TODAY'S NEWS

The Shenandoah Valley-Herald

Counties help with ‘Valley Venue’ drug bust

HARRISONBURG — Eight law enforcement agencies in Shenandoah and Page counties helped Virginia State Police round up drugs and drug dealers during the fifth Valley Venue bust on Aug. 24. The annual collaboration is an effort to crack down on drug manufacturers, traffickers and dealers. State troopers and investigators with the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug and Gang Task Force collaborated with federal officials and local law enforcement to arrest 50 to 60 people in five counties for drug-related offenses, according to Josiah Schiavone, coordinator of the task force. The arrests resulted in 78 felony charges and 25 misdemeanor charges, an Aug. 25 press release from the VSP said.

Planners recommend approval for tower

STRASBURG — A new company providing wireless fiber optic Internet service hopes to build a telecommunications tower in Strasburg. Virginia Air Networks, Inc. is asking the town for a special-use permit to build a 65-foot tower at 458 Radio Station Road near the Northern Shenandoah Business and Industrial Park. During its meeting on Aug. 22, the town’s Planning Commission recommended that council approve the request on the condition that the company agree to store equipment at the site for other telecommunications companies. The tower would provide Internet service throughout the Valley. Joe Jones, Virginia Air Networks’ co-owner and vice president, said the company hopes to provide “much-needed competition” to an area where Shentel provides many residents’ Internet, television and phone services.

Library to create facilities master plan

EDINBURG — The Shenandoah County Library System’s Board of Trustees is creating a master plan that focuses on improving library facilities. During its quarterly meeting on Aug. 8, the 13-member board approved the creation of a master plan to incorporate into the current five-year plan, which outlines the system’s intentions for employment, technology and services. The board approved a new five-year plan in July 2016, Sandy Whitesides, the library system’s director, said on Aug. 25. The board is required by the Library of Virginia to form such a plan, he said. The master plan will outline what trustees hope to do to improve the interior and exterior of the system’s main branch in Edinburg during the next 20 years.

Shenandoah County to combine tourism, economic development offices

WOODSTOCK — Shenandoah County officials are combining the offices of tourism and economic development under one name – and one person – following the departure of the Director of Community Development. Jenna French, the county’s director of tourism and marketing, will become the Director of Tourism and Business Development today. Bradley Polk, who joined the county in April 2016, resigned his position on Aug. 1 to take a job in Loudoun County. French, 37, joined the tourism office in 2013. She will continue to oversee tourism initiatives like the Route 11 Yard Crawl and the Shenandoah Spirits Trail.

Free clinic to open at elementary school

QUICKSBURG — The Shenandoah Community Health Clinic is opening a free clinic for children who attend school in the county’s southern campus on Sept. 11. The clinic, called the Wellness Center, will offer free medical, dental and mental health care to low-income students. Services include physicals, fillings, sealants, fluoride treatments and counseling sessions, according to Deborah Litten, student services supervisor for SCPS. A nurse practitioner from the Woodstock-based clinic will offer medical check-ups on Sept. 11, with a clinical psychologist providing mental health counseling on Sept. 18 and a dentist arriving on Sept. 25. After that date, the Wellness Center will be open during school hours Mondays through Fridays, Pam Murphy, the Community Health Clinic’s director, said on Tuesday. The center will be in a former classroom at Ashby Lee. Because of space constraints, clinic staff will offer a different service every day, Murphy said. No hard schedule has been set on which services will be available when because staff doesn’t know how many patients to expect, Murphy said. Services will be restricted to students at Ashby Lee, North Fork Middle and Stonewall Jackson High at first, she added, but the clinic hopes to eventually expand the center’s outreach.

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