September 2008

Minutes from the Sunday Supper Club Sept. 14th, 2008

Thank you to Ike and Julie Broaddus for hosting our meeting.

Five Minute Flash Reports:

Treasurer’s Report- Treasurer Lisa Richard reported that our current balance is $248.55.  We have an upcoming bill for our website of approximately $200.  Any and all donations are appreciated.

“Community and Countryside”- Ike Broaddus spoke with us about a seminar he attended sponsored by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Journey Through Hallowed Ground.  Multiple speakers addressed the theme of the conference: “preserving community character in the face of development.”  All speakers agreed that the Rt. 29 corridor through Fauquier County is a critical area with New Baltimore being the biggest challenge.  Conventional wisdom is that it’s too late to change this area (due to current zoning regulations and other factors) but this conference emphasized that it is not too late to save the things that are precious to us.
For more information on this topic please visit: http://www.preservationnation.org/travel-and-sites/sites/nationwide/the-journey-through-hallowed-ground-corridor.html or www.hallowedground.org

Obama Campaign- John Anderson announced the opening of the new Obama campaign office at 92 Main St. in Warrenton. The office is looking for volunteers for phone banking, canvassing, and other campaign activities.  Please contact Chris at:
CMammen@vaobamaforchange.com or 571(839-0711)

Sally Murray-  In response to a recent letter to the editor, school board member Sally Murray provided us with some facts regarding the Fauquier County Public School’s budget.  The letter writer asked why in this time of budget cutbacks the FCPS are not also cutting back on “discretionary” spending.   Sally briefly detailed the FCPS budget:
80% : Contractual fees (administration, teachers, staff etc)
15% : Unavoidable costs (electricity, transportation, maintenance…)
5%:     Everything else (technology, library books, supplies…)
Parents already pay fees for consumable materials, parking (for high schoolers), functional art classes , sports, field trips, trade and industrial classes…
Although there has been no growth in the school age population, the FCPS population has grown with students coming from private schools and home schooling.

Book Report:   True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post Fact Society by Farhad Manjoo
Andrea highly recommends this book as a fascinating look at the way media fragmentation has contributed to the polarization in this country and has created a situation in which people have not only differing opinions but different versions of reality.  The author describes the purpose of True Enough as “investigating the rise of carelessness toward reality” and goes on to say that “People who skillfully manipulate today’s fragmented media landscape can dissemble, distort, exaggerate, fake –essentially they can lie- to more people, more effectively than ever before.”   Manjoo explains how the diffusion of the media and the proliferation of “news” sources (cable news, the internet, talk radio, video sites etc.) allows propaganda to more easily infect the culture.  He explains concepts such as selective exposure (we gravitate toward news sources with which we agree), selective perception (we interpret proof according to our beliefs), peripheral processing (the increasing number of so-called “experts”) and the hostile media phenomenon.  To demonstrate these concepts Manjoo uses examples such as the swiftboating of John Kerry and the controversy over the results of the 2004 presidential election as well as numerous studies which show our biases toward news sources which mesh with our pre-existing beliefs.

The section of the book on VNR’s (video news releases) and the extent to which they permeate our news sources is a “must read” for all of us!

For the Good of the Community
“World Initiative”- Dr. Jonathan Lewis, superintendent of the FCPS, would like to provide every 8th grader with a world map to hang at home. If you know anyone who might be interested in providing funding for this project please call 540-351-1000.

Introduction to Beekeeping- The Prince William Regional Beekeepers will begin a 7 week class in February to be held at the St. Benedict Monastery in Bristow.  Please go to www.pwrbeekeepers.com   for more information or email: pwrbeekeepers@gmail.com.

To see live bees, please join the beekeepers at the Western Prince William Farm Tour Sept. 27th and 28th.  Bees will be at the Yankey Farm stop near the pumpkin patch- 13007 Vint Hill Road.  Visit www.pwcfarmtour.com   for more information.

Housing and Health Care Seminar- The Fauquier County Democratic Committee Outreach Committee and the African American Historical Association will be co- hosting a seminar Sat. September 20th from 9:00 to 2:30 at the African American Historical Association in the Plains (1343 Loudoun Avenue). From 9:30 until 11:30 there will be a panel discussion on health care featuring representatives from Fauquier County Department of Social Services, Medicaid, FC Health Department’s Healthy Babies/Healthy Families Program, FC Community Services Board and more.  The afternoon session features an affordable housing seminar with representatives of the Fauquier Family Shelter, the Haven, Fauquier Community Action, and the Central Virginia Housing Coalition.  For more information or to RSVP please contact Karen White at 540-253-7488 or Julie Turner at 540-364-6240.

Intragroups event at Poplar Springs in Warrenton, Tuesday Sept. 23rd.  Contact info@intragroups for more information.

Congratulations to Ken Alm on his appointment to the planning commission and to Julie Broaddus for her appointment to the Architectural Review Board representing the Scott District.

Expanded flash report

Proposed Food and Beverage Tax Referendum- We thank Board of Supervisor Terry Nyhous for coming to speak with us about this referendum which will be on the November ballot.  The referendum applies to the entire county with the exception of the towns of Warrenton, The Plains and Remington.  The revenue generated from the tax would go toward construction, renovation, and maintenance of capital projects, including schools (Over $280 million in projects has been requested in the next 10 yrs.)  A 4% tax would be applied to prepared food and beverages, including alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages served with a meal.

The supervisors are available to come speak with any group about this referendum.  Please contact the BOS at 540-347-8648

For more information on the referendum please visit http://www.fauquiercounty.gov/Documents/Departments/CountyAdmin/pdf/mealtax_public_forum.pdf or attend a forum on this subject:

Mon. Sept. 22nd 6:30 PM  Marshall Middle School

Thurs. Oct. 2nd  6:30 PM  Fauquier High School

Tues. Oct. 14th 6:30 PM  Liberty High School

Guest Speaker

In keeping with Hunger Awareness month, we welcomed as our guest speaker Mark Hackley, food procurement officer for the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank.  Thank you Mark for traveling all the way from Waynesboro to speak with us about the work of this wonderful organization.

Mission Statement:  “To obtain and efficiently distribute nutritious foods and other products to member agencies while developing programs and partnerships to help eliminate hunger.”

Goals:
§    Highest priority is to provide children of families living in poverty with 3 meals per day.

§    2nd highest priority is to provide adults access to 2 nutritious meals per day.

Statistics:

§    49% of those the BRAF serves are “working poor”.

§    BRAF estimates their clients served at 129,700, including 49,000 children

§    The median income of these families is $800/month

§    72% of their clients receive no government benefits.

§    Percentage of households that make choices:

38%- choose between food and utilities

38%- choose between food and housing

32%- choose between food and healthcare

§    The number of clients served each month has gone up every year:

2005  43,800 served each month

2008  70,000 served each month

§    BRAF distributes 11,000,000 lbs of food a year; this is approximately 23 lbs. per person

Facts about the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank:

§    BRAF has been in existence for 25 years.

§    94 cents of every dollar given to BRAF goes to programs

§    BRAF is a part of America’s Second Harvest, now called “Feeding America.”

§    The service area of BRAF has a population of 1.13 million, 9% (102,717) of whom are living in poverty.

§    BRAF distributes 11,000,000 lbs of food annually. Approximately 10% of this food is purchased, the rest is donated from manufacturers and large corporations, the USDA, and local food drives.

§    The BRAF network includes more than 400 member agencies that service 9 cities and 25 counties throughout Central Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley.  Agencies include schools and churches.  In Fauquier County the list of agencies includes Faith Christian Outreach, Grace Episcopal Church (contact Ed Kedzierski at 540-347-1155), Community Touch, Seven Loaves…

Estimated Costs of Domestic Hunger:

500 billion dollars

Effects of Poor Nutrition:

§    Lack of concentration

§    Absences from school and work

§    Higher health care costs

§    Decline in Productivity

BRAF Outreach Programs:

§    We Gotcha Back Packin’ Program- Teachers pack back packs with food for children to have over the weekends.

§    Angel Food- For pre-school children during the school year

§    Kids Café- For elementary school children in the public schools

§    Reach- Reaching out to the elderly and to challenged households, this program is similar to “Meals on Wheels” though it provides unprepared foods rather than prepared meals.

§    Super Pantry- Teaches how to budget, shop, and prepare nutritious meals.

How you can help:

§    Visit www.BRAFB.org    or http://www.feedingamerica.org/?show_nce=1

§    Participate in “virtual food drives”- go online, pick out food items, purchase with credit card.

§    Donate cash online- you may donate to a specific service area if you would like.

§    Donate food or money directly to the local agencies.

§    Volunteer.

§    Conduct a food drive.

§    BRAFB can purchase food from their suppliers at wholesale or below so cash donations and virtual food drives are the most effective way to contribute.

§    Contact your local recycling center about providing a space for food donations.

§    Spread the word about hunger and about the BRAFB

§  Brainstorm ways to help raise awareness in your circle of contacts and throughout your community.

Food banking is supposed to be a safety net.  By the year 2025 the BRAFB estimates it will need to provide 50,000,000 lbs of food.

Save the Dates
You won’t want to miss the interesting meetings we have planned!

Oct. 12th- State Senator Jill Vogel will speak with us about her experiences in the General Assembly last year as well as providing us with a preview of important upcoming legislation.

Nov. 9th-  Happy Birthday to us!  Join us as we celebrate the SSC’s 4th year and look forward to our 5th.

Dec. 14th- Video Night – See the Frontline Report, “Sick Around the World:  Other Rich Countries Have Universal Health Care.  Why Don’t We?”

Respectfully submitted,
Andrea Martens