– State News: Governor releases broadband availability map, Updated 2:45 p.m.
– Local News: BC adds work of ’09 seniors to art collection
– Local News: $100K grant to help Food Bank fight child hunger
– Politics: LG candidate Signer announces veterans policy
State News: Governor releases broadband availability map
Gov. Timothy M. Kaine today unveiled the Commonwealth’s first broadband availability map, available online through the Office of Telework Promotion and Broadband Assistance. The map is an important resource that will give policy makers, local government leaders, and service providers a more detailed picture of broadband coverage in Virginia as they work to provide “last-mile” broadband in their communities. This snapshot of availability will help deploy resources to areas with the greatest need, particularly rural areas. Gov. Kaine also announced that he will convene the Governor’s Broadband Advisory Council in time to advise him on the most effective usage of potential funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The Council was created by legislation in the 2009 General Assembly Session and amended by Gov. Kaine to include an emergency clause, allowing the Council to begin its work immediately.
“Affordable high-speed telecommunication services for all citizens are essential to Virginia’s success in the 21st century economy,” Gov. Kaine said. “The data presented on this map provides a baseline of broadband availability in the Commonwealth, and will guide our efforts to areas with the greatest need.”
The new state coverage map, the only one in the nation developed at no cost to the state, fulfills one of the chief recommendations of the Broadband Roundtable, convened by Governor Kaine in 2007 to develop a “last-mile” telecommunications blueprint. The map is the product of a collaborative effort between the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT), the Virginia Information Technology Agency (VITA), the Office of Telework Promotion and Broadband Assistance, and the voluntary participation of more than 25 broadband providers throughout the Commonwealth.
“Last-mile” broadband is the final distance of infrastructure that is needed to give broadband access to businesses and homes. Rural communities often are underserved by broadband because of low population density and high costs to service providers to construct infrastructure. Connecting Virginia’s rural communities to high-speed internet service will allow its citizens and businesses to compete globally in the 21st century economy.
The Governor’s Broadband Advisory Council was created through legislation sponsored by Sen. Philip Puckett and Del. Joe May, and amended by Gov. Kaine to include an emergency clause. The group will advise the Governor on policy and funding priorities related to broadband access in the Commonwealth, including opportunities for funding from the ARRA. In late summer, the ARRA will begin $7.2 billion of competitive grant programs related to broadband initiatives including deployment services to areas that are underserved or not served, broadband mapping and creation of sustainable broadband demand. Commonwealth officials are actively monitoring the funding opportunities and working to position Virginia projects for broadband funding opportunities. Membership on the Council is currently being finalized.
Local News: BC adds work of ’09 seniors to art collection
Works by senior art majors, Jessica Johnson and Brian Sampson, have been purchased for Bridgewater College’s permanent collection with the Paul M. and Betty Kline Student Art Purchase Award.
Both Paul, who passed away in 2006, and Betty Kline are Bridgewater College graduates. He retired as professor of art in 1997 after 38 years on the faculty. She formerly served at the College as dean of women and psychology instructor.
The award carries a cash prize for each recipient and the works are displayed on campus.
Johnson, a 2005 graduate of North Carroll High School, is the daughter of Chris and Susan Johnson of Hampstead, Md. The piece selected from Johnson is “Exultation,” a large-scale acrylic painting that explores the concept of beauty and body image.
Sampson, a 2005 graduate of Turner Ashby High School, is the son of Jay and Cindy Sampson of Bridgewater, Va. The College purchased his digital photo “The Experiment,” a piece of his thesis work that focuses on questions about the universe and existence humans are unable to answer.
Both artists will graduate on Sunday, May 17.
Local News: $100K grant to help Food Bank fight child hunger
The Blue Ridge Area Food Bank Network announced today that it has received $100,000 to combat child hunger in Central Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley. The grant will be used for Operation Angel Food, a collaborative effort between the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank Network, Head Start and the Virginia Preschool Initiative to ensure that children between the ages of three and five have access to nutritious foods for proper growth and development.chosen for this grant because of the innovative nature and expansion of the Operation Angel Food program, targeting children in poverty and providing them access to nutritious foods at an early age. The grant will allow the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank Network to provide wholesome take-home snacks on a daily basis to 543 preschool age children who are food insecure in Augusta, Bath, Highland and Rockbridge counties, and the cities of Lynchburg, Staunton and Waynesboro. In addition, the Food Bank will provide 164 children in Staunton and Waynesboro with five dinners per week to be distributed on a weekly and daily schedule. Each year, the Food Bank will add a minimum of one jurisdiction to receive dinners as well as snacks.
The Blue Ridge Area Food Bank Network was
The Blue Ridge Area Food Bank Network currently operates 43 Operation Angel Food sites throughout Central Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley. was established to raise awareness of poverty across the United States and throughout the world. With this mission, CPEF teamed up with FOX and “AMERICAN IDOL” to present “IDOL GIVES BACK,” which aired on FOX in April 2007. “IDOL GIVES BACK” was a two-night special which raised awareness and funds for organizations that focus on providing resources for young people in extreme poverty in the U.S. and Africa.
The grant was made possible by Charity Projects Entertainment Fund (CPEF), which
The Blue Ridge Area Food Bank Network received the grant as a result of its membership in America’s Second Harvest – The Nation’s Food Bank Network. America’s Second Harvest was chosen as one of four domestic charities that received funds which were raised through “IDOL GIVES BACK”. America’s Second Harvest is the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization, providing food and grocery products to more than 25 million Americans each year through a Network of more than 200 food banks and 50,000 agencies including soup kitchens, food pantries, emergency shelters and feeding programs for both children and seniors.children do not go to bed hungry or wondering where their next meal will come from.” www.mikesigner.com.
“We are extremely grateful for this support of our work feeding hungry children,” said Martin L. White, CEO of the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank Network. “Each year, approximately 49,000 children receive food through our organization. This grant will help the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank Network and other food banks across the country continue to ensure that these
Politics: LG candidate Signer announces veterans policy
In recognition of Governor Tim Kaine’s designation of Military Appreciation Month, Mike Signer, Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor, announced his veterans’ policy plan on Wednesday at the Iwo Jima Memorial in Arlington. With the release of his five-point plan, Mike again is leading the way on policy as the first candidate with a plan to improve services for Virginia’s veterans and their families.
“Fulfilling our sacred contract with our veterans and their families has been a central plank of my campaign from day one,” Mike said. “In Virginia, we have over 206,000 active military and civilian defense workers and over 35,000 Reservists and National Guards members. The problems facing these brave service members and their families highlights Virginia’s need for a lieutenant governor who is a public advocate, working to fix the systems that are failing working Virginians and shining a spotlight on the problems we’ve ignored for too long.”
Mike’s plan has five key goals:
1. IMPROVE MEDICAL RESOURCES through the improvement of training of Virginia’s medical professionals in combat-related mental health and the establishment of the “HomeCorps,” a program that connects veterans and their families with therapists and well-trained volunteers.
2. ASSIST RETURNING VETERANS TO REINTEGRATE by establishing immediate post-deployment activities, launching a “Yellow Ribbon Retreat” program for returnees and their families and creating a web resource with information on local health and counseling services.
3. INCREASE VETERAN ACCESS TO EDUCATION by waiving the year-long residency requirement for public colleges and universities for veterans relocating to Virginia and creating a web portal informing military families of educational opportunities.
4. IMPROVE SERVICES FOR NATIONAL GUARDSMEN AND RESERVISTS by ensuring proper and efficient payment of National Guardsmen on deployment and lifting the state income tax burden on Virginia residents deployed overseas.
5. INCREASE SUPPORT FOR MILITARY FAMILIES DURING DEPLOYMENT through the creation of a support services online information center for VA military families and the establishment of classes for military spouses on the needs of returning service members.
As a member of Barack Obama’s Veterans Policy Development Team, Mike is well versed in veterans’ issues. The Signer campaign also announced today Mike’s Veterans Steering Committee, which includes retired general and flag officers from all four services of the military.
For more information on the Signer campaign, please visit