Posted February 25, 2010 | comments 2 Comments


Northern Virginia Daily


Audiologists everywhere were thrilled to see Saints quarterback Drew Brees protecting his child's hearing during the Super Bowl.

Parents often believe when their child passes his newborn hearing screening at birth, that his hearing will be normal by the time he enters school. However, it's so important to understand that 25 times more children will have hearing loss when they enter grade school than had hearing loss at birth.

Children are exposed to high noise levels more than ever before. Noise-induced hearing loss is permanent and 100 percent preventable. Brees' leadership in hearing protection helped bring that message home.

Kudos for bringing the prevention of hearing loss in children to the world's attention. For more information on hearing loss, visit the American Academy of Audiology's consumer Web site, www.howsyourhearing.org. Additionally, the American Academy of Audiology Foundation works with the academy to fund public awareness initiatives about healthy hearing through its "Turn it to the Left" project, which encourages young people to take steps to protect their hearing. The first step: Take that volume knob and turn it to the left.

Oh, and by the way, Drew, congratulations on a great game.

Kathleen Devlin
104 Peyton St.
Feb. 17, 2010

Northern Virginia Daily


According to a 2008 report, "Dying for Coverage" (Families USA), as many as 10 Virginians die each week from a lack of health insurance. This is mostly from diseases that could have been treated if caught earlier.

The commonwealth's free clinics struggle valiantly to meet the needs of their communities. However, their patient loads are up an average of 60 percent in the last two years and they often run waiting lists of a month or more. Some have a lottery system for new patient appointments, and some periodically have to stop taking new patients altogether.

Today I learned that Gov. Bob McDonnell's budget recommendations include a 25 percent cut in state support to free clinics this year and a 50 percent cut next year. By 2011, it is projected that this will result in 12,000 fewer Virginians being served and 50,000 fewer appointments being provided.

The budget also includes cuts to community health centers and Medicaid, which will ultimately mean that many more people go without care and seek help from free clinics.

In these tough times, any cut in funding to us, or other health agencies upon which our patients depend, hurts our ability to serve our neighbors.

If you are concerned about your friends and neighbors having access to the health care they need, please contact your legislators and ask them to keep level funding for free clinics and health-care safety net programs.

Our local legislators' addresses are: Sen. Mark Obenshain, Senate of Virginia, P.O. Box 396, Richmond 23218 and Del. Todd Gilbert, General Assembly Building, P.O. Box 406, Richmond 23218.

Thanks for helping us to care for our community.

Pam Murphy
Executive Director
Shenandoah County
Free Clinic
Shenandoah Dental Clinic
781 Spring Parkway
P.O. Box 759
Feb. 18, 2010

Northern Virginia Daily


On Feb. 21 the House of Delegates Appropriations Committee voted, 15-7, to cut state funding for the Virginia Commission for the Arts by 50 percent in 2010-11 and to eliminate the agency completely as of July 1, 2011.

This divided vote represents a short-sighted decision about state funding for the arts.

The state's arts and cultural community recognizes the severity of budget problems faced by the state and agrees that every Virginian must do his part. The commission's budget has already been cut by 30 percent and Gov. McDonnell's proposal called for an additional 10 percent cut.

The commission re-grants a large portion of the funding it gets from the General Assembly to communities across the state. The commission made matching grants to local governments of $500,000 in the current fiscal year to support programs generating tourism and attracting business and cultural activity throughout the state. Shenandoah County received $5,000 of that amount. Elimination of the commission would also mean the loss of federal funds for arts in Virginia, which totaled about $1 million this fiscal year.

Artists and arts organizations' work in schools to expand educational opportunities for children is vital to developing a creative workforce. The arts have stepped in to meet cultural education needs of our children where these programs are being cut in the schools. Funds provided by the Virginia Commission for the Arts often represent the only opportunity for children in rural areas to be exposed to arts and culture.

During the past two years the arts have faced large spending cuts, cancellations of performances, layoffs and galleries closing. Cuts of the magnitude being proposed would cause arts organizations, both large and small, to close their doors throughout Virginia.

We urge you to contact your local delegate before the scheduled vote on Thursday and ask him to vote against the proposal of the House Appropriations Committee. The small investment the state makes in the arts has a major impact on local economic development, tourism and education.

The Web site of Virginians for the Arts, www.vaforarts .org, has more information.

Eloise C. Haun
Board President
Shenandoah Valley Music Festival
P.O. Box 528
Feb. 22, 2010

Northern Virginia Daily


The season of Lent is the perfect time to consider a plant-based diet. This 40-day period preceding Easter is when Christians have traditionally abstained from meat and dairy in memory of Jesus' 40 days of fasting and prayer before dying on the cross. Such a gesture would be a tangible expression of Jesus' message of compassion and love for all living beings.

Animals are being raised for food under abject conditions of caging, crowding, deprivation, drugging, mutilation and manhandling. When trucked to slaughterhouses, they travel for days without food or water only to be bled, skinned and dismembered while still conscious. Wastes from factory farms foul the water we drink and the air we breathe, and meat production accounts for 18 percent of greenhouse gases responsible for global warming. Most chronic killer diseases are linked to consumption of animal products.

We have choices, and there are consequences -- blessings and curses. We can continue to subsidize these sins against nature with every food purchase or we can show our respect for Jesus' message by accepting a wholesome, nonviolent diet of vegetables, fruits and grains first mandated in Genesis 1:29.

For additional information, visit http://veg4lent.org/ or enter "vegan recipes" in a search engine for some exciting cuisine.

Nicolas Valdez
224 Featherstone Court
Feb. 18, 2010

Northern Virginia Daily


Nelson Vrooman's letter (Jan. 30 issue) about the National School Lunch Program sounded very familiar to me -- probably because the exact same letter has run in 35 other U.S. daily newspapers, all under different names.

It appears The Northern Virginia Daily is the victim of an "Astroturf" campaign promoting the image of grassroots concern about making school lunches vegetarian.

Most of these carbon-copy letters included links to Web sites. One of these is run by an animal rights group deceptively named the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM).

PCRM is not a mainstream health group (though it acts like one). About 60 percent of the group's budget comes from the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida. PCRM's president writes that cheese is "dairy crack" and that "to give a child animal products is a form of child abuse." Policy makers, his organization says, "should think of drinking milk the same way we think of smoking cigars." These are not the values that most parents want to see reflected in school cafeterias.

Newspapers should be extra vigilant in the future, to make sure they're not being duped by a tiny vegetarian movement that appears larger than it really is.

David Martosko
Director of Research
Center for Consumer
1090 Vermont Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C.
Feb. 4, 2010

Northern Virginia Daily


The number of "food insecure" people in Virginia has increased tremendously because of the economy. Ten of thousands lost their jobs, lost their homes and lost their faith that they can get back on their feet.

The Volunteer Farm will attempt to grow more food this year to meet the demand. We would like to produce 100 tons of fresh vegetables, up from 65 tons last year. However, we need your financial support to serve almost half the state, including both sides of the Blue Ridge Mountains, as well as our expansion into the populated areas of Northern Virginia.

All the nutritious vegetables we grow go to the food banks to supplement the canned goods given to your hungry neighbors. Kids need good nutrition.

Please help with a generous tax-deductible donation by mailing a check today to the Volunteer Farm, 277 Crider Lane, Woodstock 22664. Or you can make a donation online at www.Volunteer Farm.org, where you can also register to volunteer.

Chair & CEO
World Foundation
for Children
277 Crider Lane
Feb. 17, 2010

Northern Virginia Daily


Leave my choice to take vitamins to me. Get out of my life.

Why not try to fix the problems our country is having due to the government's not doing its job?

Protect our rights. Do not try to take them away from the people.

You have screwed up enough. When does it end and you get back to fixing what you have already destroyed of our rights?

Enough is enough.

Patricia Doll
5758 Edinburg Gap Road
Fort Valley
Feb. 17, 2010


    How sad when people purposely misuse the traditions of church for their own means. While Catholics have given up meat on Fridays during Lent I've never heard of giving up dairy. Also, the purpose of giving things up for Lent (by various denominations) is to focus us on prayer every time we miss the item we are fasting and to remember the deeds done by our lord Jesus Christ, not to remember the suffering of animals.

    And while God gave all plants to humans to eat in the beginning of creation, if Mr. Valdez read the Bible, as opposed to just picking out verses he likes, he would have read Genesis 9:3 where after the great flood God said, "every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant."

    Please before trashing Church tradition and misusing the Bible do your homework.

    It's all about choice people. If some wish to be vegan, then please do so. If others choose to eat meat, then so be it. Do not, however try to preach to me about the "sins" of eating meat. It is my business and my choice, so butt out. I can promise that I will leave you to your vegan ways in peace. I do expect the same from you as well.

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