“Tools for Teachers” Collects Thousands of Supplies for Educators

ryan lingle

The “Tools for Teachers” Donation Drive to support educators in Shenandoah County Public Schools proved to be an overwhelming success. The effort was a collaboration between United Way of Northern Shenandoah Valley, Just Because,
George’s Inc., and the Shenandoah County Chamber of Commerce.

The groups delivered mounds of supplies to each of the schools and announced the results of the drive: In total, the community donated over 3,000 items, valued at more than $7,000! In addition, they received $1,300 in cash
On September 8th, the groups were recognized by the Shenandoah County School Board for hosting
the drive and presented $130 checks to each of the 10 school principals.

The funding will allow the schools to purchase specific supplies requested by teachers. The top items collected include: 772
packs of colored pencils, 431 packs of markers, 336 packs of glue sticks, 234 spiral notebooks and
193 packs of pens.
“It was truly inspiring to see the community give so generously, “said Jennifer Hall, Senior Director of
Community Investment at United Way of Northern Shenandoah Valley.

“Our annual campaign themethis year is ‘Small Act Big Impact’ and this project is proof that it works! Every person who donated $1 or a pack of pens, collectively worked together to make a big impact and we are so grateful.”
According to a survey the national nonprofit AdoptAClassroom.org, teachers spend an average of
$750 of their own money each year to help students be successful in the classroom.

With inflation costs, that number is expected to be even higher this year.
This was the first drive of its kind designed exclusively to aid teachers in Shenandoah County Public
Schools and was the idea of staff at George’s Inc. who wanted to work with community partners to
achieve a greater impact.
“We want our teachers to know they are valued and appreciated by our community,” said Billie Jo
Espino, Human Resources Supervisor at George’s Inc. “George’s is a family-owned business and we
are deeply committed to supporting families and education. This is one of the many ways we are
giving back to support our local community.”

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


FRPD hosts Coffee with a Cop

police radios

Don’t miss Coffee with a Cop Wednesday October 5th from 8 to 11.

Come enjoy some coffee and conversation with Front Royal Police Officers.

It is a great opportunity to get to know our law enforcement and learn more about our community.

It will be held at 215 E. Main St. Front Royal.

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

Rep. Price and Senator Warner Applaud Passage of the Joint Consolidation Loan Separation Act

Congressman David Price (D-NC), and Senator Mark R. Warner (D-VA) commend the passage of their bipartisan, bicameral legislation, the Joint Consolidation Loan Separation Act, which will now head to President Biden’s desk to be signed into law.

“I introduced this bill in direct response to a constituent’s experience with a joint consolidation loan for which he remained wholly responsible for after a divorce. I am delighted by the passage of this common-sense bill that will bring immense relief to borrowers who are victims of abusive or uncommunicative spouses,” said Congressman David Price. “For decades, these borrowers have been trapped, with no legal options available, and this bill will give them the ability to regain their financial freedom. I look forward to this bill arriving on the President’s desk and delivering for America’s federal student debt borrowers.”

“For too long, individuals have been tied to abusive or unresponsive ex-partners through joint student loans,” said Senator Warner. “This legislation offers financial freedom to those who have spent decades unfairly held liable for their former partner’s debt. I am thrilled to see the House of Representatives pass this legislation and look forward to getting it in front of President Biden as quickly as possible to start offering relief to borrowers.”

From January 1, 1993 until June 30, 2006, married couples were able to combine their student loan debt into joint consolidation loans.  Both borrowers agreed at the time to be jointly liable for repayment, which proved problematic if they wanted to separate the loans.  Congress eliminated the joint consolidation program effective July 1, 2006, but did not provide a means of severing existing loans, even in the event of domestic violence, economic abuse, or an unresponsive partner.  As a result, there are borrowers nationwide who remain liable for this consolidated debt without legal options for relief.

The Joint Consolidation Loan Separation (JCLS) Act would allow both borrowers to submit a joint application to the Department of Education (ED) to split their joint consolidated loan into two separate federal direct loans.  It would also allow one borrower to submit a separate application if they are experiencing domestic or economic abuse or are unable to reasonably reach the other borrower.  The remainder of the joint consolidated loan will be split proportionally.

While the universe of borrowers still making payments on a joint consolidation loan is relatively small, this legislation would greatly benefit the individual borrowers who are most in need of relief (including victims of abuse and those who are unable to get in touch with their ex-spouse).

This bill has the support of the National Network to End Domestic Violence, National Consumer Law Center, American Federation of Teachers, North Carolina Coalition against Domestic Violence, and the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance. This bill was included in the Education and Labor Committee’s Higher Education Act (HEA) Reauthorization during the last two Congresses.


A fact sheet on the Joint Consolidation Loan Separation Act can be found here, and the bill text can be found here.


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

I’m Determined Mini Summit

aylor graves

The I’m Determined Mini Summit will be held on Saturday, October 15th from 8:30 a.m. to noon at Robert E. Aylor Middle School. The youth and parent mini-summit is geared toward students receiving special education services. I’m determined  is a state- directed project funded by the Virginia Department of Education which focuses on providing direct instruction, models, and opportunities to practice skills associated with self- determined  behavior. Registration is required by October 1.Contact Sue Boyce, 540-662-3889 ext. 88129, with questions.

Registration form is available here :  Division News / I’m Determined Mini-Summit (frederickcountyschoolsva.net)


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

Governor Youngkin Announces Over $1.2 Million in Virginia Grants

Governor Glenn Youngkin today announced more than $1.2 million in Growth and Opportunity for Virginia (GO Virginia) grant awards for four projects focused on innovative workforce development initiatives designed to expand talent pipelines in technology sectors, as well as foster entrepreneurial startups, business development and venture investment.

“GO Virginia allows us to invest in key projects that will enhance our economic growth by fostering workforce development and stimulating new business opportunities,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “These projects exemplify the innovative partnerships that GO Virginia grants were designed to promote, driving regional advancement and strengthening our Commonwealth.”

“These GO Virginia projects will increase workforce capacity while expanding economic growth through job creation and entrepreneurial startups,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Caren Merrick. “Our regional partners have made great use of GO Virginia’s collaborative approach, and those partnerships will create prosperous avenues of innovative investment and strengthen both communities and economies across Virginia.”

“These projects will support and grow industry sectors that are vital to Virginia’s economic future,” said GO Virginia Board Chairman Nancy Agee. “These high-impact projects, endorsed by their respective regional councils, are designed to deliver results today and into the future.”

GO Virginia supports projects that focus on workforce development, cluster scaleup, startup ecosystems, and site and infrastructure development to encourage regional economic growth and diversification. In addition to the awarded GO Virginia funding, the four awarded projects leveraged an additional $745,000 in local and non-state funding.

Since the program’s inception in 2017, GO Virginia has funded 233 projects and awarded approximately $93.7 million to support regional economic development efforts. To learn more about the GO Virginia program, visit dhcd.virginia.gov/gova

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



Attorney General Morrisey Announces More Than $147 Million in Settlements

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey on Tuesday announced two settlements have been reached between Walmart, CVS and the state amounting to more than $147 million to resolve lawsuits that alleged the pharmacies failed to maintain effective controls as a distributor and dispenser against diversion that contributed to oversupply of opioids in the state. “These settlements won’t bring back the lives lost from the opioid epidemic, but these and other settlements will hopefully provide significant help to those affected the most by this crisis in our state,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “This development also avoided a costly and lengthy trial and at the end of the day, West Virginia will have the highest per capita settlement results in the nation fighting for our people.” Walmart agreed to a settlement of $65,070,000; CVS for $82.5 million. The CVS deal comes with a 2.25% Most Favored Nation protection—a guarantee that West Virginia won’t be prejudiced by a future national settlement. The two companies are part of a larger trial involving other major pharmacies. Litigation against the remaining pharmacy defendants—Walgreens and Kroger—continues before the Mass Litigation Panel with a trial date on June 5, 2023. Recently, the Attorney General announced a settlement with Rite Aid for up to $30 million to resolve similar litigation. The money from all opioid settlements will be distributed under the terms of the West Virginia First Memorandum of Understanding. Announced in mid-February, the MOU is an agreement with the state on how future settlement dollars would be used to abate the opioid crisis throughout the state. It contains a comprehensive plan to use those funds to abate the massive problems caused by the flood of opioids into West Virginia. The lawsuits allege the pharmacies’ contribution to the oversupply of prescription opioids in the state have caused “significant losses through their past and ongoing medical treatment costs, including for minors born addicted to opioids, rehabilitation costs, naloxone costs, medical examiner expenses, self-funded state insurance costs and other forms of losses to address opioid-related afflictions and loss of lives.”

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

Governor Announces Updated COVID-19 Quarantine Guidance for Early Childhood Education

Governor Glenn Youngkin announced updated guidance on quarantine procedures following exposure to COVID-19 in
school, childcare and camp settings. This revised guidance outlines that quarantine is no longer routinely recommended after
exposure to COVID-19 infected individuals in childcare, K-12 schools, and camp settings.
Earlier in the year, individuals were encouraged to consider their own risk tolerance and determine what precautions made
sense for them and their families. Today, vaccines, tests and treatments continue to be readily available and, at the same time,
hospitalization rates are low and the number of Virginians with natural immunity has increased. As such, it is again timely for
individuals, families and employers to re-evaluate which precautions are appropriate to them.
“From the first days of my administration, I have supported parents in making informed decisions for their own families,
whom they love and know best,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “As Virginians continue to return to the office and social
settings, the pandemic is disrupting workplaces and family life when entire childcare facilities, camps and classrooms shutter
in response to as few as two cases. Today marks a shift in my administration’s recommendations to optional quarantine for
exposure to COVID-19 in childcare and school settings as the severity of the disease decreases.”
While our communities and Commonwealth are learning to live with the pandemic, we recognize that COVID-19 continues
to impact many individuals. We are encouraged by our health systems’ continued advancement in both the understanding of,
and treatment for, the virus. We will continue to be vigilant about surges or new variants and any impact to our healthcare
system.  While maintaining that prudence, Virginia’s communities can, and should, continue on a path to normalcy.
View the updated COVID-19 guidance here.
For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Furever Friday – Spanky

Meet Spanky!

This month we are trying something new – BLIND DATES! You tell us what type of personality you want in a dog and let us choose your perfect match. Think eHarmony, but like, for pets. pHarmony, if you will… Even if you end up leaving with a different animal, your adoption fee is half off for participating in our blind date special.  Why are we doing blind dates?


Spanky is one of those reasons. He acts tough and intimidating in his kennel but is a big silly baby outside! He is 1 year old, neutered, vaccinated, chipped and ready for love! He met another pup this week and was so excited to play with her, he also did well meeting our resident cat, Larry.

Don’t judge too quickly when you see these dogs at the lowest point in their life. They’re amazing and can’t wait to prove it to you. They just want YOUR attention.

Applications Open for Startup Shenandoah Valley Cohort 5

Shenandoah Community Capital Fund (SCCF) announced that the organization is accepting applications for the fifth cohort

of Startup Shenandoah Valley (S2V): the region’s 8-week accelerator program for scalable businesses. Business owners

looking to grow and expand their market in traded sectors are encouraged to apply. Companies selected for S2V will have

access to resources, mentors, and investors in and beyond the region.

Executive Director of SCCF, Debbie Irwin, said: “S2V is a significant opportunity for both our entrepreneurs and the

community as a whole. With support from partners across the region and our ecosystem builders, we have designed an

innovative program that will help businesses in the Valley compete at a national level.” Thanks to the GO Virginia grant

SCCF received in 2020, the program is offered free of charge and without equity requirements. Entrepreneurs not only

learn valuable skills throughout the course of the program, but also join a network of dedicated, like-minded entrepreneurs.

This invaluable network brings peers together to collaborate and lean on one another for support.

Companies selected for the program will take part in an eight-week implementation “sprint” beginning September 5th, with

one-on-one virtual coaching, tailored mentoring, and support in all aspects of running a successful scalable business – such as

raising capital, recruiting and retaining top talent, marketing, and legal issues, among others. Most importantly, participants

will become part of an invaluable alumni network of the Valley’s best companies and a growing entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Katie Overfield-Zook, Ecosystem Builder at SCCF, manages S2V. “We urge committed entrepreneurs with businesses at any

stage to apply,” said Overfield-Zook. “Of particular importance is that our cohort represents the diversity of talent we have in this region.”

Entrepreneurs and companies interested in the next round of S2V should begin the application process here. Applications will

be reviewed on a rolling basis until the August 19th deadline. The fifth cohort will begin their coursework on September 5th.


visit www.sccfva.org or contact SCCF at hello@sccfva.org.

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

SVEC Operation Round Up Grant Recipients

operation round up grants

SVEC’s Operation Round Up Committee has selected a dozen community organizations as the latest group of grant recipients.

The total amount to be distributed in July is $12,000. Operation Round Up is SVEC’s charitable program that features a pool of money that grows as members voluntarily “round up” their bills to the nearest dollar each month.

Applications for the next grant cycle are available at svec.coop/ORU and due Oct. 5.

The latest grant recipients are:

Augusta County

Community Foundation of Central Blue Ridge: To support the nonprofit Jones Gardens in its expansion of a community garden in Staunton.

LIFEworks Project: To support its microgrant program to assist neighbors in their press forward toward independence.

Mental Health America of Augusta: To run its I.C. Hope program through the local YMCA, providing support services from pre-kindergarten through 12th grades.


Page County

Living Legacy: To help with the cost of its first employee, a part-time facility manager who helps to promote the mission of encouraging personal development and healthy lifestyles for youth.

Stanley Volunteer Fire Department: To keep equipment in working condition for its group of about 50 members.


Rockingham County

Blue Ridge Foster Love: To supplement overhead costs for its foster care closet and purchase items required to be new, such as diapers, wipes and car seats.


Shenandoah County

Sustainability Matters: To support Shenandoah County-based activities of its Making Trash Bloom project at the landfill.


Winchester/Frederick County

Council on Alcoholism, Lord Fairfax: To replace the HVAC units at its Lord Fairfax House, a residential halfway house for people recovering from addiction to drugs and alcohol.

Godfrey Miller Home: To subsidize the cost of meals to older adults in the community who have limited financial meals.

Love to NIC: To provide necessities, such as shoes, socks and clothing, and meals to area homeless.



Girl Scouts of Virginia Skyline: To support financial assistance in its service area, to include funding girls with membership, uniforms, books and more.

Salvation Army Front Royal: To purchase gifts for underprivileged children in the Angel Tree Christmas assistance program.