The 2017 news cycle has whiplashed all of us. Just as we think it can’t get any weirder, bingo, it does. One result of being glued to news-of-the-weird is that it is easy to get distracted from important matters we face, like clean air and water. The Trump administration is living up to its campaign promise to decimate environmental protections.
They’ve nearly ceased enforcement for industrial polluters and crowed with pride about rolling back regulations that took years of science and public comment to develop. None of this should surprise anyone — they ran on a platform of rolling back rules and regulations that protect public health, and they won.
This puts an even bigger responsibility on the states. Entering the new year and a new administration in the Commonwealth, the question is: Will the governor and legislature step up? Or will they step aside?
Other questions abound. How will our landscape, air and water be protected from the impacts of natural gas extraction? How can rivers and streams be spared the negative impacts of mammoth gas pipelines? When will Virginia do a better job of enforcing its own laws with regard to rivers and streams that are, or should be, classified as impaired? Will local land use authority be maintained with respect to oil and gas development? Will the Commonwealth actually put stronger commonsense protections in place to protect the people, environment, and natural resources of Virginia?
So much remains to be seen. Virginia is fortunate to have a strong community of conservation organizations who work in the trenches, who bring the science and data — they present them in terms that even a legislator could understand should he or she have an interest in science. If you care about the Virginia landscape, clean air and safe water, you might consider supporting one of these organizations in your year-end giving.
On the subject of the new year, we think it’s time for a fresh face at the helm of the Department of Environmental Quality. Director David Paylor has served three governors: McAuliffe, McDonnell, and Kaine. Three is enough.
We have elections to bring in new ideas and to ensure our Commonwealth does not become a mirror reflection of a single point of view. If three governors thought enough of Paylor to appoint him, so be it. But the leadership of a critical agency should not be a lifetime appointment.
The issues we face today are vastly different than those of 2006. Virginia needs some new
energy and new ideas.
If you, or someone you know has a hearing loss, here are some of the symptoms and their associated consequences that you should be aware of;
Anger, stress and loss of alertness that affect your daily activities. These may progress into more serious outcomes such as physical safety in completing daily activities.
Withdrawing from conversations or discussions. This may create a feeling of isolation by not admitting you can’t hear or fear of appearing weak or helpless, you just stop socializing with others.
Depression or being sad and lonely. It can creep up on you from being isolated, and may result in not only lack of socialization, but other personal risks like unhealthy eating and unintentional weight loss, sedentary days with no exercise that can create weakness and eventually loss
Signs of dementia. Even with moderate hearing loss, research shows the cognitive loss triples the risk, and a severe hearing loss increases dementia risk by five times. Muscles atrophy when you don’t use them-so does your brain when you have hearing loss.
Where to start when purchasing or helping your senior purchase a hearing aid:
Visit an audiologist. There may be a reason for the loss of hearing that a hearing aid
Don’t buy a cheap, low-quality hearing aid. These just amplify all the sounds making hearing conversations more difficult.
Seek out options. If you can’t afford to buy a good hearing aid or need a referral, consult
Lions Club. For information, call Sharon or Greg Hart at
540-955-6229. Each Lions Club is independently run, and they each have ongoing relationships with audiologists in the local areas where you live. The Lions Club has access to help make hearing aids available and help reduce costs. They provide a free service with The Sight and Hearing Mobile Screening Unit which is outfitted with two vision screening stations, two hearing booths with new state-of-the-art audiometers, and one station for
Starkey Hear Now. The program helps low-income clients with the purchase of a hearing device. Call 800-328-8602 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.starkeyhearingfoundation.o
Social Services in Clarke County. Call the agency at