Orange County Insight August 2023

Orange County's monthly source for in-depth information about activities, programs, events, and more.



Orange County Shines with Recent Award Wins Pages 4 - 6 National Dog Month is Great Time to Adopt a Pet Page 13

National Night Out Promotes Community Partnerships Page 17

August 2023

Page | August 2023

Team Orange,

This issue of OCI highlights several of our award - winning programs. I couldn ’ t be prouder to serve with a team of difference - makers who are continuously striving to be better at what we do. Congratulations and “ thank you ” to those members of Team Orange who developed these programs and to our Communications Team for telling our story. Winning awards on a regular basis is part of the culture of leading communities. I get a chuckle watching Henrico and Chesterfield counties (two high - quality organizations with excellent political and managerial leadership) compete for which locality receives the most service awards. One might argue that it ’ s really the service that matters, not the awards. True! But taking the time to apply forces us to think about what we are trying to do, and how we can make it better. It also spurs competition which gets our creative juices flowing. Now that we are repeat award winners, let ’ s keep this tradition going by making innovation a regular part of our work. To help this effort, we will be starting some strategic planning work over the next few months designed to gather feedback from employees across the organization. Helping each department think about its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats and developing plans to address them, will help employees innovate and will be useful to the next Board of Supervisors as they chart a strategic direction for Orange County ’ s next (award - winning!) 10 years. We will be doing this work in addition to our Cultural Initiative that seeks to create an excellent work environment, so employees thrive as they serve.

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Physical Address 112 W. Main Street Orange, VA 22960 Mailing Address P.O. Box 111 Orange, VA 22960

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Cover Photograph Credit: Terri Isenhour Photography

Page | August 2023

Orange County ’ s Adopted FY24 Budget Available Online

By: Orange County Communications Department

Happy New (Fiscal) Year! Last month, Orange County began operating in our new fiscal year, which begins July 1, and will continue through June 30 of next year. Why not match the calendar year? Organizations adopt fiscal years to better align with their preparation, accounting, and reporting needs. With that in mind, fiscal years can vary from one organization to another. For those interested in fun budgetary history, President John Tyler signed legislation in 1842 adopting the July to June fiscal year for the Federal Government. Previously, it had used the calendar year. Over 100 years later, the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 led to the current Federal fiscal year of October through September. 1

Orange County prioritizes the preparation of annual budgets that are effective as policy documents, financial plans, operations guides, and communications devices. Accessibility of the budget to residents is a key component of operating as an effective and transparent public body. With that in mind, the County ’ s budget has been readily available on the Orange County website for many years in a PDF - based format. In recognition of these efforts, we have received the Government Finance Officers Association ’ s (GFOA) Distinguished Budget Presentation Award, which is the highest form of recognition in governmental budgeting, every year since fiscal year 2018. In an effort to keep improving, last fiscal year ’ s budget was made available in a new and more user - friendly digital format, hosted by ClearGov, a provider of cloud - based budget and performance management software. The new digital format enhanced the adopted budget ’ s accessibility online for public viewing. This year ’ s budget, adopted April 25, 2023, is available online using the new format. For those that prefer to view or print a traditional PDF - based budget book, that option is available alongside the digital platform. This adopted budget, as well as those of recent years, is easily accessible on the budget page of the County ’ s website. Archived budgets are viewable going back through fiscal year 2010.

1 Bill Heniff Jr., The Fiscal Year, Report for Congress 98 - 325 (Congressional Research Service, CRS 98 - 325, June 17, 2008).

Page 2 | August 2023

Crystal D. Hale Unanimously Appointed as Interim District Four Supervisor

By: Orange County Communications Department

During a Special Meeting on Thursday, July 27, 2023, the Orange County Board of Supervisors unanimously appointed Crystal D. Hale to serve as interim District Four Supervisor, filling the vacancy created upon Supervisor Crozier ’ s recent retirement. Ms. Hale is a lifelong resident of Orange County and lives in Rhoadesville. She describes herself as passionate for serving her community while maintaining focus on the best interests of those who live here. Ms. Hale brings extensive experience in both public sector employment and leadership; she currently serves as the Director of Orange County ’ s Social Services Department.

Chairman Mark Johnson said, “ The Board of Supervisors appreciates the time and effort from each of the five citizens who expressed interest in serving. All of the candidates demonstrated their qualifications and commitment to the community, which made the decision difficult and one we did not take lightly. The Board welcomes Ms. Hale and looks forward to working with her while continuing to serve the citizens of Orange County. ” With the Board ’ s action, Ms. Hale was appointed to serve in an interim position until the voters of District Four have the opportunity to elect a representative in the upcoming election this November. The individual elected in November will serve the remainder of Supervisor Crozier ’ s term through December 31, 2025. Community Support Provides School Supplies for More Than 220 Orange County Students During OOY Giveaway

By: Orange County Communications Department

The Orange County Office on Youth ’ s School Supply Distribution event began on Tuesday, August 1, 2023. Though supplies can be requested throughout the school year, the kickoff event is annually scheduled to take place just before school begins. As a result, the majority of distributed supplies are provided during this time. This year ’ s weeklong distribution event helped more than 220 students, up from around 170 in the same time frame last year, and the number continues to increase! Without the support of the community, this event would not be possible. Donations of supplies and funds came from across Orange County! Nearly 20 local businesses and organizations hosted supply collection bins in support of the event. Miss the main giveaway event but still need supplies for your Orange County student? Supplies can be requested year - round. Proof of need must be provided to receive supplies. Contact the Office on Youth at (540) 672 - 5484 for more details.

Page 3 | August 2023

Orange County Earns Digital Counties Survey Award for the Second Year in a Row, Places Eighth Nationwide

By: Orange County Communications Department

Building on the excitement of winning our first Digital Counties Survey Award last year, Orange County is honored to have established a trend with a repeat this year. The Digital Counties Survey, conducted by the Center for Digital Government (CDG) in partnership with the National Association of Counties, is an annual review of the nationwide state of county services in the digital sphere. According to the CDG, the survey “ identifies the best technology practices among U.S. counties,

including initiatives that streamline delivery of government services, encourage collaboration, enhance cybersecurity, and apply innovative and emerging technologies to county priorities. ” The survey is comprehensive and covers nearly every aspect of the ways a county can interact with its residents online. With the Board of Supervisors ’ Digital Citizen Initiative as a guiding principle, staff have reviewed (and continue to review) their operating procedures, with the goal of making most services available online and as convenient as possible. Improvements since last year ’ s award include the Parks & Recreation Department ’ s launch of online program registration capability and the Development Services Department ’ s adoption of their online application and permitting portal. However, the journey itself is the destination, and we are always on the lookout for ways to refine service delivery. For example, at the end of last month the Animal Shelter began offering most of its forms and applications online. While celebrating these advancements, we are proud the backbone of our digital capabilities remained strong. Examples include our emergency operations connectivity, the efforts of the Orange County Broadband Authority (FiberLync), our public communication efforts, the expansion of our Information Technology Department, and advancements in cybersecurity, among much more. These foundational components positioned us to pursue further improvement.

Thanks to this strong foundation and the consistent effort of our staff, spearheaded by our Information Technology Department. Orange County has not only received the award twice, but has placed in the top ten for localities in our population category each time. We look forward to continuing to improve the ways we serve our residents.

Page 4 | August 2023

Two Orange County Departments Recognized with Virginia Association of Counties Awards

By: Orange County Communications Department

While excitement was still buzzing over the Digital Counties Survey Award, two Orange County Departments, County of Orange Fire & EMS (COFEMS) and the Office of Economic Development and Tourism, earned additional kudos thanks to a pair of Virginia Association of Counties (VACo) Achievement Awards. COFEMS ’ award built on the success of last year, when they were recognized for their Whole Blood Program. That program addressed the need to provide blood to trauma patients in the field, since hospital facilities are distant from Orange County, and was additionally recognized as the “ Best Small County Achievement ” for 2022. This year, COFEMS was recognized for addressing another need. A shortage of qualified firefighter and EMS personnel plagues the Commonwealth. As a result, it is difficult for departments to recruit and retain staff at the desired level. In response, COFEMS partnered with the Orange County Public School System to train the EMS and firefighter leaders of tomorrow in active stations, not classrooms, for Firefighter 1 and EMS courses. The courses are offered through the High School as two - block classes, and students are bused to the Berry Hill Fire Station to complete coursework. Firefighter 1 is held in the fall, and EMS in the spring. Class sizes begin around 25 students, and approximately a dozen complete the challenging course. Students engage in adult - level education in a real - life setting - hearing alarms, interacting with staff, and seeing “ live action ” responses to calls for service. Impressively, no additional financial expenses are encumbered by COFEMS, and students are not charged fees. The materials, equipment, and training devices are used for ongoing training with personnel and captured in the operational training budget. The program is primarily presented by the COFEMS Training Officer, dedicated volunteers, and local professionals. After completing the coursework, students are eligible to sit for the Virginia Firefighter and Pro Board certifications which include a written test, live - burn simulation, and skills assessment. Firefighter 1 students also must be affiliated with a volunteer fire department. As such, they learn how to work with volunteers, community members, donors, and professional staffers. Students are assigned a mentor with their volunteer fire company and work with that mentor throughout the program. The program has been very successful. In addition to receiving high school and college credits free of charge, students that pass their certifications are accredited by Pro Board which is recognized nationwide. This creates a win - win scenario in which Orange County students are prepared for success wherever they

go, and COFEMS is able to recruit talented personnel to serve right here. Last semesters ’ courses resulted in a new hire for COFEMS, and several students signed up to return and continue their coursework.

Graduates are eligible to become full - time COFEMS employees with a starting salary of over $54,000. Those interested in learning more about open positions should visit jobs. An exciting, meaningful, and rewarding career could await you.

Page 5 | August 2023

The only thing better than winning one VACo award is winning two, and we are exceedingly proud of the Orange County Office of Economic Development and Tourism for their Edna Lewis Menu Trail and Media Event, which was also recognized with a National Association of Counties (NACo) Achievement Award earlier this year. This program captivated both minds and tastebuds as it

provided greater awareness of the exceptional contributions to American cuisine made by Orange County ’ s own Edna Lewis, “ the Grande Dame of Southern Cooking. ” For those unfamiliar with this amazing chef, Mrs. Lewis grew up in the county ’ s Freetown and went on to the groundbreaking success both in New York City restaurants and penning popular cookbooks. She was just as influential as other famous chefs of the time, but her story has been

underrepresented, and her name is not as quickly recognized as others like Julia Childs or James Beard. In fact, she was one of

the first to talk about the seasonality of ingredients, the importance of fresh, local agriculture, and southern culinary traditions at the national level.

The Menu Trail and Media Event sought to solve this awareness issue, by spreading the word (and tastes) of her remarkable legacy nationwide. The project was originally conceived to tell the story of Edna Lewis ’ life growing up in Orange County and to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the publication of her first cookbook – The Edna Lewis Cookbook . However, as the program evolved from conception through planning and on to the execution phases, a variety of ancillary efforts added depth, preservation and long - term significance to the storytelling campaign. Orange County worked collaboratively with Virginia Tourism Corporation ’ s Communication Team to pitch the opportunity to national media outlets. A media event hosted on October 20 and 21, 2022, was a tribute to her legacy and her family, as well as a tangible way to introduce mainstream media and the traveling public to her powerful story. In addition to the multi - course tasting menu the media also experienced a full - day tour of Edna Lewis ’ Orange County. They visited Bethel Baptist Church – where she pilgrimaged annually for revival – enjoyed a driving tour of the Freetown area with a local historian, and visited her family cemetery along with other Orange County attractions and black history sites. Writers were hosted by Orange County lodging and restaurant facilities, drank Orange County wine and beer, toured Orange County historic sites and were introduced to Orange County organizations and citizens. The community was able to embrace this program and participate in a variety of ways – including the ongoing Edna Lewis Menu Trail.

Thanks to the quality pitching and hosting efforts Orange County has received 29 media placements to date. The Edna Lewis page on the Orange County Tourism Website is currently the most visited on the site! The impacts of this effort continue to be felt in a variety of ways, and we are honored to have helped tell the story of this amazing woman.

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Snap Your Cover Photo with the New Orange Uncovered Photo Backdrops

By: Julie Perry, Assistant Director, Economic Development and Tourism

Orange Uncovered showcases a variety of diverse, brave, and dynamic stories from Orange County that are worth hearing and repeating. The campaign encourages those looking for unique and exciting ways to explore our rich history to grab their metaphorical magnifying glass and dive deeper into the mysteries of our past. Now, with the launch of several fun backdrop locations, participants will be able to pick up a literal (and comically large) magnifying glass, or fried chicken leg, horseshoe, wine glass, etc., for a fun Orange Uncovered photo opportunity! These displays are available at the Orange County Visitor Center in the Town of Orange Train Depot, the Gordonsville Visitor Center, and the Germanna Visitor Center in Locust Grove. Want to learn more about the six Orange Uncovered stories? Visit - uncovered to watch insightful videos and unearth more detail about Stonewall Jackson ’ s severed arm, the ruins at Barboursville Vineyard, how Gordonsville became the fried chicken capital of the universe, James Madison ’ s favorite chair and its potential connection to Thomas Jefferson, the potato salad sandwich and its role in bringing people together in Orange, and the fabled expedition of Lieutenant Governor Alexander Spotswood and the famous Knights of the Golden Horseshoe. Happy exploring!

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Set ‘ Em Up! Tee ‘ Em Up! Last Call for Corks and Caps Program

By: Rose Deal, Director, Economic Development and Tourism

The impressive array of craft beverages available in Orange County continues to overflow in both quality and quantity. With that in mind, the Orange County Economic Development and Tourism Office organizes the Corks & Caps program to showcase our thriving beverage industry, and reward loyal patrons! Participants (21 and older, of course) who visit at least five of the 16 locations, and return a completed passport to the Office, will receive a limited - edition, high - quality, commemorative t - shirt in recognition of the accomplishment. Shirts are available while supplies last. Almost twice as many shirts have already been distributed compared to last year, so don ’ t delay! Begin your craft beverage quest by visiting to print a passport. Then, visit the listed brewery, winery, and transportation partners to receive stickers to mark those businesses ’ spots on the passport. Passports are already prepared to be returned by mail, simply stamp it and send it in. The summer fun won ’ t last forever and shirt supplies are limited. This program will run through Monday, September 4, 2023 (Labor Day). Participants may contact the Economic Development and Tourism Office at (540) 672 - 1238 with any questions.

Page 8 | August 2023

Don ’ t Suffer in Silence, Many Mental Health Resources are Available in Central Virginia

By: Orange County Communications Department with Encompass Community Supports

Last July, the new three digit 988 Lifeline phone number became effective in the Commonwealth of Virginia. 988 was developed as an easier - to - remember number for those experiencing a mental health crisis. The previous national number (800) 273 - TALK (8255), is still in use and will remain effective alongside 988. The impact of the lifeline has been impressive. According to the Lifeline ’ s website, over 20 million calls have been received since 2005 from people in distress. It is important to note that 988 is distinct from 911; 988 Lifeline callers are connected to alternative resources, usually local or regional centers, with backup support provided by a national network of more than 200 locations. This depth of service ensures that those in - need will be able to reach assistance, regardless of circumstances. Providing alternative forms of aid when appropriate, separate from

911, allows law enforcement and emergency services to be more available for public safety needs, and may decrease an individual ’ s reluctance to place a call during a crisis. In accordance with this intent, Orange County 911 dispatchers were, in fact, early participants in pilot programs to reroute certain mental health - related calls (in which the caller was not an immediate danger to themselves or others) to regional crisis centers for alternate support. Residents should know that in addition to the 988 Lifeline, the direct line for our regional Crisis Call Center is (434) 230 - 9704. While 988 is designed to prioritize a connection with a local or regional center, calling this number will take the caller directly there. Trained volunteers and crisis line workers are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide support to those experiencing anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, relationship difficulties, mental health struggles, homelessness, trauma, loneliness, substance abuse, bullying, discrimination, and more. Those who consider calling should be reassured in the knowledge they will be speaking with an empathetic individual who will listen and is able to provide referrals to additional post - call care options.

For additional individualized support, Encompass Community Supports (formerly known as Rappahannock Rapidan Community Services) has developed a Voluntary Database for the counties it serves, including Orange, Madison, Culpeper, Fauquier, and Rappahannock. According to Erika Vesely, Community Response Coordinator, “ The Voluntary Database allows citizens to input important mental, behavioral, and physical health information about themselves that could be useful to first responders during a crisis response. The information in the database is accessed only when a citizen calls 911 for help. ” Residents interested in the RRCS Voluntary Database can learn more, or input their information at

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Going even further, Encompass Community Supports is providing immediate access to recovery services and enhancing the continuum of care available to the community with the S.E.E. (Support, Encourage, Empower) Recovery Center, in the heart of Culpeper, Virginia, at 710 U.S. Avenue. Opened in August 2021, the concept of the S.E.E. Recovery Center stems from Thomas Pratt, Certified

Peer Recovery Specialist, Virginia Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Services Certified Trainer, Navy veteran, developer of the Veteran X Peer - led Mental Health Recovery program, and Orange County Resident. During Tom ’ s trainings, he inspires future Peer Recovery Specialists with the idea that peers can “ SEE ” others ’ recovery through support, encouragement, and empowering individuals on their path to discover, maintain, and strengthen their recovery. The S.E.E. Recovery Center offers an array of recovery - oriented groups and meetings, as well as the opportunity to speak with someone about mental health or substance use recovery. The public can reach the S.E.E. Recovery Center at (540) 825 - 3366 or The Center ’ s calendar is available online. First responders, law enforcement, and emergency department personnel are encouraged to call (540) 825 - 5656, and use option 7, to arrange connection with services at the Center. The S.E.E. Recovery Center is open to all in need of recovery services in the area. All community members are welcome to visit the S.E.E. to learn, and grow in recovery, from all of life ’ s challenges and to connect with others to create a community of wellness! ” S.E.E. Recovery Center Current Hours: Monday – Friday: 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Saturday: 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Effective September 9, 2023, Saturday hours will change to 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday: 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Page 10 | August 2023

Harmful Algal Bloom Advisories in Effect at Lake Anna

Adapted from a Virginia Department of Health Press Release

The Virginia Department of Health is advising those interested in recreating at Lake Anna that portions of the North Anna Branch, are experiencing a harmful algal bloom (HAB). The public is advised to avoid contact with areas experiencing HABs until algae concentrations return to acceptable levels. Some harmful algae, called cyanobacteria, can cause skin rash and gastrointestinal illnesses, such as upset stomach, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. To prevent illness, people should: • Avoid contact with any area of the lake where water is green or an advisory sign is posted, WHEN IN DOUBT, STAY OUT! • Not allow children or pets to drink from natural bodies of water. •

Keep children and pets out of the areas experiencing a harmful algae bloom and quickly wash them off with plenty of fresh, clean water after coming into contact with algae scum or bloom water. • Seek medical/veterinarian care if you or your animals experience symptoms after swimming in or near an algal bloom. • Properly clean fish by removing skin and discarding all internal organs, and cooking fish to the proper temperature to ensure fish fillets are safe to eat. • Contact the Harmful Algal Bloom Hotline at (888) 238 - 6154 if you suspect you ’ ve experienced health - related effects following exposure to a bloom. A harmful Algal Bloom Map is available through VDH ’ s website.

For more information, please visit

Page 11 | August 2023

Many Orange County Residents Eligible for Septic System Repairs with Grant Assistance

By Stephanie DeNicola - Turner, Education/Information Coordinator, Culpeper Soil & Water Conservation District

Residents of Orange County that live in certain watershed areas continue to be eligible for reimbursement of 50 to 80 percent of the expense of pumping and inspecting, repairing or replacing on - lot septic systems courtesy of a grant program from the Culpeper Soil and Water Conservation District (CWSCD). Eligible watershed areas include the Upper Rapidan River, the Upper York River, the Robinson River, and the Hazel River. In particular, the Upper York & Rapidan watersheds cover large portions of Orange County. Prospective applicants are advised to call and verify the eligibility of their location before applying or beginning system work. These grants are focused on reducing any existing or potential impacts on local ground and surface water quality. Levels of E. Coli bacteria in some local streams have long been identified as higher than expected by state water quality standards, although other pollutants can also be involved, particularly nutrients. An additional benefit to the property owner is the assurance that their system is up to standards and functioning properly. It is a win - win for both water quality and property value. Program participants are eligible for several different payments depending on the actual needs of their system. Reimbursement payments are typically 50 percent but can be as high as 80 percent for qualifying low - income applicants. Maximum payments to property owners at the 50% cost share level (80% in parentheses) are $200 ($320) maximum towards a pump out; $2,000 ($3,200) maximum towards a pump out and inspection;

Eligible Watershed Descriptions

• Upper Rapidan: more or less all the land in the north half of Greene County (north of US 33) that drains north or east to the Rapidan River; more or less all the land in southern Madison County that drains south or east to the Rapidan River; and most land in Western Orange County that drains north to the Rapidan River AND is west of US 15. There are exceptions as this is an approximation. • Upper York: nearly all of the section of Orange County that is both south of Route 20 and east of US 15, except for very small areas along the county border with Spotsylvania and Louisa Counties. • Robinson River: as it flows downstream from the new bridge at Clear (Mulatto) Run on Route 231, including all of White Oak Lake and White Oak Run areas all the way downstream to the Rapidan River. This includes Deep Run, Muddy Run, Crooked Run and their drainages. • Hazel River: All of the Rappahannock County that drains to the Hughes, Hazel, Thornton, Covington and Rush Rivers, including all of Battle Run is eligible. This is essentially all of the county except a small area north of Amissville and the Flint Hill and north area. Also included in the project area are the Etlan and Nethers areas of Madison County and Culpeper County west of Reva, Griffinsburg and Monumental Mills. These descriptions are approximate, call the CSWCD office for confirmation at (540) 948 - 7531 or (540) 825 - 8591.

$2,500 ($4,000) maximum towards a repair; $4,000 ($6,400) maximum towards a conventional system or $6,000 ($9,600) if a pump is required to move the liquids to the drain field; and $12,000 (19,200) maximum towards an alternative engineered system. Pump outs and inspections are encouraged for everyone; such preventative maintenance extends the life of a system and reduces the likelihood of higher costs later on. If further repairs are indicated by the inspection, the owner is still eligible for the additional repair payments.

Applications are required and must be approved prior to the work being done or funding can be declined. Free assistance with initial assessments of individual system needs is available from the District. Reimbursement payments are made promptly once the work has been completed. The program is entirely voluntary and assistance from the District is free of charge.

Further information on the program is available from the District at (540) 825 - 8591 or (540) 948 - 7531. Funding for these projects has been secured by the Culpeper Soil and Water Conservation District from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, Commonwealth of Virginia.

Page 12 | August 2023

National Dog Month is a Great Time to Adopt a Pet!

By: Orange County Communications Department

The Orange County Animal Shelter is full - to - capacity with friendly faces, both canine and feline, looking for a family. Do you have space in your heart and home for a new furry friend? Help us #cleartheshelter ! In preparation for National Dog Month, we ’ ve streamlined our forms and applications to make it easier than ever to find and apply to adopt one of our many available pets. Start at There, you can learn more about our adoption policies & fees, view currently adoptable pets, and complete the Pet Pre - Adoption Application. Following completion of the application, a staff member will follow - up with interested applicants. Want to help but can ’ t take care of an animal right now? The Animal Shelter appreciates monetary donations to support operations and accepts volunteer applications from those who have a heart for helping animals and would like to get more involved. Tails are already wagging waiting to meet you!

Photograph Credit: Terri Isenhour Photography

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Orange County Celebrates National Night Out!

By: Orange County Communications Department

We were pleased to see so many members of the community come out to visit with our first responders earlier this month for National Night Out at Booster Park and Lake of the Woods. At its heart, the event is part of a national community - building campaign that promotes police - community partnerships, but it also supports connections with other first responders. With that in mind, the event is organized annually by the Orange County Sheriff ’ s Office, featuring many other local agencies. This year, representatives were onsite from Orange County Emergency Communications, County of Orange Fire & EMS, the Town of Orange Police Department, the Town of Gordonsville Police Department, Virginia State Police, Central Virginia Regional Jail, Orange County TRIAD, and Orange County Victim Witness.

According to the National Association of Town Watch (NATW), the campaign ’ s founding organization, “ National Night Out was introduced in August 1984 through an already established network of law enforcement agencies, neighborhood watch groups, civic groups, state and regional crime prevention associations and volunteers across the nation. The first annual National Night Out involved 2.5 million neighbors across 400 communities in 23 states. ” Across the United States, “ Neighborhoods host block parties, festivals, parades, cookouts and various other community events with safety demonstrations, seminars, youth events, visits from emergency personnel, exhibits and much, much more. ” In Orange County, the event certainly exemplified the spirt of the campaign, with free hot dogs and snacks for attendees, exhibit booths from public safety agencies, K9 demonstrations, and more. “ I would like to thank those who attended National Night Out, ” said Orange County Sheriff Mark Amos. I think it ’ s important for our citizens to learn what all our first responders do, and what services we have to offer. ”

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Freezing Fruits and Vegetables

Adapted from Virginia Cooperative Extension Publication 348 - 596 Authored By: Renee R. Boyer, Professor and Extension Specialist, Food Science and Technology, Virginia Tech; Patsy Pelland, Extension Agent, Prince Edward County; Frank Conforti, Associate Professor, Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise, Virginia Tech

Freezing extends the shelf life of food. Blanching food before freezing prevents the enzymes in foods from affecting the quality of the foods during storage. Only vegetables can be blanched before freezing. If fruit is blanched, and then frozen, the fruit will become mushy after defrosting.

Equipment Preparation

Proper packaging of foods is important in freezing. The two types of containers used for packaging are rigid containers and flexible bags or wraps.

• Select containers that are designed for freezing food - like freezer bags, plastic freezer containers, or canning/freezing jars. Containers should be moisture/vapor resistant to prevent "freezer burn."

• Wash all containers in hot soapy water. Discard any containers that are cracked or chipped.

• Rinse with hot water and let air dry on a clean towel or rack.

Food Selection and Blanching

Choose young, tender vegetables or well - ripened fruits for freezing. Tomatoes may be cooked, pureed, or juiced before freezing.

Wash, peel, and trim away bruised areas. Cut into serving sizes, if desired, before freezing.

Blanch all vegetables (except peppers and onions) to preserve quality. To blanch, place prepared foods in a metal strainer that fits into a large saucepan. Lower food into boiling water and begin counting the blanching time. Use one gallon of water for each pound of firm vegetables (about 4 cups) and two gallons of water for each pound of leafy greens (about 8 cups). Don't add more vegetables than suggested at one time, as larger amounts will lower the temperature of the water. Time and temperature are critical to destroying the enzymes that cause spoilage. Cool the blanched vegetables by removing the vegetables from the boiling water and immediately plunging them into ice water until cool. This process prevents the vegetable from overcooking and retains its color and nutrients. Remove the blanched vegetable from the ice water, drain, and dry thoroughly. It is important to freeze vegetables dry because extra moisture can decrease the quality. Table 1 on page 2 provides information regarding specific procedures for certain vegetables. The blanch times are listed according to size of cut vegetables. Blanch smaller sizes for the minimum recommended time and larger sizes for the maximum recommended time. Preparing Fruit for Freezing Fruits may be frozen in sugar syrup, dry sugar, or with no sugar at all. Sugar syrup is preferred because it coats the cut fruit and protects it from the action of enzymes that change the color and appearance of the fruit. If no sugar is added, the fruit will not remain firm and will turn brown from the enzyme action. Use dry sugar for fruits that readily produce juice, such as strawberries and peaches. Sugar syrup is used to pack fruits that form juice slowly, such as pineapples and apples. Fruits packed in sugar or with syrup generally have a better texture and flavor than those packed dry, however, small berries such as cranberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and currants can be frozen without sugar.

Bring water and sugar to a boil and boil until sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute. See Table 2.

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When preparing fruits that will turn brown when exposed to air (apples, peaches, or pears), dip them in a commercial preparation of ascorbic acid or in lemon juice to prevent the change in color. As an alternative you can add a pinch of citric acid or ascorbic acid to your sugar syrup. In the supermarket, Fruit Fresh® is sold for such a purpose.

Packing and Storing the Food

Pack the food in the appropriate freezer container. Allow 1/2 inch of headspace for dry food and 1 to 2 inches for food covered with liquid. After packing, wipe the top of each package clean. Seal airtight. When filling plastic storage bags, be sure the fruit is covered by the sugar syrup. Remember to "burp" the bag, to expel all of the air before you seal it. This will prevent freezer burn and keep the food from drying out.

Label the container with the date and the name of the product.

Place bags, containers, or jars in the freezer and store at 0°F (18°C) or below.

Be sure that your freezer temperature remains steady. Fluctuation (freeze, thaw, refreeze) in temperature will adversely affect the quality of the food.

Table 1. Preparation and blanch recommendations for commonly frozen vegetables.

Vegetables: young, tender, crisp

Preparation: wash, blanch, chill in ice water

Blanch: boiling water


Cut in desired lengths.

2 - 4 minutes

Beans, string

Cut, slice, or leave whole.

3 - 4 minutes

Beans, lima

Shell, sort, wash.

2 - 4 minutes


Peel stock, trim. Split lengthwise.

3 minutes

Brussels sprouts

Wash well and sort (small, medium, large).

3 - 5 minutes


Cut to medium or coarse shreds.

1.5 minutes


Peel. Cut in slices or dice.

3 minutes

3 minutes (water containing salt)


Soak 30 min. in salt water (4 tsp. salt/gal. water).

Corn, whole kernel

Husk, desilk, blanch, cut from cob.

4 - 5 minutes

Greens, all kinds

Wash well. Discard tough leaves and stems.

2 - 3 minutes


Trim stem – do not break pods.

3 - 4 minutes

Peas, pod

Wash, remove stems and strings.

2 - 3 minutes 1 - 2 minutes

Peas, green, blackeye

Shell, sort, wash.

Summer squash

Wash, cut into 1/2 - inch slices.

3 minutes


Wash, peel, cut into 1/2 - inch cubes.

3 minutes

Table 2. If using sugar syrup, prepare as follows:




Syrup Yield

Light (less sweet)

1 cup

4 cups

4 1/2 cups


1 3/4 cups

4 cups

5 cups


2 3/4 cups

4 cups

5 1/3 cups

Page 24 | August 2023

Music in the Park August 24

Gordonsville on Main First Friday September 1

47th Steam & Gas Pasture Party September 8 - 10

Downtown Orange Street Festival September 9

Orangetoberfest 2023 September 23

Find more fun events at:

Page 25 | August 2023

Page 26 | August 2023

Page 27 | August 2023

Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Child Care Lead Teacher - LGPS & LES County Assessor Criminal Deputy Clerk II Deputy Sheriff Emergency Communications Officer Family Services Specialist II, Foster Care/In Home Practice (Hybrid) Family Services Specialist II, Foster Care Family Services Specialist II, Family Engagement Family Services Specialist III Grounds Maintenance Technician I

Airport Operations Worker Child Care Lead Teacher - GBES Child Care Lead Teacher - LGPS Child Care Lead Teacher - OES

Child Care Teacher - GBES Child Care Teacher - LGPS Child Care Teacher - OES

Child Care Teacher Assistant - GBES Child Care Teacher Assistant - LES Child Care Teacher Assistant - LGPS Child Care Teacher Assistant - OES Deputy Treasurer I Landfill Scale Operator Library Aide - Orange Library

Helpdesk Specialist Landfill Supervisor Maintenance Technician I Public Works Director Sanitation Collection Driver

Victim - Witness Program Assistant Victim - Witness Program Manager

Page 28 | August 2023

Employees Have a Ball with July County Cup Competition

By: Tim Moubray, Director, Parks & Recreation

July ’ s contest celebrated National Parks & Recreation Month with a fitting tribute to one of the oldest and most versatile pieces of recreation equipment, the ball. For this challenge, staff were required to make a guess regarding how many balls of varying sizes and purposes were present in a trophy case. After 80 guesses were tallied, two employees came out on top with the exact guess of 303. Congrats to Amy Jeffries of Team DSS, and Michelle Williams of Team Admin/HR, for their outstanding “ guesstimation ” skills! They will each be awarded a much - coveted, framed winner ’ s certificate, as well as six OCPR camping lanterns for themselves and five team members of their choice. Coming in tied for third at one off, were Greg Lillard (304) and Laura Dorrian (302), both from Team Extension. Tabitha Rhoades of DSS (305) and Tony Jessup of DPW (301) tied for fifth at two off. Cindy Hawkins of DPW (299) claimed seventh by herself. Three members of Team Ops tied for eighth at five off, which rounded out the Top 10. They are Rosanna Zamudio (308), Karen Gibson (298), and Jayson Woods (298…… Welcome back!!!). Focusing on team standings, DSS had a big showing with 15 points to increase their lead. DPW, with 9.5 points, jumped up to tie Finance for second. Other big movers on the leaderboard were Extension (15 points) and Admin/HR (9.5 points).

“ Ballieve ” it or not, there were 303 total balls in this trophy case!

The August County Cup competition will once again be open to all staff and will be held at the J.U.I.C.E. Employee Appreciation event on August 30, at Booster Park. So, it will truly be open to ALL staff. Big points can be obtained, if you get your folks to play. Here ’ s your August hint: The “ open to all staff ” contests have been all mental challenges and guessing games (Candy Guess, March Madness, Ball Guess). This one will be a physical test, although ever so minimally. You just have to put it right on target ……

Page 29 | August 2023

Page 30 | August 2023

Benefits Open Enrollment Period Coming Soon for Orange County Employees

By: Jenny Carpenter, Director, Human Resources

Beginning on Monday, August 21, 2023, and continuing through Friday, September 1, 2023, Orange County ’ s annual open enrollment window will be open. All full - time, benefits - eligible employees will have the opportunity to review their benefits coverage and make any changes to their plans. Open enrollment will be processed through our online benefits portal, Selerix. Be on the lookout for open enrollment launch emails that will be sent beginning on Monday, August 21. An additional email will be forthcoming with open enrollment meeting dates and times. We will be hosting several in - person

and virtual open enrollment meetings this year. All benefits eligible employees wishing to carry their benefits into the new plan year must re - enroll, even if you are not making any changes to your current benefit plans. All changes to your benefits will be effective October 1, 2023. This will be the only time during the year that you may make changes to your benefits unless you experience a qualifying event outlined by the IRS (marriage, divorce, birth of a child, etc.). Happy enrolling!

Page 31 | August 2023

27 years, Renee Pope, Commissioner of the Revenue

3 years, Ronald Sacre, Landfill

2 years, Nimibia Derrick, Social Services

23 years, Peggy Helmick, Development Services

2 years, Robert Graves, Landfill

23 years, Becky Jones, Sheriff's Office

2 years, Larry Griffith, Sheriff's Office

20 years, Lillian Bowman, Landfill

2 years, Cindy Hawkins, Public Works

20 years, Helen Scott, Landfill

1 year, Kayla Bennett, Office on Youth

17 years, Carol Faulk, Public Works

1 year, Hailey Brown, Fire & EMS

17 years, Susan Pruitt, Landfill

1 year, Joshua Cooper, Fire & EMS

17 years, Davis Smith, Development Services

1 year, Alyson Coubert, Animal Shelter

14 years, Christopher Locker, Sheriff's Office

1 year, Katie Graves, Circuit Court

13 years, James Colvin, Fire & EMS

1 year, Richard Holmes, Sheriff's Office

10 years, Darnell Elswick, Landfill

1 year, Matthew Hottle, Parks & Recreation

10 years, Joseph Falin, Parks & Recreation

1 year, Mikalah Ludwig, Emergency Communications

10 years, Clarence Washington, Landfill

9 years, John Jeffries, Landfill

1 year, Lance Marks, Sheriff's Office

5 years, Charles Ellis, Public Works

1 year, Tiffany Napier, Fiberlync

4 years, Karen Aylor, Social Services

1 year, Cameron Shook, Fire & EMS

4 years, Michelle Goodwin, Office on Youth

1 year, Lauren Stover, Library

3 years, Christina Gibson, Office on Youth

1 year, Justin Wallace, Sheriff's Office

3 years, Rachael Lacy, Social Services

Page 32 | August 2023

INSIGHT Please subscribe to our newsletter and receive this insightful newsletter delivered to your electronic mailbox every month. In its current format, the newsletter has been published every month since October 2020! Be sure to add to your contacts so the newsletter is not delivered to your spam or junk folder.

Citizens Ask...

Q: How do I apply to adopt an animal from the Orange County Animal Shelter? A : Begin your pet adoption journey at From there, scroll down to view adoptable pets in the Petfinder widget. If you see a pet you ’ d like to adopt (or know the kind of pet your interested in adopting), complete the Pet Pre - Adoption Application. This application is available on the left - hand menu. Staff will follow up with applicants after submission. Questions? Call (540) 672 - 1124. Q: How do I sign up for Orange County press releases? A : Visit the Orange County website at Scroll down just a bit and click “ Sign Up for News. ” Add your email address and click “ Notify Me Sign In. ” Scroll down to “ County News & Press Releases ” and click the email icon. You can also opt - in to text messages if you like.

Page 33 | August 2023

Upcoming Orange County Meetings

Board of Supervisors

Planning Commission

Tuesday, Aug. 22, 5:00 p.m.

• Thursday, Sept. 7, 2023, 6:00 p.m. Economic Development Authority • Wednesday, Aug. 16 2023, 5:30 p.m. at 109 West Main Street, Orange, VA 22960

Public Comment during this Meeting

• Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2023, 5:00 p.m.

Unless otherwise noted, listed meetings are held at: Board of Supervisors ’ Meeting Room Orange County Public Safety Building 11282 Government Center Drive, Orange, VA 22960

This information is for reference only. Specific information about hearing topics and schedules will be available in that meeting ’ s agenda packet when published. Agendas can be accessed in the online Agenda Center. Please note that due to the monthly publication schedule of this newsletter, it is possible that some upcoming public hearings may not be listed. Pursuant to the applicable section of the Code of Virginia, notices for all public hearings will be posted in our newspaper of circulation (The Orange County Review) at least seven days prior to the hearing date, or as required by code.

Regan McKay

Get to know Orange County staff... The Personnel File:

Economic Development & Tourism Assistant

In her current role, Regan McKay has worked for Orange County for a little over a year. However, she began her journey as an intern several years ago, while still in college. This time holds some of her favorite memories; she gained a great deal of insight, and it ultimately led her to her position today. Regan ’ s favorite part of her job is, “ getting to see firsthand how the work we do directly impacts the community I grew up in. It is special to me getting to promote and market Orange County as a great place to work and live. ” She has been a great addition to the Office of Economic Development & Tourism, and has helped the Office reach many new goals and win prestigious awards (see page 6). She ’ s definitely in the right department, as she, “ like[s] to spend [her] free time visiting different wineries and breweries in the area with friends and traveling to new places. ”

Juanesta Williams

Support Technician

Her other interests include reading, hiking, and watching scary movies. Her favorite show is Yellowstone. Can ’ t say we blame her there! Keep up the good work Regan!

Page 34 | August 2023

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