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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Latest on Tropical Depression Cindy (all times local):
West Virginia residents and authorities have marked the anniversary of last year’s fatal flooding in that state even as they are bracing for a bout of severe weather associated with the remnants of a tropical storm.
A brief ceremony marking last year’s fatal flooding was held at noon Friday at the West Virginia Police Academy in Dunbar, where a bell was rung 23 times for those who died.
U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin went to White Sulphur Springs for the dedication of a memorial for eight people who died there.
On Friday evening, Gov. Jim Justice planned to attend a candlelight service at Rainelle United Methodist Church in the area hardest-hit by the flooding. Five people in the town of 1,500 died.
Labeled a 1,000-year flood by the National Weather Service, the storm destroyed more than 2,100 homes statewide and damaged another 2,000.
"As time goes on we’re struggling to get through the after effects of what took place in the flood," John Wyatt, a pastor from Rainelle, told West Virginia Public Broadcasting.
He’s been rebuilding his home the past year.
Heavy rainfall from the remnants of Tropical Storm Cindy has caused scattered street flooding across central and southern Indiana.
The National Weather Service issued flood warnings for most of the southern two-thirds of the state, with more than 3 inches of rain falling in places by midday Friday and minor flooding expected along some rivers.
Emergency crews helped some people from stranded vehicles in Muncie, including a nearly submerged SUV at a railroad underpass. Low-lying roads in many areas were being covered with water.
High winds early Friday peeled off part of the roof from New Prairie High School near South Bend. The school district’s superintendent says about 10 classrooms were damaged. No injuries were reported.
Remnants of Tropical Depression Cindy and a cold front moving into the Appalachian region from the northwest have knock down trees and caused scattered power outages in Tennessee and West Virginia.
Memphis Light Gas and Water reported that as many as 10,000 customers were without power Friday morning. Crews in Memphis cleared storm drains Thursday to help prevent flooding.
Appalachian Power reports 1,800 without electricity in West Virginia’s northern panhandle, where heavy rain fell Friday morning, and another 800 in Charleston.
Rain mixed with clouds and sunshine across the region.
The National Weather Service predicts more rain Friday afternoon and evening from the two systems colliding.
Flash flood watches remain in effect for All of Kentucky, most of West Virginia and north central and western Tennessee..
Flash flood watches are in effect until early Saturday in north central Tennessee, all of Kentucky and most of West Virginia as the remnants of a tropical storm head deeper inland. Others are in effect in the Mississippi and Ohio valleys.
The National Weather Service said Tropical Depression Cindy is continuing to produce heavy rain around the Mississippi Valley. It was centered about 75 miles (115 kilometers) north-northeast of Memphis at midday Friday.
Cindy formed as a tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico earlier in the week, made landfall Thursday on the Texas-Louisiana line and was downgraded as it took aim at the nation’s interior and moved inland. A boy killed by debris in storm surf off Alabama was the only fatality reported so far in the storm, which spun off tornadoes and caused street flooding in many coastal areas.
In West Virginia, meteorologist Mike Zwier says about a half inch (12 millimeters) of rain has already fallen around the state recently.
Heavy rain is forecast to begin in West Virginia by late Friday afternoon, with general forecasts of 1-3 inches (25-75 millimeters) and up to 5 inches (125 millimeters) in spots. That’s from cold air from the Great Lakes colliding with Cindy’s remnants, clearing them from the region by Saturday.
Louisiana’s Office of State Parks says high water or damage from Tropical Storm Cindy has closed six parks in southern Louisiana.
A news release Friday said there was minimal damage, but crews are assessing repair needs.
Two parks south of Lafayette are closed because of high water over roads the parks. Those are Palmetto Island State Park in Abbeville and Cypremort (SIP-ruh-mort) Point State Park on Vermilion Bay.
In southeast Louisiana, affected parks are Tickfaw State Park in Springfield, Grand Isle State Park, Fairview-Riverside State Park in Madisonville, and day use at Fontainebleau State Park in Mandeville. Fontainebleau’s cabins, campground and group camps remain open.
Officials say five parks should reopen Monday, with Tickfaw State Park reopening Tuesday.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says two boat launches at Pointe-aux-Chenes (point oh SHEN) Wildlife Management Area near Houma (HOH-much) are closed because of flooding.
Remnants of Tropical Depression Cindy began moving through Tennessee, knocking down trees and causing power outages.
Memphis Light Gas and Water reported that as many as 10,000 customers were without power Friday morning. Media report heavy rain and winds also were causing traffic problems. Crews in Memphis cleared storm drains Thursday to help prevent flooding.
The National Weather Service has predicted rainfall totals of 2 to 4 inches (50 to 100 millimeters) in Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia, though isolated amounts of up to 6 inches (150 millimeters) are possible.
The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency is staffing its operations center in Nashville on Friday and Saturday to coordinate any requests for assistance.
Forecasters are trying to determine how many tornadoes touched down in Alabama as remnants of Tropical Storm Cindy moved north from the Gulf Coast.
The National Weather Service says an EF-2 twister with winds as strong as 120 mph (120 kph) struck just outside Birmingham on Thursday. Several businesses were damaged and at least four people were hurt.
Forecasters also are checking damage at other locations in central and southern Alabama to determine whether tornadoes struck there.
The Storm Prediction Center says severe weather is still possible in an area reaching from the Deep South to western Pennsylvania as remnants of Cindy move northward.
Forecasters expect remnants of Tropical Depression Cindy to drench parts of Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia, bringing heavy rainfall, possible flash flooding and higher river and lake levels through the weekend.
The weather Friday was arriving on the anniversary of torrential rains and flooding that left 23 people dead in West Virginia a year ago.
National Weather Service officials in the three states said rainfall totals of 2 to 4 inches (50 to 100 millimeters) were expected, with isolated amounts up to 6 inches (150 millimeters).
The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency is staffing its operations center in Nashville on Friday and Saturday to coordinate any requests for assistance.
In Memphis, crews worked Thursday to clear storm drains to help prevent street flooding.
Flash flood watches were in effect in much of Kentucky.
Republican Ed Gillespie (left) and Democrat Ralph Northam are running to be Virginia’s next governor. (Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post)
Democrat Ralph Northam has an early eight-point lead over Republican Ed Gillespie in the Virginia governor’s race, according to a new survey released on Wednesday.
The poll by Quinnipiac University found 47 percent of Virginia voters backed Northam, the state’s sitting lieutenant governor, while 39 percent backed Gillespie, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee.
It’s one of the earliest general election polls in what’s expected to be a hard-fought campaign in Virginia, one of just two states with gubernatorial contests in November. The governor’s race is seen as an early test of politics in the era of President Trump, and both national parties have identified it as a priority.
Northam easily beat Tom Perriello in last week’s Democratic primary, while Gillespie narrowly squeaked out a victory over hardline conservative Corey Stewart in the GOP nomination contest.
Historically, the winner of Virginia’s governor’s race comes from the party that lost the presidential contest. Incumbent Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), who is constitutionally barred from seeking a second consecutive term, broke that trend in 2013.
Northam’s lead slipped since April, when he had 11-point advantage over Gillespie in a hypothetical match-up tested by Quinnipiac.
The latest poll found few voters crossing party lines to vote for governor, and independent voters were evenly split between Northam and Gillespie.
Northam, a pediatric neurologist, has made expanding access to health care and workforce development top priorities, while Gillespie is running on a platform of cutting income taxes and improving the business climate.
The economy and health care ranked as voters’ top priorities, each drawing about 30 percent, while education, taxes and immigration lagged behind. Voters thought Gillespie would do a better job handling the economy and taxes by narrow margins, while Northam was seen as the better candidate on health care and education by double-digit leads.
Support for Northam outpaces his favorability rating, suggesting he’s buoyed by his Democratic affiliation. The lieutenant governor was seen favorably by 36 percent of voters and unfavorably by 24 percent. Gillespie had an equally split 29-29 favorability rating.
Nearly 4 in 10 voters said they were too unfamiliar with both candidates to form an opinion.
The poll also found voter approval of McAuliffe at 47 percent, a 5 point drop since Quinnipiac last surveyed voters in April. At the same time, his disapproval rose by 5 points.
More than half of voters approved of the performance of Virginia’s two Democratic senators: Tim Kaine and Mark Warner. Voters believed Kaine deserved to be re-elected next year by a 47 to 38 percent margin.
In addition to the governor’s race, voters are also casting ballots in November for attorney general, lieutenant governor and all 100 House of Delegates seats.
The survey found voters disapprove of the way the GOP-controlled state legislature is doing its job by a margin of 42 to 38 percent, with 20 percent expressing no opinion. Voters want Democrats to retake control of the House of Delegates by a 48 to 41 percent margin. Republicans currently hold a staggering 66-34 majority, although Democrats have identified a longshot path to retake the chamber by sweeping all 17 districts won by Hillary Clinton in November.
Interviewers surveyed 1,145 Virginia voters between June 15 to 20 with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.
Rain falling like it would never end has changed the meaning of summer in this tiny corner of Appalachia.
When the downpour finally stopped in White Sulphur Springs on June 23, 2016, five lives had been lost along one road alone — Mill Hill Drive. And 23 people were dead statewide in West Virginia’s worst flooding since 1985.
As the floodwaters receded, a muddy landscape of ruined homes and businesses, wiped-out roads and bridges and devastated lives emerged in hard-hit Greenbrier County. Then there followed an army of volunteers, donors and government workers, rallying to help.
On the anniversary of those rains, a memorial wall, museum and a series of parks linked by sidewalks around Mill Hill Drive will be dedicated Friday on behalf of victims and the community. It’s a place where nearly a dozen businesses have re-opened, and few here are untouched by tragedy.
"It’s a time of celebration and rebirth," said City Council member Audrey Van Buren, who lost her mother-in-law and sister-in-law in the disaster. "It’s about everyone in our town, and how the volunteers have flocked into town to help us to rebuild. It hasn’t been hundreds. It’s been thousands of people since day one who have poured into the city. We’ve been so blessed."
Teenager Cameron Zobrist pitched a memorial wall as an Eagle Scout project. It was built with donated material and labor. Now on Mill Hill Drive, a sidewalk leads to a rose garden on the property of Debra Nicely, who lost her husband, daughter and grandson. The bodies of Hershel Nicely, 68; Nataysha Hughes, 33; and Dakota Stone, 16, were found nearby.
Further along Mill Hill Drive, a playground honoring 14-year-old victim Mykala Phillips sits beside a garden memorializing Belinda Scott, 54. Scott’s home exploded after a gas leak and she clung to a tree for hours above the floodwaters, dying three days later. The tree is now surrounded by flowers and ornaments depicting her love for butterflies and bees.
"Her name was Belinda," Van Buren said. "But everybody called her Bee."
James and Becky Carter Phillips moved their two sons into a new home not far from the one where Mykala was last seen. Their daughter’s body was found weeks later.
With memories still too vivid, James Phillips isn’t interested in revisiting his old neighborhood. His wife likes the idea of the museum and memorial, especially since she wouldn’t have to repeat the story of the flood to curious guests at the Greenbrier, where she works. The luxury resort also saw damage to its golf course, since repaired.
"I get asked so many questions all the time," she said. "I could direct them right there and they can just look."
Not long after the floods, ground was broken on Hope Village, a 42-home community for residents whose homes were destroyed.
Belinda Scott’s husband, Ronnie Scott, plans to move in with his dog, Dancer, adopted after the disaster. Debra Nicely was there for the groundbreaking. One of the streets is named Nicely Way.
In February, Nicely shared on Facebook an unknown author’s post about coping with grief by pretending life is fine. Last month, another post hinted at a return to normalcy after she assembled a backyard grill by herself, writing "GO ME!!!"
Elsewhere in Greenbrier County, the town of Rainelle, population 1,500, lost five residents and dozens of homes. And in nearby Kanawha County, where six people died, movement has been slow to patch destruction in two communities including Elkview, where a washed-out bridge made a mall inaccessible. Now the bridge is being replaced and two anchor stores are returning to the mall.
So many low-income homes in Rainelle were abandoned that some worried the community could lose its tax base. But now a Tennessee-based Christian ministry is building at least 50 homes and fixing others.
"The difference the volunteers are making in the lives of the homeowners is a powerful thing," said Krista Williams of Rainelle, an AmeriCorps VISTA program volunteer, "and it’s creating a movement in this community like we’ve never seen."
The state’s conservation agency is removing sediment from Rainelle’s flood-control channels. The nearby city of Lewisburg sent a street sweeper to clean Rainelle’s streets, once piled high with debris.
Spunky 70-year-old Mayor Andy Pendleton has dubbed Rainelle "Noah’s Ark" because of the rebuilding, but doesn’t want it to stop just yet.
"There’s so much more to do," said Pendleton, who walked tearfully through the town’s devastated streets a year ago. "People need jobs. We need to make it ‘Why would people come to Rainelle to visit?’ I want a purpose for Rainelle."
Maryland’s John Szefc. (Bob Leverone/AP)
Maryland baseball coach John Szefc, who led the Terrapins back to national relevance after decades of dormancy, is leaving College Park to become the head coach at Virginia Tech.
Szefc, 49, was hired by the Hokies on Friday morning and will be relied upon to revive a program that hasn’t been to the NCAA tournament since 2013. Szefc will replace Pat Mason, who was fired last month after compiling a 90-126-1 record during his four seasons in Blacksburg.
“I’m thrilled, humbled and honored to begin this new challenge at Virginia Tech,” Szefc said in a statement. “As an opposing coach, I always enjoyed our visits to Virginia Tech and appreciated the beauty of the campus and the Blacksburg community. Our family is beyond excited to call Blacksburg our new home.”
Maryland will immediately begin a national search for Szefc’s replacement.
Maryland endured 31 consecutive losing seasons in the Atlantic Coast Conference before Szefc arrived in 2012 to replace Erik Bakich, who left to take the head coaching job at Michigan that spring. Szefc built an immediate winner. During his second season in 2014, Maryland won 40 games and made its first appearance in the NCAA tournament super regional. Maryland returned to the NCAA tournament in 2015, the program’s first back-to-back appearances since 1970-71, and finished with a school-record 42 wins and another trip to the super regional.
In all, Szefc won 180 games during his five seasons and led the Terrapins to three NCAA tournament appearances over the last four years, including this past season, when it finished 38-23. He reached 150 wins at Maryland faster than any other coach.
“John did a tremendous job taking Maryland baseball to new heights,” Director of Athletics Kevin Anderson said in a statement. “The foundation John laid helped put Maryland on the college baseball map. He created a winning culture that we could all be proud of.”
Szefc, who had received a raise to $251,000 annually after the 2015 season, will guide a Hokies program that will have an $18 million upgrade to its stadium facilities next season. Virginia Tech went 23-34 this season and has made the NCAA tournament just twice in the past seven seasons.
“The opportunity to return to the ACC and have our team play in an amazing baseball facility simply added to the appeal of coaching the Hokies,” Szefc said. “I understand and embrace the expectations that come with this leadership position.”
It was just four years ago that the Virginia Tech baseball team was not only good enough to make the NCAA tournament but was deemed worthy enough to host an NCAA regional as well.
But the coach that steered the 2013 Hokies to those heights, Pete Hughes, left for Oklahoma after that season. Virginia Tech never had a winning season under his replacement, Patrick Mason, who was fired two weeks ago.
How can Virginia Tech, which is looking for Mason’s successor, regain the success it enjoyed in the Hughes era?
Hughes, who guided Tech to five winning seasons and two NCAA bids in his seven years at the school, said the expansion of English Field will help the next coach. The ballpark is undergoing an $18 million makeover that is expected to be completed in time for next season.
"[Improving] that stadium, you go from the bottom third in the ACC to right in the mix," Hughes, who steered the Sooners to the Louisville Regional of this year’s NCAA tournament, said last weekend at a Louisville hotel. "Investment will bring recruits. With recruits will come wins, and then you have sustainability."
It remains to be seen whether athletic director Whit Babcock will replace Mason with a proven head coach or hire an assistant from a successful program. By hiring an assistant, a school does not have to pay the buyout that is in an existing head coach’s contract.
"Some ADs are like, ‘Hey, let’s go get a high-end assistant. He knows the recruiting network. It’s going to be cheaper,’" Hughes said. "But … it’s a lot different being a head coach then an assistant, especially when you’re rebuilding a program. And I think you have to rebuild that place.
"You better know how to work with limited financial aid. You better know how to develop guys in cold weather. You better be able to project and develop."
Hughes was the head coach at Boston College when the late Jim Weaver hired him to succeed the retiring Chuck Hartman at Virginia Tech after the 2006 season. The Hokies had won just four ACC games in Hartman’s final season.
Hughes was 222-174 in his seven years with the Hokies. But he said it was not easy to lure recruits.
"We never beat North Carolina, South Carolina, Clemson, Vanderbilt or UVa on one guy in recruiting," he said. "We usually identified [the recruit] first and offered more [scholarship money] and still got beat by those people. … The recruiting battles hurt me a lot worse than the ones that we lost on the field at Virginia Tech because you invest so much time with these kids and … they’re going to go to Carolina at a Christmas camp and take a quarter of the scholarship we’ve offered.
"Where we were in the landscape is what wore me out because you get … the feel of Virginia Tech for a weekend, these kids are [saying], ‘I love this place.’ And once they got out and saw some of the [rivals’] facilities and the resources, then we would end up losing them."
Hughes had to adopt a different recruiting approach at Virginia Tech.
"We were on an airplane every weekend — New England, California," Hughes said. "You’ve got to leave the region or you have to take the guys that are projectable guys that those [rivals] weren’t going on because they weren’t ready-made."
Hughes pointed to current Oakland A’s infielder Chad Pinder as one of those "projectable" recruits he found in the commonwealth. Pinder committed to Tech after his sophomore year at Poqouson High School, accepting the first scholarship offer to come his way. As a junior in 2013, he helped the Hokies make the NCAAs.
"We were the ‘Project, develop, get really good in three years [program],’" Hughes said of Tech. "It was wired to be good every three years."
Tech had losing records in Hughes’ first two seasons. Then-football coach Frank Beamer left Hughes encouraging voicemails in the 2008 season.
"He rattles off this … really bad, losing record and he said, ‘You know what those numbers are? That was my record my first four years here, and it was terrible. So stay with the process,’" Hughes said.
In the wake of the 2007 shootings on the Virginia Tech campus, the New York Yankees played the Hokies in a 2008 exhibition game at English Field. In preparation for the Yankees’ visit, Virginia Tech spent about $420,000 to build permanent, amphitheater-style terrace seats into the hill on the left-field line.
"The terraces don’t get built if the Yankees don’t come to town," Hughes said. "Those terraces were so unique in college baseball. They’re all over the place now."
After steering Tech to a winning season in 2009, Hughes interviewed for the University of Washington job.
"Jim and Traci Weaver watched our kids a good portion of the time I was interviewing at Washington," Hughes said. "That’s why I wasn’t in a rush to leave that guy. And I knew those [Tech] guys were going to be really good in 2010."
In the fall of 2009, the Hokies began using a $1.4 million indoor hitting facility. In 2010, the Hokies made the NCAAs for the first time in 10 years.
Before the 2012 season, Tech spent $1 million to install artificial turf at English Field.
"That turf was huge because if [there] wasn’t snow on the ground, we’re [practicing] outside," Hughes said. "And that [hitting] building was unbelievable. It gave us a place for 24 hours for our guys to get better."
In 2013, the Hokies hosted an NCAA regional for the first time in their history.
Hughes then exited Tech for Oklahoma and "a lot more resources."
"That’s why I left," Hughes said. "I loved that guy that I worked for. I raised my family in that community. But I was so motivated professionally — and I still am — to win a national championship that it was worth the move."
Weaver promoted Mason from assistant to head coach to replace Hughes.
Reason for optimism
The next coach must have certain qualities to be a good fit at Tech, said Hughes.
"You better care just as much about that lacrosse team winning or women’s soccer winning," Hughes said. "That’s what Virginia Tech is all about — it’s across-the-board department guy, university guy, family guy, and then you worry about your program. … If you don’t have those values in line, you’ll stick out and … you won’t last long."
Last year, Tech announced plans to renovate English Field. The project will add 1,200 permanent seats; premium seat; a picnic area; a team clubhouse; a new video board; a new press box; more bathrooms; and a new entrance.
The renovation — as well as the charm of Blacksburg — will help Tech land a good coach, said Hughes.
"That’s a Norman Rockwell place to raise a family," Hughes said. "But the building is the key. … You’re getting a better candidate because of that — they see investment and they want to win at the highest level in one of the highest leagues.
"I always said when I would drive into Blacksburg, ‘This place could be Clemson in baseball.’ It’s set up the same way — rural, college town. Build a nice facility … and you’re off and running."
The expansion will aid Tech in recruiting, said Hughes.
"No one wants to go to a school where they don’t care as much as you do about your sport, so when you see facilities getting built, that’s the message it sends in recruiting," Hughes said.
Hughes said that in college baseball these days, coaches recruit two years ahead. So the new Tech coach will inherit two Mason recruiting classes.
"Will they be good? At Virginia Tech, with that staff that’s leaving there, yeah," he said. "Are they the best guys around? No, because of who they are in the landscape."
But the ballpark makeover will eventually change Tech in that landscape, said Hughes — and raise the stakes for the next coach.
"Once you invest where they’re investing facilities-wise, every year, man, you’ve got to go that [NCAA] tournament — only because it’s going to change them in the recruiting market," Hughes said. "Guys you’re recruiting, they [can now] … leave Virginia Tech and go to UVa and say, ‘We can compare UVa and Virginia Tech in facilities’ — or South Carolina or Vanderbilt or North Carolina.
"Once it’s apples and apples in the recruiting market, then the expectation levels need to change."
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – A woman in her 90s died Thursday morning after being attacked by a pit bull on Wednesday.
Virginia Beach Police responded to the home in the Pembroke Manor neighborhood to assist Animal Enforcement around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday evening.
Officers arrived to find the woman suffering from severe bites and lacerations as a result of the attack.
The investigation revealed at that a 50-pound, 1-year-old American Pitbull Terrier attacked the woman as she was lying on the floor due to a fall.
The woman was transported to a local hospital with life threatening injuries. However, she died as a result of her injuries early Thursday morning.
The dog is currently in quarantine at the Virginia Beach Animal Care and Adoption Center.
The case remains under active investigation by Virginia Beach Police and the Virginia Beach Animal Enforcement Unit.
Jimmy Stanger and coach Bowen Sargent
Senior Jimmy Stanger and Sophomore Thomas Walsh vaulted the Virginia golf team to the next stage of the NCAA Championship on Sunday. The duo shot a collective 9-under-par and helped the Cavaliers make the tournament’s first cut. Virginia sits in a tie for 7th headed into Monday’s fourth round.
The NCAA Golf Championship can be difficult to follow (and even more difficult to explain). The stroke play portion of the tournament started on Friday with 30 teams. The field was cut to 15 teams after Sunday’s third round. The field will be cut a second time — down to 8 teams — after Monday’s fourth round. The eight remaining teams will then take part in a match-play bracket to determine the champion.
Like I said…clear as mud.
Here’s a look at the current standings. Virginia won’t have much room for error if it hopes to advance to the final 8. UVA doesn’t need to gain any ground: it just needs to hold its current position. A number of teams are in striking distance.
The Hoos will certainly hope for more inspired play from Stanger and Walsh. Stanger, the 2017 ACC individual champion, reeled off four back-nine birdies on Sunday. He’s currently -7 overall and in 7th place as an individual. The NCAA individual title will be decided at the end of Monday’s 4th round.
As good as Stanger was, Walsh was actually a shot better. Walsh posted 7 birdies en route to a Sunday 67. His third-round performance was the best from a UVA player in the entire tournament. Walsh currently sits in a tie for 10th as an individual.
Virginia’s chances to advance would greatly benefit from a return to form from senior Derek Bard. The 2015 US Amateur finalist shot 5-over on Sunday after shooting 4-under on Saturday. Bard’s play on Monday might be the key for UVA to make it to match play.
Golf fans will be able to watch Monday’s round on The Golf Channel from 4-8 PM EST. You can also follow scores online at golfstatresults.com.
A beloved service dog at a Virginia high school has taken the internet by storm after he earned his very own yearbook photo alongside the rest of the junior class.
Alpha follows 16-year-old Andrew Schalk to Stafford High School in Falmouth and detects when the diabetic teens’s blood sugar is too high or low through his incredible sense of smell.
To the school’s surprise, the yearbook team agreed to photograph the black dog, who was captured looking adorably apprehensive in the bottom half of the frame right next to his owner.
‘He has saved my life multiple times already, by waking me up in the middle of the night to extremely low blood sugars, which are very dangerous,’ he added.
Schalk, who suffers from Type 1 diabetes, said his service dog has saved his life several times.
‘The amazing thing about Alpha is that he knows 20 to 40 minutes before my blood sugar actually does go low or high due to his amazing sense of smell,’ Schalk told Buzzfeed.
Danica Roem – Photo: Facebook.
On the same day it announced its endorsement of Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam for governor, Equality Virginia Advocates announced it is backing Danica Roem for the Democratic nomination to take on longtime LGBTQ foe Del. Bob Marshall (R-Manassas).
“Not only is Danica the first openly transgender candidate to run in Virginia, but she also represents a viable option for HD-13 with a vision that is not only inclusive of LGBT individuals but all the district’s diverse residents,” Equality Virginia Advocates said in a statement. “We believe electing this impressive candidate to the House of Delegates will offer a stark contrast to the divisive nature of Del. Marshall’s time in office.”
“I’m honored to be endorsed by EV PAC, an organization that has led the way for protecting and promoting the civil rights of LGBTQ Virginians by helping elect pro-equality candidates,” Roem said in a statement. “I know that if I win this race, we can replace the most anti-LGBTQ legislator in the South with someone who would be the only out transgender state legislator in the country.”
Roem made headlines when she became the first openly transgender candidate to run for office in Virginia, establishing herself as a viable candidate and gaining the attention of the Victory Fund, which gave her one of its “spotlight” endorsements. She also obtained an endorsement from the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.
The political action committee’s endorsement of Roem marks its second endorsement of the 2017 election season, as well as the second time it has intervened on behalf of a candidate in a competitive party primary. Roem, a former journalist for the Gainesville Times and Prince William Times, faces lawyer Steve Jansen, trucking business owner Mansimran Kahlon — a well-known figure within the Prince William County Democratic party — and Army veteran Andrew Adams in her primary.
Roem still faces an uphill battle on the money front, however. Jansen — who has been endorsed by Del. Paul Krizek (D-Mount Vernon), the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, and the Pride Fund to End Gun Violence, an LGBTQ political action committee that advocates for gun reform measures — has raised $73,000 in the first quarter of the year. Kahlon raised $78,000, while Roem raised just over $26,000 during that same period and spent $11,000, leaving her with just under $15,000 on hand.
Roem says she has raised an additional $28,000 since April 1. By comparison, Marshall raised $47,000 during the first three months of the year, and had more than $75,000 on hand as of March 31.
The Democratic candidates for the seat will face off in a debate on Friday, June 2, at the Bull Run Swim and Racquet Club Conference Center in Manassas.