Warner and Kaine urge DOE to combat racism on campuses

Virginia Senator’s Mark Warner and Tim Kaine wrote to U.S. Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to urge the Department to take steps to combat antisemitism and islamophobia on college campuses.

Since the start of the Israel-Hamas crisis, institutions of higher education have seen a rise in antisemitism and islamophobia including hate speech, harassment, and violence which has created an environment of fear and vulnerability for students.

The letter brings attention to a few recent incidents including the hit and run attack on an Arab Muslim student at Stanford University and violent threats posted online against the Jewish community at Cornell University.

The senators call for:

  • expansion of the Antisemitism Awareness Campaign
  • creation of an Islamophobia Awareness Campaign
  • additional outreach efforts to the affected communities
  • providing resources to colleges and universities from the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights

To view the senator’s full release, click here.

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

Warner and Kaine announce $2.4 million in funding for distance learning

Virginia Senator’s Mark Warner and Tim Kaine announced $2.4 million in federal funding to provide distance learning opportunities in rural areas.

The grants support 197,010 Virginia students with technology to take advantage of educational opportunities by local institutions.

The funding awarded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grants will be distributed to four different projects.

Germanna Community College’s funding of $952,388 will equip locations throughout Page, Madison, Culpeper, and a few other nearby counties with video conferencing equipment to deliver mental health and healthcare educational courses to benefit over 5,300 students.

The other funded projects will support professional development, nursing and emergency services simulation labs, and interactive classroom technology.

To read the full announcement with a breakdown of the projects, click here.

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

$93 million in funding to lower energy costs for Virginians

Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner announced $93 million in federal funding will help low-income families and individuals in Virginia pay for home heating costs, cover utility bills, and help weatherize homes for cooler weather to help lower energy bills.

The funding was made possible through the bipartisan infrastructure law and awarded through the Administration for Children and Families’ Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

The Senators said in a release, “With winter just around the corner, it is crucial that every Virginian is able to stay safe from the cold. Today’s funding will help ensure that families and individuals throughout the Commonwealth have the support they need to pay their bills and lower their energy costs.”

Funding will be allocated and distributed on a need basis.

To view the press release from the Senators, click here.

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

Virginia Senators seek funding extension for affordable internet program

Virginia Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine joined 30 of their colleagues in urging leadership to extend funding for the Affordable Connectivity Program.

This program was created by the Bipartisan Infrastructure law and advocated for by the Senators to lower high speed internet costs for low-income Americans.

The program currently enrolls 420,000 Virginians with another one million households eligible.

The letter addressed to Congressional leaders sites the need for the program which serves 21 million families with financial assistance to help bridge the digital divide so they can afford services they need for work, school, health care and more.

The program provides a monthly discount of up to $30.00 off internet service and equipment.

Qualifying rural communities and Tribal Lands may receive a monthly discount of up to $75.00.

Participants also can receive a one time discount of up to $100 off a laptop, desktop, or tablet.

Without an extension, the 21 million families that rely on the program could lose affordable broadband services.

A lapse in funding could also cause previously enrolled families to reenroll which would create unnecessary obstacles.

Virginians can go to GetInternet.gov to sign up and find participating providers in the area.

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

VA Senators announce $1.4 million in funding for mental health

Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner announced an additional $1.4 million in federal funding to expand access to mental health care in Virginia.

The funds were awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through a grant program to provide comprehensive, community based mental health services to adults and children with significant mental health conditions.

The Community Mental Health Services Block Grant program has provided over $25 million to the commonwealth during the 2023 Fiscal Year.

The Senators stated, “Every Virginian deserves access to high-quality, affordable mental health care. The last few years have underscored the importance of access to mental health services, and we’re glad this funding will help more Virginians reach the care they need.”

To view the press release from the Senators, click here.

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

Local airports receive federal funds for improvements

Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner announced the allocation of over $44 million in federal funding for Virginia’s airports.

The funds were made available through the Federal Aviation Administration’s 2023 Airport Improvement Program and will support airport infrastructure projects such as runways, taxiways, airport signage, airport lighting, and airport markings.

Some of those funds will be distributed to airports in the Shenandoah Valley including the Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport and the Front Royal-Warren County Airport as well as nearby Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

The Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport received the second most funds of Virginia airports, with $7.5 million to be used towards runway rehabilitation.

Front Royal- Warren County Airport was allocated $325,000 to conduct an airport related environmental assessment.

The $7.3 million dispersed to Reagan will be used to reconstruct a runway and rehabilitate runway lighting.

These funds are in addition to the $4.2 million awarded to Virginia’s airports last month and $29.4 million earlier this year through the bipartisan infrastructure law.

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

Virginia Senators begin search for District Court Judge

Virginia’s Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine announced they are now accepting applications for the United States District Court Judge for the Western District of Virginia.

The Western District of the U.S. District Courts includes most of the listening area such as Frederick, Shenandoah, Warren, and Page Counties.

The new selection will succeed Judge Michael F. Urbanski, who will assume senior status effective July 4, 2024.

The state will utilize an independent panel of lawyers assembled by the senators to review applications and interview qualified candidates.

Senators Warner and Kaine will use their recommendations and input from other experts, practitioners and bar associations to help form their decision.

That decision then goes to the president and the White House will then nominate an individual to be confirmed by the full Senate.

The application period closes on August 14th, 2023.

Interested applicants, click here

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

Luray Caverns Airport receives funding for terminal

light up luray

U.S. Senators for Virginia Mark Warner and Tim Kaine announced the allocation of $1.2 million to the Commonwealth’s airports including $476,000 to the Luray Caverns Airport.

The funds coming from the U.S Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration will be used to construct a 4,600 sq foot terminal and an airport parking lot.

$750,000 will also go to a study reevaluating Virginia’s air transportation needs for the first time since 2010.

Earlier this year, Senators Warner and Kaine announced $29 million in federal funding to three other Virginia airports.

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

Va Senators vote for fire department funding

frederick county fire marshal's office

Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine voted yesterday to pass the Fire Grants and Safety Act.

This legislation will continue funding grant programs that support fire departments and firefighters across the state.

The timing of this vote came at a crucial time as two critical programs neared their expiration deadline of 2024.

The legislation reauthorizes the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program which provides firefighters and other first responders with the crucial protective gear, equipment, emergency vehicles, training, and other resources needed to protect the public.

The votes also helped to reauthorize the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) program which aims to help fire departments and volunteer interest groups increase or maintain the number of trained, front line firefighters.

Since 2015, over $8 million has been awarded from these programs to communities throughout the Commonwealth.

Numerous localities have already accepted funding through the programs including the Stephens City Fire and Rescue Company which received $21,068 earlier this year.

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

Senator Tim Kaine visits the Valley

Senator Tim Kaine visited the area this past week making stops in Winchester, Frederick County and Front Royal.

While in Winchester, he visited the Emil and Grace Shihadeh Innovation Center and spoke on the importance of the future of Career and Technical Education.

He then went to Frederick County’s new water treatment which is under construction.

While in Front Royal, he spent time with the family of the former Front Royal mayor, George Banks.

He visited the family’s home along the newly renamed road in his honor and spoke on his ability to “build bridges” in the community.

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