Fauquier Habitat for Humanity has gone “green” with construction and landscaping of its 55th home. Last week, 15 volunteers and staff members transformed the Warrenton home’s small yard into vibrant, low-maintenance landscape with 217 native plants.
The 2020 Special Session, focused on resolving budget issues stemming from Covid and addressing police and criminal justice reform, has ended just in time for the holidays. But as in the movie Groundhog Day, now we prepare to do it all over again. Virginia’s 2021 legislative session opens on Jan 13 and will prove no less challenging than the special session. At this moment, details are still fluid, but here is what we know.
When a developer, Mojax LLC, bought the Howards’ ancestral land in 2017 and proposed a development of 27 homes with individual wells, the community was understandably concerned. “As a widow and a senior citizen on a budget, the development could drive up the taxes and force me to dig a new well, which I can’t afford,” said Peterson. Besides the water issues and property values, residents worried about losing the historic cemetery, undiscovered graves of enslaved people, and the cultural history of the place.
Over the past year, I have re-learned the value of health, access to clean air, clean water, local food, and to the outdoors, but also the importance of understanding how decisions are made in our communities—decisions that affect all of these important elements of life. This, I think, is the work of conservation and the work of the PEC.
Since March, with the help of partners and supporters, The Piedmont Environmental Council has provided 25,000 pounds of vegetables, 25,000 gallons of milk, and more than 11,000 pounds of local beef and pork to the food-insecure in our nine-county region of the northern Piedmont. That’s more than 50,000 pounds of locally-sourced products for local food banks, which has a very different impact on the local economy than shipping in 50,000 pounds of food from somewhere else.
This past Labor Day, I brought my family, including Arlo the 5-month old puppy, up to PEC’s Piedmont Memorial Overlook for a hike and a picnic. The view was great, with a cool breeze blowing, butterflies of many types in the wildflower meadow and even a full-sized copperhead sunning itself on the trail to get our hearts racing!
Beginning on Aug 18, the Virginia General Assembly entered a special session to focus on budget impacts related to the pandemic and calls for criminal justice and policing reforms as local and national unrest continued following the death of George Floyd. At the time of this writing, session is ongoing and many questions remain on the shape of the final budget and some of the legislative initiatives. Legislators intend to wrap up their work before the end of September.