In the News
– Local News: Street closing in Harrisonburg
– Capitol Hill: Webb, Warner announce health-center grants
– Local News: Wintergreen placing land into preservation
– Local News: BC alum honored for Christian service
Local News: Street closing in Harrisonburg
The city announced today that it will be closing Pear Street from South High Street to Pleasant Hill Road to through traffic from 8 p.m. Tuesday to 6 a.m. Wednesday.
State News: State processing tax returns
Gov. Timothy M. Kaine announced today that the Virginia Department of Taxation has issued nearly 100 percent of state income tax refunds, putting money in the pockets of Virginians as the state continues to emerge from economic challenges. Even as some states struggle to issue refunds, Virginians have received more than 2.6 million refunds, totaling more than $1.6 billion, an increase of approximately 94,000 refunds and $215 million from 2008. The average value of refunds was $627.33, an increase of approximately 11 percent over 2008.
“The work of the Department of Taxation shows again why Virginia is consistently named among the best managed state governments,” Gov. Kaine said. “In response to the worst economic troubles since the 1930s, the Department is processing tax returns and getting money back into the pockets of Virginians at a time when they need it the most.”
Virginia’s emphasis on electronic filing has also made processing the tremendous volume of returns much simpler, allowing for quicker issuance of refunds. Approximately 63 percent of returns were filed electronically, compared to 56 percent in 2008. This has allowed the Department of Taxation to issue 82 percent of refunds within 12 days, and 96 percent within 30 days.
Capitol Hill: Webb, Warner announce health-center grants
U.S. Sens. Jim Webb and Mark R. Warner today announced that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released more than $13.5 million in grants for twenty-four community health centers in Virginia to maintain facilities and to improve services as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
The grants will be used by health centers to address immediate and pressing health center facility and equipment needs and increase access to health care for an increasing number of patients who lack health insurance during this economic downturn. Health centers deliver preventive and primary care services to patients regardless of their ability to pay. Charges for services are set according to income.
“This $13.5 million investment will help to ensure that community health facilities are properly maintained and are able to provide access to quality health services to our neediest Americans,” said Sen. Webb. “Funds for these improvements and services will help create jobs and ensure that community health centers continue to serve as a safety net for Virginians who wouldn’t otherwise have the means to see a primary care doctor.”
“These grants will help our community health centers continue to expand access to quality health care services for Virginians who don’t have health coverage,” Sen. Warner said. “These projects also will help us create or preserve health care provider jobs, especially in many of our rural areas.”
The Recovery Act Capital Improvement Program (CIP) grants will support the construction, repair and renovation of over 1,500 health center sites nationwide. More than 650 centers will use the funds to purchase new equipment or health information technology (HIT) systems, and nearly 400 health centers will adopt and expand the use of electronic health records.
This investment is the third installment of economic recovery funding to Virginia’s community health centers. On March 31, Sens. Webb and Warner announced $5.2 million to create and save staff positions at these twenty-four community health centers. An additional $5.76 million was made available on May 19 to establish 5 new health centers in the Commonwealth.
The local grant recipients on the list are the Harrisonburg Community Health Center Inc., which will receive a $240,839 grant under the grant program, and the Highland Medical Center Inc. in Monterey, which will get $310,480.
Local News: Wintergreen placing land into preservation
The Wintergreen Resort community’s commitment to preserve land and the natural environment of the Blue Ridge Mountains continues to live up to its founders’ vision, with 1,422 acres of developable land at Crawford’s Knob being placed into a permanent preserve.
On July 24, Wintergreen will dedicate the Crawford’s Knob Natural Preserve Area, an ancient ecosystem on the resort community’s northwest boundary. The conservation easement for Crawford’s Knob was donated to The Wintergreen Nature Foundation (TWNF) by Wintergreen Hospitality Partners and is protected through the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). Dedication ceremonies will include special guest Secretary of Natural Resources L. Preston Bryant, Jr., and key executives from DCR’s Natural Heritage Program.
The 11,000-acre property was purchased in 1971 and, in accordance with its founders’ vision of open space, became the Wintergreen community. With the formation of Wintergreen Partners in 1984, Wintergreen Resort became a reality and today, remains keenly sensitive to the delicate balance between nature and development. The resort has long been a champion of preserving the natural beauty of its surroundings. Since its inception, Wintergreen has carefully thought out its growth, and continues to work in concert with TWNF, a science based non-profit organization that shares the common goal of preserving and protecting the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.
“Protecting this parcel contributes to the goal of Gov. Kaine to preserve 400,000 acres in the Commonwealth by 2010,” said Doug Coleman, executive director of The Wintergreen Nature Foundation. “The efforts of the State of Virginia and The Wintergreen Nature Foundation have been paramount to this project.”
TWNF has been highly successful in gaining strong community support for maintaining 4,500 other acres of undeveloped land. The educational programs and the work done to ensure responsible stewardship of the land garnered the resort The National Environmental Achievement Award in 1987 and the Society of American Travel Writers Phoenix Award in 1998.
Local News: BC alum honored for Christian service
Ellen K. Layman received the 2009 Merlin and Dorothy Faw Garber Award for Christian Service on June 28 during the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference in San Diego. The award, presented by Bridgewater College, recognizes her faithful Christian service and professional achievements that have had profound, beneficial effects upon Bridgewater College, the Church of the Brethren and the community.
Layman is a 1965 magna cum laude graduate of Bridgewater College who has faithfully served the College in a variety of important capacities. From 1979-82 she worked as a part-time instructor in journalism, and from 1991-95 she was director of public information. Layman also served as the College’s associate director of development from 1995-2000, as director of media and church relations from 2000-2001, as director of alumni and church relations from 2001-2007, and as director of special projects since 2007. Additionally, she was editor of Bridgewater magazine from 1991-2000.
In 1980, Layman received the College’s first Young Alumnus Award.
Beyond Bridgewater College, Layman has enjoyed a distinguished career in journalism, working for the Daily News-Record in a number of editorial positions including assistant managing editor. She has served as president of the Virginia Press Women, on the board of directors of the National Federation of Press Women, and as a member of the Virginia Associated Press Newspapers, the Virginia Capitol Correspondence Association and the Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi.
Layman left journalism in 1982 to work on the campaign of Congressman Jim Olin, opening district offices in Harrisonburg and Staunton to serve constituent needs in the upper Shenandoah Valley. Following Olin’s successful election campaign, Layman moved to Washington, D.C., as Olin’s legislative aide. She became legislative director, coordinating the work of four other legislative aides and concentrating on agricultural issues.
Equally active in her community, Layman – who is a member of the Dayton Church of the Brethren – has served as a director of the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce, president of the Rockingham Memorial Hospital Foundation, a member of the James Madison University Board of Visitors for two terms, and has been involved with the Rockingham Educational Foundation, Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Bridgewater Rotary Club.
The Merlin and Dorothy Faw Garber Award for Christian Service was established in 1998 and awarded for the first time in March 1999. Merlin Garber, a Church of the Brethren pastor, was a 1936 Bridgewater alumnus and his wife, Dorothy Faw Garber, was a member of the Class of 1933. The award that bears their name recognizes life-long Christian service.