Dogwood Download: Things You Should Know For Thursday, Feb. 11

By Brian Carlton

February 11, 2021

Daily Number

0 – That’s the number of stamps the Northampton County Court wanted to use in February 1766. On Feb. 11, the court declared the Stamp Act unconstitutional. Other courts followed suit in the days and months after.

The Phone is Ringing Off The Hook

Remember Tuesday, when the Virginia Health Department urged people to start signing up on vaccination lists? Well, several residents listened. Several thousand, to be exact. In Prince William County, health officials report their call center is now handling more than 2,000 calls a day. This includes everything from scheduling vaccine appointments to answering questions.

Prince William residents can access the call center from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 703-872-7759. That’s open seven days a week. For people with questions, state health officials said they’re launching a pre-registration system next week. It’ll allow people to confirm their current status at any time.

Let’s Try and Laugh a Little, Despite the Pandemic

Does Anyone in Arlington Need a Good Book?

Starting next month, Arlington Public Library is going to reopen a couple branches. The only difference is that as soon as you walk in the door, the clock starts ticking.

As of March 9, the library’s Shirlington and Westover branches will be pilot programs for an Express Library Service. You can walk in, check out books and pick up holds for a 15 minute period. The idea is to limit the number of people inside at one time, while also opening up to the community.

This pilot program will run Tuesday through Thursday from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. and then Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. All other branches in Arlington will stay closed right now, while library officials see how this program goes.

“Our plans for reopening have always been predicated on our ability to establish a sustainable model and maintain the safety of patrons and staff. The last thing we wanted to do was reopen prematurely and close again, frustrating patrons and staff, alike,” said Arlington Library Director Diane Kresh.

Northam Asks Federal Officials For Help

We need help. That was basically the point of a letter from Gov. Ralph Northam, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan Wednesday.

They asked the federal government for more resources, including more vaccine doses and a federally operated site to vaccinate all essential federal employees.

“The District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia simply do not have the resources available to support these priority vaccinations, due to the additional burden on local resources that this mission would require,” the letter says.

More than 281,000 civilian federal workers live in the area. Reports from the federal Office of Personnel Management say more than 10%, or over 28,000 have been designated as essential workers. But to get all of these people vaccinated quickly, officials say they need federal support.

Question of the Day: How Do You Rate Virginia’s Vaccination Program?

Mecklenburg Grant Helps Pay For Rural Teacher Training

It’s hard to find funding during a pandemic. Even if you’re planning to train teachers, the money just isn’t there, especially for rural areas. Mecklenburg County officials found a way to make it happen.

Gov. Ralph Northam travelled to the area on Wednesday morning, applauding the local school district’s effort. Four Mecklenburg County Public School staff members worked together and recently procured a grant for $10.8 million.

Dogwood’s Amie Knowles explains what the money will be used for and how it could be a model for other districts.

Important Dates Coming Up

  • Charter Day Ceremony for William & Mary (2/11)
  • CVS Vaccination Registration Starts for those 65 and older (2/11)
  • Tax Season Starts After Delay (2/12)
  • All Virginia school districts must have a reopening plan in place (3/15)

Do We Really Use The Best Option For Criminal Justice?

After police killed George Floyd, communities all over the world demanded criminal justice reform. People asked to create civil review boards and asked elected leaders to push for real, meaningful legislation.

But do we truly use the best option for criminal justice? Or is it time for another way? After several proposed reform bills died in the General Assembly, Dogwood columnist Jennifer Lewis takes a look, using a situation in the town of Waynesboro as an example.

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