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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!”

Bills killed: expanded protections for LGBTQ Virginians in housing, workplace

From the press release:

House Panels Reject LGBTQ Anti-Discrimination Bills

By Deanna Davison

Capital News Service

 RICHMOND – Subcommittees in the House of Delegates killed several bills this week that would have expanded protections for LGBTQ Virginians in housing and the workplace.

Two bills had passed the Senate late last month. Sen. Adam Ebbin, D-Alexandria, sponsored SB 202, which would have prohibited public employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Sen. Jennifer Wexton, D-Loudoun, sponsored SB 423, which would have included discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity as unlawful housing practices under the Virginia Fair Housing Law.

Both bills were tabled Thursday on 5-2 party-line votes by a subcommittee of the House General Laws Committee.

“It is painfully evident today that Virginia is not for all lovers,” Wexton said afterward. “Simple access to a place to live without discrimination is a basic fundamental right of all people. It is shameful that the House Republicans killed this in subcommittee when it passed the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support.”

Also on 5-2 votes, the General Laws subcommittee rejected HB 401, introduced by Del. Mark Levine, D-Alexandria, and HB 1547, by Del. Marcus Simon, D-Fairfax. Those bills aimed to add the same protections in employment and housing on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Simon, who introduced his legislation for the fourth consecutive session, said the National Association of Realtors amended its code of ethics in January 2014 to guarantee nondiscrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. That guarantee should be included in Virginia’s Fair Housing Law to protect individuals seeking housing from people who aren’t Realtors, he said.

Bill Janis of the Family Foundation of Virginia, a faith-based nonprofit, said such anti-discrimination bills were unnecessary because of existing regulations.

“The largest employers in the Richmond area, Capital One and Virginia Commonwealth University . . . already have good hiring policies involving these issues,” he said. “They’re already hiring, in large measure, based on the qualifications and merits of the applications of the positions, not based on other criteria.”

Another bill regarding nondiscrimination on the basis of gender identity was killed Tuesday in a House Commerce and Labor subcommittee. HB 1466, sponsored by Del. Debra Rodman, D-Henrico, would have prohibited health insurance providers from denying or limiting coverage to transgender Virginians.

Rodman’s bill was rejected on a 5-3 vote, also along party lines.

Bipartisan deal will raise felony theft threshold

RICHMOND – Virginia is one of two states where people convicted of stealing items valued at $200 become felons. But a bipartisan deal to raise the threshold and improve restitution will help some people recover from an otherwise life-altering mistake, a delegate says.

The agreement announced Thursday by Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam and Republican House Speaker Kirk Cox would increase Virginia’s felony theft threshold – the lowest in the nation – to $500 and improve assurances that victims would receive restitution.

In a compromise Northam called a “breakthrough for common-sense criminal justice reform,” members of both parties in the General Assembly will get legislation their counterparts previously blocked.

Republicans agreed to advance bills to raise the bar for what is considered grand larceny theft. In exchange, Democrats agreed to bills that would stiffen laws to give crime victims their court-ordered restitution.

Under current Virginia law, a person who steals an item valued more than $200 can be charged with felony grand larceny. That threshold is tied with New Jersey for the lowest in the nation, according to a 2015 report by the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services.

The new threshold would be $500; anything less would be a misdemeanor under HB 1550 and SB 105, introduced by Del. Leslie Adams, R-Pittsylvania, and Sen. David Suetterlein, R-Roanoke, respectively.

“At $200, Virginia’s current felony larceny threshold is the most severe in the nation,” said Del. Joe Lindsey, D-Norfolk. “By raising it, we are sending a clear message that theft is a serious crime, but stealing one phone or pair of boots should not ruin a person’s life.”

Republicans would not have agreed to a deal on raising the threshold without changes to restitution laws, said Parker Slaybaugh, a spokesman for Cox. HB 483 would require the state locate victims of crimes and pay them restitution. HB 484 would require defendants to pay restitution before getting off probation or court supervision. Both were introduced by Del. Robert Bell, R- Albemarle.

The Virginia ACLU, which supports raising the grand larceny threshold, is reluctant to support the agreement. Spokesperson Bill Farrar said a $500 bar – which would be the first change to the law since 1980 – would still be too low compared to inflation. Additionally, Farrar said, Bell’s legislation could put poor people in a position of being on probation for the rest of their lives if they can’t pay restitution.

Crime victims in Virginia’s state courts are owed more than $400 million in outstanding restitution, according to a 2016 Crime Commission report.

“This is money that crime victims need to pay their bills and rebuild their lives,” Bell said. “They have to come to court, testify under oath, and many have to describe the most frightening moment of their life to strangers, only to be cross-examined and scrutinized in the media. The least we can do is ensure that they receive the restitution that the justice system promises to them.”

 

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.

Overnight lane closures eastbound I-66 inside Beltway continue through March

If you’re planning to drive at night on I-66, here’s what you need to know. VDOT brings us this update.

FAIRFAX– Single lane closures will continue on eastbound I-66 inside the Beltway during overnight hours (weather permitting) through the end of March from 9:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. each night. The closures will occur between I-495 and Fairfax Drive (Route 237) to allow crews to safely perform survey and geotechnical investigation work related to the I-66 eastbound widening project. Additionally, intermittent shoulder closures are planned (weather permitting) from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. Motorists should expect delays and are advised to use alternate routes.

For specific dates, times, and locations associated with the lane and shoulder closures, and for real-time traffic information, please visit http://www.511virginia.org/.

The survey and geotechnical investigation work is needed prior to the start of construction that will add an additional through lane along four miles of eastbound I-66 between the Dulles Connector Road (Route 267) and Fairfax Drive (Exit 71) in Fairfax and Arlington counties. Other key project features include constructing a new bridge over Lee Highway for the Washington & Old Dominion (W&OD) Trail and providing direct access from eastbound I-66 to the West Falls Church Metro station by constructing a new ramp connection between two existing ramps (eastbound I-66 to Route 7 and the eastbound I-66 collector-distributor road adjacent to the station’s parking garage).

The additional lane will be open to traffic in fall 2020 and the overall project is expected to be complete in fall 2021. Find additional I-66 project information at http://inside.transform66.org/.