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Friday, May 24, 2024

News Briefs for April 13

HISTORIC TRIANGLE — News and notes in brief from in and around the Historic Triangle.

League of Women Voters Says Thank You

This year’s Great Decisions lecture series came to an end in March. The League of Women Voters-Williamsburg Area presented a thank you check to Rob Haas, Director of General Services for the Williamsburg Library.

“It’s nice to be a part of your success,” Haas said, noting the library has had a 25-year partnership with the League of Women Voters.

from left to right: Abra Smith, co-coordinator for Great Decisions, Susan Bivins, LWV’s president, Rob Haas, Director of General Services for the Williamsburg Library, and Don Schilling, co-coordinator for Great Decisions. (League of Women Voters-Williamsburg Area)
New co-coordinator for Great Decisions, Dennis Litalien, left and outgoing coordinator Don Schilling, right. (League of Women Voters-Williamsburg Area)

The League of Women Voters also thanked Don Schilling, who is stepping down as coordinator of Great Decisions after six years. Co-coordinator Abra Smith said, “Don was always such a pleasure to work with.”

Schilling announced that Dennis Litalien, who has had an extensive career both military and civilian, will replace him as co-coordinator for next year’s lecture series.

Litalien said, “I am an avid reader of military and political history and student of foreign affairs and a long-suffering fan of the Boston Red Sox.”

He has traveled extensively through Western and Eastern Europe, including Turkey, Albania, Romania, and the Ukraine as well as the Far East, including Korea, the Philippines, and Japan, The League of Women Voters notes.

Tartans and Tie Dye Celebration

The 10th Annual Tartans and Tie Dye Celebration, a fundraiser for Relay for Life, is slated for Saturday, April 20, at Billsburg Brewery.

Guests are encouraged to put on their fanciest tartans and tie dye and join Team Shenanigans at Billsburg Brewery in a celebratory mosaic of music to raise awareness and funds for The American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. The event will feature regional Celtic, Folk, and Rock bands, including Clan MacCool, Winsome, Poisoned Dwarf, Cat on the Blacktop and ShantyGrass, and closing with DeadRise from 4:30-5:30 p.m., Tin Can Fish Band from 6-7 p.m. and Kooler Heads from 7:30-9 p.m.

Vendors, crafts, family activities, food and beverages will be available on site. The festival is held outdoors, so bring a chair for the day of celebration and remembrance. There is a $10 suggested donation at the gate, and all proceeds to go to the American Cancer Society. For more information contact Team Shenanigans at 757-968-9344.

April is Low-Head Dam Public Safety Awareness Month in Virginia

The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) is supporting April Low-Head Dam Public Safety Awareness Month to encourage Virginians to protect themselves from the dangers associated with these structures.

A low-head dam is a dam that runs from bank-to-bank, typically with a low height, across a river or stream. Water pouring over the dam creates a hazardous current termed a “spin cycle” like that of a washing machine that can trap even the strongest swimmer wearing a flotation device, according to DCR, adding that once caught in a spin cycle, it is almost impossible to escape.

DCR suggests the following steps to protect yourself:

  • Know before you go: check your route, read maps, talk to locals and obey signage.
  • Watch for a smooth horizon line where the stream meets the sky and look for concrete retaining walls on either side of the water. These could be signs of a low-head dam.
  • If you spot a dam, exit the river and reenter well downstream.
  • Never try to dive in to help someone caught in a spin cycle. Exit the river and call 911. Use a rope or throw bag to pull them to safety.

For more information about low-head dams, visit

Gloucester County Emergency Management Office Encourages Fentanyl Awareness

Gloucester County’s Emergency Management Department is encouraging the public to be aware of Operation FREE Virginia, a statewide initiative to combat the fentanyl crisis.

The initiative, which will run through May 1, involves education and training programs for communities through the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, and is supported by the Virginia Department of Health, the First Lady of Virginia, Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth, and the Virginia Attorney General’s office.

The campaign strives to warn parents and caregivers that “it only takes one,” meaning one bad decision — or one counterfeit pill — to cost a life. When tested, seven in ten pills had fatal fentanyl doses, and when ingested, one can overdose in a matter of minutes.

The initiative aims to help people recognize the signs of a fentanyl overdose and equips others to learn how to handle someone who may be encountering an overdose. For resources and more information, visit

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