Dogwood Download: Things You Should Know For Wednesday, March 17

By Brian Carlton

March 17, 2021

Community vaccination clinics launch, a bizarre meme starts spreading about schools, we get news about the Chincoteague pony swim and a record will be set.

Daily Number

492 – That’s the year when, as legend has it, St. Patrick died on March 17. Yes, it’s St. Patrick’s Day, where some people may regret getting out of isolation as co-workers and others attempt to pinch you for not wearing green.

Interesting enough, it’s a bigger deal in America than actually in Ireland. The first St. Patrick’s Day parade on this continent happened before America even became a country, as New York City held a march in 1762. Boston followed in 1775 and eventually it became a nationwide event. 

Current Meme About Virginia Schools Isn’t Accurate

Photo courtesy of the Virginia Department of Education. Only four districts remain remote as of 3/15.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve highlighted each of the school districts here in the Download, outlining their plans to return to in-person learning. But in the last three days, a meme made the rounds on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, claiming that schools are still shut down. Simply put, that’s not accurate.

“Virginia families need and deserve the option of in-person, full-time education for their kids,” the meme says. “Heartless Democrats, beholden to selfish unions, are standing in the way.”

Dogwood has spoke with every district across the state. All districts are either back in class as of March 15 or they have plans to return. The above photo, available on the Virginia Department of Education’s website, shows where each district is in the process.

New Community Vaccination Clinics Launch 

Earlier this week, we highlighted the new mass vaccination clinic that opened Monday in Danville. It was the first such operation to open in Virginia, one of several Gov. Ralph Northam promised with the help of FEMA. Now we have an opening date and location for the second and third. 

That second “community vaccination center” will open next Monday in Prince William County. Funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, it’ll be at the former Gander Mountain store in Woodbridge. That’s located near the Potomac Mills shopping center. 

The goal, Virginia Health Department officials said, is to vaccinate between 2,000 to 3,000 people a day at the Woodbridge site. Other sites meanwhile are scheduled to open today in Petersburg, and then next week in Norfolk, Suffolk and Southhampton County.  

Portsmouth’s clinic, meanwhile, opened its doors Tuesday, operating out of the Sportsplex at 1610 Summit Avenue. It’s a slightly smaller project, distributing 1,000 vaccine doses per day. 

Health officials said they chose the areas because they have the largest “at risk” population. Plans are also in the works to launch a significantly larger operation. Officials from Inova Health System are working with Alexandria and Fairfax County to put together a clinic that will be able to distribute 6,000 doses per day. 

Walk-ins will not be accepted at any of these sites. You can pre-register through the state site or by calling 1-877-829-4682. This includes options for vaccination sites, CVS and local hospitals.

How Do You Make Your Own Masks?

Chincoteague Pony Swim Gets Shut Down 

For only the second time since World War II, the Chincoteague Pony Swim is cancelled. The Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Department made the announcement Tuesday on their Facebook page, saying the July event would return in 2022. 

Every year, the fire department members herd wild Chincoteague ponies from Assateague Island to Chincoteague Island. It serves a dual purpose. The herd gets culled a bit, as some ponies are auctioned off. Then in turn the fire department uses the money to replace damaged material or overall supplies. 

“Given the current orders from the Governor of Virginia, we would not be able to have these events,” department members wrote. “It takes much time and many man hours to prepare. Bottom line, too many unknowns to take a chance.” 

Who Do You Think Won?

Tuesday night kicked off the race for the governor’s mansion, with four of the five Democratic challengers competing in the first of this year’s debates. We live-tweeted the event here and covered it in detail, but we wanted to hear from readers.

Who won this first round? Well, so far there’s a pretty clear winner with our readership. By 1 a.m., Del. Lee Carter held just over 80% of the more than 1,000 votes cast. Click on the Twitter link and you can see what the current results are.

Record Number of Vaccine Doses Coming

This next bit of information definitely affects Virginia, even if it’s not state specific. White House officials announced Tuesday that a record 22 million vaccine doses will be delivered across the country next week.

How’s that possible? Well, it helps to have three types of vaccine available. In addition to Moderna and Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson is finally ready to increase production . White House officials say Johnson & Johnson will ship an additional 4 to 6 million doses, beginning next week.

What Woman Inspired Your Life?

Dogwood reached out last week to all of our statewide candidates, asking each to tell us about a woman or women that helped shape their life. Today we hear from Del. Elizabeth Guzman, who is running for lieutenant governor.

Yesterday’s Trivia Answer: It’s a Unicorn

Yesterday, we asked you what the national animal of Scotland is. After all, Virginia doesn’t just have one state animal. We’ve got everything from a state bird to a state dog (shoutout to the foxhound!). But some places just have one and Scotland’s is very unique, especially since it doesn’t actually exist.

Yes, Scotland’s national animal is the unicorn. Officially, Scotland chose the unicorn for a number of reasons. But we’ll stick with the main one, that says it’s “because of the animal’s association with dominance and chivalry as well as purity and innocence in Celtic mythology.”

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