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Box-cutter-wielding robbery suspect outside Stafford Walmart arrested

From the Stafford Sheriff’s Office press release:

Stafford, VA.  Deputies with the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office arrested a suspect on Thursday for a robbery outside of a Walmart located in the southern end of the county.

On March 15, 2018 at approximately 3:15 p.m., Deputy Nathan Potter responded to a reported robbery at the Walmart located at 11 Village Parkway. The victim—a Walmart employee—told the deputy that a female with a scarf concealing her face approached her as she was attempting to leave work and head home.

The suspect was holding a box cutter and demanded that the victim hand over her purse. The victim gave the suspect a small amount of cash and the suspect then left the area.

The deputy broadcast a “Be On the Lookout” for the suspect and, shortly thereafter, other Stafford deputies located her and took her into custody. In addition, surveillance video reviewed by deputies with the Special Problems Unit corroborated the victim’s story.  

Amanda Jo Colavito, 38, of Fredericksburg, was incarcerated at Rappahannock Regional Jail without bond. She is charged with robbery and wearing a mask in public.

Early detection saves lives. Get your colonoscopy.

Did you Know?

  • Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States.
  • It is the third most common cancer in men and women.

Reduce your risk by keeping a healthy weight, staying physically active, and eating a healthy diet.

Your Body Mass Index (BMI) is a measurement based on height and weight. Two out of three Americans are overweight or obese. A BMI greater than 27 can increase your risk of colon and/or rectal cancer.

Processed meats can also increase your risk for colon and/or rectal cancer by 18%. Examples of processed meats include hot dogs, bacon, lunch meats and sausage.

 Exercise may prevent colon and rectal cancer. Aim for 30 minutes of physical activity daily.  Tracking steps with your smartphone is one way to increase activity. Aim for 10,000 steps daily.

 Eating healthy can also help reduce your risk of certain cancers. Antioxidants are cancer-fighting compounds found in fruits and vegetables of varying colors. Aim to consume at least five servings of fruit and vegetables per day; and remember to keep it colorful!

Answering these questions could save your life:

  • Are you age 50 or older?
  • Are you age 45 or older and African-American?
  • Have you had a change in your bowel habits lasting more than 2 weeks (constipation, diarrhea, bleeding, abdominal pain)?
  • Have you had unexpected weight loss?
  • Do you have a personal or family history of colorectal polyps?
  • Do you have a personal or family history of colorectal cancer?
  • Do you have a personal or family history of ovarian, endometrial, or pancreatic cancer?
  • Do you or anybody in your family have ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease?

If you answered YES to any of these questions, talk with your physician, as you may require a colonoscopy to prevent colon or rectal cancer.

For people age 50 and over, regular screening can catch colorectal cancer

before symptoms begin.

Early Detection Saves Lives.

Mary Washington Healthcare

Regional Cancer Center

Taking the senior in your life to a doctor’s appointment? Here’s your to-do list.

In a previous article, we talked about ways to make local travel easier for the senior in your life. Sometimes, local travel means going to the doctor’s office. If you care for a senior who needs you to take them to see a doctor, you’ll need to be prepared. The general rules of planning a trip will probably still apply, but visiting the doctor requires some additional considerations. Here’s your to-do list.

Start the conversation – A few weeks before the appointment, when the senior in your care is relaxed and preferably talkative, ask how they have been feeling. Is there anything new bothering them? Do they have any questions? Listen closely and jot down notes in a health journal or notebook. Then list all medication and doses and how long they have been taking it. Document the day and time of the conversation.

Continue the conversation – Two weeks before the appointment, have the same conversation you held in the weeks prior. Ask as many questions as you need to, but be sure to repeat the original questions you asked, too. One week before the appointment, repeat the process. Do the same one day before the appointment and the day of the appointment. Each time you do this, document the day and time of the conversation, as well as medication information. By the time you’re ready to meet the doctor, you will have four entries with useful data that could end up playing a critical role in your senior’s medical treatment.

Keep “things” simple – If you’ve ever had to fumble through a large handbag full of cosmetics, medication, pieces of paper, stale chewing gum and free-roaming pennies, you know how frustrating it can be to find what you need, especially if you’re on the spot. Don’t let this happen to the senior in your care. Pack your senior a purse, wallet or bag with only the necessities, such as ID, insurance card, credit card, pen and the health notebook. Make these items easily identifiable and accessible. Everything else can stay in a different bag.

Let your senior lead – Often the most difficult part of having a caregiver is that it brings on feelings of dependence and vulnerability. Couple this with the natural anxiety many of us feel at the doctor’s office and you can understand why it’s so important to let the senior in your care do as much as they can for themselves. If possible, let your senior enter the office first. Have them sign in for themselves. Since a bag or wallet has been packed in a friendly way, it should be easier for your senior to take out their health insurance card and ID and hand it to the receptionist. Have them choose the seats in the waiting room. All of this will help empower your senior.

Be the interpreter – Medical terminology can sound like a foreign language. Watch your senior’s facial expressions and body language when the doctor is speaking. If your senior appears confused, zoned out, anxious or agitated, ask the doctor to slow down and explain. Repeat back what the doctor says and ask your senior if they understand. Encourage them to ask questions about diagnosis, prognosis and treatment, and discuss the information in the health notebook. Help your senior find words if they are struggling to remember them. Throughout all this, take notes so you can remind your senior (and yourself) of the conversation later.

Decompress – Depending on the reason for and duration of the appointment, your senior could feel exhausted after. They might also be experiencing other emotions, such as sadness, anxiety or anger. Once you leave the appointment, it’s important to let the senior in your care talk. Be sure to recap what happened and touch on the next steps. However, it’s important to then move on to a topic and/or activity that is less stressful. Think of something both of you find relaxing and enjoy doing it together.  

As with anything else in caregiving, don’t try to go it alone. Seek the support you need to better care for the senior who needs you. Your senior and you will both be happier – and healthier – because of it.

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


More than a year later, still no posted toll lanes travel times

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One in 23 men and women will develop Colon Cancer in their lifetime

Did you know that colon and rectal cancer, the second most common cancer in Americans, can be prevented?

All Americans over the age of 50 and all African Americans over the age of 45 should have a regular colonoscopy, the one test that can prevent colon and rectal cancer.  A colonoscopy is a fiberoptic examination of the colon and rectum, and it can save your life.

The grand majority of cases of colon and rectal cancer start with a polyp, a precancerous growth in the lining of the colon.  By undergoing a colonoscopy, these precancerous polyps can be removed, taking the risk of colon and rectal cancer away.

Best part, the colonoscopy is easy.  It is done under sedation, so you sleep through the whole exam.  No pain is involved.  Take the bowel prep, have the sedation, have the exam, save your life.  It’s that easy.

If we all have regular colonoscopies every ten years (more often if your colon likes to grow polyps), we can prevent colon cancer in almost everyone.

Don’t wait for symptoms.  Colon and rectal polyps and cancer do not show up with symptoms until it is often too late.

If you have any questions, please ask your doctor, or contact the Sentara Surgery Specialists at 703-523-9750.

Freshman delegate says communication key in navigating General Assembly

RICHMOND – After winning the 28th House District by only 73 votes, Republican Del. Bob Thomas of Fredericksburg dove head first into the 2018 legislative session, saying communication with his colleagues was key to navigating his first year in the General Assembly.

Apparently, he’s a good communicator. The House and Senate approved five of Thomas’ bills – tops among first-year delegates:

·       HB 73 would increase the speed limit from 55 mph to 60 mph on U.S. Route 301, U.S. Route 17 and State Routes 3 and 207.

·       HB 119 will create a separate classification for the inventory of any wholesaler stored in a facility that is at least 100,000 square feet. The governing body of any locality can tax such inventory at different rates than the tax levied on other merchants’ capital.

·       HB 530 would allow the speaker of the House of Delegates to appoint members of the House to serve on intergovernmental boards, committees and commissions.

·       HB 1221 would require the chief information officer of the Virginia Information Technologies Agency to conduct an annual review of cybersecurity policies of every executive branch agency and report the findings to the chairs of the House Appropriations Committee and Senate Finance Committee.

·       HB 1482 would allow law enforcement officers to use drones without a warrant to survey the scene of a vehicle accident for the purpose of crash reconstruction or required reports.

Gov. Ralph Northam already has signed HB 119 into law. He has until April 9 to act on the other four bills.

Of the 19 new members of the House of Delegates, Thomas and Del. Emily Brewer, R-Suffolk, passed the most legislation – five bills each. Del. Jerrauld Jones, D-Norfolk, passed four. Five freshmen were unable to get any of their bills passed, and five others managed to get only one bill passed.

Besides introducing legislation, Thomas served on three House committees: Transportation; Counties, Cities and Towns; and Technology. He spent a lot of his time introducing himself to his 139 new colleagues in the House and Senate.

“Taking the time to sit in everyone’s office before subcommittee meetings allows you to hear the people who might have a really valid question or concern and address it,” Thomas said. “And being able to tweak or modify your bill really goes a long way – and it’s a really good excuse to meet a lot of people.”

Thomas said meeting individually with lawmakers was a crucial step in negotiating agreements and getting bills passed in both chambers. That was especially the case with HB 1482, which would allow law enforcement officers to deploy drones to survey the scene of car accidents.

The House and Senate each passed its own version of the bill, and so a conference committee was appointed to hash out the differences. One member of the conference committee was Sen. Creigh Deeds, D-Bath.

“In the conference for the HB 1482, there was a minor change to the bill that I could have just dropped off the paperwork for in Sen. Deeds’ office,” Thomas said. “But I went back and said, ‘You know what – this is a good reason to actually meet with and talk to the senator, so I’ll be back’ – and I think that communication will serve us well in the long run.”

Thomas said he plans to continue pursuing certain issues that were killed this session in next year’s legislative session, like HB 1346, which would make more students eligible for special education programs.

In Virginia’s General Assembly, sessions during odd-numbered years are 30-46 days long compared with 60 days during even-numbered years. Because the state’s two-year budget will be adopted in a special session this year, Thomas said he looks forward to a quicker, less intensive 2019 session.

In the offseason, Thomas said he will focus on constituent services while also revving up his campaign for the 2019 election. He said he plans to bring in campaign staff a year early in hopes of winning by a bigger margin than he did last year.


Car, foot chase results in Stafford suspect’s arrest

From the Stafford County Sheriff’s Department press release:

Stafford, VA.  Deputies with the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office arrested a male suspect on Sunday after an attempted traffic stop for reckless driving resulted in a pursuit by vehicle and a foot chase. 

On March 11, 2018 at approximately 4:57 p.m., 1st Sgt. George Hernandez observed a vehicle repeatedly crossing the double yellow lines while traveling on Richards Ferry Road. The first sergeant attempted to initiate a traffic stop, but the suspect vehicle fled at a high rate of speed after turning on to Warrenton Road.

A short pursuit ensued until 1st Sgt. Hernandez discontinued the chase after losing sight of the vehicle in the area of Hartwood Road and Warrenton Road.

Shortly thereafter, Deputy J.A. Mangan observed the suspect vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed in the area of Stefaniga Road and Poplar Road. The deputy activated his emergency equipment and began to pursue the suspect vehicle. During the pursuit, the suspect vehicle continued to travel at a high rate of speed and frequently crossed the double yellow lines.

In the area of Abel Drive and Kellogg Mill Road, the deputy observed the suspect fleeing on foot away from the vehicle, which had crashed into a tree. The vehicle featured extensive damage and was facing the wrong direction of traffic. The deputy chased the suspect on foot, and repeatedly yelled commands to stop. The suspect ignored the deputy’s commands.

Deputies eventually caught the suspect and took him into custody. Deputies contacted the owner of the suspect vehicle who advised that the suspect was not authorized to use the vehicle.

Matthew Gregory Browning, 30, of Stafford, was incarcerated at Rappahannock Regional Jail without bond. He is charged with reckless driving, driving under the influence, driving without a driver’s license, eluding police, obstruction of justice, destruction of property, and resisting arrest.