State and Local Officials Push for Alternatives to SOL Testing

WAYNESBORO-Rather than taking another Virginia-mandated Standards of Learning test, what if a student could show his or her mastery of a subject with a definitive essay or portfolio of work on the subject.

Area educators are now devising strategies for their students based on Tuesday's state accreditation ratings that were tabulated from last year's SOL testing. The educators' interest continues on the work of an SOL Innovation Committee that has recommended alternative assessments.

Read More: State and Local Officials Push for Alternatives to SOL Testing - The News Virginian

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Join Delegate Bell for an evening of BBQ and Bluegrass

There is still time to rsvp to our annual BBQ and Bluegrass fundraising event.  Please see below for the invitation.  This is a great event for the whole family, and I look forward to seeing you there!

 Join Delegate Bell for his Annual BBQ and Bluegrass

With Senator Mark Obenshain

and invited guests Congressman Bob Goodlatte

and local Republican candidates for office

Thursday, October 1, 2015

 6:00 -8:00 pm

Shenandoah Harley Davidson

213 Rolling Thunder Lane

 Staunton, Virginia 24401

Please RSVP to 540-448-4617 or by email at

Yes, I will attend the annual Bell’s BBQ and Bluegrass at the following level:

         _____$1000 Platinum Level

        _____$500 Gold Level        _____$250 Silver Level

          _____$100 Bronze Level

           _____$25 per person to attend (no Press passes)

Yes, I support Delegate Bell. However, I cannot attend the event but please accept my generous donation of $_______ to show my support!

Please make checks payable to “BELL FOR DELEGATE”

 2620 Eston Drive Staunton, VA 24401


NAME(S) __________________________________________________

Company Name




 Political Contributions are not tax-deductible. Paid for by Bell for Delegate.Corporate Contributions are accepted. State law requires employer and occupation information for contributions over $100 in a calendar year.

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Local school districts get state help to improve security

School districts in Waynesboro, Staunton and Augusta County were among the 100 Virginia school divisions to receive security equipment grants this week according to Gov. Terry McAuliffe's office.

The grants were established by the 2013 Virginia General Assembly in the aftermath of the December 2012 mass school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. Grant awards come from the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services. 


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Few voters expected in November

A pivotal election for Augusta County's future looms on Nov. 3, but history would suggest a low voter turnout when there is not a presidential, gubernatorial or U.S. Senate race on the ballot.

On Nov. 3, county voters will select the next Augusta County Board of Supervisors, and decide contested races for both the Augusta County Commonwealth's Attorney and Augusta County Sheriff. Incumbent House of Delegates members Ben Cline, Dickie Bell and Steve Landes also have opponents. Among the supervisor races, only three of the seven are contested.

Read More: Few Voters expected in November - The News Virginian

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Food Bank puts local lawmakers to work

VERONA -- Unemployment statistics may be down, but the demand for the services of the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank is not waning.

Michael McKee, the food bank's CEO, said the food bank is now serving nearly 119,000 clients a month in its sprawling service area. And those victims of food insecurity include senior citizens and those with relatively low educational attainment.

Read More: Food Bank puts local lawmakers to work - The News Virginian

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Local candidates make debate plans

Incumbent area House of Delegates members and many of their challengers will appear Oct. 7 at the legislative dinner sponsored by the Augusta chapter of the Virginia Nurses Association.

Arlene Wiens, the chair of the legislative event, said the officer holders and challenging candidates would be questioned at Augusta Health about health issues and issues related to nursing.

Read More: Local Candidates make debate plans - The News Virginian

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Valley Business Summit focuses on small business, innovation

WEYERS CAVE -- Assuring Virginia remains a right to work state and promoting niche economic development opportunities in the Shenandoah Valley were two of objectives area state legislators touched on at the annual Valley Business Summit Wednesday at Blue Ridge Community College.

Economic developers, area entrepreneurs and others came to Blue Ridge's Plecker Workforce Center for the third annual summit, the brainchild of Del. Steve Landes, R-Weyers Cave. The sponsors of the event include Blue Ridge, and the Greater Augusta and Harrisonburg-Rockingham chambers of commerce.

Read More: Valley Business Summit focuses on small business, innovation - The News Virginian

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Area lawmakers say economy still needs work

A record $553.3 million state revenue surplus for Virginia in 2015 is good news, but area state legislators caution there is still much work to do on the commonwealth economy.

They say the state economy is still growing at a slower rate than other states, and are concerned about the impact of the looming second round of federal sequestration. Legislators agree with Gov. Terry McAuliffe that investment in different kinds of jobs are needed.

Read More: Area lawmakers say economy still needs work - The News Virginian

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Area Delegate Displeased With Virtual High School Pilot

WAYNESBORO — The Virginia Department of Education last week announced a pilot program for a full-time online high school for 2015-16, but at least one area lawmaker is not happy with the plan.

The virtual high school program will be available to 100 students, and those students will register through their local public schools’ guidance department.

Del. Dickie Bell, R-Staunton, has been a proponent of virtual education since he was elected to the General Assembly. He sponsored successful General Assembly legislation in 2010 that established guidelines for virtual education programs to be followed by Virginia school boards. The ultimate goal of Bell’s legislation was to provide a K-12 program and school choice for all Virginia students.

Read More - Area Delegate Displeased With Virtual High School Pilot - The News Virginian

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Virginia to Lauch Online High School in Fall

The Virginia Department of Education is launching a pilot program in the fall that will allow students to earn a high school diploma without stepping inside a classroom.

One hundred students will be accepted on a first-come basis. If the pilot is successful, it could be opened to more students and could become permanent, the department said in a news release.

Read More - Virginia to Launch Online High School in Fall - The News Leader

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