There are plenty of organic fertilizers you can easily order online but if you want to enhance your sustainability credentials, why not try home composting.

This is a clever way of being both environmentally friendly whilst at the same time saving on the outlay for nutrient supplements and or fertilizers.

3. Indoor Ventilation

This is a lot simpler than it sounds so don’t panic!

To give your plants and vegetables the required ventilation all that you initially require is an air intake valve or tube and an exhaust fan or even a window to all that hot air out.

It is essential to maintain the correct humidity levels when growing indoors. In winter with the heating on continuously, the air is most certainly going to be drier than in the summer.

But each plant and vegetable is different and it is essential you do your research before you begin so you can best adapt your home grow to your own personal specifications

Many grow tent kits supplied by reputable firms come with built-in humidifiers and fans that control ventilation and air circulation extremely well.

By following these simple guidelines you can ensure that you have a surplus of sustainable, healthy and nutritious produce in no time.

It is important that through all the turmoil and difficulty that coronavirus has pushed on us we remain positive, adaptable and productive. By starting on your journey as a home grower you will accomplish all of these things and hopefully be in a much more positive and enlightened position when this all passes.

We should all take this opportunity to reflect on how our actions impact others and try to make positive changes to help each other.

Written by Joe Davies. Davies is a home growing enthusiast and freelance writer.

Shenandoah County: Route 620 closing April 6 for bridge replacement

road

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A portion of Route 620 (Smith Creek Road) in Shenandoah County is scheduled to close for about eight months beginning Monday, April 6, as contractors replace a low-water bridge over Smith Creek. Route 620 will be closed about 0.2 miles south of the intersection with Route 732 (Cardinal Road) near the town of New Market.

Motorists using Route 620 will follow a roughly eight-mile detour route as follows:

  • Northbound drivers will go west on Route 211 (Lee Highway), north on Route 11 (Congress Street/Old Valley Pike) and east on Route 732 to return to Route 620.
  • Southbound drivers will go west on Route 732, south on Route 11 (Old Valley Pike/Congress Street) and east on Route 211 (Lee Highway) to return to Route 620.

This project replaces a 1932 single-lane bridge that is past its service life. The new two-lane bridge will be about three feet higher, which will result in fewer days that the road is closed due to flooding. The new bridge will include railing, which the old structure does not have. Safety will also be improved with the realignment of the new bridge to the existing roadway. Additional information is found at: www.virginiadot.org/projects/staunton/shenandoah_county_-_route_620_smith_creek_road_-_smith_creek_bridge.asp.

The Virginia Department of Transportation on January 20, 2020, awarded a $1,166,028.70 construction contract to National Bridge Builders LLC of Kernersville, N.C. The contract has a fixed completion date of December 18, 2020. All work is weather permitting.

Traffic alerts and traveler information can be obtained by dialing 511. Traffic alerts and traveler information also are available at www.511Virginia.org.

The VDOT Customer Service Center can assist with reporting road hazards, asking transportation questions, or getting information related to Virginia’s roads. Call 800-FOR-ROAD (800-367-7623) or use its mobile friendly website at my.vdot.virginia.gov. Agents are available 24 hours-a-day, seven days a week.

The Staunton District Twitter feed is at @VaDOTStaunton. VDOT can be followed on Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and YouTube. RSS feeds are also available for statewide information. The VDOT Web page is located at www.VirginiaDOT.org.

The VDOT Staunton District serves Frederick, Shenandoah, Clarke, Warren, Page, Rockingham, Augusta, Highland, Rockbridge, Alleghany and Bath counties.

 

Why win and loss limits help achieve success in gaming

gambling

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There are many people who play games online but refuse to set their win and loss limits. While that works for some of these people, it can lead to large monetary losses if you are not careful. Fortunately, most players follow the same methods as the professionals. It never hurts to know your limits before you enter the casino, as it can ensure devastating losses which is something that every player wants to avoid. Below, you will discover the many benefits of win and loss limits can help players achieve success in gaming.

Eliminates Extensive Loss

Hundreds if not thousands of people are addicted to gaming. Many of these individuals will spend their last dollar, hoping they will recover some of their loss. Some will but most will walk away with an even more monetary losses. Setting your win and loss limits prior to entering the casino can help eliminate extensive loss. How is that possible? Well, it can prevent you from exceeding your budget.

Put Your Mind At Ease

When your mind is at ease, you can spend more time focusing on your gameplay and less time on negative things. With that said, there are several methods that players utilize to put their minds at ease. One of those methods involves meditation, a common practice utilized to achieve mental awareness, calm, and focus. The most successful players rely on meditation to improve their odds of winning. Even more, rely on win and loss limits. Just knowing what your skills are capable of right from the very start can help put your mind at ease. You can utilize the same practice when playing Baccarat online.

More Equal Playtime

It depends on how much and often you go to the casino but it is likely that you find yourself playing for hours every time you go. If you are like most people, you have to drive a long distance to a brick-and-mortar casino. If not, then you have more time to spend playing and less time driving. With that said, it is recommended to split your win and loss limits into equal parts. This works extremely well for players who split their time between the casino and sightseeing or shopping. Once you set your loss limit, you will need to divide into the number of visits to the casino. For example, if your loss limit is $400, which will give you $100 to spend on each playing session.

Have More Controlled

Unfortunately, too many players do not have control over their loss or win limits. They will lose and continue dipping into their savings in an attempt to recover. Yes, most players will continue to play when they are on a winning streak. This works great and all but what happens when you cannot stop playing? Well, it could eventually lead to a devastating loss. So, all the effort and money you put into play during the session will be for not. Is it a good idea to keep playing when you are on a winning streak? Well, the experts agree that every player should have more control over their actions even if they are winning.

John Michelson is a professional writer, editor Internet marketing specialist. He is passionate about writing the news which is covered in all aspects.

Ben Cline announces 2020 Congressional Art Competition

Ben ClineCongressman Ben Cline announced the 2020 Congressional Art Competition, an opportunity to recognize and encourage the artistic talent in the Sixth Congressional District of Virginia.

The Congressional Art Competition is open to all high school students in the District. The winning artwork will be displayed for one year in the U.S. Capitol alongside other pieces from across the country and will also be featured on House.gov’s Congressional Art Competition page.

While schools remain closed due to the coronavirus, the Congressional Art Competition will continue as planned. This competition will allow students to remain engaged and hone their skills.

“All students from Virginia’s Sixth Congressional District are encouraged to participate in this year’s art competition,” Cline said. “This is a wonderful opportunity to showcase artistic ability and for the selected winner to have their art on display for thousands of Capitol visitors throughout the next year. I am pleased that the competition will continue on as planned, and that the event has moved to electronic submissions to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved.”

Artwork must be two-dimensional. Each framed artwork can be no larger than 26 inches high, 26 inches wide, and 4 inches deep. If your artwork is selected as the winning piece, it must arrive in Washington, DC, framed. Even when framed, it must still measure no larger than the above maximum dimensions. No framed piece should weigh more than 15 pounds.

Accepted mediums for the two-dimensional artwork are as follows:

  • Paintings: oil, acrylics, watercolor, etc.
  • Drawings: colored pencil, pencil, ink, marker, pastels, charcoal (It is recommended that charcoal and pastel drawings be fixed.)
  • Collages: must be two-dimensional
  • Prints: lithographs, silkscreen, block prints
  • Mixed Media: use of more than two mediums such as pencil, ink, watercolor, etc.
  • Computer-generated art
  • Photographs

Each entry must be original in concept, design, and execution and may not violate U.S. copyright laws. Any entry that has been copied from an existing photo or image (including a painting, graphic, or advertisement) that was created by someone other than the student is a violation of the competition rules and will not be accepted. For more information on copyright laws, we recommend you visit the Scholastic website: www.artandwriting.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/A-Guide-to-Copyright-and-Plagiarism.pdf.

Due to COVID-19, submissions will only be accepted electronically. Students should submit photographs of their entry and the Student Release Form to ArtCompetitionVA06@mail.house.gov.

The Student Release Form can be found at cline.house.gov/services/art-competition.

Entries are due by May 1, 2020. A winner will be announced May 7. For more information, contact District Director Debbie Garrett at (540) 885-3861 or Staff Assistant Tyler Hook at (202) 225-5431.

Luria launches COVID-19 resources webpage

Elaine LuriaCongresswoman Elaine Luria unveiled her office’s updated COVID-19 resources page, which will serve as a one-stop-shop for constituents seeking information regarding the CARES Act and critical public health resources.

You can find the website by clicking here.

Over the last few weeks, Congresswoman Luria and her team compiled information from federal, state, and local officials to create this webpage. It contains helpful guidance and links spanning from food distribution locations to FAQs on the stimulus payments implemented by the CARES Act.

“As Coastal Virginia’s representative in Congress, I have a duty to ensure constituents are informed during this public health crisis,” said Luria. “I am excited to launch a webpage that will give constituents an abundance of information to help them navigate COVID-19-related challenges. This is just one way my team and I are working to provide Coastal Virginians with the most up-to-date information during this difficult time.”

The purpose of the new COVID-19 resources webpage is to give constituents a one-stop-shop to find guidance based on their needs. It will be updated regularly to ensure that Coastal Virginians receive the most current and relevant information.

$52M to go toward housing assistance in Virginia

coronavirus politics

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U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine announced $52,292,406 in federal funding to support access to safe and affordable housing throughout Virginia.

The funding is part of the first allocation of grants from the coronavirus relief package signed into law last week.

“We’re pleased to see significant funding go directly towards supporting Virginians with affordable housing during this pandemic,” said the senators. “We will continue fighting to ensure people across the Commonwealth get the federal assistance they need.”

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded the funding through three grant programs – the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, the Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) program, and the Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS (HOPWA) program.

The funding will be awarded as shown below.

The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program provides annual grants on a formula basis to states, cities, and counties to develop viable urban communities by providing decent housing and a suitable living environment and expanding economic opportunities, principally for low- and moderate-income persons. The following localities will receive funding through the CDBG program:

RecipientAmount
Alexandria$671,570.00
Blacksburg$314,277.00
Bristol$159,013.00
Charlottesville$246,699.00
Chesapeake$690,158.00
Christiansburg$62,234.00
Colonial Heights$62,237.00
Danville$517,740.00
Fredericksburg$115,302.00
Hampton$587,909.00
Harrisonburg$314,293.00
Hopewell$123,919.00
Lynchburg$420,487.00
Newport News$769,836.00
Norfolk$2,653,164.00
Petersburg$371,969.00
Portsmouth$949,655.00
Radford$105,448.00
Richmond$2,683,549.00
Roanoke$1,056,225.00
Staunton$207,590.00
Suffolk$282,715.00
Virginia Beach$1,209,508.00
Waynesboro city$114,079.00
Winchester$133,624.00
Arlington County$830,027.00
Chesterfield County$861,295.00
Fairfax County$3,506,542.00
Henrico County$1,017,678.00
Loudoun County$831,931.00
Prince William County$1,585,562.00
Virginia Nonentitlement$10,993,780.00

The Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) program provides annual grants to state, local, and private entities to assist people in quickly regaining stability in permanent housing after experiencing a housing crisis and/or homelessness. In addition to rapid re-housing and homelessness prevention, the ESG program also provides limited funding for street outreach as well as for improving the quality and number of emergency homeless shelters. The following localities will receive funding through the ESG program:

 

RecipientAmount
Norfolk$1,328,583.00
Richmond$1,351,959.00
Roanoke$525,434.00
Virginia Beach$606,131.00
Fairfax County$1,699,586.00
Henrico County$508,566.00
Prince William County$791,662.00
Virginia Nonentitlement$10,375,562.00

 

The Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) program provides housing assistance and related supportive services to local units of government, states, and non-profit organizations for projects that benefit low-income persons medically diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. The following localities will receive funding through the HOPWA program:

 

RecipientAmount
Richmond$194,445.00
Virginia Beach$282,244.00
Virginia Nonentitlement$178,219.00

 

Eat healthy, support Virginia economy, eating fresh Virginia seafood

Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer ServicesRanking first on the East Coast and third in the nation in seafood landings, Virginia’s seafood industry features a vast array of species for every dish.

Oysters, sea scallops, clams and blue crabs lead a list of around 50 commercially valuable species that are harvested in Virginia. Seafood is a high-protein food that is low in calories, total fat, and saturated fat.

Virginia seafood is harvested daily and available for purchase. As the coronavirus spread has closed many Virginia restaurants, buying local is now more important than ever before, as it helps support Virginia’s economy and businesses.

“Seafood is an excellent source of protein, that is low in saturated fat and a good source of omega-3 fatty acids,” said Mike Hutt, Executive Director, Virginia Marine Products Board. “Please do your part in supporting Virginia’s hard-working watermen by enjoying fresh Virginia seafood.”

Click here to find a seafood retailer near you, or for information on companies selling direct to consumers please contact the Virginia Marine Products Board at infovaseafood@vdacs.virginia.gov.

For information on how to properly handle and store seafood, please visit www.virginiaseafood.org/about-virginia-seafood/virginia-seafood-handling-safety-and-health/.

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services reminds the public to practice social distancing by maintaining a distance of at least six feet from other individuals.

Virginia representatives urge lenders to help small business

covid-19 economy

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Reps. Don Beyer, Jennifer Wexton and Gerry Connolly held a conference call Thursday with representatives of over a dozen Virginia lending institutions to discuss questions and concerns about the Paycheck Protection Program loan program.

The program, established by the CARES Act to support small businesses hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic, will begin accepting applications Friday morning.

“The clear intent of Congress in creating this program was to make this the simplest, easiest, fastest loan small business owners have ever gotten so they get the help they need right away. We urge lenders to do all they can to help small businesses in need. Millions of people are depending on them.

“The Small Business Administration and Department of Treasury must clarify their guidelines with all possible haste to be ready to support the small businesses which make up the backbone of the American economy. Without a clear application process and strong directives from the federal government, the PPP loan program tomorrow will descend into chaos and bedlam. That must not happen.”

One lender predicted to the representatives that Friday would be “one of the craziest days in the history of modern banking.” Another said that because of a lack of guidance from the Small Business Administration and the Treasury Department lenders “don’t understand the program.”

The major concerns lenders expressed to the Members of Congress revolved around the lack of public awareness about the circumstances under which PPP loans would be forgiven, who would make the determination on loan forgiveness, and the extent to which the federal government would shield lenders from risks incurred by such loans.

The members of Congress, who serve on relevant committees of jurisdiction, responded by emphasizing heavily that Congress’ goal in creating the PPP loan program was to allow small businesses to make payroll, protect workers, and survive the economic crisis. They strongly encouraging lenders to do all they can to support small businesses in need, and to inform them of fixes needed in the law to ensure its success.

No Valley League Baseball in 2020 due to COVID-19

baseball

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The Valley Baseball League has shut down for the 2020 season due to COVID-19.

The VBL season would have been set to start in early June. Players for the league come from colleges and universities whose spring seasons had already been shut down by the NCAA.

League commissioner Bruce Alger confirmed the news in a release posted to the VBL website late Thursday.

“As the Commissioner of the Valley Baseball League, it is with much sadness that I pass on to you that the Executive Committee unanimously agreed to officially cancel our 2020 Valley Baseball League season,” Alger said in the release.

More from the release:

Set to begin in about eight weeks, the league has decided that the risk is just too great. The players will be released from their contracts to pursue other activities.

The league is thankful for the incredible sponsorship’s over past years and in preparation for this summer, and hopes that sponsors will choose to rejoin the league in the future. That money, however, would be better served to support local businesses and families in need in this trying time.

The league is in planning stages for a great 2021 season, so while we will miss the great VBL fans at the ballpark this summer, it will make the resumption of the league in 2021 all the more sweet.

The Valley League wishes everyone remains healthy and safe for the duration of our epidemic.

George Mason’s Ian Boyd to teturn for fifth year of eligibility

george masonGeorge Mason guard Ian Boyd will return to the Patriot roster in 2020-21 after sitting out the 2019-20 season with an injury.

Boyd, known for his timely shots, hustle plays and superior effort on the court, will complement a talented group of returners for head coach Dave Paulsen, including all five starters from last season.

“I’m very excited than Ian has decided to come back for his fifth year,” Paulsen said. “This past 18 months, while battling incredible adversity, he has been the consummate teammate and really helped our program, even when he couldn’t suit up on the court. I’ve never had a player who loves to play the game of basketball as much as Ian. He is a competitor through and through. Ian is a proven scorer who provides a veteran presence and toughness which will help us in close games next season.”

During his first three seasons in a Mason uniform, Boyd played in 95 career games for the Patriots while often providing a key boost off the bench as the sixth man for the Green & Gold.

He has scored 598 career points in a Patriot uniform, despite being hampered by a wrist injury for much of his junior campaign. He was shooting 42.3 percent from 3-point range and averaging 8.1 points as a junior before sustaining the injury. That injury kept Boyd out for the 2019-20 season as he recovered from surgery.

The Apex, N.C., product averaged 7.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.2 assists as a sophomore in 2017-18. During that season, Boyd famously hit three consecutive buzzer beaters for the Patriots, earning him the nickname “Mr. SportsCenter” and earning him a live appearance on the flagship ESPN news show.

“My teammates, coaches and our supporters at Mason have become my second family,” Boyd said. “I love being a part of this program and it means a lot to be able to play another season in a Mason uniform. I can’t wait to get back on the court.”

Spanberger urges administration to suspend tariffs on PPE

Abigail SpanbergerAbigail Spanberger today urged the administration to immediately suspend all tariffs on the imports of medical supplies and PPE during the coronavirus pandemic.

In a letter sent to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and U.S. Ambassador to China Terry E. Branstad, Spanberger and 19 of her colleagues called for an immediate suspension of Section 301 tariffs on PPE and other medical supplies critical to the fight against COVID-19.

“While we continue to support American manufacturers and innovation, there simply are not enough medical supplies and PPE domestically to alleviate the burden on our healthcare system. The tariffs add substantially to costs and delays in obtaining life-saving equipment and supplies to our healthcare providers who are in a life-and-death struggle,” said Spanberger and her colleagues. “We can – and must – do more to enable those on the front lines to do their jobs effectively and without fear that they might become infected or spread the virus themselves.”

Since the coronavirus pandemic began, Spanberger has fought to secure the personal protective equipment needed by healthcare professionals on the front lines of the crisis.

Last week, Spanberger urged the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to use its authorities under the Defense Production Act to provide immediate, additional supplies of PPE to nursing homes and long-term care facilities in Central Virginia and across the country.

Warner urges OMB to clarify relief for national security contractors

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U.S. Sen. Mark Warner asked the Office of Management and Budget to issue needed direction for consistent implementation of a section in the CARES Act that provides relief to the contractor community supporting many critical national security missions.

In a letter to Acting Director Russell Vought, Sen. Warner stressed the importance of promptly issuing clear direction to agencies and contracting officers in order to assure continuity in the contractor community and avoid agencies issuing their own guidance, creating a confusing patchwork for industry.

“Without such overarching directive, I fear that agencies and their contracting officers will take disparate approaches, leading to uncertainty and instability in the contractor industrial base, if not a permanent loss of capability,” wrote Sen. Warner. “In addition, I want to avoid draconian cutbacks that may create significant counterintelligence risks.”

Section 3610 of the CARES Act allows government agencies to continue to pay contractors if they cannot perform their work because of coronavirus-related restrictions, such as the closure of federal or contractor facilities and/or the inability to telework. Such restrictions disproportionately affect contractors who perform classified work that cannot be undertaken outside of a secure facility.

In his letter, Sen. Warner noted that agencies are already issuing implementation memoranda that potentially diverge from one another. He also requested that any directive:

    • Fully endorses and supports contractors teleworking or otherwise working remotely, and payment therewith, consistent with mission requirements, law, and Office of Personnel Management memorandum M-18-20, “Managing Federal Contract Performance Issues associated with the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)”;
  • Applies equally to contractor work conducted at government or contractor facilities or sites, whether they support unclassified or classified work;
  • Provides a fair cost reimbursement methodology that allows for reasonable direct and indirect costs and in-progress payments for work normally paid on a lump-sum basis;
  • Provides standard contract modification language, preferably made available within 15 days of issuance of OMB guidance, to maintain ready state (on-call) contractor capability, reflects dependencies on subcontractors and suppliers whose performance may be impaired by COVID-19, and adjust contract performance issues, including reductions in scope or schedule changes due to COVID-19;
  • Allows expedited consideration of extensions in periods of performance and adjustments in contract ceiling values to minimize unnecessary disruption in contract execution for the duration of the emergency; and
  • Applies to contractor work done for all government agencies to the greatest extent practicable to promote consistency for existing and new work.

Leaders urge Northam to protect public schools, students, staff

covid-19

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Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy, D-Woodbridge, led 11 of her colleagues in the Virginia legislature to send a letter to Gov. Ralph Northam, urging his administration to continue to stand behind protecting those that work in Virginia’s public schools, and the communities they serve.

The letter calls on the administration to:

  • Work with all school districts to commit to pay all school employees their full pay and benefits for the remainder of the academic year
  • Maintain all staffing positions during the COVID-19 crisis and do not layoff, furlough or reduce the workforce of any public school for the rest of the academic year.
  • Guarantee all employees planning to retire at the end of this academic year, their full retirement compensation and benefits.
  • Ensure all public school employees are able to receive paid leave and that they will not suffer loss to existing accrued leave.
  • Bridge the digital divide the school closures have exacerbated by ensuring all students and educators have the technology they need for distance learning and increasing support for English Learner, sensory impaired and students with learning disabilities.

“We recognize that this situation is changing rapidly and urge your administration to take additional measures to prioritize the safety of all public school employees and the students and communities that they serve and ensure that both school districts and school employees are not financially harmed as a result of COVID-19 closures, said the lawmakers in the letter.

Joining Del. Carroll Foy on the letter are Dels. Kaye Kory, Elizabeth Guzman, Sam Rasoul, Paul Krizek, Rodney Willett, Daniel Helmer, Patrick Hope, Jeion Ward, Kenneth Plum, Danica Roem and Roslyn Tyler.

Virginia is one of 35 states that have closed schools for a period of time due to COVID-19 and is one of eight states that has closed schools for the rest of the academic year.

Augusta Health liaisons connect patients, families

Augusta HealthED Patient and Family Liaisons will provide support to patients and families at Augusta Health.

Because of COVID-19, Augusta Health needed to implement a No Visitation/No Access policy. This can cause increased stress for families of patients, especially those in the Emergency Department.

The new ED Patient and Family Liaisons provide support to families and patients in the ED and connect patients and families to physicians and staff. They listen to concerns, ensure communication and help meet the needs of both the patient and the family waiting in the ED.

The ED Patient and Family Liaisons will staff the ED from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days a week.