Dogwood Download: Things You Should Know For Wednesday, March 31

By Brian Carlton

March 31, 2021

A chemical fire shuts down Chatham, a grant sets up a vegetable farm and we get more answers in the Donovan Lynch case.

Daily Number

4 – The number of days before Easter, regardless if you live in Chatham, Alexandria or any part of the Commonwealth. Today is known in the Christian calendar as Holy Wednesday. As this is the day prior to the Last Supper, Jesus ate at the house of Simon the Leper in Bethany. There, he was anointed with oil by Mary, the sister of Martha. Also, some churches pay tribute in the tenebrae service

Chemical Fire Shuts Down Chatham

Kids got out of school early. Residents were asked to bring their animals inside, shut the windows and not venture out. A chemical fire Tuesday afternoon near Chatham created some problems for the Southside community. 

Anyone within a mile of the Tightsqueeze Industrial Park, which is where the fire happened, were ordered to shelter indoors. Meanwhile, the smoke cloud could be seen for miles. Even after the fire was contained, people were asked to stay inside due to the amount of chemicals still in the air. 

Pittsylvania County Schools shut down instruction at nearby Chatham High, busing students to Chatham Middle School, where they were picked up by their parents. Police meanwhile shut down Route 703. It took several hours for the chemicals to dissipate. Officials are still looking into what caused the fire. 

What Did We Learn About The Lynch Case?

Grant Helps School District Set Up Vegetable Farm

A $300,000 grant from the Virginia Department of Education will help Waynesboro Public Schools set up a fully operational vegetable farm. Working in partnership with the Allegheny Mountain Institute, the district hopes to harvest 5,000 lbs of produce each year. 

Students don’t just get fresh food to eat, but they also learn different skills by working on the farm. 

The goal is to incorporate some of the work into the district’s curriculum.

Stimulus Check Could Come This Weekend

Social Security recipients could get their stimulus check as soon as this weekend. IRS officials announced on Tuesday that they’re nearly done processing the data to get those checks out. People who normally file taxes received their stimulus checks earlier this month. Social Security recipients, however, had to wait. 

Why? Because the IRS had to review, validate and test more than 10 million records to make sure the person qualified for the stimulus check. 

“If no additional issues arise, the IRS currently expects to complete that work and to begin processing these payment files at the end of this week,” IRS officials said in Tuesday’s statement. “Because the majority of these payments will be disbursed electronically – through direct deposits and payments to existing Direct Express cards – they would be received on the official payment date of April 7.”  

Use Caution When Answering Carilion Calls

Many of Carilion Clinic’s patients recently received calls from the Roanoke hospital’s phone number, but the people on the other end weren’t employed by the medical facility. 

Unfortunately, scammers started spoofing the medical facility’s phone number earlier this month. On Caller ID, the hospital’s number appears. However, no one from the hospital actually made the phone call. 

Instead, fraudsters are impersonating healthcare associates. They’re doing this to gain personal information from individuals on the other end of the line. Currently, scammers impersonating Carilion Clinic employees use one of four known scripts in their calls.

  • In one, the scammer claims to call from a “medical practice” and asks if the person on the line has knee or back pain.
  • In another, the scammer offers braces, blood sugar measuring devices, or other medical devices, claiming they’re covered by Medicare.
  • Another call begins with a scammer claiming to work for an outsourced company that partners with the Veterans Administration. They say they need to set up an exam for the patient.
  • In the fourth script, the scammer claims to work for a lab and says the person on the phone has an overdue bill.

Robert Perry, Carilion Clinic’s chief information security officer, said individuals should use caution when the clinic’s number appears on their phone. 

Yesterday’s Trivia Answer: That’s A Large Statue

In Tuesday’s trivia question, we looked at lighthouses. In 1886, the U.S. held the world’s tallest lighthouse. No other country even came close to this one. What is it called? That would be the Statue of Liberty. 

About a month after the statue was dedicated in 1886, it became a working lighthouse. In fact, it served as a lighthouse for 16 years, with ships able to see that torch for 24 miles away. 

COVID Outbreak Doesn’t Change Franklin’s Schedule

On Monday, Franklin County students returned to school for the first day of full-time five day in person instruction since last year. And now despite a COVID-19 outbreak at Franklin County High, there are no plans to go back to remote learning. 

School officials told parents in a letter this week that eight students at the school had COVID-19. Seven of those were linked, which is why it’s considered an outbreak. The school learned of some positive tests last Friday and some on Monday. Since the infected students are quarantining, school officials didn’t see any reason to shut things down again.

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