Va. business offers free ‘anger room’ sessions for furloughed workers to smash away their feelings

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Break It in Fredericksburg is offering free smashing sessions for furloughed government workers. (Courtesy Break It)

Break It in Fredericksburg is offering free smashing sessions for furloughed government workers. (Courtesy Break It)

WASHINGTON — There isn’t a “you break it, you buy it” rule here for those affected by the government shutdown.

The Break It “anger room” or “rage room” is offering those who are furloughed a place to take out their frustrations free of charge with complimentary smashing sessions at their Fredericksburg, Virginia, location.

“It’s something cathartic for them and especially with what’s going on with their lives I think that it’s the perfect fit for them,” said Monica May, owner of Break It in Fredericksburg.

Furloughed workers simply email the location through their website to receive a 5-minute session with 10 breakable items.

Items to break vary, as they are donated through local businesses, but they often include things, such as liquor bottles, computer monitors, modems, stereos, DVDs, furniture, chairs and dressers.

The business is all about keeping those “raging” safe during their sessions. Break It provides all of the safety equipment, along with the items to break.

May said that the business has already received close to two dozen calls in the last couple of days. She said that they’re going to keep offering the free sessions until they reach capacity.

“I’m just going to keep going, and I will let everyone know if we reached our cap and there’s a waiting list. But, we’ll try our best to take as many people as we can,” May said.

Availability for the stress-relieving offer mostly depends on whether they can keep up with donations of stuff to break.

“As long as we can keep those donations up we can still be able to provide the services for the furloughed workers,” May said.

For May, she said that she can relate to the furloughed workers and their frustrating at this time in their lives.

May and her husband were going through a devastating time and decided that opening up a way for others to relieve stress brought them comfort in their lives as well.

“My husband and I lost a child in 2017, and we got sick ourselves and almost died of the flu; and it was just a bunch of anger and things that were out of our control in our lives that kind of made us feel like we needed a change,” May said.

Someone brought up the notion of anger rooms that were offered in Japan and starting to pop up in the United States and they decided to take the leap.

“We thought that the idea was just crazy and out there,” May said. “We saw that it was successful all across the world and even in the United States there were a few that were already up and running and we looked at each other and said, ‘Why not? Let’s give it a shot.’”

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In protest, Virginia lieutenant governor leaves dais again

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax stopped presiding over the state Senate for the second year in a row in protest when senators again honored a Confederate general.

News outlets report Fairfax left the dais Friday just before Republican Sen. Richard Stuart spoke in support of Gen. Robert E. Lee and adjourning Friday’s session in Lee’s honor. Lee’s birthday was Saturday.

Fairfax is the second African-American elected to statewide office in Virginia history. The Democrat said Friday he wanted to be firm and respectful in his opposition to honoring Lee, pointing to Confederate efforts to preserve slavery.

Stuart said his request had nothing to do with slavery but with celebrating a “great Virginian.”

Last year, Fairfax stood down when another senator called for adjournment in honor of Gen. Stonewall Jackson.

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In protest, Virginia lieutenant governor leaves dais again

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax stopped presiding over the state Senate for the second year in a row in protest when senators again honored a Confederate general.

News outlets report Fairfax left the dais Friday just before Republican Sen. Richard Stuart spoke in support of Gen. Robert E. Lee and adjourning Friday’s session in Lee’s honor. Lee’s birthday was Saturday.

Fairfax is the second African-American elected to statewide office in Virginia history. The Democrat said Friday he wanted to be firm and respectful in his opposition to honoring Lee, pointing to Confederate efforts to preserve slavery.

Stuart said his request had nothing to do with slavery but with celebrating a “great Virginian.”

Last year, Fairfax stood down when another senator called for adjournment in honor of Gen. Stonewall Jackson.

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Virginia judge dies following car crash earlier this month

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) — A Virginia judge and former local school board chairman has died less than two weeks after being involved in a car accident.

Norfolk police announced that Virginia Beach District Judge Robert Hagans Jr. died Thursday from his injuries. The 66-year-old Hagans had been taken to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital following his Jan. 6 accident. A police news release says it appears Hagans rear-ended another car at a traffic light.

Attorney and longtime friend Kathryn Byler told The Virginian-Pilot that Hagans suffered a stroke moments before the crash. She said Saturday that Hagan had been in the hospital’s trauma unit.

The General Assembly appointed Hagans to the bench in 2015. Hagan was elected chairman of the Virginia Beach school board in 1996 and served in that role for two years.

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Fairfax Co. residents buy groceries for those in need, including hungry feds

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Volunteers load donated food outside of Giant Food in the Fox Mill neighborhood of Herndon. (WTOP/Dick Uliano)

A bus full of donated food for those in need sits outside of the Giant Food store in the Fox Mill neighborhood of Herndon. (WTOP/Dick Uliano)

Fairfax County Board Of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova helped to load donated food for those in need, including federal government workers onto a bus in Herndon. (WTOP/Dick Uliano)

Volunteers loaded donated food outside of Giant Food in the Fox Mill neighborhood of Herndon. (WTOP/Dick Uliano)

HERNDON, Va. — Shoppers at several Northern Virginia grocery stores reached into their hearts and dug into their pockets to help buy groceries Saturday for those in need, including federal workers who have missed a paycheck.

“We are a company town and so many people who live here in this community are associated, in some way, with the federal government,” said Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman, Sharon Bulova, outside the Giant Food store in the Fox Mill neighborhood in Herndon.

“This year it’s more important than ever. Our nonprofits have seen an uptick in people … asking for help — people who had never thought that they would need it. So these are federal employees and federal contractors. Folks who have been living responsibly, get a paycheck and now they’re not,” Bulova said.

The county teams with area nonprofit organizations to help replenish charitable food pantries, which typically run short in the winter months.

Bulova joined a group of volunteers loading boxes of groceries, including pet food, that will eventually be distributed to families who are in need. Donations were also collected Saturday at the McLean Giant and at Mount Vernon Plaza Shoppers Food Warehouse.

“We always think that Fairfax County people aren’t hungry, but obviously they are,” said Cheryl Freeman, a volunteer with “Helping Hungry Kids,” a 10-year-old Fairfax County group that provides food packs, including granola bars to kids in schools who don’t have enough to eat.

The county and the nonprofits will team up in February food drive collections at eight other locations in the county.

One shopper at the Herndon Giant was particularly generous on Saturday.

“I saw a gentleman … with a grocery cart and he said, ‘Fill it up, just fill it up,’ and they stuffed as much into this grocery cart as they could,” said Bulova about the anonymous donor who purchased more than $300 of groceries for those in need.

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Coal ash removal bill clears first Virginia Senate committee

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A bill requiring the disposal of coal ash stored in Dominion Energy ponds across Virginia has cleared its first General Assembly committee.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports the Senate committee handling conservation and natural resources moved the bill ahead Thursday, voting 9-5. Its next hurdle is the Senate Finance Committee, which asked to also take it up because costs could likely be passed to Dominion customers.

Gov. Ralph Northam supports the bill Sen. Scott Surovell introduced. It requires Dominion to dig up its coal ash, recycle as much as possible and haul the rest to modern landfills.

Coal ash is heavy metal-laden waste left from burning the fossil fuel to produce electricity.

Bill Murray, Dominion’s vice president of public policy, says mandating recycling or anything tends to make it more expensive.

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Information from: Richmond Times-Dispatch, http://www.richmond.com

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Coal ash removal bill clears first Virginia Senate committee

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A bill requiring the disposal of coal ash stored in Dominion Energy ponds across Virginia has cleared its first General Assembly committee.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports the Senate committee handling conservation and natural resources moved the bill ahead Thursday, voting 9-5. Its next hurdle is the Senate Finance Committee, which asked to also take it up because costs could likely be passed to Dominion customers.

Gov. Ralph Northam supports the bill Sen. Scott Surovell introduced. It requires Dominion to dig up its coal ash, recycle as much as possible and haul the rest to modern landfills.

Coal ash is heavy metal-laden waste left from burning the fossil fuel to produce electricity.

Bill Murray, Dominion’s vice president of public policy, says mandating recycling or anything tends to make it more expensive.

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Information from: Richmond Times-Dispatch, http://www.richmond.com

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Amtrak train hits truck crossing tracks, truck driver hurt

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LANEXA, Va. (AP) — Virginia State Police say an Amtrak train hit a truck hauling a trailer, leaving the truck’s driver with minor injuries.

Police said in a statement that the Ford work truck was crossing railroad tracks in Kent County, east of Richmond, on Friday morning when the train hit the truck, flipping it on its roof. The train didn’t derail, but flying debris damaged a mobile home and another vehicle.

The driver of the truck was taken to a hospital with minor injuries, but police say the 80 people on the train, including the crew, weren’t injured.

Police say there wasn’t emergency equipment at the crossing, but there were stop signs on each side of the crossing. Police say charges are pending and the crash remains under investigation.

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Photos of the week: Jan. 12-19

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Here are photos from stories that happened last week.

Scroll through to see if you’ve missed any.

The first snowfall of the year arrived over the weekend, leaving the entire WTOP listening area coated in snow.

Boulder Bridge above Rock Creek is seen in the snow. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)

A black bear was spotted climbing up a tree in Aldie, Virginia, Saturday morning at the intersection of Evergreen Mills Road and Fleetwood Road. (Courtesy Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office)

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan delivers remarks at his inauguration ceremony, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019, in Annapolis, Md. Hogan is the first Republican governor to be re-elected in the state since the 1950s. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

The people behind Crumbs & Whiskers are launching a kitten lounge in Georgetown. (Courtesy Crumbs & Whiskers)

WTOP Reporter Dave Dildine looks over Broad Branch Creek where he first spotted a woman drowning on Sunday, January 13. (WTOP/Megan Cloherty)

Federal employees and contractors who aren’t getting paid because of the shutdown are lining up for free, hot, gourmet meals from the charity founded by Chef Jose Andres. (WTOP/Kristi King)

The new outdoor space, with fountain, is a sunken garden with fire pits and comes with blankets for guests to stay warm, and fondue to make it winter-cozy. (Courtesy Blue Duck Tavern)

Actress Rose McGowan pleaded no contest to a reduced drug charge at the Loudoun County courthouse on Monday morning.

Rose McGowan and her partner Rain Dove outside the Loudoun County courthouse. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)

Commuter trains are parked at the LaSalle Street station under a heavy snow fall in downtown Chicago, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019. A winter weather advisory is in effect until 3 a.m. Sunday and covers northern Illinois and Northwest Indiana including Lee, DeKalb, Kane, DuPage and Cook counties. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Boxer Manny Pacquiao jumps rope while cooling down after his workout at the Wild Card Boxing Club in Los Angeles on Monday, Jan. 14, 2019. The Filipino legend is in the winter of his career, gearing up for what could be one big last fight. Saturday’s bout versus Adrien Broner isn’t it, but Pacquiao trains with the knowledge that a second megafight against Floyd Mayweather could possibly be just months away if all goes well. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Propellers of the Marine One helicopter carrying President Donald Trump kick up snow as it lands on the South Lawn of the White House, in Washington, Monday, Jan. 14, 2019. Trump returned to the White House from a trip to New Orleans. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Kashmiri villagers watch the funeral of rebel commander Zeenatul Islam in Sugan village, 61 kilometers (38 miles) south of Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, on Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019. Massive anti-India protests and clashes erupted in disputed Kashmir on Sunday, leading to injuries to at least 16 people after a gunbattle between militants and government forces overnight killed two rebels, police and residents said. (AP Photo/Mukhtar Khan)

A man rides a horse through a bonfire as part of a ritual in honor of Saint Anthony the Abbot, the patron saint of domestic animals, in San Bartolome de Pinares, Spain, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019. On the eve of Saint Anthony’s Day, dozens ride their horses through the narrow cobblestone streets of the small village of San Bartolome during the “Luminarias,” a tradition that dates back 500 years and is meant to purify the animals with the smoke of the bonfires and protect them for the year to come. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

Riot police officers secure the Greek parliament as school teachers hold a protest in central Athens, on Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019. Hundreds of striking Greek civil servants, mostly school teachers, are marching through central Athens to protest the proposed new hiring criteria for state school teachers. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Amtrak modifies service because of winter storms

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Amtrak is modifying service in the Northeast and Midwest because of winter storms moving through the region.

The Capitol Limited, from Chicago to Washington, and the Lake Shoe Limited, from Chicago to New York, are canceled on Saturday.

On Sunday, five Acela trains and six Northeast Regional trains will not operate between New York and Boston. Six Keystone trains are canceled between New York and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Two Pennsylvanian trains are canceled between New York and Pittsburgh. Two Vermonter trains on Sunday will not run between St. Albans, Vermont, and New Haven, Connecticut.

Northeast Corridor service between New York and Washington will run as scheduled.

Amtrak passengers are advised to check on the status of their trains throughout the weekend.

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