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City facilities closed; schools will provide free meals for students

Starting Monday and continuing at least through March 29, all city facilities will be closed to the public to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The closure includes City Hall at 22 Lincoln St., the Ruppert Sargent Building at 1 Franklin St., city offices at other locations, libraries, community centers, golf courses, the Hampton History Museum and Carousel, The  American Theatre, the Hampton Roads Convention Center and the Hampton Coliseum. Trash and recycling pickup will continue on their regular schedules.

Hampton City Manager Mary Bunting and city managers and administrators from the Peninsula have asked all residents to avoid gatherings of more than 50 people, including church services, civic and social organization meetings and public events. “Additional steps may be required in the coming hours and days as local officials try to slow the rate of infection," allowing the local health system the capability to treat those who most need medical care, they said Saturday.

Canceled event and activities in Hampton include the Hampton Youth Commission Candidates Forum scheduled for this evening at the Hampton Roads Convention Center; a community input meeting on the 2021 city budget scheduled for Thursday at Oozlefinch Craft Brewery; a performance by the musical group 10,000 Maniacs at the American Theatre on Saturday; and all activities in city community centers and libraries.

Parks buildings, such as the Sandy Bottom Nature Visitors Center, will be closed and there will be no scheduled activities, but the public can use outdoor spaces during daytime hours. Although outside park facilities are still available for use by residents, parks visitors are encouraged to practice social distancing by staying six feet apart. Also, taxpayers can still use the drop-off box outside the entrance to the Ruppert Sargent Building, 1 Franklin St., and many permit applications are available online at www.hampton.gov.

Although the Voter Registrar’s office is among those closed to the public, residents can continue to register to vote online or by mail. The registration deadline for the May 5 local election for mayor, city council and the school board is April 13. Online applications will be accepted through 11:59 p.m. that day, and applications by mail must be postmarked by that date. Please go online for more information.

Hampton City Schools, which has canceled classes until March 29 because of concerns about the coronavirus, will provide free packaged meals to any student 18 years of age or younger Monday-Friday between 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Go online for more information, including pick-up locations.

If you have questions about the coronavirus, the Peninsula Health Department has set up a special call center from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. at 757-594-7069. Also, Hampton officials will host a Facebook Live Q&A about the coronavirus at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, March 17. Visit https://www.facebook.com/HamptonVA/ .  You can get more information from:

City, FBI offer program for future agents in training

The Office of the Commonwealth's Attorney and the FBI in Norfolk are working together to offer a special program for teens on July 20-24 entitled "The FBI Future Agents in Training." Open to high school students ages 16-18, the program gives students a comprehensive look into the modern FBI, including terrorism, cybercrime, public corruption, polygraph exams, and the day-to-day operations of a typical FBI office. Space is limited and applications are due no later than March 21. Students must live in Hampton Roads, the Eastern Shore or Williamsburg. They also must a grade point average of 3.0. Go online for more information and to get an application. Send it to vbtorres@fbi.gov.

Help for new or expectant parents

Are you a new or expectant mother? Are you the parent of a child under 3 years of age?  Hampton Healthy Families offers free one-on-one support that provides you with helpful parenting information and tips in the comfort of your own home.  We will give you the tools to help your baby grow and thrive. Contact us online and complete a short form indicating your interest.  Once you submit the form, we will contact you. Hampton Healthy Families offers a variety of opportunities for parents and children.  Visit Healthy Families online to learn more about what we have to offer for parents and children.

Round Robin: Coronavirus, music festival and an ode to farmers

The latest Round Robin includes some answers about the coronavirus, a look at March as Colon Cancer Awareness Month, and job training programs offered by Goodwill and Thomas Nelson Community College:
  • The city closed all public facilities to the general public beginning March 16, says City Manager Mary Bunting in her latest update on the city’s response to coronavirus concerns. 
  • Coronavirus is on a lot of our minds, so let's get some answers. The Health Department's Nancy Lemis talks about what it is, what we can do to be prepared, and what we should watch for. https://youtu.be/VEm2tAyCvT4
  • City Manager Mary Bunting updates the public on what the city is doing in preparation for the coronavirus. https://youtu.be/aUQRU6EaWA8
  • March is colon cancer awareness month, and that's a good reason to talk about colorectal screenings and care. Sentara's Dr. Greg FitzHarris, a surgeon, and nurse Nanette Sandberg explain colon screenings and cancer, but also many more diseases and conditions that can occur in that area and how they can be treated. https://youtu.be/0h7JAzfPCIs
  • Hampton will be host to 28 ska bands for a two-day music festival at Oozlefinch brewery on June 13-14. (Ska originated in Jamaica and mixes Caribbean folk and calypso with American jazz and rhythm and blues). Organizer Tim Receuver says more than 1,000 two-day tickets already have been sold for the Supernova International Ska Festival, and a sell-out is expected. https://youtu.be/YniQ-x8Z1no
  • Tim Brown's song "American Farmer" is an ode to farmers. Hear how the local band Mason Brown & the Shiners have supported the Farmer Veterans Coalition of Virginia, which seeks to help transition veterans to small farms, in this 2017 interview. 
  • Thomas Nelson Community College and Goodwill have partnered on some fast-track skills programs to offer training, certification and other support. Jerry Hemenway and Laura Hanson say job offers are rolling in for graduates of both the apartment maintenance and electrician programs. Grants and other support are keeping tuition cost-free or low-cost to participants. https://youtu.be/k74j9Yl8VWI
"Round Robin” airs on the Hampton City Channel — Cox 47, Fios 22 in Hampton — daily at 8 a.m., noon, 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. Round Robin is hosted by Robin McCormick, from the city’s marketing department. You can also watch these shows — as well as archived interviews — on the YouTube playlist: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL3761D4B106784B15.
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