Jeffersonton VA

Neighbor to Neighbor

Tag: Community Service (page 2 of 2)

Virginia State Polic Advise Motorists to Pay Extra Attention Halloween Night

VSP arm patch

VSP arm patch

Tips Include Pedestrian & Traffic Safety

RICHMOND – It’s not the costumes or decorations that should frighten you this Halloween, but impaired drivers, who are the real “scare” on the road. Virginia State Police reminds everyone, if you plan to celebrate with alcohol, then don’t drink and drive. Halloween night is considered one of the deadliest nights of the year because of impaired drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), from 2007-2011, 52 percent of all highway fatalities across the nation on Halloween night (6 p.m. Oct. 31 to 5:59 a.m. Nov. 1) were the result of a drunk driving-related crash.

Keep your holiday safe. If you’re planning a party Halloween night, remember:
Before the party starts, plan a safe way home;
Before drinking, designate a sober driver and give that person your keys;
If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation to get home safely;
If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, don’t hesitate to contact Virginia State Police by dialing #77 on your cell phone.

Neighborhood Safety


If you haven’t done so already, parents and guardians are encouraged to visit the Virginia Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry to identify the relevant addresses of convicted sex offenders possibly living or working in their neighborhoods. This enables adults and guardians to make informed decisions on what residences/businesses to approach for trick-or-treating.

Halloween night, the Virginia State Police Sex Offender Investigative Unit will be working with the Virginia Department of Corrections Probation and Parole to check on supervised sex offenders.

If the convicted sex offender is on supervision – which means restrictions have been placed on them as they relate to probation/parole and not state law – then they may not be permitted to participate in trick-or-treat activities (i.e. porch lights must be turned off; not permitted to open the door to trick-or-treaters, etc.). This restriction only applies if that offender’s conditions of probation/parole prohibit contact with children.

If the convicted sex offender is not on supervision, then they are entitled to participate in trick-or-treat and other Halloween activities. This does apply to convicted sex offenders featured on the Virginia Sex Offender Registry. The only exceptions relate to Code of Virginia 18.2-370.5, which restricts an offender’s access to school property.

Trick-or-Treat Pedestrian/Driver Safety

Drivers need to slow down and remain alert in residential areas and parking lots for children. Slowing down, eliminating any distraction inside your vehicle, and anticipating heavy pedestrian traffic are critical to avoiding serious injury or death to a young child or teen.

Children have a greater chance of being hit by a car on Halloween than on any other day of the year. Popular trick-or-treating hours are typically between 5:30 p.m. through 9:30 p.m.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Safety Council recommend the following safety tips for parents and their trick-or-treaters:

· Use flashlights and glowsticks to remain visible
· Stay on sidewalks, and avoid crossing yards.
· Cross streets at the corner, use crosswalks (where they exist), and do not cross between parked cars.
· Remind children to look left, right, and left again before crossing the street and walking among vehicles in a parking lot.
· Stop at all corners and stay together in a group before crossing.
· Wear clothing that is bright and flame retardant.
· Fasten reflective tape to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for greater visibility
· Consider using non-toxic face paint instead of masks. (Masks can obstruct a child’s vision.)
· Avoid wearing hats that will slide over their eyes.
· Avoid wearing long, baggy, or loose costumes or oversized shoes (to prevent tripping).
· Have children get in and out of vehicles on the curb side, not on the traffic side.
· Law enforcement authorities should be notified immediately of any suspicious activity

Angelic Robotics and Robo Hamsters Club Delight Jefferson Ruritan Club at October Meeting

Jeremy Vesperman, Colleen Vesperman, Paige the Robot

Jeremy Vesperman, Colleen Vesperman, Paige the Robot

Community Service Organization Jefferson (VA) Ruritan hosted Colleen and Jeremy Vesperman, of Angelic Robotics, and the Robo Hamsters Club of Culpeper as their featured speakers and presenters at their October 15, 2013 general membership meeting at the Jeffersonton Community Center in Jeffersonton VA.

The Ruritans learned how the Robo Hamsters Club consists of students in grades K-12, is affiliated with the FIRST organization (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology,) and was formed only two years ago.

The purpose, goals and achievements of the Robo Hamsters were explained during the course of the presentation. Jeremy explained that one of the valuable lessons taught to the students participating in the FIRST program is “Gracious Professionalism – to work together even if you are competing against them.”

Jeremy informed the Ruritans that the Robo Hamsters participate in competitions with other Robotics clubs. One of the competitions this past April held in St. Louis, MO, during the World’s Competition included Robots built by different clubs playing team games involving offense and defense, with scoring accomplished by tossing a Frisbee through a goal.

Jeremy Vesperman, Buddy Williams, Fred Creasy, and Perry Cabot admire Paige the Robot before the Jefferson Ruritan Club meeting October 15, 2013

Jeremy Vesperman, Buddy Williams, Fred Creasy, and Perry Cabot admire Paige the Robot before the Jefferson Ruritan Club meeting October 15, 2013

“Paige,” the wireless remote-controlled robot, built by the Robo Hamsters, delighted the Ruritan club members by moving forwards, backwards, spinning, and demonstrating the movements that enable it to toss Frisbees and climb a pyramid made from pipes during different competitions.

Surprised to learn that the budget for the Paige robot was $17,000, the Ruritans quickly understood why the Robo Hamsters Club is actively looking for donations and sponsors. Money raised helps fund their pursuit of continuing to provide the opportunities for students in the Culpeper area to participate in the FIRST mission:  “to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.”

Sponsors of the Robo Hamsters are rewarded with logo stickers on the robots, their names on T-shirts worn by team members, and banners that are displayed at the competitions.

About the Robo Hamsters Club:

 Colleen Vesperman is the spokesperson for The Robo Hamsters Club. The club is Culpeper Virginia’s FIRST robotics team. The Robo Hamsters club, based in Culpeper, has four different divisions covering ages 6-18.  The Club participates in robotics competitions around the state and in St. Louis, Missouri if they earn their way into the World’s Competition (held in April.)

The Robo Hamsters Club is affiliated with the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) organization.

More information about the Robo Hamsters Club can be found at http://angelicrobotics.org/

About FIRST:

FIRST, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit public charity, was founded in 1989 to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology.

The FIRST mission is to: “is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.”

More information about FIRST can be found at http://www.usfirst.org/.

About Jefferson Ruritans:

The Jefferson Ruritan Club (Jeffersonton, VA) was chartered in 1947 and is part of Ruritan National’s Rapidan District. More information about the Jefferson Ruritan Club can be found at http://jeffersonruritans.com.

About Ruritan:

  Ruritan is a civic service organization made up of local clubs in urban areas, small towns and rural communities. Ruritan National has nearly 30,000 members throughout the United States. Club membership represents a cross-section of the community in which the club serves, and is not restrictive with regard to occupation, social position, or any other specific criteria.

The first Ruritan Club was chartered May 21, 1928, in Holland, Virginia. Since that first club, Ruritan has grown throughout the United States of America, and in doing so, has become “America’s Leading Community Service Organization.”

Ruritan’s purpose is to create a better understanding among people and through volunteer community service, make America’s communities better places in which to live and work.

The slogan of Ruritan is “Fellowship, Goodwill and Community Service.”

More information about the Ruritan National can be found at http://ruritan.org

Will there be a Homework WiFi Cafe in Jeffersonton? Maybe…. Maybe not….

Jeffersonton Village Sign

Jeffersonton Village Sign

This is a brief overview of a possible Homework WiFi Cafe in Jeffersonton VA. To express an interest in the Homework WiFi Cafe, please email jeffersontonva@comcast.net.

The publisher of this website, Linda Bradshaw, is spearheading the campaign to bring this service to Jeffersonton. If you are able to assist with the planning, implementation, or donations, please contact her at jeffersontonva@comcast.net.

The purpose of the WiFi Café is to provide high-speed Internet Access to local high school students that are unable to get high-speed access at their homes. The primary intent of the Café would be for these high school students to perform assigned homework and college research/application, college scholarship research/applications. There is a possibility that college students that live locally but commute to a local community college such as Germanna, or LFCC would also be able to benefit from this WiFi Café.

WiFi image (free clip art)

WiFi image (free clip art)

The area served would be Jeffersonton, Rixeyville, Amissville VA. The intended location for the Café is the Jeffersonton Community Center, 5073 Jeffersonton Rd, Jeffersonton VA 22724.

So far, much of the leg work in determining feasibility is completed. High speed Internet access can be installed at the Jeffersonton Community Center. The Community Center has agreed to allow the Café to be housed there. Arrangements for refurbished laptops to be donated to the Café have been made. Culpeper School Transportation has agreed that students will be allowed to get off of the school bus(es) at the Community Center (with parents permission.)

Funding sources may include sponsorship/donations from area businesses/colleges, and registration fees collected from the students. Also there is at least one philanthropic group that MAY donate some money if I can come up with a good business plan to present to them with the application (work in progress.)

Answers to FAQs

The Café’ would NOT be available to students that do not have valid homework/research reasons to be there. The Café at this time is not planned to be open to students under the class rank of 11th grade. (This may be modified in the future.) This is NOT a social program, and socializing is NOT the intent.

There are many things still needing to be worked out, many questions yet to answer, but here is a brief review of what the “target plan” would look like. Please be aware that this is a work “in progress” and these details are subject to change.

This will not be a “drop-in” situation where kids can just show up. They will need to be registered, with legal permission and authorization signed by their parents. There will be a Code of Conduct and a Code of Ethics, and a Waiver of Liability signed by both the student and the parents, and violations will not be tolerated.

Registered students would come to the Café after school, either via school bus or their own transportation. The Café’ would NOT be responsible for students getting home after closing hours. (Closing hours are still to be determined.) Proposed hours would be Monday – Thursday 3:30 – 6pm. (These hours are NOT SET IN STONE.) Students getting home will be the responsibility of the parent(s.)

Students may bring their own laptops if they have them. Plans are being made to have some laptops there on site for students to use only while on site, so students can simply bring USB thumb drives with them for file storage. The “on site” laptops will be locked up when not being used, and students will have to “check out” the laptops when they arrive at the Café. These laptops will be set up with educational-use software and restrictions on them that prevent misuse and abuse of the privileges of using them at the Café. There are tables, chairs, and electrical outlets at the Community Center for the students to set-up and work.

There is a kitchen, and rest-rooms on site, and part of the proposal includes having an adult on the premises to control the check-in and check-out of the laptops, act as proctor for the students, and to oversee a snack bar. Snacks may be available for a price. (Details to be worked out.)

The Café would NOT be a tutoring service. The Café would NOT be FREE, however rates have not been determined. The point of this Café is to provide easy access to students that need high-speed Internet access, it is NOT based on serving a specific economic group. (Although need-based grants may be something in the whole of it after it gets more momentum and more financial backing from the local community.) Having said that, the Café is not planned to be run for-profit, and the fees charged (if any) will only be enough to cover the operating costs of the program, expansion costs of the program, and will be run by volunteers as much as humanly possible. We may have to hire employees to run the snack bar, and oversee the Café during the open hours, but there will NOT be a highly paid “President” or “CEO” – the point is to help our students, not to line our pockets!

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