Field Day

A covered wagon on exhibit during a frontier show at the Goochland Field Day of the Past.

Congratulations to Pamela Seay, newly named president of the Virginia War Memorial Foundation (VWMF). Seay will join the foundation on Dec. 1 and assume full leadership duties on Jan. 1. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, she previously served as senior vice president for advancement at the Virginia Historical Society (now the Virginia Museum of History & Culture) from 1988 to 2018 and has done consulting work for numerous other area organizations. The VWMF is the private, nonprofit corporation that provides funding for the educational outreach, patriotic events, historical programs and exhibits at the War Memorial. Seay will replace the VWMF’s current executive director, retired Navy Admiral John Hekman. We wish Seay every success in her new position and to Admiral Hekman, we bid fair winds and following seas.

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On Thursday, Gov. Ralph Northam kicked off Virginia Cider Week at the new Potter’s Craft Cider tasting room in Albemarle County. According to a statement from Northam’s office, in 2012, Virginia became the first state to hold an official “Cider Week.” Always observed the week before Thanksgiving, this year, Cider Week runs from Nov. 15 — 24. It serves to highlight Virginia’s more than two dozen cideries and their positive impact on the commonwealth’s agriculture. “Businesses like Potter’s Craft Cider are quickly making cider a core component of Virginia’s ripening craft beverage industry, creating new markets for our apple producers, supporting local farmers, and bringing new economic opportunity to our rural communities,” Northam said during the event.

Virginia is one of the top 10 apple-producing states. The crop contributes about $235 million annually to our economy. State Sen. Creigh Deeds, D-Bath, added his congratulations to the cidery’s owners, Tim Edmund and Dave Potter, and noted that “Agritourism is a key component of the future of Virginia’s economy. ... The growth of local businesses like Potter’s is critical to economic success in our rural, farming communities.” We look forward to raising a glass of cider to celebrate.

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After next year, the annual Field Day of the Past will be just that at its present location in Goochland County. We received with great distress the news that after 28 years, the Rockville-Centerville Steam & Gas Historical Association will host its last field day event this coming September at its longtime location off state Route 623. “Field Day’s lease on the present property has ended,” Joseph E. Liesfeld III, the association’s president, said in a release. “In addition, real estate taxes have risen to such an extent that it is no longer financially feasible for us to remain in this location. As we prepare for the 2020 show, we will be seeking a new home for the future.” The old church, post office and other nostalgic buildings are a familiar sight to anyone driving off Interstate 64 toward Broad Street. We wish them good luck in finding a new home for this special event.

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On Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued the report “Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States 2019.” According to the grim report, Americans incur nearly 3 million antibiotic-resistant infections every year and every 15 minutes an American dies from a “superbug” that is impervious to antibiotics. The CDC report notes that while the number of these infections contracted in hospitals has decreased a bit, the number of superbugs circulating in the community at large continues to grow. And, according to the CDC, some of those superbugs are sharing resistant genes with each other. “It’s essentially crowdsourcing,” said CDC Senior Adviser Michael Craig. “They can crowdsource their resistance to other germs.”

But, even if these potentially sickening germs are everywhere, there is one step we all can take to help stay healthy: Wash your hands with soap and water regularly, especially after visiting the restroom. Nearly 80% of the germs that sicken us are spread by our hands, so keeping them clean is your best bet at preventing infection and illness.

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In March, Attorney General Mark Herring announced the results of 1,770 rape kits that had been collected prior to 2014 but were never tested. Of those results, 570 DNA profiles were uploaded to the national Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). There were 239 “hits” sent to law enforcement for further investigation, 144 of which confirmed the identity of a previously known suspect. The backlog testing was funded by a $3.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Sexual Assault Kit Initiative. On Thursday, we learned that a Spotsylvania man is the first person charged as a result of those tests. According to a news story in Fredericksburg’s Free Lance-Star, “Dyron R. Williams Sr., 26, is charged with carnal knowledge of a child, a Class 4 felony that carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.” Williams is in state prison, serving time for a prior drug conviction. We hope this is just the first of many more indictments.

— Robin Beres and Pamela Stallsmith

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