DSP initiative targets auto theft

Virginia State Police is launching a new statewide campaign aimed at reducing the chances of Virginians having their vehicles stolen from in front of their residences or in parking lots. In news release issued Tuesday VSP said through a new video public service announcement and a a new social media platform, the HEAT Program is working to raise the commonwealth’s awareness about the problem of “puffers.” A puffer is a vehicle left running, unattended and unlocked, to warm up in the winter months.

Puffer vehicle thefts are adding to the growing rate of motor vehicle theft occurrences during the winter months. Between January and March 2017, more than 2,200 vehicles were stolen across Virginia, according to VSP’s annual Crime in Virginia Report. The report also states that 43 percent of motor vehicle thefts in 2017 occurred at a residence.

“Each year we are seeing a substantial number of vehicles stolen because the keys are left inside and the motor is left running,” HEAT Program Coordinator First Sergeant Thomas Molnar said in the news release.

Mid-State Cares Creative Teacher Campaign

A one-month voting round kicks off Feb. 1 for the Mid-State Cares Creative Teacher Campaign. Nominations, votes and comments are submitted on The Mid-State Group’s Facebook page.

Nominated teachers have an opportunity to receive $500 grants towards funding classroom projects. Nonprofit funds are donated from area businesses and the community.

To qualify for funding, area teachers at public, private, or co-op home schools complete a survey about their educational role and how they would use the funds. Peer nominations are ongoing; previous nominations are automatically entered into the Feb. 1 “Show The Love” campaign, with an award ceremony March 15.

An estimated 94 percent of public school teachers spend their own money on classroom supplies without reimbursements, according to federal data. The U.S. Department of Education estimates teachers spend an average of $500, with some 7 percent spending more than $1,000 a year.

Piedmont Virginia Community College Information sessions hosted this month

Piedmont Virginia Community College will host “Getting Started” Information Sessions in February for prospective students. Outreach Manager Denise McClanahan will introduce PVCC’s degree and certificate programs and provide information on placement tests, student services and other resources to help students get started at the college.

The sessions are free and open to the public, and no advance registration is required. You can attend any session, regardless of where you live. Sessions are available at: Feb. 12, 6 - 7 p.m., Louisa County Library, Mineral; Feb. 13, 6 - 7 p.m., PVCC Giuseppe Center, Stanardsville; Feb. 18, 6 - 7 p.m., Nelson Memorial Library, Lovingston; and Feb. 19, 6 - 7 p.m., Northside Library, Charlottesville.

For more information, and the most up-to-date list of upcoming sessions, visit www.pvcc.edu/outreach or call (434) 961-5275.

Open your heart and home to a Fresh Air child

This summer, join volunteer host families in the Blue Ridge Area, and open your heart and home to a Fresh Air child. Each summer, thousands of children from New York City’s low-income communities visit suburban, rural and small town communities along the East Coast and Southern Canada through The Fresh Air Fund’s Friendly Towns Program.

The Fresh Air Fund, an independent, not-for-profit agency, has provided free summer experiences to more than 1.8 million New York City children from low-income communities since 1877. Fresh Air children are boys and girls, from seven- to 18-years-old, who live in New York City. Children who are reinvited by host families may continue with The Fresh Air Fund through age 18 and can enjoy extended trips.

For more information on hosting a Fresh Air child this summer, please contact Monica Robinson at (540) 810-2516 or visit The Fresh Air Fund at www.freshair.org.

VDOE seeking partners for summer meals program

The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) is seeking partners to participate in the commonwealth’s annual Summer Food Service Program to ensure that children have access to nutritious meals during months when school is not in session.

The program — which is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture — allows organizations to combine a feeding program with a summer activity program in communities where at least 50 percent of the children are eligible for free and reduced-price meals.

Organizations approved to participate are reimbursed for meals served and for associated administrative costs. In addition, all participants receive training and technical assistance from VDOE.

The Summer Food Service Program operates in schools, public housing centers, community centers, playgrounds, camps, parks and churches. Organizations that may quality to participate in the program include public or private schools, local governments, public or nonprofit private residential summer camps, and nonprofit organizations such as faith-based and community-based organizations.

Information for organizations interested in applying to participate in the Summer Food Service Program — including details on application deadlines — is available on the VDOE website.

Donation from Nelson 151’s Christmas fundraiser to Nelson County Community Fund

The Ninth Annual Nelson 151 12 Days of Christmas Fundraiser raised $4,720 for this year’s recipient: The Nelson County Community Fund (NCCF). The NCCF is a community-based, tax-deductible fund that makes grants available to diverse non-profits serving educational and humanitarian needs in Nelson County. The Nelson 151 12 Days of Christmas Event brought local breweries, wineries, and cideries together for two weeks in December. During those two weeks, each business was assigned one day of giving. During that day, the business would donate a portion of its proceeds to the NCCF.

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