Current Weather Conditions

 
Seven Day Forecast for Emporia, Virginia
 

Community Calendar Sponsored By...

 

Community Lenten Services

Luncheon will be served after each Wednesday Noon Service for a small donation.

March 27 - 12 Noon First Presbyterian Church Rev. Dr. Rick Hurst

April 3 12 - Noon Calvary Baptist Church Rev. Dr. Doretha Allen

April 10 - 12 Noon St. Richard’s Catholic Church Rev. Tom Durrance

April 18 - 7 pm Elnora Jarrell Worship Center Rev. Harry Zeiders

April 19 - 11 am Calvary Baptist Church (Radio Baptist) Various Pastors and Leaders Hour of Prayer

The offering: we have given two $500 scholarships to seniors in the past. We will contact these two students and if they are still at their schools with passing grades, we will give them another $500 each and any money above $1000.00 we be given to Thomas Family Boots On the Ground Outreach.

EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES

Southside Virginia Community College, a comprehensive community college, is seeking qualified applicants for an Industrial Technology Instructor (9 month, grant funded faculty) for the Southside Virginia Education Center in Emporia, Virginia.  The successful candidate must be committed to our mission to provide quality education to a diverse constituency.

First review of applicants begins April 10, 2019 and the position begins full-time August 16, 2019, however part-time employment prior to that date is possible.

Visit www.southside.edu/employment for detailed information on this vacancy. Applicants must apply online by submitting a completed State Application through the Virginia Jobs website at: https://virginiajobs.peopleadmin.comSatisfactory reference and background checks are a condition of employment.

SVCC is committed to Diversity, Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action.

Equal Opportunity Program

Auxiliary aids and service are available upon request to individuals with disabilities.

Yolanda Talley, VCU Health CMH February Team Member of the Month

Vice President of Professional Services, Todd Howell; Chief Executive Officer, W. Scott Burnette; Phlebotomist, Yolanda Talley; and Director of Laboratory Services, Christina Duke (L to R).

When you walk around thinking that a smile makes a day, good things tend to follow. The February VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital team member of the month is living proof.

Yolanda Talley, a phlebotomist with the CMH Lab, has earned repeated high praise from patients and staff she interacts with, according to Christina Duke, manager of the lab.

“Employees like Yolanda are why people choose CMH.” Christina said. “Yolanda has received 12 outpatient compliments in the past two months.  They even state she sometimes helps them to their cars!”

One such compliment earned Yolanda the first-ever team member of the month award for a lab employee.

According to Christina, the patient said, “Yolanda was wonderful. She was so polite and I didn’t have to wait.”

Yolanda has been with CMH for the past four and half years and works throughout CMH collecting blood samples from patients.

“I love my job,” she said. “I get to meet new people all the time and see different faces. I get to do the hard job (drawing blood).”

Yolanda works with patients in the emergency department, ICU, PACU, Acute Care, and in the Hundley Center.

It’s her fantastic attitude that Christina loves. “I tell all my staff that we are the face of the lab when we interact with patients and giving patients a great experience makes everyone’s day better.”

Yolanda is a giver. During her off time from work, she is the jayvee girls basketball coach at Park View High School, an assistant coach to the varsity team and an assistant track coach for the Dragons in the spring.

Yolanda has two children, Nyjay, her high school age daughter, and Elijan, a fourth grade. In her spare time from work, coaching and parenting, Yolanda is a movie junkie.

Other team members nominated in February were: Adelyn Beiler and Caitlin Crowder from Acute Care; Sean DeVaughn from Environmental Services; Amy Lynch from Care Management; Megan Mull from the Emergency Department; Joyce Paynter from Lab; and John Watson from Physical Therapy.

In addition to the award certificate, Yolanda received a STAR Service lapel pin, letter of commendation from Administration, a $40 gift certificate, and a parking place of her choice for the month.

 

Five Steps to Colon Health

An easy formula to promote prevention, awareness of common cancer

By: H. “Eddie” Akbari, MD, PhD, FACS     

Emporia, VA – Cancer of the colon is the third most common cancer in the United States – and, caught early, it’s also one of the most curable. About 90 percent of individuals whose cancer is found before it has spread survive five years after diagnosis. But, if not caught at this point, the five-year survival rate is just 10 percent. For residents in and around Emporia, colon cancer rates are even more alarming. According to a study in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, eastern Virginia and North Carolina are one of 3 hot spots for increased death from colon cancer.

Dr. Akbari discussing colon cancer prevention at a YMCA Lunch & Learn.

Dr. Akbari says there are five simple steps that you can take to protect your health.

1. Get tested - In 2018, the American Cancer Society (ACS) issued new screening guidelines for all adults over age 45 to begin routine colon cancer screenings.

Prevention is the primary goal and steer providers and patients toward those tests with the highest potential to prevent cancer. The recommendations include two tests and more specifically define the differences between tests: those that find cancer, and those that can find precancerous growths (also known as polyps). ACS recommends those tests that actually examine the interior of the colon because they cannot only detect cancer, but also prevent it by finding – and removing – polyps or growths that can potentially cause cancer. These tests include a flexible signoidoscopy (every five years); a colonoscopy (every 10 years); a double contrast barium enema (every five years); or a CT colonography or virtual colonoscopy (every five years). Polyps found during these tests can be removed on the spot, simply and painlessly.

Testing options that look for evidence of actual cancer, include three types of stool tests – an annual fecal occult blood test, the annual fecal immunochemical test (FIT), and a periodic stool DNA test.

2. Develop awareness

Know the risk factors associated with colon problems:

  • Advancing age: i.e., over age 45
  • A high-fat diet
  • A family (i.e., sibling or parent) or personal history of colorectal cancer
  • A history of polyps or growths inside the colon and rectum
  • Certain conditions that elevate your risk, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
  • Diabetes: People with diabetes have a 40 percent increased risk of colon cancer
  • Ethic background: African-Americans have the highest number of colorectal cancer cases in the United States

3. Know the symptoms

Be vigilant about scheduled screenings, and if you have certain symptoms, see your doctor sooner. Symptoms may include persistent stomach discomfort, a change in bowel habits (diarrhea, constipation, or a change in stool consistency), abdominal pain accompanying a bowel movement, dark stools, weakness or fatigue, unexplained weight loss, or blood in the stool. Symptoms vary, and certain foods or medications can also mimic these symptoms. It’s best to err on the safe side and check with your doctor about changes.

4. Practice prevention

A balanced diet, regular exercise and smart lifestyle choices will keep your risk level in check. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains provides the nutrients and antioxidants that fight disease. Low-fat dairy products and limited consumption of red meat keep your saturated fat intake low. Getting your vitamins and minerals through a daily supplement helps, but food-based vitamins are more effective and more easily absorbed by the body. Regular exercise – at least 30 minutes most days of the week – helps build your body’s defenses. Finally, quitting smoking and limiting alcohol consumption help, too.

5. Know your options

Talk with your doctor about the best way to manage your risk. If you have an above-average risk for colon cancer or an initial test reveals polyps, you and your doctor can decide the course of action that works best for you. Talk with your doctor at Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center about the resources available to you and learn the best way to manage your risk.

Tags: 

Assembly OKs Limited No-excuse Absentee Voting in 2020

By Kal Weinstein, Capital News Service

RICHMOND — Beginning in fall of 2020, Virginia will have more than Election Day. It will be more like Election Week.

Voters will go to the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, to cast ballots for president and other political offices. But for the first time, Virginians will be able to vote early that year — from Oct. 24 through Oct. 31 — without needing to provide an excuse.

That is the effect of legislation passed Thursday by the General Assembly and sent to Gov. Ralph Northam, who has expressed support for the measure.

Currently, Virginia is one of 16 states that require an excuse to vote absentee. To cast an early ballot in the commonwealth, voters must provide one of a dozen reasons for voting absentee, such as having a health, religious, school or business reason that prevents the person from voting on Election Day.

That would change under SB 1026, sponsored by Democratic Sen. Lionel Spruill of Chesapeake, and HB 2790, introduced by Republican Del. Nick Rush of Montgomery County. On Thursday, the Senate joined the House in passing the final versions of both bills.

The legislation “allows for any registered voter to vote by absentee ballot in person beginning on the second Saturday immediately preceding any election in which he is qualified to vote without providing a reason or making prior application for an absentee ballot,” according to a summary by the Legislative Information System. The absentee voting period ends on the Saturday immediately before the election.

In addition, Virginia still will offer absentee voting the existing way — beginning on the 45th day before an election. But until a week and a half before the election, voters must provide an excuse to get their absentee ballots.

When lawmakers convened in January, Northam urged them to approve no-excuse absentee voting. He called the existing law “arbitrary.”

Spruill said people do not feel comfortable having to provide an excuse about why they are voting absentee.

“You’d be surprised at how many folks come down and have to give an excuse as to why they’re voting early,” he said. “There should be no excuse to vote.”

Spruill said the legislation might reduce long lines to vote at polling precincts on Election Day.

Del. Kaye Kory, D-Fairfax, co-sponsored both the House and Senate bills. She said passage of the legislation is a “victory for the whole commonwealth,” even though it will not take effect until 2020.

“It’s about time. The reason this was a bipartisan success is because citizens of Virginia have been pushing for these kinds of reforms for many years,” Kory said.

Norman Eugene Kramer, 84, of Emporia, Va. passed away peacefully on Sunday, March 17, 2019, at Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center. He was the son of Lester Kramer and Gesina Norman Kramer. Norman was a retired communication specialist with the Unit

On Friday, March 1, Gastroenterologist Theopolis Gilliam, Jr., M.D., spoke to the Lawrenceville Cancer Research & Resource Center about colorectal cancer for the “Dress in Blue Day” program. He discussed the new screening guidelines, which reduced the age at which one should first have a colonoscopy from 50 to 45 years old.

Dr. Gilliam is available Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at Southside Physicians Network, located at 702 North Main Street in Emporia, where he performs scheduled procedures in the morning and sees patients in the afternoons. Call (434) 594-6603 to schedule an appointment.

Dr. Gilliam with Elias Berhanu, MPH, Education Coordinator for Lawrenceville Cancer Research & Resource Center

On Friday, March 1, Gastroenterologist Theopolis Gilliam, Jr., M.D., spoke to the Lawrenceville Cancer Research & Resource Center about colorectal cancer.

About Dr. Gilliam

Theopolis Gilliam, Jr., M.D., is a board certified in internal medicine with expertise in gastrointestinal disorders. He obtained his undergraduate education and doctorate from Howard University in Washington, D.C. He also completed his Internship, Residency and Fellowship at Howard University Hospital in Washington, D.C. His areas of practice include, but are not limited to: acid reflux disease, dysphagia, gastroesophageal reflux disease and irritable bowel syndrome. He performs the following procedures: colonoscopy, capsule endoscopy, endoscopy, endoscopic retrograde cholangiancreatography, endoscopic ultrasound and liver biopsy.

About Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center

Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center (SVRMC) is an 80-bed, acute-care facility located at 727 N. Main Street in Emporia, VA. With a medical staff of more than 70 physicians representing over 25 specialties, SVRMC serves nearly 50,000 residents in Emporia and the surrounding communities. The medical center is conveniently located near Interstate 95, Hwy 58 and Hwy 301. For more information about SVRMC and the services it provides, please visit SVRMC.com. You can also find them on Facebook.

 

Tags: 

Report Shows Geographic Disparities in Health in Virginia

By Rosemarie O’Connor, Capital News Service

RICHMOND -- It's a five-hour drive from Manassas Park to Galax -- but in terms of life expectancy, the two cities are 25 years apart.

Residents of Manassas Park, a city of about 16,500 people in the Washington suburbs, live to 91 years old on average. But residents of Galax, a  city of about 6,600 people in Southwest Virginia, typically live to just 66.

That wide gap in life expectancy reflects the disparities in health outcomes in Virginia, according to the latest County Health Rankings from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, one of the nation’s largest public health philanthropic organizations.  

For years, wealthy localities in Northern Virginia like Loudoun, Arlington and Fairfax counties have had the best health outcomes in the state while poor communities such as Petersburg, south of Richmond, and Galax and Covington in Southwest Virginia have some of the worst.

Health outcomes represent how long people live and how healthy people feel. They can be affected by health behaviors like smoking, diet and drug use; access to medical care; social and economic factors such as education and income; and physical environment like air quality.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation drew its data from a variety of sources including the National Center for Health Statistics and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The rankings help localities understand how various factors affect people’s health, according to the report. It said “connected and supportive communities, good schools, stable jobs, and safe neighborhoods” are the foundation for achieving a long and healthy life.

Poverty, lack of access to grocery stores and smog or other pollution can all exacerbate negative health outcomes.

Differences in health outcomes “do not arise on their own,” the report said. “Often, they are the result of policies and practices at many levels that have created deep‐rooted barriers to good health.”

These include "unfair bank lending practices, school funding based on local property taxes, and discriminatory policing and prison sentencing,” the report states.

The report emphasizes that “stable and affordable housing as an essential element of healthy communities.”

“Our homes are inextricably tied to our health,” Dr. Richard Besser, president and CEO of the foundation, said in releasing the report.

“It’s unacceptable that so many individuals and families face barriers to health because of what they have to spend on housing.”

Mentoring for Success

By Dr. Al Roberts

Audrey Williams June, writing in the October 2018 issue of Chronicle of Higher Education, reported, "Having a mentor can make a big difference in student's academic success—particularly for members of underrepresented groups." Her comments were based on the result of a Strada-Gallup Alumni survey of more than 5,000 recent college graduates.

The National Mentoring Partnership explains that mentoring “guarantees young people that there is someone who cares about them, assures them that they are not alone in dealing with day-to-day challenges, and makes them feel like they matter.” Statistics reveal that young adults who were at-risk for falling off track but had a mentor were 55% more likely to enroll in college, 78% more likely to volunteer regularly, and 130% more likely to hold leadership positions.

According to the Strada-Gallup Alumni survey, nearly two-thirds of alumni who had a mentor during college said that person was a professor. College staff members were next on the list. Students benefited from mentors’ guidance regarding their educational studies, career plans, personal issues, and physical and mental health.

While the benefits of mentoring are well documented, the survey also pointed to national inequalities in access to mentors. It noted that although 72% of white alumni reported having been mentored by a faculty member, only 47% of alumni of color described the same experience.

At Southside Virginia Community College, faculty and staff work together to ensure that all students have the opportunity to receive guidance and encouragement. SVCC programs based on mentoring relationships include Make It Happen, Women in Search of Excellence, and Great Expectations.

Make It Happen (MIH) focuses on the academic success of rural young men of color, a group that often lags behind its white and urban peers. One cause is the lack of socioeconomic support, which can promote workforce entry over college. MIH provides an institutional climate supportive of the success of African-American males by providing mentoring, ensuring academic support services, and promoting academic achievement.

Women in Search of Excellence (WISE), a new program just entering its second year, has already amassed significant achievements. WISE participants receive coaching for success, work on building academic skills, explore career options, and plan for their futures. They also participate in team building activities and assist others through community service opportunities.

Great Expectations serves current and former foster youth. Participating young people receive active support as they explore career possibilities, locate sources of financial aid, and succeed in college.

SVCC faculty and staff give generously of themselves to enrich the lives of students—in and out of the classroom. If you’d like more information about mentoring programs or other student support services, please contact Bernadette Battle, Dean for Student Success, at 434-949-1063.

Dr. Al Roberts is president of Southside Virginia Community College, an institution of higher learning that provides a wide variety of education opportunities to a diverse student population within a service area that spans ten counties and the city of Emporia. He can be reached via email at al.roberts@southside.edu.

Greensville Schools to host Child Find

Greensville County Public Schools will sponsor Child Find on Friday, April 12, 2019 from 10 am until 5 pm at Greensville Elementary School.

Child Find is registration for Head Start or Virginia Preschool Initiative.

Head Start is a federal preschool program which provides comprehensive services and learning experiences to prepare children for Kindergarten and move families toward self-sufficiency. The program also operates in compliance with IDEA to include children with special needs. All Head Start services are free to children and families.

The Virginia Preschool Initiative, established in 1995, distributes state funds to schools and community based organizations to provide quality preschool program for at-risk four-year-olds. The program offers full day Pre-kindergarten, parent involvement, child health and social services, and transportation to families with four-year-olds at risk of school failure.

Parents of all children who are or will be four years old on or before September 30th and are residents of Emporia or Greensville County are encouraged to attend. There will be NO TESTING. Children do NOT need to attend!

To apply, you must bring your child’s OFFICIAL birth certificate (NOT a hospital certificate), immunization record, PROOF of residency (for example: a current water/electric bill with YOUR name and address) and, because of NEW state guidelines, verification of household income (for example: paystub, W-2, Medicaid card, TANF, SNAP, WIC, SSI).

Job Fair Planned for April 10, 2019

Job Fair 2019 will be held on Wednesday, April 10, 2019 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Southside Virginia Education Center at 1300 Greensville County Circle, Emporia.  This event is open to all job seekers so dress to impress, bring resumes, a photo id and copy of your WorkKeys Career Readiness Certificate that will be a pass to get in at 12:45. 

This event is sponsored by Southside Virginia Community College Workforce Development and Student Development Services.  For information, call Courtney Starke at 434-949-6614 or email Courtney.starke@southside.edu

Employers that will be on site include:

Lake Country Area Agency on Aging

Greensville Correctional Center

Emporia VEC

Armor Correctional Health Services

Envoy of Lawrenceville

Walmart- Emporia

Penmac Staffing Services

Greensville Health and Rehabilitation Center

Avon

P&S Trucking

Lincoln Heritage Insurance

The GEO Group

Virginia Department of Corrections

Greensville/Sussex 1

Meherrin River Regional Jail

Learning House/Partner Plus

Heritage Hall Blackstone

Melvin L. Davis Oil Company

Southside Regional Jail

State Board Committee Certifies Three Finalists for Southside Virginia Community College Presidency

RICHMOND – The State Board for Community Colleges has certified three finalists for the position of president at Southside Virginia Community College. The finalists were among 81 applicants from across the nation.

The three finalists, in alphabetical order, are Dr. Thomas G. Coley of Granger, IA; Dr. Jacqueline M. Gill of Lee’s Summit, MO; and Dr. Quentin R. Johnson of Mooresville, NC

“I am impressed with breadth and width of talent the presidency of Southside Virginia Community College is attracting,” said Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges. “The college’s service region is easily the geographically largest throughout the VCCS. While that poses some unique challenges it also offers some unique opportunities for a dynamic leader to step forward and help us demonstrate what a modern rural community college can be for those who depend on it.” 

Dr. Thomas G. Coley has worked in higher education for more than 39 years. He began his career as an assistant professor at the University of Maryland at College Park in 1980. Six years later he began working at California State University, Fullerton, serving as the college’s government and community liaison. Coley proceeded to hold senior executive positions with the Oregon State System of Higher Education; Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, Ohio; and Black Hawk College in Moline, IL before becoming the president of Scott Community College in Scott County, Iowa in 2005. He joined Indiana’s Ivy Tech Community College System in 2011 as the chancellor of the Northwest and North Central Region. Following a system restructuring, he became the chancellor of South Bend – Elkhart campus, where he works today. Coley earned a doctorate from the University of Wisconsin, Madison as well as a master’s degree and bachelor’s degree from Minnesota State University, Moorhead.

Dr. Jacqueline M. Gill has worked in higher education for more than 20 years. She began her career as the director of continuing education for the NE Campus of Tarrant County College in Hurst, Texas. In 2010, she became the college’s vice president of Academic Affairs & Community & Industry Education. Gill moved to Kansas City, MO in 2016 where she became the president of Metropolitan Community College. Prior to working in higher education, she worked for seven years as a social worker in the greater Dallas Fort Worth metropolitan area, including two years of recruiting candidates from underserved populations into healthcare career fields for the Dallas Fort Worth Area Health Education Center in Irving, Texas . Gill earned a doctorate, master’s degree and bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University, and a separate master’s degree from the University of Texas at Arlington.

Dr. Quentin R. Johnson has worked in higher education senior leadership roles for more than 20 years. That includes, beginning in 2004, serving as the president’s chief of staff and acting vice president for Student Life and Enrollment Management at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. In 2011 he became the senior vice president for Enrollment and Student Services at Fairmont State University and Pierpont Community and Technical College in West Virginia. Johnson moved to Guilford Technical Community College in North Carolina in 2012 to become the vice president of Student Support Services, the position he holds today. He also has some Virginia experience, previously serving as the assistant dean for Enrollment Management & Student Services at the UVa School of Nursing. Johnson earned a doctorate from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore; a master’s degree from Bowling Green State University; and a bachelor’s degree from Defiance College in Defiance, Ohio.

The three finalists seek to succeed Dr. Al Roberts, the college’s fifth president, who announced last fall that he was retiring at the end of June, having served as president for five years. The finalists will each visit the college in late March to meet with faculty, staff, students and community members.

SVCC serves one small city and spans ten rural counties across southern Virginia. The college offers 23 degrees at the associate level, a host of shorter-term academic and workforce development programs, opportunities for dually enrolled high school students, adult basic education, and other transitional services for non-traditional students.

About Virginia’s Community Colleges: Since 1966, Virginia’s Community Colleges have given everyone the opportunity to learn and develop the right skills so lives and communities are strengthened. By making higher education and workforce training available in every part of Virginia, we elevate all of Virginia. Together, Virginia’s Community Colleges serve more than 241,000 students each year. For more information, please visit www.vccs.edu.

Tags: 

Laura Barnes Velvin

 

June 18, 1920 - March 23, 2019

Graveside Service

Tuesday, March 26, 2019, 11:00 AM

High Hills Cemetery
215 N. Halifax Rd, Jarratt, VA

Laura Barnes Velvin, 98, of Jarratt, passed away Saturday, March 23, 2019. She was preceded in death by her husband, James Edward Velvin and her two sons, James Venable “J.V.” Velvin and wife, Charlotte, and Lawrence Everett Velvin.

She is survived by three grandchildren, James T. Velvin (Christy), Randy Dean Velvin (Jeannie) and Andrea Velvin (Jason Williams); step-grandchildren, Scott Pritchard (Crystal) and Hope Wood; seven great-grandchildren; six great-great grandchildren; daughter-in-law, Evelyn “Scottie” Velvin and numerous nieces and nephews.

A graveside funeral service will be held 11 a.m. Tuesday, March 26 at High Hills Cemetery, Halifax Rd, Jarratt, Virginia.

Memorial contributions may be made to Jarratt Volunteer Fire Department, P.O. Box 562, Jarratt, Virginia 23867.

Marjorie Baird “Margie” King

January 19, 1943 - March 19, 2019

Visitation Services

Thursday, March 28, 2019 at 2:00 P.M.

Main St. United Methodist Church

Thursday, March 28, 2019 at 12:00 noon

Main St. United Methodist Church

 

Marjorie Baird “Margie” King, 76, died Tuesday, March 19, 2019.

Margie was a native of Lawrenceville and lived most of her adult life in Emporia. She was the daughter of the late Hobart Maryland and Blanche Edwards Baird. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by a brother; Leroy Baird and his wife Elaine and three brothers in law; John Hartley, Carter Harris, and George Roberts.

Margie was a longtime active member of Main St. United Methodist Church and the founding Member of Beta Sigma Phi Sorority in Emporia. She loved her family, friends, and her community and always had a gracious smile and hug for everyone she met.

Margie is survived by her husband of 57 years, Malcolm Lee King, Jr., daughter; Michelle King Edmonds and her husband Scott and grandson Ryan Scott Edmonds all of South Hill, brother; Joseph Edgar “J.E” Baird and his wife Cordie of Colonial Heights, sisters; Catherine Hartley of Charlotte, NC and Mary Carter Harris Roberts of Freeman, and many nieces and nephews.

A celebration of her life will be held Thursday, March 28, 2019 at 2:00 P.M. at Main St. United Methodist Church in Emporia with Rev. Tom Durrance officiating. The family will receive friends at the church from Noon until service time.

In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to Beta Sigma Phi Sorority, C/O Barbara Moore, Treasurer, 626 Madison Street, Emporia, VA  23847 or Main Street United Methodist Church, 105 Church Street, Emporia, VA  23847.

Online condolences may be left at echolsfuneralhome.com.

Environmental Groups Glad About Coal Ash Cleanup Law

By Adrian Teran-Tapia, Capital News Service

RICHMOND — Environmental and consumer groups applauded Gov. Ralph Northam after he signed legislation this week that aims to protect water quality by cleaning up more than 27 million cubic yards of coal ash from unlined ponds in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Northam signed into law SB 1355, sponsored by Sen. Frank Wagner, R-Virginia Beach, and HB 2786, sponsored by Del. Riley Ingram, R-Hopewell. The legislation seeks to clean up coal ash sites in the city of Chesapeake and in Prince William, Chesterfield and Fluvanna counties.

The ash is the byproduct of coal-fired power plants operated by Dominion Energy. The law will require Dominion to move the coal ash to lined landfills or recycling it in a safe manner. It will also require the closure and removal of any coal combustion residuals units, including coal ash ponds or landfills, within the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

“The potential risks to public health and water quality posed by unlined coal ash ponds in the commonwealth are far too great for us to continue with business as usual,” Northam said. “This historic, bipartisan effort sets a standard for what we can achieve when we work together, across party lines, in the best interest of all Virginians. I am proud to sign this legislation into law.”

Ingram echoed those sentiments.

“I was pleased to see that the General Assembly, the governor, House, Senate and Dominion were able to all come together and come up with a great solution for the coal ash ponds and in my opinion for the betterment of everyone,” Ingram said.

The bills were co-sponsored by several lawmakers, including Sen. Scott Surovell, D-Fairfax, and Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy, D-Prince William. They contributed key components, including a ban on “cap in place” closure of unlined ponds — a method critics said could lead to water pollution. Another component is a requirement that at least 25 percent of the coal ash be recycled for concrete or other beneficial uses.

“I think this represents the first time Virginia has adopted environmental regulations that are more protective of the environment than federal law,” Surovell said. “This represents an important step forward for environmental protections in Virginia.”

Carroll Foy said she was proud that “bipartisan hard work” produced the legislation.

“At town halls and meetings with my constituents, I promised that I would fight for legislation to recycle coal ash into concrete and other materials and to excavate and remove the remainder of coal ash to lined landfills because it was the most effective way to protect public health and the environment,” Carroll Foy said.

The cleanup is expected to cost several billion dollars. Under the new law, Dominion will be able to pass on the cost to its customers. As a result, state officials have estimated, the average monthly electric bill will increase by about $5.

The Potomac Riverkeeper Network thanked Northam and state legislators for working across party lines to pass the legislation.

“This legislation, which is a result of four years of persistent work by Potomac Riverkeeper Dean Naujoks and our Virginia partners, is an historic step to solve the serious and lingering pollution problem of legacy coal ash,” said Nancy Stoner, the network’s president.

She said that four years ago, Naujoks began testing water wells near some of Dominion’s coal ash ponds and discovered that lead and arsenic had contaminated nearby groundwater.

“The dangers of coal ash, leaking into groundwater, drinking wells, our rivers and streams and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay, have long been documented, and we’re proud of our role in fixing the problem,” Naujoks said.

Kendyl Crawford, director of Virginia Interfaith Power & Light, said the new law was a step in the right direction. But she said the state should have required Dominion to bear the cost of the cleanup.

“It is long overdue that decades-old toxic coal ash is finally being addressed after having poisoned Virginia’s waterways. Removing millions of cubic yards of toxic material along waterways to safe, lined landfills is a step towards a healthier and more just state. Now, we have a moral responsibility to ensure that all coal ash, including that outside of the Chesapeake Bay watershed is safely recycled and disposed,” Crawford said.

“While we applaud the signing of this legislation that cleans up coal ash, once again Dominion, one of our electric utility monopolies, has shown their influence by pushing the fiscal burden to fall on electricity consumers.”

Governor Signs Law Slashing Sales Tax on Personal Hygiene Products

By Emily Holter, Capital News Service

RICHMOND — The sales tax on tampons, diapers and other personal hygiene products will be reduced by more than half beginning Jan. 1, 2020.

Gov. Ralph Northam announced Wednesday that he has signed SB 1715, sponsored by Sen. Jennifer Boysko, D-Fairfax, and HB 2540, proposed by Del. Kathy Byron, R-Lynchburg. The bills will lower the retail sales and use tax rate on essential personal hygiene products to 2.5 percent.

The new law will apply to feminine hygiene products and nondurable incontinence products including diapers and other materials.

“We know that menstrual supplies and diapers are necessary to leave home for work, school, and social activities,” said Boysko, who called her bill the Dignity Act. “I am so glad we have made progress on the issue of menstrual equity and at long last will have tax relief for these products that women and families have to purchase.”

Currently, consumers pay the regular sales tax rate on these items: 7 percent in Virginia’s Historic Triangle (Williamsburg, James City County and York County), 6 percent in Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia, and 5.3 percent elsewhere in the state.

Byron said the law will benefit Virginians of all ages.

“This legislation won widespread bipartisan support because it provides tax relief on necessities used by women and men young and old,” Byron said. “For the young family buying diapers to those purchasing other essentials for their health, the savings because of this bill will add up and be appreciated.”

Northam commended the General Assembly for passing the bills.

“I am pleased to sign this common-sense legislation that makes these necessities more accessible and affordable,” he said. “The essential nature of personal health care products is not up for debate.”

The law will make these products subject to the state’s reduced sales tax of 1.5 percent, which currently applies only to food. In addition, local governments add a 1 percent sales tax on such purchases.

Boysko had wanted to remove the so-called “tampon tax” entirely. Byron pushed for a compromise on grounds that a tax exemption for personal hygiene products would have a big effect on the state budget.

Norman Eugene Kramer

 

Norman Eugene Kramer, 84, of Emporia, Va. passed away peacefully on Sunday, March 17, 2019, at Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center. He was the son of Lester Kramer and Gesina Norman Kramer. Norman was a retired communication specialist with the United States government.

Norman is survived by his loving wife, Mary Frances Derring Kramer of Emporia, Va., daughter, Laura Kramer Rose (Russell) of Vienna, Va., son, Mark Kramer (Gina) of Vienna, Va., Stepsons, Richard H. Short III (Betsy) of Emporia, Va., and John C. Short (Janet) of Bracey, Va., grandchildren, Ryan Rose, Sean Rose, Naomi Kramer, and Angela Kramer, all of Vienna, Va., step grandchildren, Ryan Short (Paula) of Littleton, NC., Alex Short and Allison Short of Emporia, Va., Parker Short of Smithfield, Va., and Nicholas Short of Blacksburg, Va., and a step great granddaughter, Mary Katherine Short of Littleton, NC.

A celebration for Norman Kramer will be held on Sunday, March 31, 2019, at 2:00PM, at Lakeside Lutheran Church, 2427 Eaton Ferry Road, Littleton, NC 27850.

Memorials may be made to: Lakeside Lutheran Church Building Fund.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at: www.echolsfuneralhome.com

Virginia Electric Utilities Wiring Rural Areas for Broadband

By Daniel Berti, Capital News Service

RICHMOND — If you want internet service in the rural hamlet of Honaker, in far Southwest Virginia, Cable Plus is the only game in town. With internet speeds of 3 megabits per second, customers can go online to check their email, surf social media and watch low-quality videos from streaming services, but not much else.

The cheapest Cable Plus internet package available to the 700 households in Honaker: $54 a month.

An hour away in Bristol, Virginia, residents have plenty of options to choose from for broadband. They can get high-speed service — with speeds of at least 25 Mbps — for as low as $45 a month.

The difference in internet services between urban and rural communities in Virginia is stark: Only 53 percent of rural Virginians have access to broadband internet. Urban areas have far better coverage — 96 percent, according to a 2016 study by the Virginia Chamber of Commerce.

That’s because internet providers profit more when their customer base is concentrated and easy to reach. In rural areas, it’s much more expensive per customer to provide high-speed internet.

Virginia lawmakers have taken steps to address geographic disparities in broadband coverage by passing a bill that will give the state’s two largest electric utilities, Dominion Energy and Appalachian Power, the green light to provide broadband internet service to unserved areas.

HB 2691, sponsored by Del. Israel O’Quinn, R-Bristol, will create a pilot program that allows the electric utilities to expand “middle mile” broadband coverage — the infrastructure that connects the networks and core routers on the internet to local internet service providers that serve businesses and consumers directly.

The bill will allow each utility to spend up to $60 million annually on the pilot program. The companies will be able to recover that money from ratepayers.

Dominion and Appalachian Power won’t be providing high-speed internet straight to residents’ homes and businesses, however. The final connection, called the “last mile,” will be left to third-party internet providers. The last mile brings service to the end user’s premises and is typically the most expensive component of broadband infrastructure.

Nate Frost, director of new technology and energy conservation at Dominion Energy, said the program is “unconventional” for electric utilities but could help solve rural Virginia’s broadband woes.

“There’s a unique opportunity to potentially leverage some of the business that we’re going to be doing anyway,” Frost said. “But getting to that point won’t be easy.”

Under the Grid Transformation and Security Act of 2018, Dominion Energy and Appalachian Power must modernize their systems, and part of that involves bringing broadband to electrical substations to support new “smart” infrastructure initiatives.

The pilot program allows the electric utilities to add extra fiber optic cables to rural substations in addition to the fiber they’re already putting in place. That additional broadband capacity will then be leased to third-party internet providers, which will provide last-mile connections to homes and businesses nearby.

O’Quinn’s bill is awaiting Gov. Ralph Northam’s signature to become law.

Evan Feinman, Northam’s chief broadband adviser, said earnings by electric utilities from leasing middle-mile infrastructure will result in lower electric bills over time and will save ratepayers an estimated $150 million over the next three years.

Those savings are based on Dominion’s 2018 Broadband Feasibility Report, in which the company outlined the potential for adding broadband capacity to rural areas.

“It’s one of those very rare win-wins where the electric companies, ratepayers and people in need of broadband service all benefit,” Feinman said.

The bill passed the Senate unanimously but drew opposition from a few Republicans in the House of Delegates. Del. Kathy Byron, R-Bedford, voted against it.

“We’ve made great progress toward achieving this goal over the last several years,” said Byron, who chairs the state Broadband Advisory Council. “I’m concerned that the approach enacted by HB 2691 might unintentionally divert or detract from our well-established and successful efforts.”

Over the last few years, the Virginia Telecommunication Initiative has provided millions of dollars to broadband service providers to extend their service into rural areas. During its recent session, the General Assembly increased funding for the Virginia Telecommunication Initiative for the 2020 fiscal year from $4 million to $19 million.

Del. Dave LaRock, R-Loudoun, also voted against O’Quinn’s bill, citing the increased costs to ratepayers.

“This is a perversion of the system where the State Corporation Commission has the authority to set reasonable rates and to return ratepayer money that exceeds reasonable rates,” LaRock said.

It’s not unprecedented for electric utilities to provide internet services in Virginia. Central Virginia Electric Cooperative, which serves rural areas in 14 counties, announced its own broadband expansion in January 2018. The $110 million project aims to provide internet and phone service directly to consumers through a subsidiary company called Firefly Broadband.

Virginia has the fifth-highest rate of broadband adoption in the nation and ranks among the top 10 states in terms of its average peak internet connectivity speed, according to the Virginia Chamber of Commerce. Up to 70 percent of the world’s internet traffic flows through Northern Virginia.

But state officials have been concerned about the lack of broadband in rural areas, saying such connectivity is critical to economic development. Northam has made broadband expansion a priority, proposing that the state spend $250 million over the next 10 years to address the unequal distribution of internet service.

“Broadband internet is inarguably a necessity for participation in a 21st-century economy, and many Virginians have been left without quality access for far too long,” Northam said. “By ending this disconnect, we can better attract and support business and entrepreneurship, educate all Virginia students and expand access to cost-saving telehealth services.”

Occupational Health Services for Area Employers

Let’s build a healthy workforce, together.

South Hill—As you know, your team members are the single most important and valuable resource in your organization. A healthier team member is often a more productive team member. VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital Health and Wellness Services provides team member health services required and needed in today’s world of business and industry. We can help your business reach its goals for a healthier workforce.

A healthier workforce will decrease lost work time, provide more productive and motivated employees, reduce health care and worker’s compensation costs andreduce workplace injuries.

For more than 17 years, the professionals with VCU Health CMH Health & Wellness Services have been responsive to the health needs of the corporate community.  Currently they contract with numerous companies throughout the region to provide such services as:  pre-employment physicals, DOT physicals, rapid drug screens, lab based drug screens (urine, hair follicle), breath alcohol testing, immunizations, OSHA hearing conservation education and testing and much, much more. 

Learn more about how you can make your workforce healthier by visiting our website at vcu-cmh.org and downloading a brochure or calling (434) 774-2541.

Meet the professional staff of VCU Health CMH Occupational Health: (pictured from left to right)  Linda Crump, Office Service Specialist; Donna Overton, LPN, COHC, BAT, SAMI-DOT; Amy Hobbs, FNP-C; DeeAnna Forbes, LPN, COHC, BAT APS-DOT; Jessica Seamster, LPN, BAT, APS-DOT

“Wake Up Time”

From whom do we collect taxes
When our citizens move away
Yes and what incentive do we use
To encourage them to stay.
 
There is constant talk of tourism
And the Big Role it could play
Then we closed that gate on thousands
When the Pork Festival went astray.
 
Now it would be nice if you got what you wanted
Then we all would join in for a cheer
Yet may I suggest in the mean time
To do something for those that live here.
 
We need to go out of town for good shopping
And to get a good meal as well
Yes that is where I see the most of you
Though you know that I won’t tell.
 
You’re filling up the vacant stores
With things we do not need
Yet what about the recreation
That would be good indeed.
I’m certain there are ways and means
For the problems we have to solve
Still if we don’t take action now
More trouble it will involve.
 
                    Roy E. Schepp

Spotlight on Jobs by the Virginia Employment Commission

Electrician II: Provide general electrical maintenance support for the Emporia Plywood Mill. Performing routine mechanical and electrical equipment repairs and preventive maintenance activities.   Job Order# 1613779

     

Part time Taxi Cab Driver:  Emporia based cab company seeking cab drivers. This is a job providing customer service and applicants must be able to meet employer's need to serve the public in a positive manner in their actions, delivery of service and communications with customers. Candidates hired should be able to work with minimal supervision and should be expected to communicate effectively with co-workers, supervisors and clients. Must be flexible in performing services which are dispatched in the varying types of calls received. Must be able to perform duties as assigned by management.  Job Order# 1613117

 Laborer: 

Major Job duties and responsibilities include Heavy grouting work.

•Carry, load, unload and stack materials.

•Lay out material and assist carpenters.

•Dig with pick and shovel.

•Shovel, rake, spread and vibrate concrete into place.   Job Order # 1613101

Herdsperson Trainee/Laborer: High School diploma or GED Preferred.

•Previous livestock handling helpful.

•Ability to do physical labor.

•Strong commitment to team work.    Job Order # 1613348

Groundsman: Landscape or maintain grounds of property. Clean parking lot. Weed eating. Change bulbs, batteries, etc. Use hand and/or powers. Remove litter. Other duties may apply.  Job Order# 1613312

         THESE AND ALL JOBS WITH THE VIRGINIA EMPLOYMENT COMMISSION CAN BE FOUND ONLINE AT

www.vawc.virginia.gov

Subscribe to Emporia News RSS

Emporia News

Stories on Emporianews.com are be searchable, using the box above. All new stories will be tagged with the date (format YYYY-M-D or 2013-1-1) and the names of persons, places, institutions, etc. mentioned in the article. This database feature will make it easier for those people wishing to find and re-read an article.  For anyone wishing to view previous day's pages, you may click on the "Previous Day's Pages" link in the menu at the top of the page, or search by date (YYYY-M-D format) using the box above.

Comment Policy:  When an article or poll is open for comments feel free to leave one.  Please remember to be respectful when you comment (no foul or hateful language, no racial slurs, etc) and keep our comments safe for work and children. Comments are moderated and comments that contain explicit or hateful words will be deleted.  IP addresses are tracked for comments. 

EmporiaNews.com serves Emporia and Greensville County, Virginia and the surrounding area
and is provided as a community service by the Advertisers and Sponsors.
All material on EmporiaNews.com is copyright 2005-2019
EmporiaNews.com is powered by Drupal and based on the ThemeBrain Sirate Theme.

Submit Your Story!

Emporia News welcomes your submissions!  You may submit articles, announcements, school or sports information using the submission forms found here, or via e-mail on news@emporianews.com.  Currently, photos and advertisements will still be accepted only via e-mail, but if you have photos to go along with your submission, you will receive instructions via e-mail. If you have events to be listed on the Community Calendar, submit them here.

Contact us at news@emporianews.com
 
EmporiaNews.com is hosted as a community Service by Telpage.  Visit their website at www.telpage.net or call (434)634-5100 (NOTICE: Telpage cannot help you with questions about Emporia New nor does Teplage have any input the content of Emporia News.  Please use the e-mail address above if you have any questions, comments or concerns about the content on Emporia News.)