Gov. Yougkin releases funds for learning recovery grants

Governor Glenn Youngkin announced that soon $30 million will be released for learning recovery grants for parents and students.

The governor noted the COVID-19 pandemic caused the loss of in-person instruction and in-school support services.

The funds will be used for qualifying education services to address the impact of the pandemic.

The resources for parents will ensure that many children in Virginia have access to tutoring, summer enrichment programs and other specialized services.

Those services will help students reach their full potential and combat the severe learning losses.

Some students could receive up to $3,000 while other students will receive $1,500 K-12 learning recovery grant funds if they and their families meet certain qualifications.

A new platform is available here to give parents and teachers additional information that sheds greater light on individual student learning loss and growth.

Additional information is found at the Virginia Department of Education.

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

Governor Fellow’s Program now accepting applications

Governor Glenn Youngkin announced that applications for the Governor’s Fellows Program are now being accepted through March 5th.

The Governor’s Fellows Program is a prestigious opportunity for rising college seniors, graduating seniors or grad students to get a first hand look at the Executive Branch in action.

Fellows have been accepted since 1982 and work closely with the Governor’s cabinet not only to learn but also to assist in essential work for the state.

Fellows also enjoy learning from special guest speakers and experiencing state government on the road by visiting historical sites and other state government agencies.

The program is open to applicable students at all Virginia colleges and universities as well as for Virginia residents who attend out of state schools.

Interviews will begin on March 13, 2023 with applicants advised on decisions beginning on April 14, 2023.

The program runs from June 1, 2023 through July 28, 2023.

To apply, visit the Governor’s Fellows Program website here.

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

WPD Officer recognized by Gov. Youngkin in his address

Governor Glenn Youngkin delivered his State of the Commonwealth Address Jan. 11.

The Governor shared his vision for a Virginia where the next generation can live out their dreams and live up to the spirit of Virginia.

Youngkin outlined what he called his Day Two Agenda.

The Governor spoke of his want to lower the cost of living with tax relief for small local businesses and families.

His want to empower parents and build on last session’s record education investment the Governor hopes to accelerate the economy further as well.

The Governor pledged to make communities safer during which he recognized new Winchester Police Officer Juan Hernandez who was in attendance at the speech.

Hernandez was recognized for taking advantage of the state’s Lateral Program for Officers in Operation Bold Blue Line.

The program expedites the hiring process for trained officers and retired military personnel who live outside of Virginia to move to the state to help protect the Commonwealth.

Hernandez a retired Marine and his family have moved from California to join the Winchester Police Department.

The Bold Blue Line program looks to help fill the 20 percent vacancy rate that plagues Virginia Law Enforcement.

Governor Youngkin addresses a number of subjects with his enter speech found here.

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

Governor Youngkin Calls for Attorney General Jason Miyares to Investigate

Following recent news reports, Governor Glenn Youngkin today called for Virginia’s Attorney General Jason Miyares

to investigate allegations that information about National Merit Awards, as determined by student PSAT scores, was

withheld from students at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology until after important deadlines

for college scholarships had passed.

“We need to get to the bottom of what appears to be an egregious, deliberate attempt to disadvantage high performing

students at one of the best schools in the country,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “Parents and students deserve

answers and Attorney General Miyares will initiate a full investigation. I believe this failure may have caused material

harm to those students and their parents, and that this failure may have violated the Virginia Human Rights Act.”

The letter to the Attorney General can be found below


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

Governor Youngkin and Speaker Todd Gilbert Set Special Election

 Governor Glenn Youngkin and House Speaker Todd Gilbert concurrently issued writs of election declaring a special election in the 24th House District for January 10, 2023. The seat was previously held by The Honorable Ronnie R. Campbell, who passed away on December 13, 2022.

The full writs of election from Governor Youngkin and Speaker Gilbert is available here.

The last day for candidates to file as a candidate is December 22, 2022. Information regarding candidacy requirements can be found on the Department of Elections website.

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

Governor Youngkin Announces Budget to Accelerate Results for Virginians

Governor Glenn Youngkin addressed the Joint Meeting of the Senate Finance, House Appropriations, and House Finance Committee and announced his amendments to the Biennial Budget.

“Together we can accelerate results for Virginians and my administration is committed to going faster and getting the job done, so buckle up because we’ve got a lot to do,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “This budget provides record funding for behavioral health, law enforcement, education, economic development, and conservation efforts and also cut taxes to put more money in Virginians’ pockets.”

The Governor’s plan adds an additional $1 billion in tax relief, on top of the nearly $4 billion in tax relief passed last year, easing the tax burden of the typical family in Virginia by over $800 per year.

The Governor’s budget makes major investments to accelerate

results for Virginians:

  • Providing over $230 million to jumpstart the Right Help, Right Now plan to overhaul of behavioral health and substance abuse.
  • Launching Virginia’s Compete to Win strategy by investing in tax cuts, talent and workforce development and an unprecedented $500 million commitment to business ready sites.
  • Strengthening law enforcement and public safety by funding Operation Bold Blue Line, including $30 million to recruit 2,000 new law enforcement heroes, additional funding for prosecutors who are tough on crime.
  • Keeping Our Commitment to Virginia’s Children with new investments in reading and math and expanded resources for education, including $17 million for literacy and $50 million for teacher performance bonuses.
  • Offering unprecedented support to our ‘Quiet Heroes’ – teachers, nurses, and law enforcement, including $175 million for recruitment, expanded career pathways, and bonuses.
  • Making a historic investment in conservation and preservation, including $685 million for resiliency and the Chesapeake Bay.
  • Igniting the All-American, All-of-the-Above Energy Plan with a $10 million investment in nuclear and other zero-carbon technologies that produce reliable, affordable, and clean energy.


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

Governor Youngkin Announces Transformational Behavioral Health Care Plan

Governor Glenn Youngkin today unveiled his three-year plan to transform Virginia’s behavioral health system, entitled “Right Help, Right Now.” This is a six-pillared approach to address our behavioral health challenges, encompassing crisis care, law enforcement burden, substance use disorder support, behavioral health workforce and service delivery innovation. The current behavioral health system is being overwhelmed and failing to meet the needs of Virginians in crisis with an outdated model of care that relies too heavily on hospitals. Year one of this three-year comprehensive plan invests over $230 million in Virginia’s behavioral health system, which will be proposed in the Governor’s budget amendments on Thursday.

“We are facing a behavioral health crisis across Virginia and the United States. This crisis is present throughout our society, at home, in schools and in the workplace. The three-year ‘Right Help, Right Now’ vision to revolutionize our behavioral health delivery system starts with a giant leap forward offered in my amended budget. It’s crucial that we get this moving, right now,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “We incorporated best-in-class models of behavioral health from across the country. This is a top priority for my administration, and we will not stop until we have a system that delivers the “Right Help, Right Now” to the people who need it most.”

“Right Help, Right Now’ is a bold step forward in our ongoing service to Virginians,” said First Lady Suzanne S. Youngkin. “Prioritizing care for the most vulnerable, particularly our youth, is critical, and I look forward to supporting this cross-secretariat, transformational advancement in behavioral health.”

“This is a massive undertaking of the entire behavioral health system and continuum of care. Every Virginian needs to know who to call, who will help and where to go in a crisis, and we are working to rebuild a holistic system that does so,” said Secretary of Health and Human Resources John Littel. “Typically, mental health efforts in the Commonwealth only last one year and target a single area of the problem. We have a multi-year plan that takes on every facet of the system. This is the first time Virginia is doing this.”

Governor Youngkin will propose a series of immediate steps to bolster his three-year transformation plan, including over $230 million in new funding for behavioral health in his upcoming budget on Thursday. The centerpiece of these proposals will include a $20 million proposal to fully-fund 30+ new mobile crisis teams to respond to calls to Virginia’s 9-8-8 hotline. With this new funding, the Governor’s commitment to behavioral health will top $660 million in the next fiscal year.

Included in the Governor’s budget is:

  • $20 million to fund 30+ new mobile crisis teams, meeting our statewide goal in the first year, to respond to 9-8-8 hotline calls
  • $58 million to increase the number of Crisis Receiving Centers and Crisis Stabilization Units, fully-funding the number of necessary centers in Southwest Virginia and Hampton Roads
  • $15 million to expand the elementary, middle, and high school-based mental health program to dozens of new communities
  • $9 million to expand tele-behavioral health services in public schools and on college campuses
  • $20 million for partnerships with hospitals for alternatives to emergency departments for crisis
  • $9 million for transportation and in-hospital monitoring by law enforcement and other personnel
  • $8 million for Serious Mental Illness housing, creating 100 new placements for SMI patients with extraordinary barriers to discharge
  • $57 million for 500 additional Medicaid Waiver Priority 1 Waitlist Slots and increased provider rates including respite and companion services
  • $15 million in opioid abatement initiatives including a campaign to reduce fentanyl poisoning among our youth

“I appreciate the Governor’s attention to improving our crisis system. As the Chair of the Behavioral Health Commission, I look forward to partnering with the Administration on these issues. We must meet the moment with urgency. People’s lives are at stake,” said Senator Creigh Deeds. Properly funded, staffed and located, regional crisis centers can play an important role in meeting a crisis, and removing stress from the rest of the system. Because every Virginian should have access to the quality services they need, regardless of their zip code. This is a step in the right direction, but we need to do more.”

“This plan will improve crisis care by expanding capacity for those in immediate need while also helping Virginians before they reach the crisis point. I’m hopeful that we can make a real difference for those who are most in need,” said Delegate Rob Bell.

The “Right Help, Right Now” Six Pillars:

1. First, we must strive to ensure same-day care for individuals experiencing behavioral health crises.

2. Second, we must relieve the law enforcement community’s burden and reduce the criminalization of mental health.

3. Third, we must develop more capacity throughout the system, going beyond hospitals, especially community-based services.

4. Fourth, we must provide targeted support for substance use disorder and efforts to prevent overdose.

5. Fifth, we must make the behavioral health workforce a priority, particularly in underserved communities.

6. Sixth, we must identify service innovations and best practices in pre-crisis prevention services, crisis care, post-crisis recovery and support and develop tangible and achievable means to close capacity gaps.

Watch the unveiling of the “Right Help, Right Now” plan to transform Virginia’s behavioral health system here.

Read the “Right Help, Right Now” plan here.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here

Governor Youngkin Launches Prompt Placement Task Force

Governor Glenn Youngkin today announced the launch of a major initiative to end the Temporary Detention Order (TDO) crisis.

The Prompt Placement TDO Task Force brings together government agencies, public and private hospitals, law enforcement, and other community partners to address the crisis facing people with TDOs who are waiting for behavioral health services.

“Improving our behavioral health system is at the top of my Day 2 Agenda. It is critical that we address the mental health crisis and prioritize caring for Virginians,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “I’m committed to making substantial progress in providing access to resources, caring for Virginians and reforming the TDO process.”

“Virginia’s current TDO process is bad for patients, care providers, families, and law enforcement who wait with these patients for a placement,” said Secretary of Health and Human Resources John Littel. “This Task Force is a key step in improving the behavioral health system across the Commonwealth.”

“Virginia’s hospitals support strengthening Virginia’s behavioral health system to ensure patients have access to treatment when they need it.

Our hospitals are actively engaged in this work each day by providing inpatient and outpatient behavioral health care to Virginians across the state,” said Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association (VHHA) President and CEO Sean T. Connaughton.

“We are deeply appreciative that Governor Youngkin’s ‘Prompt Placement TDO Taskforce’ is emphasizing treatment options for individuals who experience a mental health crisis and need urgent, inpatient psychiatric care.”

“This is the most dedicated effort we have seen in 25 years towards trying to address the problem of getting mental health beds available to people,” said Dana Schrad, Executive Director of the Virginia Chiefs of Police Association. “This effort is way overdue, and in the end, it should save Virginian’s lives and save much-needed law enforcement resources.”

“The Virginia Sheriffs’ Association is pleased to partner with Governor Youngkin to address the mental health crisis in Virginia.

We are looking forward to returning to a day in which those in need of mental health services get immediate attention, allowing law enforcement officers to return to their primary public safety duties,” John Jones, Executive Director of the Virginia Sheriffs Association.

In 14 months (June 2021 – July 2022), there were 21,099 TDOs in the Commonwealth. Individuals under TDOs are often in a crisis and unable to receive care due to a lack of appropriate resources and barriers in the TDO process.

The average wait time for an individual under a TDO to receive a placement and care has risen to 43 hours in Virginia.

The present TDO process has failed by not delivering care to patients when they need it most.

The process also contributes significantly to increased workforce burnout within healthcare and extensive hours devoted by our law enforcement.

The objectives of the Task Force include ending the TDO waitlist, finding rapid placements for individuals under a TDO, releasing police officers from spending significant hours away from patrolling the streets, ensuring the safety of all parties, and setting the stage for lasting systematic change to the way Virginia processes TDOs.

Janet Kelly, who successfully led the Governor’s Safe and Sound Task Force earlier this year, will head up this new initiative along with representatives from multiple agencies, community service boards, law-enforcement and hospitals.

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

Authorities’ update the Chesapeake shooting situation

Governor Glenn Youngkin ordered all United States and Virginia Flags to fly at half staff through sunset Nov. 27 in honor of the victims and families of the Chesapeake Walmart shooting.

Authorities reports confirmed that the shooter in the incident was 31-year-old Andre Bing an 11-year employee of the store eventually becoming the night manager.

Bing entered the break room and began shooting follow employees he believed to be negative toward him.

The victims have been identified as Lorenzo Gamble, Brian Pendleton, Kellie Pyle, Randall Blevins and Tyneka Johnson.

The final victim was only 16 years of age and was not identified because of his age.

Mayor Rick West of Chesapeake stated that the community will held a remembrance vigil in honor of those victims Mon. Nov. 28 at 6 p.m. at the City’s park.

A complete update on the investigation of the shooting and following ceremonies is available here.

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

Youngkin unveils “Make Virginia Home” Plan

Governor Glenn Youngkin unveiled by email his “Make Virginia Home” Plan which aims to increase the supply of attainable, affordable, and accessible housing across Virginia.

Secretary of Commerce and Trade Caren Merrick said that while trying “to attract and retain businesses to Virginia, the availability of workforce housing for their future employees was consistently raised by employers.”

To help increase the availability of housing, the Commonwealth will focus on three areas.

The first includes increasing the supply of land for housing by creating local policies that encourage housing growth, establishing zoning and land use guardrails, creating transparency among localities, and investigating the state’s land use and zoning laws.

The second key area includes removing regulatory barriers for housing development which includes translating building regulations to Spanish and streamlining procedures.

The final area focuses on aligning housing development with economic growth by establishing partnerships with site selectors early in their process.

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