The Harrisonburg Police Department and the People’s Equality Commission of the Shenandoah Valley, or PECO, announced a new partnership for a police outreach program.
“I think it’s important for us to have these difficult conversations,” Harrisonburg police chief Eric English said. “But at the same time, we want our citizens to get to know the people that are working in their particular areas.”
The goal of PECO and the Harrisonburg Police Department is for local officers and community members to strengthen their relationship.
PECO will have traveling “meet-and-greet” events for local residents.
Officers will get to answer questions, discuss current issues, and build relationships with the people they serve.
Stan Maclin, a community activist and member of PECO, said he hopes to create a dialogue with local officials and members of the community.
“These meetings will be to bring all of our fears of police and all of our hopes for police to an open and civil conversation with our police officers,” Maclin said.
The events will happen all throughout the Harrisonburg police districts with the first one scheduled for Aug. 17th.
West Virginia Governor Jim Justice announced WiFi hotspots will be set up across the Mountain State so that students can have the option for virtual learning next month.
A huge factor West Virginia schools had to consider when making back to school plans was the large digital divide students face, which impacts about half the students in two local counties.
Superintendents from both Grant County Schools and Pendleton County Schools said less than 50 percent of students have access to internet connection.
GCS Superintendent Douglas Lambert said often times, this connection still isn’t strong enough for students to download and submit their school work or watch instructional videos from home.
This coming school year, GCS and PCS both plan to have in-person instruction for students four and a half days a week, Wednesday being a half-day that will be used to thoroughly clean school facilities.
Back-up plans for both divisions include a hybrid model where students would attend on a rotating A/B schedule. The last option being remote learning for all students.
Lambert said GCS already has WiFi hotspots set up at all school locations that students can access from the parking lots and they plan to add six more near local buildings.
The next issue for students is transportation to these hotspots.
“You have a transportation issue of how are the kids going to get there when you have a 400 square mile county. I think we’re the eighth more sparsely populated county, as far as students per square mile,” Lambert said. “It’s just for tough for our kids and our parents to access these hotspots.”
Governor Justice has committed $6 million to install more than 1,000 WiFi hotspots throughout the state at schools, libraries and state parks.
“We will absolutely deliver a quality education to them for the time period that they decide not to come to the school,” Justice said.
All West Virginia schools plan to return on Sept. 8.
Jerry Falwell, Jr. has agreed to a Liberty University Board of Trustees request that he “take an indefinite leave of absence from his roles as President and Chancellor of Liberty University,” according to the university.
The leave is effective immediately.
The statement did not indicate what prompted the request by the trustees, but the announcement came after Falwell apologized for posting photos on social media that critics said were distasteful, including one that showed Falwell with his pants unzipped and his arm around a young woman.
Chairman of Liberty University’s Board of Trustees, Jerry Prevo, addressed the move in a statement late Friday night:
“In the 13 years that Jerry Falwell, Jr. has served as president of Liberty University, Liberty has experienced unprecedented success, not only academically and financially, with a world-class campus, but also spiritually. As we enter our 50th Anniversary year, we have been blessed to grow to a record 120,000 students, both residential and online, and continue to fulfill our founder’s mission to Train Champions for Christ across the world.
Unfortunately, with this success and the burdens of leading a large and growing organization comes substantial pressure. Today, my colleagues and I on the Liberty University Board of Trustees and Jerry mutually agreed that it would be good for him to take an indefinite leave of absence. This was a decision that was not made lightly, and which factored the interests and concerns of everyone in the LU community, including students, parents, alumni, faculty, staff, leaders of the Church, as well as the Falwell family.
To support Jerry through this period, we ask that our entire community lift him up in prayer so he may be able to fulfill God’s purpose for him and for Liberty University”
In a radio interview with WLNI, Falwell said the photo was taken during a costume party while on vacation. “I was like ... trying to like ... I had a pair of jeans on that I hadn’t worn in a long time and couldn’t get mine zipped either,” Falwell said on the program.
The leave of absence also came a day after Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC) Tweeted that Falwell resign for “appalling” behavior.
There have been three cases of COVID-19 at Middle River Regional Jail since March 9.
According to Jeffrey Newton, the jail’s superintendent, this includes two former inmates and one current inmate, who has since been cleared.
The jail’s director of operations, Major Eric Young, said they are diligent with health screenings for staff members to make sure no individuals with temperatures or COVID-19 symptoms are entering the facilities.
Young said if there is any question of a possible COVID-19 case, they’re taking precautions to isolate individuals, as well as new inmates.
“If you come in and you don’t have the [COVID-19] symptoms, we still place you in a separate housing area and monitor you for 72 hours prior to being transferred into general population,” Young said.
MRRJ inmate visitation resumed on July 1.
Masks and social distancing are required for the duration of the visit.
Only one visitor over 18-years-old and one child 17-years-old and younger are allowed to visit an inmate at a time.
Middle River Regional Jail will also have hand sanitizer available throughout the facility and staff will disinfect high-touch areas such as telephones and counter tops.
Visitors should not visit if thev’ve have had COVID-19 or any of its symptoms or have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19 or is suspected to have COVID-19 in the last 14 days.