Friday, Aug. 14
– Local News: RMH employees pass gift goal
Thursday, Aug. 13
– Local News: Staunton City Council meeting tonight
– State News: Good economic news in Martinsville
Wednesday, Aug. 12
– Local News: Augusta County Board of Supervisors meeting agenda
Tuesday, Aug. 11
– State News: Jail agrees to change policies regarding religious-themed mail materials
Monday, Aug. 10
– Local News: Waynesboro City Council meeting tonight
– Local News: Augusta County Planning Commission to meet Tuesday night
– Local News: Music Academy begins registration for fall classes
– Local News: VDOT road-work schedule
Friday, Aug. 14
Local News: RMH employees pass gift goal
RMH employees have donated more than $97,000 in the 2009 Employee Gifts Campaign, shattering the campaign goal of $80,000.
Overall, more than 30 percent of employees—706—participated in the campaign, which was centered on the theme “Be a Hero.” This is the highest level of participation on record, representing a 15 percent increase in participation over the 2008 campaign, including 121 first-time donors.
“I am really proud of our employees for ‘being heroes’ by donating to this year’s campaign,” said RMH President and CEO Jim Krauss. “Considering the current state of the economy, to have this many employees give back to RMH clearly shows how committed they are to the hospital’s mission. What’s gratifying for all of us is knowing the benefit these gifts will ultimately bring our patients.”
To encourage participation, the hospital’s Senior Leadership Team agreed to participate in the first “RMH gurney tourney” if employees met the $80,000 goal. The victory celebration and gurney tourney took place Aug. 13 in front of the RMH West Tower on South Mason Street.
Employees have been supporting the hospital through an annual gifts campaign since 1975. During this year’s campaign, which ran from May 26 to July 3, employees had the option to support various needs throughout the hospital. According to Merv Webb, vice president, Foundation, the need receiving the greatest support was the Employee Relief Fund, a fund set up by the hospital to assist employees who are facing a personal financial crisis due to serious illness or another catastrophic situation.
Thursday, Aug. 13
Local News: Staunton City Council meeting tonight
Staunton City Council is meeting tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall, 250 W. Beverley St., Downtown Staunton.
The agenda for the meeting includes:
– Public hearing and consideration of adoption of an ordinance to amend the FY2010 budget.
– Public hearing on a request by Gleamer Sullivan for a special use permit to utilize a portion of the ground floor level of Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church, 2807 N. Augusta Street, as a school, Raw Learning.
– Public hearing and consideration of adoption of an ordinance to amend Section 8.30.110, Fees – Prescribed, of Article 11, Collection of Refuse by City, of Chapter 8.30, Solid Waste, of Title 8, Health and Safety of the Staunton City Code.
– Consideration of adoption of the amendments to Chapters 18.110 and 18.120 of the City Code relating to fencing requirements for front yards.
State News: Good economic news in Martinsville
Gov. Timothy M. Kaine today announced that Monogram Food Solutions, LLC, a Memphis-based manufacturer of value-added processed meats, will purchase the meat snack business of American Foods Group, LLC, which includes the Martinsville production facility, and the rights to the Bull’s, Hannah’s, O’Brien’s and Dakota brand names. Monogram will invest $3 million to expand production capacity, retaining all current positions at the American Foods Group production facility and creating 120 jobs.
“This contract between Monogram Food Solutions and American Foods Group is great news for Martinsville and Henry County,” Gov. Kaine said. “Not only will all of the American Foods Group employees retain jobs, the project will create 120 new positions in a region that is rebounding from economic downturn. I congratulate both companies on this venture.”
Founded in 2004 when a group of Memphis investors bought King Cotton and Circle B Brand foods from Sara Lee Corporation, Monogram Food Solutions is dedicated to providing innovative and top-quality food products that consumers love to eat. Monogram Meat Snacks, a division of Monogram Food Solutions, is one of the nation’s largest manufacturers of quality meat snacks, including jerky, meat and cheese snacks, kippered beef sticks and pickled sausages. Monogram’s meat products, all made in the U.S., include King Cotton, Circle B, Jeff Foxworthy Jerky, Bass Pro Shop’s Uncle Buck’s Licensed Products, Trail’s Best Meat Snacks, Pete’s Pride Meats and the Intimidator/NASCAR Jerky and Steak Strips. Monogram Food Solutions also uses its production capabilities for meat snacks, smoked meats, corn dogs and fritters to manufacture private label brands for strategic partners across the country. Monogram also operates facilities in Tennessee, Minnesota, and Indiana.
“The Martinsville production facility will be a good addition to our current production facilities located in Minnesota and Indiana,” said Karl Schledwitz, Chairman and CEO of Monogram. “This purchase, like our other acquisitions this year, will enhance both our production capacity and our leadership in offering top-quality regional and nationally distributed meat products and brands that retailers and customers know and trust. Virginia was a great fit for the project and we look forward to success in the Commonwealth.”
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corporation to secure the project for Virginia. The Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission approved $400,000 in Tobacco Region Opportunity Funds for the project. The Virginia Department of Business Assistance will provide training assistance through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.
“Today’s announcement is a confidence boost for everyone in Martinsville and Henry County,” said Henry County Board of Supervisors’ Chairman Debra Buchanan. “To see the addition of 120 new jobs and a capital investment of $3 million means that our citizens will have more opportunity for employment and for personal growth. A citizen’s opportunity equals the same for the entire community, and for that we are thankful.”
“On behalf of the Virginia Tobacco Commission we congratulate Martinsville on a great win for the region,” said Charles R. Hawkins, Chairman, Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission. “We are pleased that the Tobacco Commission could offer assistance to ensure that Monogram Food Solutions will build on the success of American Foods Group and thrive in Martinsville, Virginia.”
Wednesday, Aug. 12
Local News: Augusta County Board of Supervisors meeting agenda
The Augusta County Board of Supervisors will meet Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Augusta County Government Center, 18 Government Center Lane, Verona.
The agenda for the meeting includes:
– Consider authorization to advertise ordinance incorporating provisions and requirements of Section 46.2 of the Code of Virginia related to motor vehicles and traffic into the Code of the County of Augusta, Virginia.- Consider support of federal funding for Norfolk Southern’s Crescent Corridor project.
– Consider application as submitted by New Life Outreach for an outdoor entertainment event to be held from 2-5:30 p.m., on Sept. 12, 2009 at the Staunton Mall (Beverley Manor District).
– Consider 2010 General Assembly draft Legislative Priorities.
– Consider committee recommendations for approval of Revenue Recovery billing agent.
– Consider draft of revisions to proposed coyote ordinance.
Tuesday, Aug. 11
State News: Jail agrees to change policies regarding religious-themed mail materials
In response to a letter sent last month by the American Civil Liberties Union, a Virginia jail has agreed to change its policies regarding prison mail to ensure that biblical passages and other religious material sent to prisoners are no longer censored. The ACLU’s letter complained that religious material sent to detainees at the Rappahannock Regional Jail in Stafford, VA was being withheld by jail officials.
“The censorship of religious materials sent to prisoners violates both the rights of detainees to practice their religion freely while incarcerated as well as the free speech rights of those wanting to communicate with prisoners,” said David Shapiro, staff attorney with the ACLU National Prison Project and author of the letter. “We are pleased that jail officials have indicated a commitment to upholding these important constitutional values.”
According to a letter sent to the ACLU by Joseph Higgs, Jr., the jail’s superintendent, the jail has previously had a policy of banning mail sent to prisoners that includes any material printed from the Internet. The policy was adopted, according to the letter, to cut down on large amounts of material being printed from the Internet, which Higgs claims puts an undue burden on jail staff and creates security and safety risks.
Under the new policy adopted by jail officials, prisoners will be allowed to receive material copied from the Internet as long as it can be neatly stored within the storage bunks in their cells. Higgs assured the ACLU in his letter that biblical passages will not be censored from letters written to prisoners and that letters will not be censored merely because they contain religious material.
The ACLU sent its letter to the jail last month after receiving a complaint from Anna Williams, whose son was detained at Rappahannock beginning in June of 2008 until his transfer earlier this year. Williams wanted to send her son religious material, including passages from the Bible, to support him spiritually during his confinement. But rather than deliver Williams’ letters to her son in full, jail officials removed any and all religious material, destroying the religious messages Williams sought to convey to her son. For example, after jail officials excised biblical passages, a three-page letter sent by Williams to her son was reduced to nothing more than the salutation, the first paragraph of the letter and the closing, “Love, Mom.”
Jail officials banned additional material from other letters Williams attempted to send her son, including passages from the Book of Proverbs, the Book of James, the Book of Matthew and an article that contained Christian perspectives on confronting isolation while in jail.
“Jail officials should be commended for promptly expressing their commitment to abiding by the mandates of the U.S. Constitution,” said Daniel Mach, Director of Litigation for the ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief. “People do not lose their right to religious worship simply because they are incarcerated.”
The ACLU’s letter also asked jail officials to revise the jail’s inmate mail policy to state that letters will not be censored merely because they contain material printed from the Internet or copied from the Internet and inserted into a letter using a word processor’s “cut and paste” feature.
“Our nation’s constitutional values hold that people should not be denied access to religious materials simply because they are in jail or prison,” said Rebecca Glenberg, Legal Director for the ACLU of Virginia. “No government officials should ever be allowed to interfere with the right of all Americans to freely practice the religion of their choice, or no religion at all.”
Other signatories to the ACLU’s letter were the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, the Rutherford Institute, Prison Fellowship, the Friends Committee on National Legislation and the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.
A copy of the letter sent by the Rappahannock Regional Jail to the ACLU is available online at: www.aclu.org/prison/restrict/40672res20090804.html.
A copy of the ACLU’s letter is available online at: www.aclu.org/prison/restrict/40257res20090709.html.
Monday, Aug. 10
Local News: Waynesboro City Council meeting tonight
Waynesboro City Council is holding the first of two business meetings for the month of August tonight at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at the Charles T. Yancey Municipal Building, 503 W. Main St., Downtown Waynesboro.
The agenda for the meeting includes:
– Second consideration/adoption of an ordinance re-appropriating $6,000 from the General Fund, appropriating $112,000 from a Special Projects Fund Reserve account, and appropriating $555,000 of 2007 Water Fund GO Bond proceeds, for expenditures related to the purchase of pre-owned equipment for use by the Water Fund, Streets, and Stormwater Maintenance Crews for operational work for the Fiscal Year ending June 30, 2010.
– Second consideration/adoption of an ordinance appropriating $125,600 from the Landfill Operations Reserve Account to the General Fund for the drilling and installation of up to five groundwater monitoring wells and associated sampling and reporting requirements for the Fiscal Year ending June 30, 2010.
– Hold a joint public hearing on a request from South River, Inc., to rezone, with proffers, approximately 41 acres located in the general vicinity of 200 West 12th Street, legally described as Tax Map Parcels 55-2-A, 55-1-13-1, 55-1-14-1, 55-1-14-5, and 55-1-15-31, from a mix of M-1 Light Industrial, M-2 Heavy Industrial, RB-3 High Density Dwelling, and C-2 General Business districts, to a Planned Unit Development (PUD); the current comprehensive plan designation for this area being Industrial/Revitalization.
– Hold a public hearing on a request from South River, Inc. to close and vacate portions of 12th Street, 13th Street, Race Avenue, and portions of an adjoining alley, legally known as Tax Map 55-2-A, 55-1-13-1, 55-1-14-1, 55-1-14-5, and 55-1-15-31, to assist with the redevelopment of surrounding properties in conjunction with the Mill at South River Planned Unit Development (PUD).
– Hold a public hearing in accordance with Section 15.2-2507 of the Code of Virginia, as amended, to amend the City’s FY10 adopted budget and to increase appropriations to the Waynesboro Public Schools in the aggregate amount of $1,906,795 to recognize the receipt of American Reinvestment and Recovery Act Federal Stimulus Funds.
– Consider an ordinance appropriating a donation from the Kiwanis Club in the amount of $4,110 to the General Fund to be placed in a reserve to be used for future Summer Extravaganza expenses for the Fiscal Year ending June 30, 2010.
– Update on the “Go Green Initiative” and consider adopting the Sustainability Policy Resolution.
Local News: Augusta County Planning Commission to meet Tuesday night
The Augusta County Planning Commission will meet Tuesday night at 7 p.m. at the Augusta County Government Center, 18 Government Center Lane, Verona.
The agenda for the meeting includes:
– A public hearing on a request to approve a Plan of Development for Augusta Woods Manufactured Home Park located on the south side of Jefferson Highway (Rt. 250) just east of the I-81 interchange in the Beverley Manor District. Access to this development will be off the Avenue of the Trees, the entrance road to the Frontier Culture Museum off Richmond Avenue (Rt. 250) within the City Limits of Staunton. The development will consist of 240 manufactured homes and two recreational areas.
Local News: Music Academy begins registration for fall classes
The Valley Music Academy, a 501(c) nonprofit music school in Waynesboro, is now holding registration for fall classes.
VMA has Musikgarten classes for children aged 4 months to 8 years old, a children choir, Valley Voices, for children 6 to 12 years old, and a Jazz Ensemble for youth and adults.
The Academy also offers affordable private music lessons for all ages in all brass instruments, clarinet, drums, flute, guitar, saxophone, viola, violin, cello, piano, and voice.
Local News: VDOT road-work schedule
A list of ongoing road-work projects updated by the Virginia Department of Transportation
* Mile marker 41 to 57, eastbound and westbound – Ditch cleaning, litter and debris removal. Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
* (NEW) Mile marker 57 to 50, westbound – Guardrail installation. Alternating lane closures, stationary traffic control, Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
* (NEW) Mile marker 54, eastbound and westbound – Bridges over Maury River and Kerrs Creek. Bridge analysis. Possible single-lane traffic, Thursday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
* Mile marker 174 to 205, northbound and southbound – Ditch cleaning, herbicidal spraying, litter and debris removal. Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
* Mile marker 195, northbound and southbound – Roadway lighting construction. Work will resume with power supply connection from power company.
* Mile marker 200, northbound and southbound – Roadway lighting construction. Work will resume with power supply connection from power company.
* Route 11 – Roadway lighting construction. Work will resume with power supply connection from power company.
* Route 130 (Glasgow) – Bridge construction at Route 501. Periodic single-lane traffic with flagger traffic control, Monday to Thursday, 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Friday, 7 a.m. to noon. Completion is in September 13, 2010.
* (NEW) Various roads – Shoulder repair. Mobile operations, Monday to Thursday, 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
* (NEW) Various roads – Mowing around guardrails.
* Route 710 – Roadway lighting construction. Work will resume with power supply connection from power company.
* Various roads – Brush cutting, patching. Monday to Thursday, 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Single-lane traffic, flagger traffic control.
* Various roads – Grading, ditching Monday to Thursday, 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
* Mile marker 88 to 118, eastbound and westbound – Replace pavement markers. Mobile right lane and partial mobile ramp closures, Monday to Friday.
* Mile marker 205 to 237, northbound and southbound – Ditch cleaning, herbicidal spraying, litter and debris removal. Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
* Mile marker 210 to 229, northbound and southbound – Bridge deck maintenance. Possible single-lane traffic, Monday night to Friday morning, 8 p.m. to 7 a.m.
* (NEW) Route 250 – Shoulder reconditioning from Route 358 to Staunton City limits. Mobile operations, Monday to Wednesday, 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
* (NEW) Route 250 – Mowing from Nelson County line to Waynesboro City limits. Mobile operations, Monday to Tuesday.
* (NEW) Route 250 – Mowing from Waynesboro City limits to Staunton City limits. Mobile operations, Wednesday to Thursday.
* Route 262, westbound – Construction of acceleration lane extension from Middlebrook Avenue to Route 262. Estimated completion is October.
* Route 340 (Waynesboro) – Construction from Route 250 to Delphine Avenue for railroad bridge replacement and roadway widening, Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Expect minor delays from Broad Street to Sixth Street for construction work. Seventh Street closed from Winchester Avenue to Commerce Street, June 1 to January 2010, and Sixth Street closed from Delphine Avenue to Commerce Street, July 6 to late January 2010, for retaining wall construction, bridge and utility work. Estimated completion is November 2011.
* Various roads – Mowing with tractors, Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Signs posted.
* Various roads – Debris cleanup.
* (NEW) Route 608 – Shoulder reconditioning from Route 652 to Route 898. Flagger traffic control, Wednesday to Friday.
* Route 612 – Bridge widening from Augusta County line to Route 250. Flagger traffic control, Monday to Friday.
* (NEW) Route 646 – Mowing. Mobile operation, Thursday to Friday.
* (NEW) Route 690 – Patching from Route 11 to Route 646. Traffic control, Monday to Friday.
* (NEW) Route 699 – Patching from Rockingham County line to Route 699. Traffic control, Wednesday to Friday.
* (NEW) Route 696 – Patching from Route 690 to Rockingham County line. Traffic control, Friday.
* Route 774, northbound and southbound (Cline River Road, New Hope) – Bridge over Middle River. Bridge replacement activities from Route 608 (Battlefield Road) to Route 775 (Craig Shop Road). Road closed from Mar. 30 to Nov. 13. Suggested detour: Northbound traffic take Route 608 to Route 778 (Knightly Mill Road) to Route 775 to Route 774. Southbound traffic take reverse of northbound detour.
* Route 794 (Sangers Lane), eastbound and westbound – Bridge over Christians Creek, from Route 792 (Basley Road) to Route 642 (Barren Ridge Road). Bridge replacement. Road closed, 24 hours-a-day, seven days-a-week, April 27 to Dec. 16. Suggested detour: Westbound traffic, take Route 792 south to Route 250 (Jefferson Highway) east to Route 642 north to Route 794. Eastbound traffic, take reverse of westbound detour.
* Route 802 – Rural rustic from Route 252 to Route 693. Road closed to thru traffic. Flagger traffic control, Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Estimated completion is Sept. 1.
* (NEW) Route 865 – Installing advanced warning flashers. Intermittent lane closures, Wednesday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
* (NEW) Various roads – Machining dirt roads. Mobile operations, Thursday to Friday.
* (NEW) Various roads – Brush cutting, Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Signs posted.
* Various roads (Swoope) – Pothole repair, Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Signs posted.
* Various roads – Surface treatment. Expect minor delays.
* Mile marker 237 to 263, northbound and southbound – Shoulder repair, litter and debris removal. Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
* (NEW) Route 42, northbound and southbound – Plant mix application from Route 1151 to 2.23 miles north of Route 778. Single-lane traffic, Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
* Route 211 (New Market Road) – Cable installation from Route 960 (Water Wheel Road) to Shenandoah City limits. Right shoulder closure, Monday to Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
* Route 253 (Port Republic Road) – Sewer line installation from Route 704 (Osceola Springs Road) to Route 276 (Cross Keys Road). Westbound lane shoulder closure. Occasional single-lane traffic with flagger traffic control. Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
* Route 641 (Cave Hill Road) – Road work from Route 843 (Cemetery Road) to Route 991 (Jacob Burner Road). Intermittent lane closures. Flagger traffic control. Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
* Route 709 (Autumn Lane) – Sewer line installation from Route 704 (Osceola Springs Road) to Route 710 (Greendale Road). Westbound shoulder closure. Occasional single-lane traffic with flagger traffic control. Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
* (NEW) Route 724 (Trinity Church Road) – Road widening from 0.7 mile east of Buffalo Drive (Route 238) to 0.2 mile west of Route 717 (Indian Trail Road). Single-lane traffic, flagger traffic control, Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
* Route 843 (Cemetery Road) – Road work at Route 641 (Cave Hill Road) and Route 650 (Power Dam Road). Intermittent single-lane traffic, flagger traffic control. Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
* Route 867 (North River Road) – Construction entrance from Route 11 (Main Street) to Route 693 (Fairview Road). Right shoulder closure, Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
* Route 981 (Rockingham Pike) – Sewer and drainage work from Route 33 to Route 829 (Independent Road). Right shoulder closure, Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
* Route 996 (McGaheysville Road) – Sewer line installation from Route 651 (Power Dam Road) to Route 842 (Slate Road). Single-lane traffic, flagger traffic control, Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.