Saturday, October 26, 2013

Battle of the Hook, 2013 Art Prints and Photos

We have not had much time to update this site as we are working on going through all the photos and videos from the battle of the Hook that just took place last weekend and we are trying to get as much content out for everyone as fast as possible.  We have over 6,000 pictures and about 10 to 15 videos.  At the moment we have over 300 pictures up on Flickr besides the 60 we had up previously.  We also have about 200 on Pinterst and over 100 up on Tumblr under Battle of the Hook, 2013.  We are working on getting more up as fast as we can.
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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Do You Really Need Poo-in-a-Pill?

English: Picture of the RepHresh Probiotics pi...
English: Picture of the RepHresh Probiotics pill box (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Dr. Mercola
Mounting research suggests that supplementing with probiotics (good bacteria) is probably more important than taking a multivitamin, and this is due to the profoundly important role gut bacteria play in your health.
Many still fail to recognize that the microbes in your gut influence far more than your digestion—their influence actually extends to your brain, your heart, your skin, your mood, your weight, even genetic expression…
Colicky babies who are exclusively breastfed may also benefit from probiotics, according to recent research.1 In many ways, your health is deeply rooted in your gut bacteria, both in terms of maintaining emotional and physical wellness and preventing chronic disease.
Modern living, with its obsession with keeping our surroundings as sterile and germ-free as possible appears to have backfired in a most dramatic way, by making us more prone to sickness. Germ-free living, it turns out, is not in your best interest.

Fecal Transplants—the Latest Advance in the Battle Against Severe Disease

Two years ago, I reported on the emergence of fecal transplants, a relatively simple process in which feces from a healthy donor is transplanted into a patient, typically via an enema or colonoscopy. The procedure has shown remarkable results in treating a wide range of health conditions.
Sad to say, earlier this year a relative of a good friend of mine was hospitalized and came down with a serious C. diff infection. I strongly advised the family to get a fecal transplant. However, the family refused, and listened to their conventional doctor. The relative died a few days later. So this is serious, and you need to pay attention as this might affect someone you know.
According to Dr. Mark Mellow, medical director of the Digestive Health Center at Integris Baptist Medical Center in Oklahoma City, fecal transplants lead to rapid resolution of symptoms in 98 percent of patients with Clostridium difficile who don’t respond to multiple previous treatments.
C. difficile is a bacterial infection that is often resistant to antibiotics, is often debilitating, and can be fatal. Research has also found that fecal transplants show promise in the treatment of ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, with symptoms sometimes improving in mere days.
Preliminary research2 from the Netherlands has even revealed that transplanting fecal matter from healthy thin people into obese people with metabolic syndrome led to an improvement in insulin sensitivity, which adds further credence to the immense role healthy gut bacteria can play in your health.
It’s not surprising then to learn that conventional medicine is taking such findings to the next level—this time by putting donated fecal bacteria in a pill... However, I would dissuade you from thinking that this might be a magical route to fix less than life threatening conditions.
While I believe fecal transplantation can be lifesaving in some circumstances, I want to make it clear that you will likely never have to resort to receiving donated feces if you address your gut health on a daily basis—by avoiding factors that kill off your beneficial gut bacteria, and continuously “reseeding” your gut through a healthy diet.
Also, any time you take an antibiotic, it is important to take probiotics to repopulate the beneficial bacteria in your gut that are killed by the antibiotic right along with the pathogenic bacteria. If you don’t, you’re leaving the door wide open for further health problems.

Fecal Bacteria in a Pill May Successfully Treat Gut Infection

That said, as reported in the featured article,3 capsules containing fecal bacteria from healthy donors are another, less invasive way to “transplant” healthy bacteria into your gut, should you suffer with chronic, debilitating gut infections. According to Thomas Louie, an infectious-disease specialist at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada, 30 out of 31 patients were successfully cured of recurringClostridium difficile infection with such pills.4
As reported by Scientific American:5
“C. difficile often sets in after antibiotic use has disrupted a person's normal balance of gut bacteria. A gut microbiome transplant using bacteria from the feces of a healthy donor restores that balance, and can be highly effective against C. difficile, which is notoriously difficult to treat with antibiotics.
...The patients in Louie’s study each swallowed 24–34 freshly assembled capsules of bacteria, which were coated with gelatin to survive the stomach and reach the intestines. The team followed the patients' progress for up to one year afterwards by sequencing the gut microbiome. They found that C. difficile had disappeared and bacteria associated with a healthy gut microbiome, such as Bacteroides, Clostridium coccoides, Clostridium leptum, Prevotella, Bifidobacteria and Desulfovibrio, increased in numbers.”
The fecal matter in question is typically donated by a healthy family member, so the pills are made for each individual patient. To make them, the feces are processed until only bacteria remains, which are then encapsulated inside a triple-layer of gelatin in order to safely make it through your digestive system into your intestines before dissolving. According to Dr. Ravi Kamepalli, MD, an infectious diseases physician and author of a study on fecal transplantation tolerance, fecal transplantation has a 98 percent success rate, and the vast majority of patients report being overall satisfied with the ease and effectiveness of the procedure.
"Human beings are 90 percent bacteria and once that balance is altered with antibiotics, opportunistic infections can cause serious problems. All we are doing with this treatment is resetting the balance,” Dr. Kamepalli told Medical News Today.6

What Bush-Men Are Teaching Modern Scientists About Microbial Balance

An interesting article published by The Human Food Project7 highlights the dramatic differences between our ancestral behavior and modern living, in terms of how we maintain this crucially important balance with microbes of all kinds. In it, the author, Jeff Leach, a Human Food Project researcher, describes a recent visit to the Hadzu, a tribe of traditional hunter-gatherers in Tanzania.
“I had come to Tanzania as part of a collaboration of US, Canadian, and Tanzanian researchers to try and understand what the gut microbiome might look like in a group that still hunts and forage’s 95-100% of its food...” he writes.
To his amazement, after killing, skinning, and gutting an Impala, the Hadza men scrubbed the blood off their hands using a handful of the animal’s stomach content. They also consumed partially raw chunks of the Impala’s intestines that had been quickly roasted over an open fire for about a minute. Leach continues:
“Whether it’s an Impala, Dik Dik, Zebra, bush pig, Kudu or any other of the myriad of mammals they hunt and eat, becoming one with the deceased’s microbes in any number of ways is common place – same goes for 700 plus species of birds they hunt (minus abundant amounts of stomach contents for hand sanitizer!). While less obvious than at the ‘kill site,’ the transfer of microbes continued back in camp when women, children and other men handled the newly arrived raw meat, internal organs, and skin. The transfer continued as the hunters engaged (touching) other members of the camp.”
Despite the ingrained fear of germs in Western societies, it is highly probable that many of our modern diseases are the end result of a dramatic disconnect from the natural world, which is teeming with microbiota. The so-called hygiene hypothesis states that early exposure to dirt and germs actually programs your immune system to properly identify threats. According to this theory, if you're healthy, exposure to bacteria and viruses can serve as "natural vaccines" that strengthen your immune system and provide long-lasting immunity against disease.
As Leach discusses in his article, there’s compelling evidence showing that we probably need to be exposed to FAR more microbial organisms than we currently allow ourselves to be:
“[C]learly our hunter-gatherer ancestors had a more intimate involvement in the total microbial metacommunity of the environments they inhabited than we do in the concrete jungles we call home.  It’s tantalizing to think that as part of this microbial web, that our ancestors didn’t benefit in some way with the nearly daily sampling and exchange of microbes with animals as diverse as zebra, impala, birds, or even carnivores... or from a dizzying number of plants sprouting from soil teeming with bacteria (and their genes) worth sampling and possibly utilizing for our mutual benefit. Not only is this plausible, it’s highly likely.”

Gut Health Begins at Birth

A baby’s initial exposure to microbes occurs during the birth process itself. As he is squeezed through the birth canal, your baby receives his first dose of bacteria. This initial transfer of microbes from mother to infant is the reason why it’s so crucial for pregnant women to optimize their gut flora before and during pregnancy. Failure to do so can have wide-ranging consequences for the child’s health.
Research shows that there is a close connection between abnormal gut flora and abnormal brain development—a condition Dr. Campbell-McBride calls Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS). GAPS is the result of poorly developed or imbalanced gut flora and may manifest as a conglomerate of symptoms that can fit the diagnosis of autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), attention deficit disorder (ADD) without hyperactivity, dyslexia, dyspraxia, or obsessive-compulsive disorder, just to name a few possibilities.
In short, abnormal gut flora sets the stage and can have a dramatic impact on your child’s overall mental and physical development. Add to this the tendency for modern mothers to carry disinfectant lotions, sprays and wipes everywhere they go, in case little Junior should happen across a piece of dirt, and this initial abnormal composition of microbiota could easily be compounded.
Inappropriate use of antibiotic drugs is another factor. Despite repeated warnings that antibiotics do not work for most cases of sore throat and bronchitis for example, doctors are still prescribing them8 for these conditions. Not only does this unnecessarily decimate your gut bacteria, which are critical for the optimal functioning of your immune system, this kind of misuse is also driving the rise in antibiotic-resistant infections that are far more deadly.
There’s also been a significant decrease in breastfeeding since the advent of infant formula, and this too plays a role. We now know that breastfed babies develop entirely different gut flora compared to bottle-fed babies. Infant formula never was, and never will be a healthy replacement to breast milk, for a number of reasons, and altered gut flora is one of them.

Your Health Hinges on What You Put Onto and Into Your Body

As discussed by Dr. Robynne Chutkan, MD in a recent interview by The Atlantic9 about her new book  Gutbliss: A 10-Day Plan to Ban Bloat, Flush Toxins, and Dump Your Digestive Baggage, your health is really dependent on your digestive wellness, and it all begins with what you do and do not put into your mouth.
Dr. Chutkan’s expertise is in the area of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, but the impact of gut microbes go far beyond that. For example, she rightfully points out how your skin “mirrors” the state of your GI tract. Skin problems like Rosacea, for example, can be effectively cleared up by addressing your intestinal health. According to Dr. Chutkan, Rosacea is frequently assocated with dysbiosis, a condition caused by microbial imbalances in your body.
Now, since your gut bacteria are an active and integrated part of your body, as such these microbes are heavily dependent on your diet and vulnerable to your lifestyle. If you consume a lot of processed foods and sweetened drinks for instance, your gut bacteria are likely going to be severely compromised because processed foods in general will destroy healthy microflora, and sugars of all kinds feed bad bacteria and yeast. So avoiding processed foods and sugary foods is a critical first step to optimize your gut flora. Your gut bacteria are also very sensitive to:
  • Antibiotics, both in the form of oral medicines and meats from animals raised in confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs). Livestock antibiotic use accounts for 80 percent of the total antibiotics sold in the US, so if you regularly eat CAFO meats, you’re exposed to a continuous supply of low-dose antibiotics
  • Agricultural chemicals (particularly glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, which is used in large amounts on genetically engineered “Roundup Ready” crops)
  • Chlorinated and fluoridated water
  • Antibacterial soap
  • Pollution
Since most of us are exposed to these detrimental factors at least occasionally, it's generally a good idea to "reseed" the good bacteria in your gut by taking a high-quality probiotic supplement or eating fermented foods. This is important for everyone, but as mentioned earlier, it’s imperative if you are a woman who is pregnant, as your newborn depends on you for its initial gut flora. Many women of reproductive age are deficient in a wide range of vitally important probiotic strains—a deficiency that transfers to their offspring, and may set the stage for any number of problems.

You Don’t Need Poo-in-a-Pill to Achieve Digestive Health

The micro-organisms living in your digestive tract form an important inner ecosystem that influences countless aspects of your health. Since virtually all of us are exposed to factors that destroy beneficial bacteria in your gut, such as antibiotics (whether you take them for an illness or get them from contaminated animal products), chlorinated water, antibacterial soap, agricultural chemicals and pollution, ensuring your gut bacteria remain balanced should be considered an ongoing process.
Barring an emergency situation, in which a fecal microbiota transplant could be the difference between life and death, the easiest and best way to reseed your gut with healthy bacteria is to include fermented foods in your diet. Additionally, one of the major side benefits of eating a healthy whole food-based diet like the one described in my nutrition plan is that it automatically supports your gut health by allowing beneficial gut bacteria to flourish.
While you could certainly use a high-quality probiotic supplement, fermented foods can supply your body with good bacteria FAR more effectively and inexpensively than a supplement. As an example, it’s unusual to find a probiotic supplement containing more than 10 billion colony-forming units, but when my team tested fermented vegetables produced using a probiotic starter cultures, they had 10 trillion colony-forming units of bacteria. Literally, one serving of vegetables was equal to an entire bottle of a high potency probiotic!
So clearly, you’re far better off using fermented foods. Again, when choosing fermented foods, steer clear of pasteurized versions, as pasteurization will destroy many of the naturally occurring probiotics. Examples of traditionally fermented foods include:
  • Fermented vegetables
  • Lassi (an Indian yoghurt drink)
  • Fermented milk, such as kefir (like fermented vegetables, a quart of unpasteurized kefir also has far more active bacteria than you can get from a probiotic supplement)
  • Natto (fermented soy)
If you do not eat fermented foods on a regular basis, taking a high-quality probiotic supplement is definitely recommended. It can also be incredibly useful to help maintain a well-functioning digestive system should you occasionally stray from your healthy diet and consume excess grains or sugar, or if you have to take an antibiotic.
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Battle of the Hook, Ending Show, Liberty's Kids, 38, The Man Who Wouldn't Be King

The Battle of the Hook event is now over and was spectacular.  We have presented Liberty's Kids episodes 1 through 36 as a pre show to the event.  The Battle of the Hook is an event during the American Revolution that was a part of the siege of Yorktown, Virginia and occurred just before that siege.  So Liberty's kids helped to tell the story of events that led up to this battle.  We are now finishing up the remaining Liberty's Kids videos as a salute to the incredible event that just took place here in Gloucester, Virginia.  Today is Liberty's Kids episode number 38, The Man Who Wouldn't Be King.  George Washington had an opportunity to become the King of this nation but refused to accept any title of nobility.

  When the new US Constitution was drafted and for the first one hundred years of our nation, titles of nobility and groups and or classes were not recognized by our government.  Progressives came in and forced changes and now we are told that capitalism is failing because it does not work.  Actually, it's the slow communist infiltration's into our system that has put wedges into capitalism and the American way of life that is failing as we are all forced to bear the burdens of groups and class warfare.  We have been studying the laws and codes of various states and we see how groups and classes have altered and placed wedges and burdens on all the people of this nation with weasel worded laws and codes that work directly against the people whom are supposed to be served and protected.  Now we are hunted at numerous levels.  A great example of being hunted by our own government are animal control laws.  When man puts animal rights over the rights of his fellow man, that is designed as a form of hunting and extinguishing groups and classes of people.  How do you protect yourself from being hunted in this case?  Do not own any animals.

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Federalist Papers No. 25. The Same Subject Continued (The Powers Necessary to the Common Defense Further Considered)

From the New York Packet. Friday, December 21, 1787.

IT MAY perhaps be urged that the objects enumerated in the preceding number ought to be provided for by the State governments, under the direction of the Union. But this would be, in reality, an inversion of the primary principle of our political association, as it would in practice transfer the care of the common defense from the federal head to the individual members: a project oppressive to some States, dangerous to all, and baneful to the Confederacy.
The territories of Britain, Spain, and of the Indian nations in our neighborhood do not border on particular States, but encircle the Union from Maine to Georgia. The danger, though in different degrees, is therefore common. And the means of guarding against it ought, in like manner, to be the objects of common councils and of a common treasury. It happens that some States, from local situation, are more directly exposed. New York is of this class. Upon the plan of separate provisions, New York would have to sustain the whole weight of the establishments requisite to her immediate safety, and to the mediate or ultimate protection of her neighbors. This would neither be equitable as it respected New York nor safe as it respected the other States. Various inconveniences would attend such a system. The States, to whose lot it might fall to support the necessary establishments, would be as little able as willing, for a considerable time to come, to bear the burden of competent provisions. The security of all would thus be subjected to the parsimony, improvidence, or inability of a part. If the resources of such part becoming more abundant and extensive, its provisions should be proportionally enlarged, the other States would quickly take the alarm at seeing the whole military force of the Union in the hands of two or three of its members, and those probably amongst the most powerful. They would each choose to have some counterpoise, and pretenses could easily be contrived. In this situation, military establishments, nourished by mutual jealousy, would be apt to swell beyond their natural or proper size; and being at the separate disposal of the members, they would be engines for the abridgment or demolition of the national authority.
Reasons have been already given to induce a supposition that the State governments will too naturally be prone to a rivalship with that of the Union, the foundation of which will be the love of power; and that in any contest between the federal head and one of its members the people will be most apt to unite with their local government. If, in addition to this immense advantage, the ambition of the members should be stimulated by the separate and independent possession of military forces, it would afford too strong a temptation and too great a facility to them to make enterprises upon, and finally to subvert, the constitutional authority of the Union. On the other hand, the liberty of the people would be less safe in this state of things than in that which left the national forces in the hands of the national government. As far as an army may be considered as a dangerous weapon of power, it had better be in those hands of which the people are most likely to be jealous than in those of which they are least likely to be jealous. For it is a truth, which the experience of ages has attested, that the people are always most in danger when the means of injuring their rights are in the possession of those of whom they entertain the least suspicion.
The framers of the existing Confederation, fully aware of the danger to the Union from the separate possession of military forces by the States, have, in express terms, prohibited them from having either ships or troops, unless with the consent of Congress. The truth is, that the existence of a federal government and military establishments under State authority are not less at variance with each other than a due supply of the federal treasury and the system of quotas and requisitions.
There are other lights besides those already taken notice of, in which the impropriety of restraints on the discretion of the national legislature will be equally manifest. The design of the objection, which has been mentioned, is to preclude standing armies in time of peace, though we have never been informed how far it is designed the prohibition should extend; whether to raising armies as well as to KEEPING THEM UP in a season of tranquillity or not. If it be confined to the latter it will have no precise signification, and it will be ineffectual for the purpose intended. When armies are once raised what shall be denominated "keeping them up," contrary to the sense of the Constitution? What time shall be requisite to ascertain the violation? Shall it be a week, a month, a year? Or shall we say they may be continued as long as the danger which occasioned their being raised continues? This would be to admit that they might be kept up IN TIME OF PEACE, against threatening or impending danger, which would be at once to deviate from the literal meaning of the prohibition, and to introduce an extensive latitude of construction. Who shall judge of the continuance of the danger? This must undoubtedly be submitted to the national government, and the matter would then be brought to this issue, that the national government, to provide against apprehended danger, might in the first instance raise troops, and might afterwards keep them on foot as long as they supposed the peace or safety of the community was in any degree of jeopardy. It is easy to perceive that a discretion so latitudinary as this would afford ample room for eluding the force of the provision.
The supposed utility of a provision of this kind can only be founded on the supposed probability, or at least possibility, of a combination between the executive and the legislative, in some scheme of usurpation. Should this at any time happen, how easy would it be to fabricate pretenses of approaching danger! Indian hostilities, instigated by Spain or Britain, would always be at hand. Provocations to produce the desired appearances might even be given to some foreign power, and appeased again by timely concessions. If we can reasonably presume such a combination to have been formed, and that the enterprise is warranted by a sufficient prospect of success, the army, when once raised, from whatever cause, or on whatever pretext, may be applied to the execution of the project.
If, to obviate this consequence, it should be resolved to extend the prohibition to the RAISING of armies in time of peace, the United States would then exhibit the most extraordinary spectacle which the world has yet seen, that of a nation incapacitated by its Constitution to prepare for defense, before it was actually invaded. As the ceremony of a formal denunciation of war has of late fallen into disuse, the presence of an enemy within our territories must be waited for, as the legal warrant to the government to begin its levies of men for the protection of the State. We must receive the blow, before we could even prepare to return it. All that kind of policy by which nations anticipate distant danger, and meet the gathering storm, must be abstained from, as contrary to the genuine maxims of a free government. We must expose our property and liberty to the mercy of foreign invaders, and invite them by our weakness to seize the naked and defenseless prey, because we are afraid that rulers, created by our choice, dependent on our will, might endanger that liberty, by an abuse of the means necessary to its preservation.
Here I expect we shall be told that the militia of the country is its natural bulwark, and would be at all times equal to the national defense. This doctrine, in substance, had like to have lost us our independence. It cost millions to the United States that might have been saved. The facts which, from our own experience, forbid a reliance of this kind, are too recent to permit us to be the dupes of such a suggestion. The steady operations of war against a regular and disciplined army can only be successfully conducted by a force of the same kind. Considerations of economy, not less than of stability and vigor, confirm this position. The American militia, in the course of the late war, have, by their valor on numerous occasions, erected eternal monuments to their fame; but the bravest of them feel and know that the liberty of their country could not have been established by their efforts alone, however great and valuable they were. War, like most other things, is a science to be acquired and perfected by diligence, by perseverance, by time, and by practice.
All violent policy, as it is contrary to the natural and experienced course of human affairs, defeats itself. Pennsylvania, at this instant, affords an example of the truth of this remark. The Bill of Rights of that State declares that standing armies are dangerous to liberty, and ought not to be kept up in time of peace. Pennsylvania, nevertheless, in a time of profound peace, from the existence of partial disorders in one or two of her counties, has resolved to raise a body of troops; and in all probability will keep them up as long as there is any appearance of danger to the public peace. The conduct of Massachusetts affords a lesson on the same subject, though on different ground. That State (without waiting for the sanction of Congress, as the articles of the Confederation require) was compelled to raise troops to quell a domestic insurrection, and still keeps a corps in pay to prevent a revival of the spirit of revolt. The particular constitution of Massachusetts opposed no obstacle to the measure; but the instance is still of use to instruct us that cases are likely to occur under our government, as well as under those of other nations, which will sometimes render a military force in time of peace essential to the security of the society, and that it is therefore improper in this respect to control the legislative discretion. It also teaches us, in its application to the United States, how little the rights of a feeble government are likely to be respected, even by its own constituents. And it teaches us, in addition to the rest, how unequal parchment provisions are to a struggle with public necessity.
It was a fundamental maxim of the Lacedaemonian commonwealth, that the post of admiral should not be conferred twice on the same person. The Peloponnesian confederates, having suffered a severe defeat at sea from the Athenians, demanded Lysander, who had before served with success in that capacity, to command the combined fleets. The Lacedaemonians, to gratify their allies, and yet preserve the semblance of an adherence to their ancient institutions, had recourse to the flimsy subterfuge of investing Lysander with the real power of admiral, under the nominal title of vice-admiral. This instance is selected from among a multitude that might be cited to confirm the truth already advanced and illustrated by domestic examples; which is, that nations pay little regard to rules and maxims calculated in their very nature to run counter to the necessities of society. Wise politicians will be cautious about fettering the government with restrictions that cannot be observed, because they know that every breach of the fundamental laws, though dictated by necessity, impairs that sacred reverence which ought to be maintained in the breast of rulers towards the constitution of a country, and forms a precedent for other breaches where the same plea of necessity does not exist at all, or is less urgent and palpable.
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Gloucester County, the Battle of the Hook, and Local Government

Open Letter to the Citizens of Gloucester County Virginia

The Battle of the Hook reenactment that took place last weekend was a very good event put on by the county and it shows the effort that went into making this event happen. Thanks to everyone.

With that said now to the focus of this letter.  Ms. Theberge was overhead during the Saturday evening reenactment saying she did not understand what the people on the field were doing.  She repeated this several times.

The Virginia Constitution was written for us to limit the government intrusion into our lives.  Have you ever read the Constitution of the United States?  How about the Constitution of Virginia?

With Ms Theberge not being a student of war or the American Revolution that makes sense that she did not understand that the artillery was there to protect the attacking troops and would not go forward during the final push on the redoubt.  However, I believe the County officials do not understand what the war was fought to accomplish.  The County officials, acting like the ruling elite from the 1700s, do not listen to the citizens of the county and do what they want and raising taxes to pay for their wants.  Passing ordinances that are not in accordance with Virginia Code. Building swamp schools rather than repairing functional buildings.  If you visited the Battle of the Hook you would have seen Ms Theberge in her Royal Chariot going around the grounds looking down her nose at us common people on Saturday.  The Royal Guard was there in their full battle armor intimidating the people there enjoying the events going on around them.

Our elected county officials need to represent all of the people not just a few that are their friends.  We need to let the Board of supervisors know that if they are not going to represent all of the people they will be replaced.

I am not a lawyer and cannot give legal advice.  Our founding fathers used common sense and Christian scripture when establishing our founding documents. 

“For the Common Good. “

Alexander James Jay

P.S. "No people will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can any be easily subdued, when knowledge is diffused and Virtue is preserved On the Contrary, when People are universally ignorant, and debauched in their Manners, they will sink under their own weight without the Aid of foreign Invaders."--Samuel Adams, letter to James Warren, 1775
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Governor McDonnell Announces George Mason University as Location of Virginia Center for Excellence in Teaching

English: Hazel Hall, George Mason University S...
English: Hazel Hall, George Mason University School of Law. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
RICHMOND - Governor Bob McDonnell today announced that the Virginia Center for Excellence in Teaching will open in June 2014 on the campus of George Mason University in Fairfax County. The center — which the governor proposed as part of his 2013 All Students K-12 legislative agenda — will provide professional development opportunities in instruction, education policy and leadership for 100 exemplary teachers annually.

“By establishing the Virginia Center for Excellence in Teaching, we continue to elevate the teaching profession and send a message that there is no higher calling than inspiring, mentoring and preparing young people for the future,” said Governor McDonnell. “The center will set a new standard for excellence in classroom instruction and prepare teachers for leadership within their fields and beyond.”

The Virginia Center for Excellence in Teaching will conduct four five-day residential summer academies in 2014 with each academy enrolling 25 teachers. Two academies in June will focus on the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and the humanities and language arts. Academies in July will focus on the fine arts and interdisciplinary studies.   

“Public education is dynamic and rapidly changing field,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Patricia I. Wright said. “The Virginia Center for Excellence in Teaching will equip teachers to be leaders in local, state and national conversations about policy and practice.”

Each academy will have two George Mason faculty instructors, as well as guest speakers from Mason, local school divisions and the education policy community. Each participating teacher will earn five graduate credit hours, with three credits earned in the summer during the academy and two credits earned through online learning and a conference during the following school year.

Mason is developing an outreach campaign to identify qualified teachers for the center. Participants must hold a five-year renewable Virginia license, be employed by a Virginia school division, have a minimum of five years of successful teaching experience, and have a consistent record of effective instruction and demonstrated leadership ability.

“There are outstanding teachers in every region of the Commonwealth who could benefit from the challenging programs the Virginia Center for Excellence in Teaching will offer,” Mason President Ángel Cabrera said. “In selecting the participants, we will seek out teachers in every grade level and discipline, and in schools fully representative of Virginia’s urban, rural and suburban communities.”

In approving McDonnell’s proposal, the 2013 General Assembly authorized $220,000 to establish the Virginia Center for Excellence in Teaching and directed the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) to solicit competitive proposals from state colleges and universities to create and operate the center. This month, VDOE awarded the contract to Mason.

“We are delighted to have this opportunity to build upon Mason’s expertise in educator preparation to support teachers from throughout the state,” said Mark R. Ginsberg, dean of the College of Education and Human Development. “By developing teachers’ capacity for leadership within their classrooms, schools, and communities, this center will empower teachers to work towards our shared goals of promoting effective instruction and excellence in public education."

Elizabeth Sturtevant will serve as director of the Virginia Center for Excellence in Teaching. Sturtevant currently heads Mason’s Division of Elementary, Literacy and Secondary Education and teaches courses in literacy education and teacher leadership.

To learn more about the Virginia Center for Excellence in Teaching, email to be added to the interest list.
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