News Journal

Wednesday, May 6, 2020 • USPS 387-780 • • 75 cents Radford to receive additional federal funds for CDBG program In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the City of Radford has been awarded an additional $105,448 in Community Devel- opment Block Grant-Coronavirus (CDBG-CV) funding to allocate to activities that address COVID-19 related community needs. An amendment to the five-year CDBG Consolidated Plan and the Annual Action Plan is now required. “The substantial amendment will program the CDBG-CV funds, along with $40,045 of CDBG funds will be reprogrammed to sup- port Homeless Intervention Pro- grams, Public Service Agencies that are responding to the coronavirus pandemic, and Emergency Supplies and Response,” reads a staement by the city. The substantial amendments may be viewed on the City’s web- site, . “City staff met and made recom- mendations on the use of the CD- BG-CV and reprogrammed funds, and city council will consider ap- proval of this substantial amend- ment at their May 11 meeting,” the statement reads. “The Cares Act has loosened some requirements for the purpose of an expedited use of the CDBG- CV funding. Usually a 30-day public comment period is required however, the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has waived this require- ment provided [at least] five days are provided for public comments on each substantial amendment,” the statement continues. “In addi- tion, the Cares Act bill eliminates the cap on the amount of funds a grantee can spend on public ser- vices and removes the requirement to hold in-person public hearings in order to comply with national and local social gather requirements. The bill also allows grantees to ap- ply the waiver of statutory regula- tions to 2019 and 2020 CDBG al- locations.” Public comments are encouraged and should be submitted to Melissa Skelton, Community Development Director for the City of Radford at . The public comment period runs from Wednesday, May 6, 2020 throughTuesday, May 12, 2020. All comments received will be included in the substantial amendment that is submitted to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Radford Farmers Market offers pre-order pick ups Not even COVID-19 can stop the periodical cicadas that are coming to the local area. The 17-year Brood IX cicadas will begin emerging in southwest Virginia, including Radford, in mid-May. And now there is a way to track, photograph, video and help map these interesting insects on a mobile phone app created by cicada ex- perts. Gene Kritsky, Ph.D., Dean of Behavioral and Natural Sciences at Mount St. Joseph University in Cincin- nati, who has studied cicadas throughout his academic career, worked in partnership with the Center for IT Engage- ment (cITe) at Mount St. Joseph University to create the Cicada Sa- fari app. It allows users to search, photograph, video and help map the cicadas. The University also maintains a cicada website showing where the cicadas will emerge this year. “Periodical cicadas are bugs of history,” Dr. Kritsky said. “They are generational events, and many people use the emergence to mark the passage of time, re- call key events in their lives and just remember Drive-thru COVID-19 testing continues today in Pearisburg, Friday in Blacksburg CHRISTIANSBURG -- The New River Valley Public Health Task Force will hold ongoing drive- thru COVID-19 testing sites today, Wednesday, May 6, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Giles High School, 1825 Wenonah Ave. in Pearisburg, and on Friday, May 8, from 1 to 3 p.m. at Blacks- burg High School, 3401 Bruin Lane in Blacks- burg. These sites are closed to the public. Only those individuals with a letter of authoriza- tion from the Virginia Department of Health’s New River Health Dis- trict will be allowed ac- cess to the sites and then only by appointment. “Testing is important epidemiologically and helps us determine the prevalence of disease in our community,” said Noelle Bissell, M.D., di- rector of the New River Health District, “but because capacity is lim- ited we screen for those at highest risk. As we con- tinue to test, we expect to have more positive cases.” If you have questions about COVID-19 or wish to request an ap- pointment for testing at these sites, call the New River Health Dis- trict’s COVID-19 pub- lic health call center at 540-267-8240. Hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. After hours, leave a message. “In the vast majority of cases, testing does not inform our recommen- dations for your medical care,” Dr. Bissell csaid. “The best protection for each of us comes from personal precautions, including hygiene and social distancing. That’s how you stay well, and how you protect those around you today and those you will be with tomorrow.” “These sites take the pressure off our hos- pital systems and first responders so that they can provide essential medical and public safe- ty services, around the clock," said Blacksburg Police Chief Anthony Wilson. “Instead of be- ing tasked with assess- ment and transport, they can concentrate on true life-threatening medical emergencies.” To lower the risk of spreading respiratory in- fections, including CO- VID-19, the Virginia Department of Health encourages everyone to stay home except for essential travel; if you must go out in public, wear a cloth face cov- ering; stay home when you are sick; avoid con- tact with sick people; cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing; wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; use an alcohol- based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available; avoid touch- ing your eyes, nose, and mouth; clean and disin- fect frequently touched objects and surfaces; call your doctor if you are experiencing symptoms; practice social distanc- ing by maintaining at least six feet of space be- tween yourself and other individuals when out in public; and avoid close contact with crowds of any size, and avoid any crowd of more than 10 people. For the most accurate and up-to-date informa- tion online, visit www. river, www.nrvroadtow- , www.vdh. and navirus. Carilion plans to resume non- essential surgeries, procedures As the statewide ban on non- essential procedures and operations lifts today, Carilion is implementing plans to gradually resume non-essen- tial surgical and procedural services. "Ramping up services is a com- plex process," said Michael Nuss- baum, M.D., senior vice president and chair of the Department of Sur- gery. "While we look forward to wel- coming patients back and reschedul- ing procedures that were postponed, we know this is a long-term process that must be done in a safe and smart way." While non-essential procedures were paused, Carilion's operating rooms system-wide were running at 25 to 30 percent of normal capacity. Carilion plans to gradually increase operating room volumes to 50 per- cent in the coming weeks and, in the coming months, return to full capacity. "COVID-19 will continue to ex- ist in our community for some time to come,” said Nussbaum, who is also leading the team responsible for restoring services. “Because of that, we're working through the processes required to keep our patients, staff and community safe while still mak- ing sure they have access to their needed surgical care.” Carilion is now resuming opera- tions and procedures because per- sonal protective equipment (PPE) and COVID-19 testing is more widely available. Physician and ad- ministrative leaders have established a daily meeting to assess the status of the pandemic in the region and determine to what degree the health system's approach, processes and policies need to be adjusted. As operations resume, strict pre- cautions introduced during the pan- demic will remain. Screenings, visi- tor restrictions, social distancing and masking for visitors and patients will continue to be in place for the fore- seeable future. Every patient who is scheduled for an operation or procedure will be carefully evaluated using objec- tive criteria that assess their risk and readiness. Once scheduled, patients will be asked to isolate for five days prior to being tested for COVID-19. Upon receiving a negative test, pa- tients will undergo their procedure. Providers are currently working to evaluate patients whose elective procedures were postponed and will contact patients to reschedule them. Patients do not need to contact pro- viders to reschedule cancelled ap- pointments. For more information and the latest updates on Carilion’s response to the pandemic, visit https://www. “The Radford Farmers Mar- ket is proud to offer fresh and local foods, vegetables, goods and more - and to do it safely. During the COVID-19 time, we are making it easier for custom- ers to get in touch with our local farmers and vendors - including phone and online orders and scheduled pick up times in Rad- ford. Contact vendors to place your order. Check in often (on facebook) for newly added ven- dors.” Find out more by search- ing Radford Farmers Market on Facebook. Market vendors hope to opeate the traditional market soon. See Cicadas , page 3 Wise County field lab seeks to develop new energy resources for Appalachia While the Central Appalachian region is known for such hydrocar- bon resources as coal, it also hosts unconventional gas resources, such as coalbed methane, shale gas, and other tight gas formations. Many of these gas resources, at depths of up to 15,000 feet, are ver- tically stacked so that a single well or group of wells could produce si- multaneously from multiple reser- voirs. While many of the shallower reservoirs produce at relatively low production rates, the deeper forma- tions, referred to as emerging plays, remain largely untested. A group of academic and indus- try experts, including the Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Re- search (VCCER), EnerVest Operat- ing LLC, and researchers at Virginia Tech believe that these emerging plays offer the potential for in- creased hydrocarbon resources for the state and nation. Their develop- ment could provide a critical eco- nomic transformation to a region transitioning from coal mining. In a collaborative effort, research- ers from VCCER and Virginia Tech are leading a field laboratory that will begin drilling a 15,000-foot charac- See Energy , page 2 Project head Nino Ripepi (second from left) stands at the field lab site in Central Appalachia accompanied by Virginia Tech graduate students and research associates working on the project. Even COVID-19 can’t stop cicadas from coming to City of Radford