FCPS budget proposal for 2022

proposed budget FY21

Frederick County School (FCPS) Superintendent David Sovine presented his fiscal year 2022 budget to the School Board yesterday.

In his presentation Sovine took time to praise students, families and staff for their great flexibility adaptability and resilience dealing with the  COVID-19 pandemic.

Sovine believes his proposed budget will help address many of the schools most critical needs.

The budget looks to provide more competitive compensation to help retain high-quality staff.

Sovine’s proposed budget totals over $240 million.

Additionally Sovine requested to open 32 new positions to help teachers focus more on expertise-instruction in an ever increasing population.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.    

A Guarantee From Joe Willie

SU field oversight
SU field oversight
Winchester Printers

Greetings from The Booth!

Sometimes, it’s as simple as doing the eye test.

Last night, Randolph-Macon invaded the Wilkins Center as the number-one ranked NCAA D-3 men’s basketball team in the nation. You didn’t have to scratch your head and ask “why?” The Jackets quickly pulled away amidst a hailstorm of 3-pointers and the game was over almost as soon as it started. It didn’t help that the Shenandoah Hornets shot 25 percent in the first half, but it wouldn’t have mattered.

What I saw from RMC was a talented, disciplined, well-coached team. Every pass had a purpose, and the Jackets were loaded with dead-eye shooters.

While it’s not fun to be on the short end of a 102-51, I’ll bet most players want to test their skills against the very best. Number One is what you should aspire to be, and Macon provided the measuring stick last night. Sometimes it hurts , though, to get whacked with it.

Changing gears, I’m going to make you feel old. This Sunday is the playing of the 55th Super Bowl, the conclusion of a season like no other. Someone asked me this week what the first Super Bowl was that I remember. That answer is easy: It is Super Bowl III, featuring the upstart New York Jets from the AFL against the heavily-favored NFL Champion Baltimore Colts.

The Colts were a juggernaut and were heavily favored by somewhere in the 18-point range. The game is memorable for the bold “guarantee” made by Jets’ QB “Broadway Joe” Namath in the week leading up to the game. From a chaise lounge in Miami, donning shades and swim trunks, drink-in-hand, Joe Willie guaranteed a win against the mighty Colts, and then delivered with a 16-7 triumph.

But the game is burned into my memory, because Super Bowl 3 was a microcosm of what was going on in the country at the time. 1968 was one of the most divisive years in US history. The Vietnam War, Summer riots, and the assassinations of MLK and RFK threatened to tear the country apart. In addition, the lines were drawn demographically. A youthful, more liberal America was seen as a threat to an older, more conservative USA.

The Jets, with the long-haired Namath as it’s frontman, represented that new, vibrant America. The Colts, represented by the flat topped, high-topped Johnny Unitas, were the face of the “establishment.” And the game itself was seen not just as the AFL against the NFL, but as a matchup of young versus old, liberal versus conservative.

I’m sure that many households were like mine on that January day in 1969, as fathers and sons were glued to their Magnavox console TVs, the dads cheering for Earl Morall and Johnny U, and the sons rooting for Broadway Joe and the underdog Jets.

Super Bowl III was more than a football game, and it will always remain so for me.

Until the next visit from The Booth, enjoy the Big Game, and GO HORNETS!


Sen. Warner and Kaine address postal delays

emergency funding for homeless

 A Press Release From The Office of Senator Warner

After hearing firsthand from hundreds of Virginians regarding continued widespread U.S. Postal Service (USPS) delays, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) fired off a letter to the U.S. Postmaster General urging him to address the troubling delay of life-saving medicines, groceries, supplies, and much more in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. In their letter, the Senators call on U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to rescind policy changes that are delaying mail delivery, to publish data on COVID-19 cases of postal workers by Postal Area, and to take additional steps to ensure mail-order medications are expeditiously processed.

“We write to express deep concern regarding widespread mail delivery delays across Virginia in recent months. We have heard from hundreds of our constituents that recount unacceptable delays in the delivery of everything from Christmas and birthday cards to mail-order medications and credit card bills. Furthermore, we seek answers about operational decisions and other circumstances that have contributed to such delays and what is being done to prevent future failures,” the Senators wrote to U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.

Last summer, the Senators raised concern regarding the operational and structural changes U.S. Postmaster General DeJoy implemented and the impact it would have on timely mail delivery. In response to these concerns, U.S. Postmaster DeJoy temporarily halted some, though not all, of the operational changes planned until after the November 2020 election and had indicated that only a “temporary service decline” had occurred. However, according to the Postal Services’ own court filings, that proved that to be false.

In December 2020, first-class mail on-time delivery rates averaged just 52.4 percent in the Northern Virginia Postal District (Capitol Metro Area), 55.1 percent in the Richmond Postal District (Capitol Metro Area), and 67 percent in the Appalachian Postal District (Eastern Area). These rates represent drastic declines in comparison to the on-time delivery data from March 14, 2020 – July 11, 2020, the period between the onset of COVID-19-related impacts and the announcement of U.S. Postmaster General DeJoy’s operational changes. The on-time delivery rates of first-class mail in this time frame was 90.9 percent in the Northern Virginia Postal District, 90.3 percent in the Richmond Postal District, and 93.8 percent in the Appalachian Postal District.

“While we seek a general explanation of the factors contributing to substandard delivery rates, we also seek an explanation with respect to two specific issues raised by our constituents. First, dozens of our constituents, particularly in the Eastern region of our state, have tracked packages and mail that have been stuck at the USPS Processing and Distribution Center (P&DC) in Richmond, Virginia, sometimes for weeks at a time. This facility serves hundreds of thousands of our constituents across the Commonwealth and is critical in keeping much of our state connected. Insufficient staffing and capacity at such an essential outpost in Virginia’s mail system have profound consequences,” they continued. “A recent report from the USPS Office of Inspector General found that Richmond P&DC had the fourth-highest late trip rates among P&DCs nationwide and underestimated incoming mail piece volume by 66% in its operations plans. Relatedly, many of our constituents in all corners of the Commonwealth are reporting that they are not receiving any mail for days or weeks at a time despite the Informed Delivery system indicating they are receiving mail. We understand this is likely due to staffing shortages but implore you to create additional contingency plans to ensure a particular delivery route does not miss its mail for days at a time simply because its letter carrier is out sick.”

In addition to addressing postal delays impacting Virginians, their letter also requests that the U.S. Postmaster General publish the number of COVID-19 case levels amongst USPS staff in the interest of understanding where staff shortages may be occurring and affecting mail service, and where Congressional or executive intervention may be warranted.

“In light of the tremendous challenges facing the Postal Service during the COVID-19 pandemic and the failure of its leadership to ensure the timely delivery of mail in recent weeks and months, we urge you to immediately reverse all operational and organizational changes that have contributed to substantial mail delays. We also urge you to collect and publish aggregate data on confirmed COVID-19 cases among postal workers by Postal Area so public health agencies, Congress, and USPS can better surge targeted support towards regions facing substantial staff shortages. Finally, we urge you to review and implement processes to expedite the delivery of mail-order medications in an environment of widespread delays,” concluded the Senators.

Sens. Warner and Kaine have been vocal about reversing any changes to USPS that have affected the reliability of mail delivery. They previously joined their colleagues in a letter asking the U.S. Postmaster General not to take any further action that makes it harder and more expensive for states and election jurisdictions to mail ballots ahead of the 2020 presidential election. Additionally, Sen. Warner previously raised concerns over the USPS operational changes and the heightened impact to servicemembers and their families and pushed to correct the changes that are needlessly delaying veterans’ access to life-saving prescriptions.

Water shut off in Berryville today 2.3.21

campaign sign removal

Water leak repair will begin at North Church Street in Berryville today at 8 a.m. possibly sooner.

North Church St. to Main St. to Academy St. will be closed.

Expect water interruption North Church St. between Main and Liberty this includes Bundy, Barnett, Osborne and Academy St. between North Buckmarsh to North Church Street.

The disruption could last up to 6 hours.

After restoration of service cloudy water may occur run your cold water faucet until it clears.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.   

Virginia Senate passes bill requiring in-person school

virginia electoral college votes


By Associated Press | Published Feb. 3, 2021 6:50 a.m.

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — After a lengthy and impassioned floor debate, the Democrat-controlled Virginia Senate passed a bill Tuesday that would require every local school division to make both virtual and in-person learning available to students.

The measure was sponsored by Republican Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant, who is a doctor.

“We must open schools,” Dunnavant said, urging her colleagues to “listen to the science.” She said there’s no evidence to support keeping children out of in-person school and warned that vulnerable children were being left behind.

The chamber passed the bill, which would not take effect until July 1, on a 26-13 bipartisan vote. But the measure’s chances in the state House are less certain. At least one similar but more narrow bill aimed at students without adequate internet access failed during last year’s special legislative session.

Virginia currently has a patchwork approach to schooling, with some public and private schools offering in-person learning while others offer only virtual school. Supporters of Dunnavant’s bill said that’s harming children whose parents don’t have the resources to pay for costly tuition.

Dunnavant’s succinct measure simply says that each school division must make virtual and in-person learning to available to all students “by choice of the student’s parent or guardian.”

“This is the most important bill that we will vote on this legislative session,” GOP Sen. Ryan McDougle said during a floor debate in which about half the members of the chamber weighed in.

The debate came as pressure is building on school systems across the U.S. to reopen classrooms to students who have been learning online for nearly a year.

Democrats who spoke against the bill warned about creating mandates for school districts, and they raised concerns about the well-being of teachers and school support staff, as well as a mutated version of the virus first identified in South Africa. Public health officials are concerned that version spreads more easily and vaccines could be less effective against it.

Sen. Ghazala Hashmi warned that because the bill wouldn’t take effect until summer, it could complicate the efforts of local school districts that are already moving forward with partial reopening plans.

Sen. Scott Surovell, a Democrat who voted for the bill, said the measure was more about symbolism than substance.

“This bill is not going to pass in the form it’s in right now,” he said.

Still, he said the bill would send a message.

Gov. Ralph Northam’s spokeswoman, Alena Yarmosky, said the governor would review the bill “if and when it reaches his desk.”

“The Governor has made it clear that children need to be back in school, and that it is possible to do so safely. That’s why he has put significant COVID relief funding towards K-12 education, and why he has prioritized vaccinations for teachers and school staff,” she wrote in an email.

She also noted that Northam, a Democrat and a physician, recently rolled out new guidance aimed at getting more public schools open for in-person instruction. He described the guidance at a news conference last month, saying that the state’s new policy is: “Schools need to be open, and here are the ways to do that safely.”

The guidelines are not mandates and individual school districts still have final say in how they operate.

(All contents © copyright 2021 Associated Press. All rights reserved)

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.   

Sports: Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Number-1 RMC Rolls Over SU, WVU Survives In Ames, Caps-Rangers Tonight

Number-one ranked Randolph Macon made nine 3-pointers in the first half on the way to a 56-20 lead at the break, and then cruised to a 102-51 win over the Shenandoah Men last night at Wilkins Center. The Hornets were never in the contest, as the Yellow Jackets shot 53 percent from the field for the game. Jaylen Williams led SU with 18.

The Hornet Women play at Lynchburg tonight at 7.

Number 17 WVU let a 15 point lead slip away in the final 7 minutes, but survived for a 76-72 Big-12 win at Iowa State last night. Taz Sherman hit 5 crucial free throws for the 12-5 Mounties in the final 2 minutes to seal the victory. West Virginia improved to 5-3 in the conference.

Tonight, number-16 Virginia Tech plays at Pittsburgh at 7, while 14th-ranked Virginia tips off at 9 at NC State.

And the Washington Capitals are back on the ice Thursday against the New York Rangers. The Caps are trying to bounce back after their first regulation loss of the season Monday night against Boston. Air time is 6:45 on The River 95-3.

Super Bowl 55 kicks off Sunday with AFC Champ Kansas City taking on NFC Champ Tampa Bay. The River 95-3 and Sports Radio 1450 will have complete play-by-play coverage of The Big Game, so don’t miss a play!