Around the Novahood


Del. Dave LaRock, R-Loudoun, claims that he has been “uniquely harmed” by executive actions taken by the state’s Safety and Health Codes Board, Gov. Ralph Northam, and state Health Commissioner Dr. Norman Oliver in July, in a Sept. 15 filing with the Richmond Circuit Court. He joined the Virginia Manufacturers Association and other business owners to challenge emergency COVID-19 safety regulations adopted by the Commonwealth.

“In many ways, the measures go too far,” said LaRock, who has previously supported legal challenges to overturn the governor’s executive orders but has never before become a party to one. “Certainly, some measures would be in order, but I think the governor could have done a lot better to create the least restrictive regulations.” The lawsuit aims to halt the state’s temporary emergency standards for businesses, calling them “impermissibly vague” and arguing that the board failed to follow administrative processes laid out in state law. It also argues the regulations incorporate several “illegal” executive orders issued by Northam throughout the pandemic — including an indoor mask mandate and phased social restrictions — and seeks to challenge them in the context of the new standards.

Unique means the only one of its type. LaRock’s statement seems rather pedestrian.


It’s looking like a clean sweep across NOVA: First Alexandria, then Fairfax and now Arlington counties’ boards of supervisors have all voted to ban the possession of firearms on public property and at special events. The Loudoun County Board will take up the issue at an upcoming meeting. Elections have consequences and it certainly appears that increasingly, jurisdictions, sensitive to the shooting in Virginia Beach, are determined to take advantage of the legislative authorization to implement limits on firearms. Despite the broad claims of Second Amendment advocates, Justice Scalia in Heller clearly held that such regulations are Constitutional.

Common sense simply makes sense.


Fairfax County Public Schools, the largest school division in the Commonwealth, was recently hacked by a ransomware attack; this typically means that a target computer or computer system is held hostage by encrypting its files and demanding payment for release. “We currently believe we may have been victimized by cyber criminals who have been connected to dozens of similar attacks in school systems and corporations worldwide. We are coordinating with the FBI on the matter,” said a Fairfax County Schools spokesperson.

A cybersecurity expert not involved in the Fairfax County Public Schools’ investigation said the system is without good options following the computer network attack. Based on the publication last week of a 100MB file posted by the ransomware group MAZE, which it claimed to have extricated from Fairfax County Public Schools, the cybersecurity expert said he believes the school system is now facing just two choices: “They can refuse to pay, in which case the stolen data will be published online; or they can pay the demand, which will simply get them a pinkie-promise from the criminals that the data will be deleted.”

School systems have become growing targets for ransomware attacks, especially since the implementation of distance learning in response to the coronavirus. Thus, one organic virus has prompted the spread of a cyber virus.  


The first week of virtual learning in Loudoun County was interrupted by incidents of students using racial slurs, displaying sexual images, or popping into the virtual sessions of other classes or schools.

The Schools Superintendent responded, “These incidents are contrary to our core beliefs, our commitment to racial equity and other matters of equity . . . and to the expectations we have established for appropriate behavior by students in the virtual environment.” He also said that the school system will cooperate with law enforcement agencies in any investigations, which include those of sexually explicit and pornographic images and possible hate crimes.

It’s not known whether the bad actors in this incident are school-age youth. If so, we are reminded of the refrain from the musical South Pacific: You have to be carefully taught….

Categories: coronavirus, EDUCATION, gun control, Issues, Local, pandemic, State

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