In the News

Local News: Blood drive at Fishburne Military School, posted Wednesday, 3:45 p.m.
Local News: Blue Ridge Food Bank honored nationally, posted Wednesday, 3:45 p.m.
Local News: Augusta, Staunton awarded money for emergency assistance, posted Wednesday, 9:20 a.m.
Local News: Wintergreen kicks off Bear Smart program, posted Wednesday, 9:20 a.m.
Local News: Augusta wins environmental recognition, posted Wednesday, 9:20 a.m.
Sports: JMU hoops recruit wins state player of the year honors, posted Wednesday, 9:20 a.m.


Local News: Blood drive at Fishburne Military School, posted Wednesday, 3:45 p.m.

Fishburne Military School’s M. Frank Wooten chapter of the National Honor Society will host a spring blood drive on Thursday, April 16, from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. The blood drive will take place in Fishburne’s Hobby-Hudgins Hall to support the Virginia Blood Services. Cadets will transform their large study hall, located next to the school’s library, into a collection center for the VBS effort.

Fishburne’s Honor Society regularly holds blood drives to help meet the need for area donors. During particularly critical shortages, the Fishburne Honor Society has organized and held emergency drives in order to fill immediate needs. In December, during just such a crisis, Fishburne Cadets, faculty and staff donated 45 pints of much needed blood in just five hours. A similar crisis in 2006 saw several pints of blood collected at FMS used that very day in operations for two individuals involved in a serious auto accident.

The M. Frank Wooten, Jr., Chapter of the National Honor Society recognizes and honors students who achieve excellence in scholarship, leadership, service and character at Fishburne Military School. The National Honor Society is one of the oldest and most prestigious national organizations for high school students. The Colonel Edward B. Young, Jr., Chapter of the Junior Honor Society recognizes excellence in eighth and ninth grade students.



Local News: Blue Ridge Food Bank honored nationally, posted Wednesday, 3:45 p.m.

The Blue Ridge Area Food Bank Network announces today that it has received a national award for its outstanding hunger-relief efforts.

Of the 205 Feeding America food banks in the country, the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank Network was the selected recipient of the 2009 Feeding America Member of the Year award at the Feeding America Annual Conference last week. Over the course of 27 years, the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank Network has grown to support more than 400 agencies that serve nearly 130,000 unique individuals living in nine cities and 25 counties through the Lynchburg, Thomas Jefferson, Lord Fairfax and Shenandoah Valley branches.

Each year, Feeding America honors a member with the Member of the Year award for going beyond its core mission of feeding the hungry. As the food bank has grown, so has its capacity to raise funds, acquire nutritious food, and raise awareness of government programs to help feed more people in need. Last year, the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank Network distributed more than 10.8 million pounds of food — a 24 percent increase from the previous year.

“Chief Executive Officer Marty White and his staff at the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank are incredible assets to Feeding America,” said Vicki Escarra, President and CEO of Feeding America.

To ensure that a wide variety of food is available to its agencies, the food bank maintains an inventory level at which a minimum of 70 percent of the items are considered nutritious. Additionally, the organization pre-qualified more than 3,000 low-income individuals for food stamps.

In addition to receiving the honor of Member of the Year, Feeding America honored the Virginia Hunger Symposium as the Model Advocacy Program of the Year. The Virginia Hunger Symposium is a partnership between the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank Network and Blue Ridge Community College (BRCC).

“These awards are the culmination of a dedicated, passionate staff committed to seeing that none shall go hungry,” said CEO Marty White. “I am both humbled and honored to accept these prestigious awards on behalf of our Board, our staff, our many volunteers and community partners who dedicate themselves to feeding the hungry.”

Steve Brown, Chairman of the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank Network Board of Directors said: “We are very pleased that Feeding America has recognized the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank Network with these two prestigious awards. The vision to provide access to three nutritious meals a day for children and two nutritious meals a day for adults is what the Board and staff strive to achieve on a daily basis. While national recognition is always nice and very much appreciated, we have a long way to go in feeding the needy in our Network. We look forward to fulfilling our vision.”


Local News: Augusta, Staunton awarded money for emergency assistance, posted Wednesday, 9:20 a.m.

Augusta County has been awarded $43,031.00 from the State Set-Aside committee under the Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program for Augusta County residents only, and the City of Staunton has been awarded an additional $3,500.00 from the State Set-Aside Committee under the Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program for Staunton city residents only.

These selections were made by a national board that is chaired by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The Local Board consists of representatives from local government agencies, ministerial associates, Catholic organizations and United Way of Greater Augusta. The Local Board is charged to distribute funds appropriated by Congress to help expand the capacity of food and shelter programs in high-need areas around the country.

The Local Board will determine how the funds awarded to Augusta County and the city of Staunton are to be distributed among the emergency food and shelter programs run by local service agencies in the area. The Local Board is responsible for recommending agencies to receive these funds and any additional funds available under this phase of the program.

Under the terms of the grant from the National Board, local agencies chosen to receive funds must: (1) be private voluntary nonprofits or units of government, (2) have an accounting system, (3) practice nondiscrimination, (4) have demonstrated the capacity to deliver emergency food and/or shelter programs, and (5) if they are a private voluntary organization, they must have a voluntary Board. Qualifying agencies are urged to apply.

Public or private voluntary agencies interested in applying for Emergency Food and Shelter Program funds must contact Sandra L. Stanwitz, Executive Director, United Way of Greater Augusta, P.O. 1166, Fishersville, VA 22939 or call 540.885.1229 or 540.943.1215 for an application. The deadline for applications is ten days following this announcement appearing in the local newspapers or no later than April 17, 2009.


Local News: Wintergreen kicks off Bear Smart program, posted Wednesday, 9:20 a.m.

Citizens and organizations in the Wintergreen community are engaged in a black bear conservation initiative patterned after the Bear Smart Program that began in Whistler, British Columbia and replicated in other Western communities in the United States. The goal of the Wintergreen effort is to create a community environment in which bear-smart citizens and black bears can co-exist in harmony.

In the fall of 2008 a Bear Smart Council formed to help coordinate the program. Council membership includes citizens and representatives of the Wintergreen Property Owners’ Association, Wintergreen Resort, The Wintergreen Nature Foundation, Mountain Homesteaders and the Valley Association. The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries is lending support and guidance to the community effort.

Jaime Sajecki, Black Bear Project Leader for the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, says that she is “pleased to support Virginia’s first Bear Smart Community Project.”

According to Sajecki, most problems with black bears are perpetuated by misinformation and human intolerance towards wildlife. “One of the most important things we can do for both people and bears is to replace the misinformation and unfair perceptions about bears with facts based on science and biology,” Sajecki said. “Greatly overlooked is the privilege of living in an area that supports a healthy bear population. Without tolerance and minor lifestyle adjustments there can be no future for bears in this state,” she added. “The Wintergreen Community is taking steps to maintain a healthy and peaceful environment for both people and bears that should serve as a model for other communities in Virginia.”

Russell Otis, Executive Director of the Wintergreen Property Owners’ Association, welcomes the effort, “It is truly wonderful to see this level of initiative and cooperation from a community-based group in our ongoing efforts to share our neighborhoods with the population of black bears. This added effort to educate owners and guests can reap huge dividends in our work to co-exist with our wild neighbors.”

To get started the Bear Smart Council conducted an assessment of conditions at Wintergreen that considered a wide assortment of existing policies, programs and environmental conditions that impact the black bear population. The assessment helped to point out areas such as community education and refuse management that are critical to lowering bear-related issues. Additional efforts are underway to improve management of garbage by installing bear-proof containers at public sites and by prohibiting the use of outside garbage cans at homes unless they are bear-proof. The Council, in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, is asking residents to refrain from bird feeding from April 1 until Dec. 1.

Informational signs and literature encourage all Wintergreen residents and visitors to be bear smart, to enjoy the wilderness so rich in wildlife and to join the effort to keep the beautiful black bears wild.

For additional information about this program or to become involved, contact Bob or Sarah Scott at 434.325.7375 or access the web site at


Local News: Augusta wins environmental recognition, posted Wednesday, 9:20 a.m.

The Secretary of Natural Resources L. Preston Bryant Jr. announced the 23 winners of the 2009 Governor’s Environmental Excellence Awards on April 1st, at the Environment Virginia 2009 Symposium in Lexington.

The awards recognize the significant contributions of environmental and conservation leaders in three categories: environmental projects, environmental programs and land conservation. They are given to businesses and industrial facilities, not-for-profit organizations, government agencies and individuals.

Augusta County’s Environmental Management Program won the Governor’s Environmental Excellence Bronze Award for its Regional Environmental Management System Program.

In 2002, a regional partnership was formed between three Augusta County entities: county government, public schools and service authority, each of which is governed by separate boards. The partnership’s primary function is to reduce environmental risks, meet and exceed regulations, strive to be good stewards of the environment, and set an example for others.

Partnership members have developed an environmental management program, all of which have been accepted into the Virginia Environmental Excellence Program at the E3 level. Augusta County E3 facilities include the Government Center Complex, all five public high schools, the vehicle service centers (ACSA Shop & Bus Garage) and all 10 Service Authority wastewater treatment facilities.

Award winners were chosen based on criteria including: environmental benefit, stakeholder involvement, public outreach, transferability and innovativeness.

This year’s awards were sponsored by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Virginia Manufacturers Association and Dominion.

Additional information on the Governor’s Environmental Excellence Awards is available on the DEQ website at or contact Candy J. Hensley, Environmental Programs Manager at 540.245.5615.


Sports: JMU hoops recruit wins state player of the year honors, posted Wednesday, 9:20 a.m.

James Madison University men’s basketball recruit Darren White has been named the Virginia Group A, Division 2 Player of the Year for his efforts during the 2008-09 scholastic basketball season. The award is presented by the state’s high school coaches’ association.

The 6-foot-4 guard led Dan River High School to a 24-5 record and to a second-place finish in the state Group A, Division 2 Tournament. For the season he averaged a team- and Dogwood District-leading 19 points per game and had team highs in assists (86), rebounds (185) and steals (58).
White also was named 2008-09 player of the year in the Dogwood District and in Region B.

He completed his Dan River career with 1,252 points, 472 rebounds, 178 assists and 140 steals. He was first-team All-Dogwood District as a junior and senior and second-team All-Piedmont District as a sophomore.

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