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Four 15-minute activities to do with the senior in your life

If you are a caregiver, this might sound familiar. You want to do meaningful activities with the senior in your life, but things get in the way. You get tired, or you don’t know if the senior in your care will like your suggestions. But seniors, like anyone else, sometimes need ideas or encouragement to take part in activities. The key is to get to know your senior and then simplify the process. You can opt for short activities that are meaningful but also support your senior’s cognitive and physical health. Here are some options for 15-minute activities designed to enhance quality of life.

Conversation – This might sound overly simplistic, but a directed conversation goes a long way towards increasing quality of life. Start by choosing a topic that you think would interest the senior in your care. Consider how you relate to that topic and start a conversation by relaying your experiences. Then ask open-ended questions (as opposed to questions that can be answered with yes or no). For example, if your senior enjoys history of their generation, talk about a show you saw on a particular event. Encourage your senior to explain more about it and get them to describe what it was like to experience that time period. Be curious and ask for details and clarification. It might be slow going, especially if the senior in your care is quiet, but take your time, listen closely and exhibit genuine interest. If it goes off track, no worries. In fifteen minutes, you have strengthened your senior’s communication, verbal and memory skills, as well as provided an opportunity for them to feel valued and respected.

Sketching – You don’t have to be an artist to sketch with the senior in your life. Grab two pencils and two pieces of paper. Play a game. Look at the same object and sketch it. Then have fun comparing the sketches. Or use a photo as inspiration. Not artistically inclined? Do some doodling. It’s a great way to enhance small motor skills and muscles without getting too sore. If arthritis is an issue, there may be ways to adapt this activity. Opt for large, simple objects to draw, bigger pieces of paper and easy-to-hold tools.

Reciting – Song lyrics, poems, stories…these are all great things to recite. As we get older, word recall is especially difficult. For some people, it becomes so difficult and such an embarrassment, they stop talking. Reciting brings words back into everyday vocabulary and serves as an easy mechanism to help seniors remember phrases and ideas that can later be worked into conversation. Don’t worry if your senior can’t remember all the words. Start with something easy. Help them fill in the blanks when needed.

Singing – Not only does song sooth the soul, it’s a great way to exercise the vocal cords, bring back memories of a different time, practice word recall and create a bond. Even if you don’t know all the words, hum along. Or ask the senior in your life to teach you the song. Out of tune? No worries. This is not a concert. It’s fifteen minutes of fun.

These are just some of the activities you can do with the senior in your life to turn your time together into memorable, meaningful experiences. Not everything will appeal to everyone, and not everyone will be able to do everything. The key is to learn about the senior in your life – their likes and dislikes – and introduce things to do that you might not normally. See what works, and enjoy the process together.

In Part II, we’ll talk about four more activities you can enjoy with the senior in your life. Stay tuned.

This post is sponsored by Home Instead Senior Care serving Prince William and Fauquier counties.

Senate panel votes to ban ‘lunch shaming’ in Virginia

RICHMOND – A Senate committee Thursday unanimously approved a bill to prohibit “lunch shaming” – the practice of singling out students who owe the school cafeteria money or cannot pay for their lunch.

The Senate Education and Health Committee voted 15-0 in favor of House Bill 50, which would bar schools from giving students a hand stamp or wristband when their lunch account is empty, or ask students to do chores or throw away their meal if they cannot pay. The bill specifies that any concerns regarding students’ lunch debt must be taken up directly with their parents or guardians.

The bill, which unanimously passed the House last week and now goes to the full Senate, would address the concerns of parents like Adelle Settle, a mother in Prince William County. She started fundraising to help students settle lunch debts after hearing about the lunch shaming phenomenon on the radio. Last year, she helped raise over $20,000 for students with meal debt in Prince William.

“A child has no control over their family finances, and a child should have no involvement in the discussion between a school and the parent to collect for meal debt,” Settle said. “Our kids deserve to be treated equally and with compassion at school.”

The price of a school lunch in Virginia public elementary schools averages $1.88, but it can be as high as $3.05 in Loudoun County and $3 in Fairfax County and Falls Church, according to data from the Virginia Department of Education.

As in all states, schools in Virginia participate in a federal program that provides free or reduced-price lunches to children from low-income families. Eligibility depends on income and household size. A four-person household must have an annual income of $44,955 or less to qualify for free lunches.

Students who receive free lunches are not at risk of being shamed by school staff because their meals are provided by government funding; the students cannot incur debts. Of the 1.29 million students in Virginia’s public schools, almost 572,000 – or 44 percent – qualify for free and reduced-price lunches.

But lunch shaming can affect the remaining students who pay for their lunch out of pocket and occasionally may not have the money.

Reports of meal-debt shaming vary across the country but include practices such as stamping “I need lunch money” on students’ hands, asking students to wipe down tables or throwing away the lunch that can’t be paid for.

In Virginia, procedures handling school lunch debt vary by school district. Some school districts such as Chesterfield County allow students a certain amount of debt before refusing to provide them with a standard meal.

“Students unable to pay for their meal at the time of meal service are allowed to charge a breakfast and lunch,” said Sean Smith, assistant director of community relations at Chesterfield County Public Schools. “This may result in a debt to the student’s meal account with the expectation that the parent or guardian is responsible for full payment.”

Once money runs out, Chesterfield schools will serve students an alternative lunch. Ryan Bass, who attended Chesterfield schools with his younger sister, recalled when she was given a cheese sandwich and a carton of milk when she didn’t have lunch money.

Virginia’s strides to abolish lunch shaming aren’t the first. Last year, Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., introduced a bill that would make it illegal to shame a student who doesn’t have lunch money.



Here are the 10 things seniors wished their caregivers knew

If you’ve spent time around seniors, you might have noticed some patterns in their basic needs. Many times, though, caregivers are inexperienced or they don’t know what to look for. And of course, caregivers tend to be younger than the seniors in their lives.

The challenge is that for most younger people, aging feels foreign, which make sense. They haven’t aged yet, so how can they know what it’s like to be a senior? If you are a caregiver especially, though, you need to understand seniors. And while every person is different, here are ten things most seniors wish their caregivers knew.

1.    I need to be with people, even if I don’t talk. Human beings are naturally social. But that doesn’t mean they always want to be verbal. Throw in feeling tired or introverted, and you come up with a quiet person. But silence doesn’t necessarily mean the senior in your life doesn’t want company. So long as nothing is wrong, being less vocal often means they just don’t feel like talking.


2.    I need you to know what I like. As we age, the things we used to enjoy may not be what we enjoy now. Food tastes different. Sensations feel different. Activities that used to be easy are now more difficult and might feel like work instead of play. While it’s okay to remind the senior in your life of things they used to enjoy, don’t push it. Pay attention to what they like right now and give them the opportunity to experience it.

3.    I need help keeping my balance. As we age, we tend to lose our balance more easily. There are many reasons for this. Muscle mass changes, weight changes, equilibrium changes…these all affect balance in seniors. Keep an eye on the senior in your life. Help them get to their walker if they use one. Lend an extra hand to help them feel more secure.

4.    I need you to go to the doctor’s office with me. If you’ve ever been confused by medical lingo, you can imagine what it might be like for a senior. Technology, terminology and procedures have changed, and it’s hard to keep up with those changes. Sometimes it can be difficult just getting through the office door, especially with medical or adaptive equipment and/or mobility challenges. You can help by accompanying the senior in your life to the doctor’s office. Be prepared to take notes, explain what is being said and lend a steadying hand.

5.    I need you to remind me to do certain things. This goes for seniors with and without dementia or Alzheimer’s. Seniors might need any number of reminders. From taking medicine to turning off the stove, the details in life can get overwhelming. If you see the senior in your life forgetting something, offer a gentle, kind reminder – never a reprimand.

6.    I need you to be patient. Seniors have lived longer lives. Their brains are filled with more details and experiences. Their bodies and their minds might move more slowly than we’re accustomed to, especially if we knew them earlier on in life. Expect that things will take more time. If you are on a schedule, leave enough time to account for their needs.

7.    I need you to treat me like an adult. The idea that you become a parent to your parent is somewhat of a myth. While it might feel that way sometimes, seniors are not children. They are older adults. They want respect, and they want to be as independent as possible. Being spoken to like they are children encourages dependence and is belittling, even if the speaker doesn’t mean it.  

8.    I need you to understand my fears. Between physical and psychological changes, as well as rapid changes in society and environments, the world can be a pretty scary place for many seniors. Fear of falling, fear of becoming a victim, fear of losing independence, fear of loneliness – all of these are common fears seniors experience. Help them understand the world around them and remind them of the support they have so they can feel more comfortable.

9.    I need you to understand why I get agitated. Whether it’s an uncomfortable sensation, fatigue, frustration with limitations or just pure aggravation, seniors can sometimes lose patience and lash out. Dementia and Alzheimer’s, along with personality traits, can add to that mix. Learn the warning signs. And if you need help understanding how to work with agitation, reach out to a professional.

10.    I need you to accept who I am. Caregivers have a tendency to want to fix things. But seniors don’t need to be fixed. They aren’t broken. They have lived a lifetime to become the person they are right now. They are who they are, and who they are is something special. Treat them that way.

Interestingly enough, most of these needs are shared by people of all ages. But for some reason, we look at seniors differently, as if being older means something separate from being a “normal” human. Remove that thought entirely. You’ll discover your relationship with the senior in your life will improve, and everyone’s lives will be enriched because of it.

This post is sponsored by Home Instead Senior Care serving Prince William and Fauquier counties. 

Get autographs from sports, cinema legends, courtesy of P-Nats

From the Potomac Nationals press release:

Woodbridge, VA—The Potomac Nationals are excited to announce their complete Legends Autograph Series for the 2018 season featuring six celebrity autograph signing appearances at Pfitzner Stadium.

A total of eight celebs are set to be on hand at The Pfitz to meet and greet P-Nats fans and sign autographs during the Potomac Nationals’ 2018 campaign.

The P-Nats’ 2018 Legends Autograph Series will bring a combination of motion picture, television, and sports stars to Pfitzner Stadium on six dates in 2018.

Highlighting the Best Promotional Schedule in Minor League Baseball is the P-Nats’ 2018 Legends Autograph Series celebrity appearance schedule: 

-ROBERT WUHL, “Durham Bulls Pitching Coach, Larry Hockett” in Acclaimed Baseball Film, Bull Durham on Bull Durham 30th Anniversary Night (Saturday, June 23rd)

 -PHIL CHENIER and GHEORGHE MURESAN, Washington Bullets Legends of the National Basketball Association (NBA) on Washington Wizards Night (Friday, July 27th)

 -DIDI CONN, “Frenchy” in Legendary Musical, Grease and Grease 2 on Grease 40th Anniversary Night (Saturday, July 28th)  

 -CHAUNCEY LEOPARDI, “Squints” in Hallmark Kids Baseball Film, The Sandlot on The Sandlot 25th Anniversary Night (Saturday, August 4th)

 -COVELLI “COCO” CRISP, 2001 Potomac Cannons Outfielder and 2007 World Series Champion member of the Boston Red Sox on Potomac Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Day (Sunday, August 5th)

-JERRY “THE KING” LAWLER, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Hall of Famer and GRAND MASTER SEXAY (AKA BRIAN CHRISTOPHER LAWLER), WWE Legend for A Royal Night with The King (Friday, August 24th)

All autograph signings will be free to P-Nats fans as these celebrity appearance events are included with the price of admission to see the P-Nats play at The Pfitz.

Each celebrity will engage the P-Nats’ faithful during two public autograph signings during each appearance bisected by a ceremonial first pitch on the playing field.

Posed photography with P-Nats fans is at the discretion of each celebrity guest. 

The respective lines for celebrity autograph guests at Pfitzner Stadium will begin to form as soon as Season Ticket Holder gates open to Pfitzner Stadium. The general public may join the celebrity autograph guests line once gates to The Pfitz open to the public.  

The Potomac Nationals will sell 8×10 photos of the respective celebrities to be signed at the autograph table on the night of the celebrity appearance. 

The Legends Autograph Series gets underway on Saturday, June 23rd with a celebration of the 30th Anniversary of Bull Durham.

As part of the celebration, Bull Durham (1988) actor Robert Wuhl will be on hand. Wuhl, who played Larry Hockett, the pitching coach for the Bulls in the film, also appeared in the 1994 biopic Cobb, in which he played author, Al Stump, who spent time with Detroit Tigers’ Hall of Fame player Ty Cobb while putting together a biography chronicling Cobb’s life. Wuhl played roles in Batman (1989), Good Morning Vietnam (1987), and Blue Chips (1994). Most recently, he has become best known as the creator and star of the HBO television comedy series Arli$$ (1996-2002), where he played Arliss Michaels, the president of a sports agency.

In addition to Wuhl’s appearance on 6/23 and the celebration of Bull Durham, the first 1,250 to the game between the P-Nats and Wilmington Blue Rocks (Kansas City Royals) will receive a Victor Robles “Rob Job” bobblehead. It is also the first Scout Night of the season at Pfitzner Stadium.

First pitch is scheduled for 6:35pm.

The autograph series continues with Washington Wizards Night on Friday, July 27th. Washington Wizards Night will feature a celebrity meet & greet and autograph signing with former Washington Bullets stars Phil Chenier and Gheorghe Muresan.

Chenier, who played for the Bullets franchise from 1971-1979 and claimed an NBA Championship in 1978, served as a television broadcaster for the Wizards from 1987 to 2017.

Muresan, drafted by the Bullets in 1993, played for four seasons with Washington. He is renowned for being tied with the late, Manute Bol, also a former Washington Bullet, for being the tallest player in NBA history at 7 feet, 7 inches. Muresan led the NBA in field goal percentage for both the 95-96 and 96-97 seasons.

Muresan also embarked on a film career that included him being featured in the motion picture, My Giant (1998) opposite comic legend and film star, Billy Crystal.

Washington Wizards Night will accompany the start to Wild Hair Weekend at Pfitzner Stadium. The first 1,000 fans through the gates that night will can take home an Anthony Rendon “Hat Hair.”

First pitch on Wizards Night between The Red, White, & Blue and the Carolina Mudcats (Milwaukee Brewers) is set for 7:05pm.

Saturday, July 28th, one night after Washington Wizards Night, Pfitzner Stadium will host a 40th anniversary celebration of Grease (1978), complete with a celebrity autograph appearance by Didi Conn, who played “Frenchy” in the classic film.

Conn has more TV credits to her name than she does on the big screen, but her performance as “Frenchy” in Grease is her most well-known role. With her appearance in Grease 2 (1982) and a cameo in the TV special Grease: Live (2016), she is the only actress to have appeared in all three editions of the franchise.

In addition to the celebration of Grease with Conn, the P-Nats will pay homage to the film with custom theme jerseys.

Also that night, the first 1,250 fans to the ballpark will receive a Bryce Harper “Real Slicked Back Hair” bobblehead, dressed in style to match the movie. Saturday, July 28th is also the third Scout Night of the season at Pfitzner Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35pm, as the P-Nats will once again host the Mudcats.

Just one week after Didi Conn visits The Pfitz, the P-Nats will welcome Chauncey Leopardi to the Home of the Potomac Nationals as part of a celebration to honor the movie, The Sandlot (1993).

Leopardi played Michael “Squints” Palledorous in the movie and had multiple memorable scenes in the film. The Sandlot celebration is scheduled for Saturday, August 4th, as Potomac hosts the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Chicago Cubs), with first pitch scheduled for 6:35pm.

A TV and film actor from 1990-2013, Leopardi has appeared on TV shows such as Boy Meets World, Freaks and Geeks, and Gilmore Girls. His other movie credits include The Big Green (1995), and most recently, Coldwater (2013).

In addition, the first 1,250 fans to the ballpark will receive a “Squints” bobblehead. The P-Nats will wear custom Sandlot inspired theme jerseys. It will also be the final Scout Night of the 2018 season.

The run of celebrities to Woodbridge doesn’t stop, as the following day, Sunday, August 5th, former Major League Baseball veteran standout, Covelli “Coco” Crisp will be on hand for a meet & greet autograph appearance. Crisp, who played for the Potomac Cannons in 2001, will be inducted into the Potomac Baseball Hall of Fame that afternoon.

A World Series Champion with the Boston Red Sox in 2007 who also claimed an American League Championship in 2016 with the Cleveland Indians, Crisp played in the Big Leagues for 15 years. Crisp, drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 7th round of the 1999 MLB Draft, played for Boston, Cleveland (two tours), the Kansas City Royals, and the Oakland Athletics.

Crisp was traded by St. Louis to Cleveland on August 7th, 2002 to complete an earlier trade for pitcher, Chuck Finley.

The longtime outfielder led the American League with 49 stolen bases in 2011 and ranked as one of the best defensive outfielders throughout his career.

First pitch on Coco Crisp PBHOF Induction Day is at 1:05pm, as the Pelicans continue their visit at Pfitzner Stadium.

To round out the 2018 Legends Autograph Series, the P-Nats will welcome a pair of WWE legends on Friday, August 24th. Jerry “The King” Lawler, and his son, Brian Christopher Lawler, AKA “Grand Master Sexay,” will be on hand for “A Royal Night with the King.”

Lawler, “The King,” a WWE Hall of Famer inducted in 2007, has been involved in professional wrestling since 1970. Jerry Lawler has been with the WWE in either a full time or part time capacity since 2001.

Jerry “The King” Lawler currently fills in as a commentator on various WWE broadcasts.

Lawler is known for his famous feud with legendary entertainer, Andy Kauffman that captivated the masses and linked the pair forever. 

The younger Lawler, who joined the then WWF, now WWE, in 1997, became a cult like classic character as “Grand Master Sexay,” part of the tag team “Too Cool.” He appeared for various independent wrestling companies through 2011 and reappeared in the WWE in both 2011 and 2014.

First pitch for “A Royal Night with the King” is set for 7:05pm, as Potomac will play host to the Lynchburg Hillcats (Cleveland Indians).

Potomac Nationals Opening Day 2018 is set for Thursday, April 5th at Pfitzner Stadium as the Nationals host the Wilmington Blue Rocks (Kansas City Royals).

First pitch for the P-Nats’ 2018 season opener is set for 7:05pm.

P-Nats’ 2018 ticket plans and group outings are currently available for purchase. For more information, or to purchase any of these plans, contact Potomac Nationals Director of Season Ticket and Group Ticket Sales, Alec Manriquez, by phone at 703-590-2311, ext. 221, or via e-mail at amanriquez@potomacnationals.com.

The Potomac Nationals of the Carolina League play at Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge, Virginia, and are the Carolina League affiliate of the Washington Nationals. The Potomac Nationals have claimed five Carolina League Championship titles (1982, 1989, 2008, 2010, and 2014) and nine CL Northern Division Championships. Sponsorship opportunities for the P-Nats’ 2018 season and beyond are available, as well as all-inclusive corporate picnic outings to watch the future stars of the Washington Nationals at The Pfitz. 2018 Potomac Nationals season tickets and mini plans are now on sale. For more information on Potomac Nationals 2018 season tickets, mini plans, group outings, picnic packages, fundraisers, and all things Red, White, and Blue, visit the P-Nats online at www.potomacnationals.com, follow the P-Nats on Facebook (@PotomacNationals), Twitter (@PNats42), and Instagram (@pnats42), or call the Potomac Nationals’ Extreme Custom Collision Ticket Office at 703-590-2311.

Heart attack means new start for Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center patient

Imagine helping a person after their darkest hour. That’s the reality for the Cardiac Rehabilitation team at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center.

Every day, team members work with patients who have suffered life-altering heart episodes. That’s why what they do is recognized during National Cardiac Rehabilitation Week, which runs from February 11th -17th.

For Nelly Morgan, those services were vital.

Less than a year ago, the mother of five suffered a heart attack. She was 49 years old at the time and didn’t realize what was happening.

“I just thought I was having acid reflux,” says Morgan, thinking back on that night last April.

She remembers that evening clearly. “Every Sunday, my daughter and I watch ‘The Walking Dead.’ We were all excited for the season finale,” she says.

Morgan says during the show, they were watching, jumping up and down and screaming at the television. She didn’t even realize something was going wrong until she tried to go to bed.

“I have GERD, so I just thought it was acid reflux and kept drinking water.”

But after several antacids and glasses of water, Morgan wasn’t so sure. “I didn’t want to wake my husband and have him take me to the hospital. I was feeling embarrassed. What if it was just heartburn?”

But after nearly two hours and no relief, her body gave some signs she just couldn’t ignore.

“My left arm was tingling and numb,” she says. “It went from my arm to my neck to my jaw, and all of sudden I felt this weight on my chest, like 20 people were sitting on it.”

Morgan’s husband rushed her to the Emergency Department at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center in Woodbridge. When the team learned of her symptoms, she was immediately rushed back for care.

“They hooked me up to the machine and said, ‘Yes, you are having a heart attack.’ I just started crying. I thought, ‘Oh My God, I’m going to die.’”

The Prince William County resident didn’t die. Dr. Berenji, an Interventional Cardiologist with the Sentara Heart & Vascular Center, performed a Cardiac Catheterization procedure on her clogged artery. Morgan spent the next five days in the hospital before starting therapy and turning her life around with the help of the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center. 

At first glance, the rehab center looks like any other gym. There are treadmills, recumbent bikes, an elliptical and weights. But one thing you’ll get here that you won’t with a traditional gym is a trained team of nurses monitoring your every heartbeat and watching your every step.

“Our goal is getting those patients into a safe exercise program and returning them to their lives,” explains Pamela Rozmajzl, RN. “We have an actual program. There is a progression we go through for each patient. We assess where they are and build from there, increasing along the way.”

In addition to introducing more physical activity into a patient’s life, the rehab has an educational component to improve the quality of life with psychological, physical and educational support after a heart attack or heart procedure.

“We have various classes on everything from medications and their possible side effects to diet changes and stress management. We also educate them on how to safely progress with their exercises once they leave our 12-week program,” says Rozmajzl.

For Nelly Morgan, this was a period of mixed emotions. She reached a milestone by turning 50 but was scared of having another heart attack. She realized she had a number of risk factors, including stress and heredity.

“Heart disease runs on my father’s side of the family,” she says. “He died of a heart attack. His parents died of heart attacks. He had two older brothers and they died of heart attacks.”

Morgan thought because she was a woman she had less chance of following in the family footsteps than male relatives. But in addition to genetics, Morgan also realized her diet could have played a role in her condition.

“I used to buy frozen food. I never read the back of boxes. The sodium intake in those lunches I would eat all week…they’re small portions. You think, no big deal. But if you add up a whole week’s worth, you realize, ‘I just ate a whole box of salt!’”

Things have now changed. This full-time wife, mother and student watches her salt intake, gave up soda and has added more vegetables to her family’s life, while doing away with processed foods. As she approaches the one year anniversary of her heart attack, Nelly Morgan is a new woman. She bought a treadmill and walks in the morning and at night, and she tries to have more physical activities for the family. It’s all a part of her new heart-healthy lifestyle.

“I don’t want to miss important events in my family’s life,” she says. “I want to see my daughter graduate from high school and my twins get through kindergarten. It’s those events you want to be around for. So they (my family) play a big part in this transformation.”

And, Morgan says, she couldn’t have made this transformation without the help of the Cardiac Rehab team. “They gave me the tools to change my life and be healthier.”

To learn more about the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center or find a cardiologist near you, call 1-800-SENTARA or go to Sentara.com.

 

Proposals seek to spur growth in Virginia distillery industry

RICHMOND — Virginia distillers ?may soon be toasting the General Assembly after the Senate passed a bill to let liquor manufacturers keep more of the money from selling their spirits in tasting rooms.

Currently, distilleries must sell their bottles to the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority, then buy them back at full retail price before pouring samples inside their tasting rooms. The markup averages 69 percent and can be as high as 93 percent, according to ABC.

But distilleries could keep the price markup under Senate Bill 803, introduced by Sen. Bryce Reeves, R-Fredericksburg. The Senate voted 23-16 in favor of the measure Friday. It is now before the House Appropriations Committee.

ABC currently takes about 55 percent of the gross revenues that distilleries make in their tasting rooms, said Scott Harris of Catoctin Creek Distilling Company in the Loudoun County town of Purcellville. After overhead and worker pay, he said, most Virginia distilleries lose money on such operations.  

Distilleries are a growing enterprise in Virginia, which considers itself the birthplace of American spirits. After serving two terms as president, George Washington returned to Mount Vernon to brew his own whiskey.

The industry does more than $160 million a year in business in terms of creating jobs, buying agricultural products and selling spirits, according to the Virginia Distillers Association.

Still, that’s just a drop in the bucket compared with neighboring Kentucky. Distilleries there have an annual economic impact of $8.5 billion, the Kentucky Distillers Association says.

Kentucky is one of the country’s largest producers of distilled spirits and, unlike Virginia, the industry is not controlled by the state government. Harris said Virginia distilleries are hampered by a “punitive landscape.”

Curtis Coleburn, a lobbyist for the Virginia Distillers Association, said SB 803 could  spur major growth in the commonwealth’s spirits industry.

“When the distilleries make a sale, half of the money goes to the state through taxes and profits because it’s managed through ABC,” Coleburn said. “Senate Bill 803 would allow the distillers to keep more of the proceeds for sales at the distillery stores and will enable them to hire more Virginians and expand their plans and grow the industry.”

Virginia distillers say they would like to make and sell their products on their premises at the cost of production. This would allow them to have profitable tasting rooms and generate tourism, said Amy Ciarametaro, executive director for the Virginia Distillers Association.

“We have to educate our legislators that, in order for the distilled spirits industry to really be a powerful economic generator for the commonwealth — and it can be — we’ve got to make these distillery stores profit generators for their operators,” Ciarametaro said.  

Belle Isle Moonshine in Richmond does not have a store on premise, but co-founder and CEO Vince Riggi said reducing the regulations on tasting room sales would benefit all distillers in the commonwealth.  

“We want to market Virginia spirits,” Riggi said. “We want to elevate the brand and showcase it to the consumers in the state.”

 

Bob’s Discount Furniture Woodbridge 5-day grand opening offers family fun, giveaways

Bob’s Discount Furniture is hosting a grand opening celebration from Thursday, February 15 – Monday, February 19, 2018 in honor of its new store at 14500 Potomac Mill Road, Woodbridge, VA. This will be the third Bob’s Discount Furniture store in Virginia.

A ribbon cutting ceremony will take place on Thursday at 9:45 a.m. and special appearances by Washington Redskins Alumni, Gary Clark and Ravin Caldwell will take place on Monday.

Bob’s grand opening guests will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of family fun entertainment and free giveaways throughout the weekend, including a chance to win Washington Redskins season tickets. In addition, the Bob’s Outreach team is giving away 200 copies of the new book “The Bobs and Tweets” at each store opening celebration.

In conjunction with the grand openings, the Bob’s Outreach team is donating $10,000 to local children’s charities and over $90,000 to local children’s charities and schools in the nine new communities Bob’s is launching new stores in. The principal from Mary G. Porter Traditional School, will be receiving an outreach donation for $2,500 at the grand opening ceremony.

The full schedule is as follows:

      • Check presentation on Thursday, February 15 at 9:30 a.m.
      • Ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday, February 15 at 9:45 a.m.
      • Family fun entertainment:
        • Thursday and Friday, from 3 p.m. – 8 p.m.
        • Saturday – Monday, from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
      • WASH street team appearance on Friday, February 16 from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.
      • Redskins Alumni appearance on Monday, February 19 from 12 p.m. – 2 p.m.
      • Free giveaways – Washington Redskins season tickets, “Bobs and Tweets” books, T-Shirts, Ice Scrapes, and more throughout the long weekend

About Bob’s Discount Furniture

Bob’s Discount Furniture provides a wide variety of quality furnishings – including living room furniture, bedroom furniture, dining room furniture, mattresses and home accents – at everyday low prices. The stores also offer a unique and enjoyable shopping experience featuring cafes in each store with free gourmet coffee, ice cream, cookies and candy. Since 1991, Bob’s has built strong customer loyalty by offering the highest-value home furnishings at the lowest possible prices. With 98 furniture stores located throughout New England, Delaware, California, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin, the Manchester, Conn.-based company has become the 12th-largest U.S. furniture chain and proudly holds an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.

Bob’s is committed to supporting communities where its stores are located through a variety of charitable giving efforts. Bob’s Discount Furniture Charitable Foundation has anchored the company’s philanthropic work for more than 20 years. In addition, the Bob’s Outreach program was created as a separate entity to help schools and children-related charities. The company donates more than $2.75 million to charities through these programs each year. For more information on Bob’s charitable programs, visit http://www.bobscares.org.



This mindset guides our process and allows the FreshySites team to grow from within

The fourth part of the FreshySites Ethos is Grow From Within. We’re always open to welcoming new members to the FS team if we’re hiring. But once you’re on team Freshy, a lot is expected of you – because our clients expect a lot from our company.

The Freshy team is highly motivated, reliable, extremely organized, creative, collaborative and so much more.

As we’ve stated before, the FS team comes to work each day ready to serve the customer in any way possible, constantly looking for ways to help them and show them their value. This requires us to be ego free, always treating clients, and each other, with the utmost respect and kindness.

Our unity in these mindsets allows us to effectively ask for more in our daily process, pushing ourselves to be the best we can be, pushing FS forward as well. More than anything else, our asking for more lends itself to growing from within.

In order to push our company forward, our employees have to push themselves, each day, to be as thoughtful, efficient and productive as possible in their individual roles and responsibilities.

Having this mindset guide our process allows the FS team to effortlessly grow from within because our team members are consistently surpassing expectations – both internally and externally – growing their individual skills and capabilities, as well as our team’s collective talents and abilities.

Our team is constantly growing in our capabilities, skills, talents and so much more.

More importantly, though, our employees are growing individually, far beyond their official titles – from junior web designers into web designers for example – but in their responsibilities within the company, becoming even more productive, hard-working, incredible members of our team with each passing day.

FreshySites – a regionally focused company with national reach and operations, growing our team from within.

FreshySites is a fast-growing website design firm dedicated to creating beautiful websites, while consistently delivering best-in-industry customer service and support. Founded in 2011, FreshySites has quickly expanded into the largest in-house WordPress web design shop on the East Coast. Our Washington D.C. office was founded in 2012 by Vincent Consumano. With additional offices, we have the team, resources and tools to serve our local – and national – clients through website mockups, creative briefs, revision rounds, and Search Engine Optimization audits. FreshySites is determined to take our regional clients’ online presence to the next level, ultimately helping them to grow and thrive. Explore our website to learn more about us, see our portfolio of work and become a part of our client family today!”

House vote aims to disassemble ‘school-to-prison pipeline’

Capital News Service tells us the Va. House of Delegates doesn’t want year-long school suspensions, with some exceptions. Here’s the press release:

House OKs Limiting School Suspensions to 45 Days

By Kirby Farineau

Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Virginia students who break school rules may no longer face the possibility of a yearlong suspension under legislation approved by the House of Delegates to address what some lawmakers call the “school-to-prison pipeline.”

House Bill 1600, which passed 84-15 on Tuesday, would reduce the maximum length of a suspension from 364 days to 45 days. It is one of several measures lawmakers introduced in response to complaints that Virginia schools overreact to minor infractions – and sometimes charge students as criminals for transgressions that should draw a detention.

“At the end of the day, if our students are out of school, they’re not learning,” said the bill’s sponsor, Democratic Del. Jeffrey Bourne, who previously served on the Richmond School Board. “We should not continue to use access to education as a punishment and expect positive results.”

On its way toward passage, the bill was amended to allow school officials to impose a suspension of up to 364 days if “aggravating circumstances exist” or if the student is a repeat offender.

Del. R. Lee Ware Jr., R-Powhatan, said he historically had reservations about limiting schools’ options in disciplining students. However, he called HB 1600 “a responsible middle course.”

“It allows a considerable amount of latitude to educators with the responsibility of maintaining order in schools,” Ware said.

HB 1600 was among a slew of proposals introduced this legislative session to address how Virginia schools discipline students. In 2015, the Center for Public Integrity reported that Virginia has one of the highest rates in the nation for referring students to law enforcement. Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy, D-Prince William, has called the situation “the No. 1 civil rights issue of our modern time.”

Several of the bills never made it out of committee. They included:

  • HB 445, which sought to end a requirement that principals report certain misdemeanor crimes to law enforcement. The bill, proposed by Carroll Foy, was rejected in a 5-2 vote by a subcommittee of the House Courts of Justice Committee.
  • HB 296, which would have prohibited suspending or expelling students in preschool through third grade, except for violent crimes, drugs or other serious offenses. The House Education Committee voted 12-10 vote to kill the legislation. The bill was sponsored by the panel’s vice chairman, Del. Richard Bell, R-Staunton.

Del. Mark Cole, R-Spotsylvania, opposed Bell’s measure, saying it would “make our classrooms less safe.”

“I don’t think it’s up to us to try to micromanage discipline issues in the local schools. That’s why we have local elected school boards,” Cole said.

While such legislation met opposition in the House, the Senate has been more receptive.

On Thursday, the Senate Education and Health Committee approved SB 170, which, like Bell’s legislation, would bar suspensions and expulsions in third grade and below. The committee voted 11-4 in favor of the measure. SB 170, sponsored by Sen. William Stanley, R-Franklin County, now goes to the full Senate for consideration.

Last week, the Senate unanimously passed SB 476, sponsored by Sen. Bryce Reeves, R-Spotsylvania. Like Carroll Foy’s bill, it would give school principals the discretion not to call police on students who commit misdemeanors or other minor crimes.

Reeves’ measure has been assigned to the House Courts of Justice Committee – the same panel whose subcommittee killed Carroll Foy’s proposal.

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