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Virginia’s Unemployment Rate Drops to 2.6%

 

By Yahya Alzahrany, Capital News Service

RICHMOND — Virginia had the fourth-lowest unemployment rate in the United States last month, officials announced Tuesday.

The commonwealth’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped from 2.7% in September to 2.6% in October, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Virginia’s jobless rate continues to be much lower than the national average of 3.6%.

Only three states had an unemployment rate in October lower than Virginia’s: Vermont (at 2.2%) and North Dakota and Utah (both at 2.5%).

Virginia was tied with Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina with a jobless rate of 2.6%.

The state with the highest unemployment rate last month was Alaska at 6.2%, followed by Mississippi (5.5%) and the District of Columbia (5.4%).

Gov. Ralph Northam said more people are working in Virginia than ever before. He said October was the 16th consecutive month that the commonwealth’s labor force had expanded.

“Virginia’s economy is headed in the right direction,” Northam said in a statement issued during an economic development mission in the Middle East. “The competition for talent is on, because low unemployment gives workers more options about where to work.”

Competition can also help boost wages. On Wednesday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said the average weekly wage in Virginia had risen 3.7%, to $1,113, between the second quarter of 2018 and the second quarter of 2019. Nationally, wages increased 3.8%, to $1,095, during that period.

“Next month, we will put forward a budget that continues investing in workforce development to ensure long-term, shared economic growth in our Commonwealth,” Northam said. “We want Virginia to be the best state to work in and the best place to run a business.”

Virginia’s unemployment rate has been dropping:

● In October 2018, it was 2.8% — tied for the seventh lowest in the U.S.

● In September of this year, the rate was 2.7% — tied for the fifth lowest.

“It is very satisfying whenever the Commonwealth’s unemployment rate drops, as it has been doing consistently throughout 2019,” Brian Ball, Virginia’s secretary of commerce and trade, said in a statement.

“Virginia’s highly trained and skilled workforce makes us a natural fit for top employers. We will continue to recruit those businesses that create productive job opportunities for Virginians.”

Baby Names Reflect Demographic Shifts

 

By Erica Mokun, Capital News Service

RICHMOND — Bye-bye, Betty. You were one of the most popular names for girls in Virginia when Betty Grable ruled the silver screen in the 1930s. But last year, you didn’t even register a “boop” on the Social Security Administration’s list of common baby names in the commonwealth.

Mateo, on the other hand, has seen a meteoric rise. First appearing on the SSA’s list 20 years ago, it was the 46th most popular name for boys born in Virginia in 2018 — ahead of Robert, Jonathan and Adam.

Mateo, the Spanish form of Matthew, has emerged in Virginia as the state’s Latino population has grown. Last year, 179 boys born in the state were named Mateo.

The most common names for male babies in Virginia last year were William, Liam and Noah. The most common names for girls were Ava, Olivia and Emma. The SSA’s data, based on applications for Social Security cards, shows how names can rise and fall in popularity based on cultural and demographic trends.

“We see many more Spanish names rising through the charts in the U.S. as the Spanish-speaking population grows and people become more comfortable with diversity and interested in using names from their own culture,” said Pamela Redmond, an expert on the subject.

Redmond is co-founder and CEO of Nameberry, which describes itself as the internet’s “largest and most complete resource devoted to baby names.”

Baby names reflect what is fashionable as well as society’s appreciation for diversity.

“Baby names are completely barometers of who we are and what we like in a culture, ranging from our ethnic identity to our feelings about education and class to what we are watching on TV,” Redmond said.

The Social Security Administration annually tracks the names given to boys and girls in each state and has posted online data going back to 1910.

Some names stand the test of time. For boys, for example, James has been a top-10 name every year in Virginia; it was No. 4 in 2018.

Other names can fall out of favor as the decades pass. For instance, Shirley was the most common name for girls born in Virginia in 1936. But last year, it was given to fewer than five babies in the state — the threshold for being included in the SSA’s database.

Some names can suddenly surface and quickly soar in popularity. That is what happened with Liam. It first appeared on the SSA’s list for Virginia in 1985, ranking No. 138 with just five births. But by 2012, Liam was the third most common name for boys born in the commonwealth — and it took first place in 2017.

The data also shows what Virginia has in common with other states. Last year, for example, Ava was the No. 1 girls’ name in 10 other states, from Mississippi to Ohio, as well as in Washington, D.C.

According to the SSA database, parents today are drawing from a wider range of names than Virginians had in the past.

In 1910, parents having a girl chose from fewer than 300 names. By the 1950s, the SSA’s annual list had about 600 girls’ names. And in recent years, the number of girls’ names has hovered around 1,400.

For boys, the choices have been more limited: fewer than 200 different names in 1910, about 500 in the 1950s and fewer than 1,200 today.

Richmond resident Maya Slater, who is expecting her first child, has turned to resources like the SSA and Nameberry to find names that will stand out.

“I chose the name Raelynn for my child because I really wanted a unique name that I did not want all my friends to have,” Slater said. “So I downloaded an app, did some research on the name and went with it.”

Raelynn is relatively uncommon in Virginia. Last year, 88 girls born in the state received that name — so it ranked No. 72.

Redmond, who has written “Beyond Jennifer & Jason” and other books on the subject, noted that names can fall out of favor and then make a comeback. So don’t rule Betty out, she said.

“It’s getting just vintage enough to make a comeback, but we may not see it till the next generation,” Redmond said. “Names usually take four generations or 100 years to come back.”

"Will They Finish?"

Had a couple of tourists at my house
though they decided not to stay
you see the streets near by are tore up
and have been for many a day.
 
Now I don't recall any notice
in the paper or on dot com
letting residents know of the hazards
and believe me there are some.
 
You can not utilize the two lanes
for one is like a ditch
yes and after bouncing from hole to hole
it is hard to tell which one is which.
 
Well I'm not against improvements
and when it is time they must be made
yet I hope the City keeps us in mind
when they want out taxes paid.
 
Now some outside help I'd recommend
even with a grant or two
you see the City it bothers not
but it does both me and you.
 
                         - Roy E. Schepp

Greensville County Public Schools Receive 2019 Dorothy S. McAuliffe School Nutrition Award

Richmond, VA (Nov. 18, 2019) – Greensville County Public Schools was one of 15 school divisions across the Commonwealth that received the Dorothy S. McAuliffe School Nutrition presented by No Kid Hungry Virginia this November. This is the first year Greensville County Public Schools received the award.

 

The Dorothy S. McAuliffe School Nutrition Award celebrates Virginia school divisions that have gone above and beyond by operating all available federal child nutrition programs and achieving exceptional participation in the school breakfast program. Originally launched in 2017, the award is named in honor of former First Lady of Virginia Dorothy McAuliffe, in recognition of her efforts to end childhood hunger in the Commonwealth.

 

“Virginia has become a national model for ending childhood hunger because of the hard work and innovative approaches of this year’s School Nutrition Award recipients,” said Mrs. McAuliffe. “We’re thrilled to celebrate districts like Greensville County Public Schools for their ongoing commitment to making sure students can access the meals and other resources they need to succeed.”

 

Franklin County Public Schools joined Greensville County Public Schools and Suffolk City Public Schools as first-time award recipients. Other winning school districts included Bristol City Public Schools, Buchanan County Public Schools, Colonial Beach Public Schools, Danville Public Schools, Harrisonburg City Public Schools, Newport News City Public schools, Pulaski County Public Schools, Richmond City Public Schools, Southampton County Public Schools, Staunton City Public Schools, Westmoreland County Public School and West Point Public Schools.

 

“Schools play a critical role in connecting children with the nutrition they need to fuel their bodies and their brains,” said Claire Mansfield, No Kid Hungry Virginia state director. “We’re excited to honor more schools this year. It’s thanks to strong public-private partnerships and commitments from community members, school leadership, teachers and school nutrition teams that we’ve been able to connect more schools – and students – with federal nutrition programs.”

 

To qualify for the award, school divisions met the following criteria:

  • School Breakfast: At least 70% of students who qualify for free/reduced meals and eat school lunch are also eating school breakfast.
  • Afterschool Meals: Division is sponsoring and serving meals/snacks through the At-Risk Afterschool Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), if eligible.
  • Summer Meals: Division is sponsoring and serving summer meals through the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) or National School Lunch Program (NSLP) Seamless Summer Option (SSO), if eligible.

 

No Kid Hungry Virginia partners with schools and districts to connect eligible kids to federal nutrition programs. Programs like Breakfast After the Bell, afterschool meals and summer meals help feed kids throughout the school day and in the summertime.

 

The nonprofit shares best practices via webinars and educational events, along with expanding access to meal programs through grants. Visit va.nokidhungry.org for more information about No Kid Hungry Virginia’s work.

Spotlight on Jobs by the Virginia Employment Commission

 

Electrician II:  Provides general electrical maintenance support for the mill. Performs routine mechanical and electrical equipment repairs and preventive maintenance activities. Troubleshoots and repairs electrical and electronic equipment in a variety of different applications. Operates equipment such as hoists, man-lifts, rigging equipment, cranes and forklifts. Installs new and rebuilt equipment as required. Follows work plans and schedules, read P&IDs and mechanical/electrical drawings, etc.  Job Order #1826412

Intensive Residential Support Specialist:  Provides direct care services, instruction, training, and supervision of adults with developmental disabilities in functional academics, personal living, socialization, personal hygiene, communication, and community interaction skills. Implements individual service plans and behavior management techniques. Maintains accurate documentation on daily basis that meet all required regulatory guidelines, and transports consumers to various functions as needed.  Job Order #1825951

Maintenance Mechanic: Prioritizes safety throughout the operation for yourself and others at all times in accordance with standards. Services, repairs, adjusts, and tests all mobile equipment that operates throughout the plant in order to maximize performance and limit downtime. Inspects all mobile equipment to identify and troubleshoot the cause of errors. Performs repairs to address problems when necessary. Handles, installs, positions, and moves parts, materials, and industrial hand tools in a safe manner throughout the shop and plant. Assists in driving heavy equipment and vehicles throughout the plant when necessary in order to ensure production continues in an efficient manner, etc.  Job Order #1824813

Flex Officer: Observes and reports activities and incidents at an assigned client site, providing for the security and safety of client property and personnel. Makes periodic patrols to check for irregularities and to inspect protection devices and fire control equipment. Preserves order and may act to enforce regulations and directives for the site pertaining to personnel, visitors, and premises. Controls access to client site or facility through the admittance process. Patrols assigned site on foot or in vehicle; checks for unsafe conditions, hazards, unlocked doors, security violations, blocked entrances and exits, mechanical problems, and unauthorized persons, etc.  Job Order #1824604

Care Partner:  Functions under direction of a licensed independent practitioner, manager and/or RN in providing patient care, emotional support, and problem solving; all in accordance with hospital, nursing and unit policy/procedure.  Job Order #1824291

THESE AND ALL JOBS WITH THE VIRGINIA EMPLOYMENT COMMISSION CAN BE FOUND ONLINE AT

www.vawc.virginia.gov

The Virginia Employment Commission is An Equal Opportunity Employer/Program. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities.

La Comision de Empleo de Virginia es un empleador/programa con igualdad de portunidades.  Los auxiliaries y servicios estan disponibles a dedido para personas con discapacidades

Republicans Say New House Leadership Lacks Regional Diversity

By Jason Boleman, Capital News Service

RICHMOND -- Earlier this month Democrats elected a new House of Delegates leadership team as the party took control of the chamber for the first time since 1999. 

For outgoing House Majority Leader Del. Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah, the Democratic leadership team lacks diversity in one area: their home districts.

In a statement released Nov. 9, and retweeted by Republican leadership, Gilbert congratulated the new House leadership and said Republicans are looking forward to working with them, but also expressed concern with the party electing “an entire leadership team that is centered in the deepest parts of Northern Virginia.”

“The House of Delegates represents our entire commonwealth, and the varying and often conflicting interests of Northern Virginia, metro Richmond, Hampton Roads, and rural Virginia deserve a fair hearing in our legislative process,” Gilbert said. 

Among the new leadership is Del. Eileen Filler-Corn, D-Fairfax, who is set to become the first female speaker in the chamber’s 400-year history.

Joining Filler-Corn in leadership positions are Del. Charniele Herring, D-Alexandria, and Del. Rip Sullivan, D-Fairfax. Herring will serve as House majority leader and Sullivan will serve as majority caucus chair in the upcoming General Assembly session. 

Under the current House District map, all three delegates are from northern Virginia. The outgoing leadership team represented central, western and northern areas of the state.

“It is a bit unusual to have an entire leadership team drawn from one region of the state,” said Bob Holsworth, political analyst and managing partner at the consulting firm DecideSmart, by email. 

Rachel Bitecofer, assistant director of the Judy Ford Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University, said that regionalism has been “a fairly common theme here in the commonwealth.”

“As for whether the regional dominance translates into an actual resource or representation imbalance: not likely,” Bitecofer said. “But keep in mind, every time a resource gets distributed to NoVa the accusation will be leveled.”

Holly Armstrong, a spokeswoman for Filler-Corn, said the delegate does not have a response to Gilbert’s statement, instead choosing to focus on policy matters.

“Her decisions on leadership, including committee chairs, will speak for themselves,” Armstrong said. “The policy agenda will begin to take shape as the committee chair decisions are made and caucus members continue to discuss priorities.”

 On Thursday, Filler-Corn announced Del. Luke Torian, D-Prince William, Del. Vivian Watts, D-Fairfax, Del. Jeion Ward, D-Hampton and Del. Roslyn Tyler, D-Sussex would receive chair positions – respectively – to the Appropriations, Finance, Commerce and Labor, and Education committees.

With more chair decisions to be made, Bitecofer said she would not be surprised to see more regional diversity in the assignments.

“I expected that the fact that Democrats have chosen leaders from NoVa would be raised as concerns among the minority,” Bitecofer said. “This detail has not been overlooked, and I assume we'll see some nice committee chairs doled out to members representing other regions to offset that.”

Holsworth agreed that committee chairs will play a role in offsetting Gilbert’s concerns.

“Key committee chairs - who have greater power and leadership than some of the leaders - exhibit considerable diversity in terms of region,” Holsworth said.

The current House leadership team, which has been in place since 2018, includes Del. Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights, Gilbert and Del. Tim Hugo, R-Fairfax. Republicans are still determining the new Republican minority leadership roles. Cox, outgoing speaker of the House, said he will not pursue a leadership position in the upcoming session. Hugo, the current majority caucus chair, lost his re-election bid to Democrat Dan Helmer. 

 Gilbert, House majority leader since 2018, and Del. Terry Kilgore, R-Scott, are likely contenders for the minority leader position, according to the Washington Post. They are both influential figures in the Virginia House of Delegates Republican Caucus, Holsworth said. 

The last Democratic Speaker of the House was Tom Moss, a delegate from Norfolk who served as speaker from 1991 until the Republicans took control of the chamber in 2000. Moss’s House majority leader was Richard Cranwell, who represented Danville until leaving the House in 2001.

Democrats now hold a 55 to 45 majority over Republicans in the House, and a 21 to 19 majority in the Senate. No change in Senate leadership is expected, according to Senate Democrats. Minority Leader Richard Saslaw, D-Fairfax, will assume the majority leader position currently held by Thomas Norment, R-James City.

Virginia Republicans Mull Over New House Leadership

By Jeff Raines, Capital News Service

RICHMOND -- After Democrats seized control of the General Assembly on Election Day and proceeded to vote on key leadership positions, Republicans began meeting behind closed doors and mulling over who will steer their party forward.

As the minority party, Republican power in the House has been severely reduced, according to Bob Holsworth, a political analyst and managing partner at DecideSmart.

“The new minority leader will be the spokesperson for the opposition and have the additional job of recruiting candidates who can help the GOP regain power in future elections,” Holsworth said in an email.

Del. Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah, House majority leader since 2018, and Del. Terry Kilgore, R-Scott, are likely contenders for the minority leader position, according to the Washington Post. They are both influential figures in the Virginia House of Delegates Republican Caucus, Holsworth said. 

Gilbert has already served as majority leader and has not broken from more conservative values of the caucus, whereas Kilgore has supported Medicaid expansion. 

Holsworth said “it will be interesting to see whether Kilgore’s support for Medicaid expansion, a policy that provided significant benefits to his constituents, is seen as a negative by the majority of Republican members who opposed it.”

Del. Kirk Cox has served as speaker of the House since 2018 and prior to that served as House majority leader since 2010. He has held the House District 66 seat for 29 years, since 1990. 

The Republican Party is meeting to decide who will be the new minority leader in the House and will announce their decision aftward, which is a normal proceeding according to Stephen Farnsworth, professor of political science and director of the Center for Leadership and Media Studies at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg.

“The question is, does the majority leader become the minority leader or does the caucus move in a different direction,” Farnsworth said.

Cox has announced he will not pursue a leadership position. He held onto his seat in slimmest margin he has ever won by in a hard fought Election Day victory against Democrat Sheila Bynum-Coleman.

 House District 66 was redistricted in 2018 and now leans Democratic by 32 percentage points, according to the Virginia Public Access Project. Cox won with 51.7%, against Bynum-Coleman’s 47% of the vote -- or close to a 1,300 vote margin. The Independent candidate, Linnard Harris Sr., picked up a little over 1% of votes.

Cox and members of the caucus have not responded to multiple requests for comment on minority leadership proceedings, which Farnsworth said was common.

“Republicans on ballots tend to be more reticent in terms of dealing with the media,” he said. “But that reticence is certainly intensified in the age of Trump.”

Farnsworth offered insight into the proceedings. 

Party leaders tend to hold districts they will not lose in an election, Farnsworth said. “If you are representing a vulnerable district, you would be less interested in leadership responsibilities.”

Republicans are increasingly losing ground in urban and suburban districts. Moderate Republicans in these areas are the most likely to lose their seats, according to Farnsworth, and the party is becoming increasingly conservative as they lose ground to Democrats.

  The Republicans took over the House in the late 1990s and have held it since. Republicans and Democrats have grappled over the Senate and there hasn't been consistent Republican control. 

Democrats now hold a 55 to 45 majority over Republicans in the House, and a 21 to 19 majority in the Senate.

The key factor according to Farnsworth, is the consolidation of power in state government, with a Democratic governor leading Virginia. 

“The last time the Democrats controlled the Governor's office and the House and the Senate was 1994, the end of Douglas Wilder's term as governor,” he said. 

Democrats voted Eileen Filler-Corn the speaker of the House four days after the election. Del. Charniele Herring was tapped as majority leader, and Del. Richard “Rip” Sullivan Jr. will serve as caucus chairman.

 Filler-Corn is the first female and Jewish speaker of the House and Herring is the first woman and African American to serve as majority leader.

No change in Senate leadership is expected, according to Senate Democrats. Minority Leader Richard Saslaw, D-Fairfax, will assume the majority leader position currently held by Thomas Norment, R-James City.

Carolyn Jarratt

September 8, 1956 - November 16, 2019

 

Visitation Services

1 p.m. Wednesday, November 20

Owen Funeral Home
303 S. Halifax Road

Jarratt, Virginia

2 p.m. Wednesday, November 20

Owen Funeral Home
303 S. Halifax Road
Jarratt, Virginia

Carolyn Jarratt, 63, of Boykins, passed away peacefully surrounded by her family on Saturday, November 16, 2019. She is survived by her devoted husband of 45 years, Wayne Jarratt; two sons, Richard Jarratt (Crissy) and Chad Jarratt (Karen); six grandchildren, Hailee Jarratt, Tyler Jarratt, Rachel Jarratt, Matthew Jarratt, Austin Jarratt and Madilyn Jarratt; five sisters, Gloria Kolodziej, Cathy White (Doug), Brenda Thomas (Wynne), Robin Bryant (Jerry) and Diane Lipari and numerous nieces and nephews.

Mrs. Jarratt was a devoted wife and loving mother and grandmother. Spending time with her family, especially with her grandchildren, was the light of her life.

The funeral service will be held 2 p.m. Wednesday, November 20 at Owen Funeral Home, 303 S. Halifax Rd, Jarratt, Virginia. Interment will follow at Capron Cemetery. The family will receive friends at the funeral home one hour prior to the service and at other times at the residence of her sister, Brenda Thomas in Drewryville.

Memorial contributions may be made to Boykins Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad, P.O. Box 347, Boykins, Virginia 23827.

Online condolences may be shared with the family at www.owenfh.com.

Jackson-Feild’s Children Celebrate Harvest Fest

Resident’s showing their dance moves.

The week of October 28, the children at Jackson-Feild Behavioral Health Services celebrated Harvest Week with fun-filled daily activities.

The week kicked off with a game night on Monday that included a cornhole tournament, card and board games, t-shirt tie-dyeing, and refreshments. Tuesday’s events included pumpkin carving, paint-by-numbers and a volleyball round robin. Wednesday’s agenda involved basketball games, and decorating goofy socks followed by a cookout. On Thursday, the Gwaltney School hosted a Halloween bingo tournament and trunk or treating after a talent and step show. Friday’s events included hay rides, face painting, line dancing, lawn games and a cookout.  Residents enjoyed treats of candy apples, popcorn and snow cones.

Thanks to the staff who gave freely of their time and talents, the boys and girls had a wonderful time celebrating autumn and Harvest Fest.

VCU Health CMH Team Member of the Month for October 2019

W. Scott Burnette, CEO, VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital presented Jessica Carter, Care Partner in Acute Care, the VCU Health CMH STAR Service Team Member of the Month Award for October.  There to congratulate Jessica was Mary Hardin, Vice President of Patient Care Services and Melissa Black, Acute Care Nursing Director.

Providing assistance seems to be second nature to Jessica Carter, a Care Partner in Acute Care. Her giving attitude has earned her the VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital Star Service Team Member of the Month Award for October.

Jessica was nominated two times in the month, which speaks highly for her efforts at work.

In nominating her, a patient’s family member said, “While checking on my uncle and needing assistance, I went to the nurse’s station to ask for assistance. Jessica Carter came and assisted immediately and even offered more items of comfort I hadn’t event thought of. When leaving I found out he was not in her patient assignment. Not once while helping me did she suggest I ask for his RN or Care Partner – but rather helped even though he wasn’t her patient.”

Her second nomination came from Dr. Rani Reddy, a CMH Hospitalist, who said, “Jessica is a hard working team player who takes great care of my patients.”

Mellisa Black, Director of Acute Care Services, added, “Jessica always takes the time and puts forth extra effort to make her patients feel special. She innately knows the needs of her patients and team members and goes above and beyond to exceed their needs.”

Jessica enjoys her job because of the interaction with co-workers and patients. She has been with VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital for nearly four years and believes in the old adage of treating others like she wants to be treated.

She and her husband, Benjamin, have two children, five-year-old Skarlett and three-year-old Ember. Jessica is from Brodnax, VA.

In addition to the award certificate, Jessica received a STAR Service lapel pin, letter of commendation from Administration, a $40 gift certificate, and a parking place of her choice for the month.

Other employees nominated in October were Linda Allen, Food and Nutrition Services; Ashton Carter, Acute Care; Jessica Chapman, Orthopedics; Molly Hatchell, Intensive Care Unit; Jaimee Newcomb, Acute Care; Lucero Vasquez, Outpatient Rehab; and John Watson, Acute Rehab.

Virginians Are Recycling More of Their Trash

By Eric Everington, Capital News Service

RICHMOND — Virginia recycled almost half of its trash last year, setting a record despite China’s ban on importing plastic and other solid waste.

The statewide recycling rate in 2018 was 46% — up 3 percentage points from the previous year, according to data released this week by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. The data showed that:

  • The Central Virginia Waste Management Authority, which includes Richmond and surrounding localities, had the highest recycling rate in the commonwealth — 59%.
  • The Virginia Peninsulas Public Service Authority, which includes Hampton, Poquoson and Williamsburg and nearby counties, had the lowest rate — 29%.
  • The city of Newport News had the biggest improvement in recycling in recent years. Its rate jumped from 38% in 2016 to 57% last year.

The numbers represent the percentage of municipal solid waste that is sent for recycling. Local governments also get credit for activities such as programs to reduce the amount of trash generated.

Several factors affect an area’s recycling rate. They include population, population density, location of recycling facilities and funding.

By April 30 each year, the local governments and regional planning units that oversee recycling collect their data and submit a report to the Department of Environmental Quality. DEQ reviews the information and then calculates an overall recycling rate for the state.

“DEQ works with businesses and localities and environmental groups to promote environmental awareness through recycling,” said Leslie Beckwith, the agency’s director of financial responsibility and waste management programs.

The statewide recycling rate was 44% in 2015. It dropped to 43% in 2016 and 2017 before jumping to 46% last year.

The increase came despite an unstable market for various types of trash to be recycled — especially China’s decision to stop accepting solid waste.

“China’s revisions in recycling material acceptance is having a big impact on the recycling market,” Beckwith said.

As a result, DEQ has asked localities and planning units to identify any changes or challenges regarding their recycling efforts when they submit their 2019 reports.

One change is that many localities have dropped recycling glass because it is hard to find a market for that product. That is why DEQ is asking Virginians to minimize their use of glass.

“Citizens should try to generate less waste, like purchasing products with the least amount of packaging and those that are readily recyclable, such as aluminum cans vs. glass bottles,” said Anissa Rafeh, the department’s communications coordinator.

Glass can be problematic to recycle for several reasons, said Joe Romuno, director of national accounts for an environmental consulting firm called Great Forest Sustainability Solutions.

“Broken glass can contaminate other recyclables like paper and cardboard, lowering their value,” Romuno said. Moreover, broken glass can be a safety hazard to workers and can damage machines at recycling facilities.

Also, glass must be sorted by color in order to reprocess for recycling. “Glass is difficult to sort when broken, and if broken down too finely, it may become too difficult to reprocess,” Romuno said.

Four localities in Northern Virginia have teamed up to tackle the challenge of glass recycling.

The city of Alexandria and the counties of Fairfax, Arlington Prince William have joined forces to collect source-separated glass in purple bins for better recovery. The glass is then crushed at Fairfax County’s Glass Processing Center to produce sand and gravel that can be used in construction and landscaping projects.

DEQ is also keeping an eye on new technologies to improve Virginia’s recycling efforts. For example, the agency was on hand when the Central Virginia Waste Management Authority announced it was deploying 2,000 recycling bins from an Israeli company called UBQ.

The bins are made with a thermoplastic created from household waste that would normally end up in a landfill, including banana peels, chicken bones, plastics and old pizza boxes.

GOVA Region 3 Accepting Requests for Qualifications for Broadband Deployment Strategy

GO Virginia Region 3 is accepting Requests for Qualifications from organizations to assess and develop a regional strategy for broadband deployment in the Region 3 footprint, that includes an assessment of incumbent providers and existing on-site broadband coverage. 

The Council is seeking Requests for Qualifications that demonstrate the responders’ ability to develop a regional broadband strategy that provides a framework for the Council which can be used to guide its investment decisions. 

The strategy will include the following.  The deliverable would be completed by May 30, 2020:

 1.    An assessment of existing current broadband deployment plans and strategies at the local and sub-region level;
2.    An assessment of which incumbent providers currently actively provide broadband service in Region 3 (including specific service territories).
3.    An assessment of and recommendations to leverage electric utilities in Region 3 including Dominion Power, AEP, Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative, Southside Electric Cooperative.
4.    Recommendations for optimizing the ongoing efforts to result in ubiquitous broadband coverage within 5 years in Region 3, prioritizing areas that are development sites, existing employers, commercial centers, and public and community venues.

Interested responders should submit a Statement of Qualifications that is no more than 5 pages and that addresses the responder’s ability to develop a strategy document that includes the deliverables noted above. Interested parties should feel free to contact Liz Povar at riverlinkllc@gmail.com or 804-399-8297 with questions.

For more information, go to: https://govirginia3.org/request-for-letters-of-interest-3/

Statements of Qualifications must be received by 5:00PM EST Friday, December 6.

McEachin Announces District Photo Contest

Washington, D.C. – Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) today announced a photo contest for residents of Virginia’s Fourth Congressional District.

“We are very excited to announce this opportunity for the people of my district,” said Congressman McEachin. “I know that there are many talented photographers throughout the Fourth District, and I look forward to sharing the beautiful scenes they capture. Selected photographs will be featured on my website, social media, and in my Richmond, Suffolk and Washington, D.C. offices.”

Constituents may enter the contest by emailing their high-quality photos to VA04.projects@mail.house.gov by December 1, 2019. Please include your name and locality of residence. Photos must be submitted by the original photographer. By submitting your photo, you authorize our office to display your photo online and/or in our Washington, D.C., Richmond, V.A., and Suffolk, V.A. offices and waive whatever rights you may have in the photo. Any photo of a minor must be submitted by a parent/guardian of the minor, who agrees by submitting the photo to the same conditions in the previous sentence. Submitting a photo does not guarantee that it will be published.

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