The Line of Duty
You might want to keep a local peace officer in your thoughts and prayers, after a crash this past week in eastern Loudoun. A Police Sergeant for the Northern Virginia Community College sustained serious injuries as a van struck his cruiser on Thursday afternoon; the impact occurred at the Route 7 intersection as the officer sped to a fire call at an off-campus location.
According to witness reports at the scene, the other, westbound motorist had a green light, and perhaps missed seeing the police car due to a blind spot; the collision damaged the driver’s side of the officer’s cruiser and nearly pushed the vehicle into a ditch along the roadway.
Emergency medical personnel transported the injured Sergeant to Inova Fairfax Hospital; the accident shut down portions of Route 7 for several hours.
Now, as far as we understand, the officer was admitted with serious injuries; one of the local newspaper websites listed his condition as ‘stable’ this past Friday.
From my experience in dealing with medical communications personnel at regional hospitals, this is frustrating, because ‘stable’ is not really one of the several conditions for listing patients: they run from critical, then upgrade to serious, then upgrade to fair, then upgrade to good.
The word ‘stable’ merely indicates the relative normalcy of a patient’s vital signs; you can be in critical, but stable- serious, but stable- fair, but stable- or good, but stable.
And the communications people from the hospitals will dispute this- saying, “Oh, no- ‘stable’ is a condition.”
And, technically, they’re right- is IS a condition, but not one of the medical grades given to patients by the American Hospital Association’s advisories.
The word ‘stable’ is often used when attending physicians expect no immediate change in a patient’s vital signs; you may also reasonably expect a patient described as ‘stable’ to continue in recovery.
Apologies for the minutia, but it’s damnably frustrating for the media to report on an important story and have something as oblique as ‘stable’ offered as quasi-information from medical spokespeople.
The tactic often removes any semblance of timeliness or credibility from a story.
The upshot is: I’d like to think that this local Police Sergeant will continue recovering, loved ones by his side, and soon return to work.
I’d also like to think that we’ll ALL be just a bit more alert to situations like the lights and sirens of an emergency vehicle as it passes through an intersection.
Well, it looks like we have a dog thief in our neighborhood; the residence where local authorities recovered a stolen Jack Russell Terrier lies not far from my own, and I hope the charges stick. The canine- named Oahu- went missing back in December- from the Friends of Homeless Animals shelter in Aldie.
Staff members from the facility followed up on a tip, and the Leesburg Police assisted with Loudoun County Animal Control- in getting the pooch’s microchip scanned; results showed that the dog was, indeed Oahu.
We heard that the individual who reportedly took the animal from the shelter wasn’t at home at the time of the recovery (Thursday), but that this person faces felony charges for the crime.
I think the lesson here should be: you don’t steal somebody’s dog- even if it’s temporarily homeless.
Left at the Door
I suppose by now you’ve heard about the arrests made on the two Warrenton women in connection with some parcel thefts in Ashburn; perhaps, since my ‘day’ job is rural carrier for the US Postal Service, I can shed a bit of light on how all of this delivery stuff works- and save you a bit of trouble and strife. I’m often asked stuff like, “Why do I have to sign for this package?” or, “Why did my neighbor have to sign for his piece of mail, and I didn’t?”
Well, those are good, typical inquiries.
Signatures are required by the US Postal Service for all Registered and Certified Mail.
No ifs, ands or buts.
You also need to sign for things like ‘Signature Confirmation’ items.
Insured mail may- or may not- require a signature.
The brown label insured don’t- but the blue label items do require it.
You also need to sign for Express Mail- unless it’s been waived.
And, if you get something called ‘Restricted Delivery,’ you need to show a legal, picture ID in order to obtain that piece of mail.
It’s for your eyes only.
All the above items may be in package or letter form- anything from a huge box down to a letter.
Now, all this parcel business gets confusing, I’ll admit: we also have a lot of things in the category of ‘Delivery Confirmation’ which means you can track the delivery progress of that item- whether it’s a package or a mere letter.
If you’re concerned about getting something in a timely fashion, and want to be able to mark it’s progress, this is a good way to go.
If you’re concerned about the security of a parcel that’s dropped off at your door, there are several steps you can take.
Let your neighbors know that you receive stuff and ask them to keep an eye out for things- you can do the same for them.
You can also request that sensitive items are sent ‘Signature Confirmation,’ but then you need to be home at the time of delivery- or pick it up at the Post Office.
You can also let your Post Office know that all packages should be held at the Office for pick-up.
Or- let your carrier know that you’d like all parcels left in a specific place- maybe a special spot on your porch, or something like that.
An extra-large mailbox may also do the trick- you’d be surprised at how much some of those things will hold.
Now, the two suspects in those Ashburn parcel thefts face grand larceny charges; let’s hope the courts do the right thing and set an example for anyone else getting any bright ideas about this stuff.
I know the economy’s bad, but that’s not a good enough excuse to steal someone’s property.
Again- talk to your neighbors and watch out for each other.
And for those out in the ‘country,’ I can attest to the fact that a large dog- even a lazy, friendly one- is an excellent deterrent to someone coming onto your property.
Just remember that your mailman has to be just as careful around dogs as anyone else.
Off the Road
I’ll try to keep this one short: the only way that drivers in Northern Virginia can get a reasonable deal on using the Dulles Greenway- the 14-mile divided toll road from Leesburg to the Airport- is to stop using it for awhile. Let me repeat: the ONLY way that motorists around here can get any leverage in the argument of prices on the Dulles Greenway is to stay off the road.
Think about it.
Congressman Frank Wolf’s been talking about this for years, the Loudoun Supervisors have been complaining about it for years, drivers have been sounding off on it for years- but all of this is just so much talk; you have to remember- the real owners of the Greenway- the Macquerie Group- the parent company for TRIP II- is an Australian entity, and has no reason to bow down to a US Congressman or the Loudoun County Board.
But- if you get ‘em where it hurts- the pocketbook- they may have to listen.
If all vehicles would avoid the Dulles Greenway for one month, I would wager that they’d be ready to talk pricing.
You have any idea how much money they rake in on a daily, weekly, monthly basis- with one-way tolls as high as $4.50/$5.25 for a two-axle vehicle?
I don’t know, either- but I’d say “A lot.”
I know it’d be painful, but how many years have we been talking about this- and paying highway-robbery prices?
Like I said, I want to keep this one short.
Let ‘em Learn
Well, the US Federal Government may not be able to pay its debt, and the Commonwealth of Virginia may not be able to pay for road improvements in Loudoun County, but we can still demonstrate the existence of sheer American grit by supporting kids in needy families as they get ready for the next school year. The annual ‘School Supply Drive’ runs through the end of the month at participating retail stores and local community centers.
The effort takes sponsorship from Loudoun County Family Services: they ask donors to chuck in items for students’ use in the upcoming 2011-12 School Year.
Drop-off sites include local libraries and Giant Food stores.
What do they need?
Well, what does a kid use in school?
There ya go.
Danged if my Chihuahuas don’t want some attention,
-Tim Jon for the Blue Ridge Leader