Del. Dickie Bell wins 2019 Community Leadership Award

STAUNTON — Richard "Dickie" Bell may have already announced his retirement from public office but his work isn't quite done yet.

On Thursday afternoon, he was still in Richmond, acting in his role as chairman of the state's Commission on Youth. Bell was busy wrapping up work on legislation he previously shepherded through the General Assembly that aims to set clearer guidelines for schools on student discipline.

The five-term delegate from Staunton then hit the road on the unseasonably wintry start to spring after making a presentation to the state Board of Education to be back in his hometown where he was being honored, fittingly, for public service.

Read More - Del. Dickie Bell wins 2019 Community Leadership Award - The News Virginian

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Northam Signs Foster Care Legislation, Announces Launch of Virginia Fosters Campaign

RICHMOND - Governor Ralph Northam today ceremonially signed legislation to improve Virginia’s foster care system. Joined by a bipartisan group of legislators, government officials, and leaders from the business and faith communities, Governor Northam also helped kick off Virginia Fosters, a statewide campaign that empowers Virginians to be the solution for children, families, and workers in the commonwealth’s child welfare system. 

“Every child in our commonwealth deserves to grow up healthy, safe, and in a loving family that supports them through school, a career, and in following their dreams,” said Governor Northam. “We have made tremendous strides in improving our foster care system with this legislation, but we also know that the challenges we have did not come about overnight and cannot be solved in one General Assembly Session or by government alone. Each one of us has a role to play in giving Virginia’s most vulnerable children an opportunity to grow and thrive.”
Read More - Northam Signs Foster Care Legislation, Announces Launch of Virginia Fosters Campaign - NBC 29
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Virginia Student-Athletes Receive Further Concussion Protection

RICHMOND -- A new state law will require Virginia schools to regularly update their policies on educating coaches, student-athletes and parents about concussions and on when student-athletes can return to play after suffering such an injury.

Under the law, which takes effect July 1, the Virginia Board of Education must collaborate with brain-injury and other experts to biennially update state guidelines on policies related to concussions. Using those guidelines, local school boards then must revise their policies and procedures on how to handle suspected concussions received by student-athletes.

Read More - Virginia Student-Athletes Receive Further Concussion Protection - NBC 12

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Area House members ask for federal help in improving I-81

WAYNESBORO — Three area members of the Virginia House of Delegates have joined 13 of their colleagues to ask Virginia's congressional delegation for help in improving Interstate 81.

The letter from 16 House members — including Dels. Steve Landes, Dickie Bell and Ben Cline — was sent Thursday to several Virginia congressional members. The letter went to Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, and Reps. Bob Goodlatte, Morgan Griffith and Barbara Comstock.

The delegates say in their letter that I-81 needs to be safer and less congested. The interstate now carries 42 percent of Virginia's truck traffic. The letter also addresses projects that could help. A VDOT study has identified 41 projects along I-81.

Read More - Area House Members ask for Federal Help in Improving I-81-The News Virginian

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Bell offers bill that could boost WHS renovation by millions

WAYNESBORO — Funding for the renovation of Waynesboro High School could receive a boost of as much as $10 million under a public school grant bill submitted by House District 20 Del. Dickie Bell.

The General Assembly legislation would establish the Public School Capital Grant Program. The program would allow school divisions in communities under high fiscal stress to apply to the Virginia Public Building Authority for grants of up to $10 million. The grants would be competitive and would require a local match.

Read More - Bell Offers Bill that could Boost WHS Renovation by Millions - The News Virginian

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Delegates Get Committee Assignments

Bell, R-Staunton, said it would be a "privilege to work with Chairman (Steve) Landes to lead this committee." Bell is a retired educator and has sponsored several education pieces of legislation.
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Bell Keeps House District 20 Seat

Incumbent Del. Dickie Bell, a Staunton Republican, was re-elected to his fifth term in House District 20 Tuesday night.

The district includes Staunton, Waynesboro and a portion of Augusta County.

Overall, Bell received nearly 55 percent of votes Tuesday versus Democrat Michele Edwards’ 43 percent. Libertarian Will Hammer got nearly 3 percent of the vote.

Read More - Bell Keeps House District 20 Seat - The News Virginian

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Area House Members Endorse Challenger in Supervisors' Race

Del. Dickie Bell, R-Staunton, who represents District 20 in the House of Delegates, Del. Steve Landes, R-Weyers Cave, of the 25th District, and 24th District Del. Ben Cline all endorsed Carter's candidacy for the seat.

Read More - Area House Members Endorse Challenger in Supervisors' Race - The News Virginian

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Candidates Discuss Opioid Addiction, Medical Marijuana

WEYERS CAVE — Virginia’s opioid crisis, the possible expansion of medical marijuana use and resources available to community services boards were some of the issues area candidates for the House of Delegates discussed Thursday night at Blue Ridge Community College.

Eight candidates for four delegate seats took part in a forum at Blue Ridge’s Plecker Center.

The forum was part of the two-day Community Criminal Justice Days program at Blue Ridge. The event, hosted by the Institute for Reform & Solutions of Staunton, was designed to share information and solutions concerning the problems and challenges associated with criminal justice and incarceration.

Read More - Candidates Discuss Opioid Addiction, Medical Marijuana - The News Virginian

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At VSDB It's "Welcome to the Real World!"

STAUNTON — New apartments at the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind will help students learn how to live independently and have a smooth transition after graduation.

Five independent living apartments are now available at Price Hall — a building that used to house dorm rooms.

A weeklong independent living course gives students a hands-on approach to their new homes. Students learn to live on their own, pay bills, clean, grocery shop and more. They will be in the apartments for eight weeks.

Read More - At VSDB It's "Welcome to the Real World!" - The News Virginian

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