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February 2014

  1. Full-time governor’s schools ask for almost $3 million

    By Liz Butterfield, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND — Full-time governor’s schools in Virginia are requesting an additional $2.9 million from the state this year to correct a funding disparity in the budget formula between part-time and full-time governor’s schools.

    Parent-Teacher-Student Association members of the Appomattox Regional Governor's school and the Maggie Walker Governor's School are leading an advocacy effort proposing the amendments.

    The funding formula currently in place gives full-time governor’s schools in Virginia only 15 percent more funding than part-time schools, which is not enough to encourage growth or continued much-needed programs, according to Marianne Macon, advocacy chair of the Maggie Walker PTSA.  "In effect, the current formula discourages full-day programs," Macon said. "The state has been providing planning grants for new governor's schools -- new full-day schools -- and the planning is in the works, but the actual realization of the schools -- and the continued possibility of the schools being financially viable for their region -- is really, in my opinion, dependent on the correction of the formula."

    House budget item 136 1H and Senate budget item 136 2S are patroned by Delegate Tag Greason, R-Lansdowne, and Sen. Richard Saslaw, D-Springfield, respectively. The items were spearheaded by concerned parents of the schools.  “When this was brought to my attention I thought, wow, these are supposed to be the best and brightest of our schools, but yet we’re underfunding them,” Greason said. “I think literally the mechanics of the funding formula have shortchanged the schools so we put in a budget amendment to try and fix that.”

    The House version of the budget item requests a study of the funding formula for the schools for a long term solution, Greason said.  The budget amendments aim to correct the funding disparity between full-time governor’s schools and part-time governor’s schools in the state, which has been in place for more than a decade, Macon said.  If the amendment is added to the budget, $2.9 million would be allotted to the schools for school year 2014-2015 between the three schools.

    The budget problems at the schools have been building since 2009, and Maggie Walker still is down about 15 percent in overall revenue funding from state and local funding since 2009, Macon said.  "There is such great demand for these schools I think there would be progress in establishing more if the funding was stabilized and equalized," said PTSA advocacy committee member Laura O'Brien.

    The additional money would be put towards updating technology, textbooks and needed security changes around the schools, Macon said.  The Maggie Walker School has had to cut its part-time security staff and does not have a full-time school resource officer, Macon said.  "We've had to cut back in that area," Macon said.  The school also has had to pay for recent updates in its security cameras.

    Bringing additional funding from the state will allow programs at the Appomattox governor’s school to strengthen, said Sherrill Hankins, PTSA advocacy chair at the Appomattox Regional Governor's School. The funding may go to "maintaining key teachers who will come or are attracted to come teach in these focus areas," she said.

    Teacher salaries must be approved by the regional school boards, which vote on their own budgets annually.

    The amendments were not included in the governor’s original proposed budget

  2. CoCoRaHS Program Conducting a “March Madness” Recruiting Effort

    The National Weather Service in Wakefield, VA is currently looking for volunteers to join the CoCoRaHS program during a “March Madness” recruiting effort.      

    CoCoRaHS stands for the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow network and was established in 1998 in the aftermath of the Fort Collins, CO flash flood that occurred in July 1997.  This program consists of a unique, non-profit, community-based network of volunteers who take daily weather measurements in their backyards and record the information on the CoCoRaHS website (www.cocorahs.org).  Observations are then immediately available in map and table form for the National Weather Service and the public to view. 

    There are several counties throughout Eastern Virginia that have zero to less than five observers actively reporting.  During last year’s contest, we were able to pick up 17 total observers as well as provide information within 5 counties/incorporated cities that had zero observers previously. 

    In order to expand this beneficial observing network, we are counting on YOU!  By becoming a CoCoRaHS observer, you will provide crucial precipitation information that fills data gaps among other observation networks.  Weather enthusiasts of all ages are welcome to join CoCoRaHS and are encouraged to read more information about the program at www.cocorahs.org before deciding to volunteer.  If you have any questions about CoCoRaHS, please contact Bridget De Rosa at (757) 899-4200.

    On the Web:

    NOAA:  http://www.noaa.gov

    National Weather Service:  http://www.weather.gov

    CoCoRaHS Program:  http://www.cocorahs.org

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  3. IST Program at SVCC Leads To Careers

    “I don’t think Southside Virginia Community College gets nearly enough credit.  The professors are knowledgeable and approachable.  The classes are challenging and I never felt like I was wasting my time or not learning enough in class,” is how one student in the Information Systems Technology program describes the local college.

    Jean Lucas continues, “As a busy mom, one of the main reasons I chose SVCC was the availability of so many online and evening classes.  I don’t think most people realize the quality and variety of programs that are offered at SVCC.”

    Lucas is a 2013 Summa Cum Laude graduate with the Associate of Applied Science degree in IST.  She is currently participating in an internship at Kinex Telecom in Farmville, Virginia, a local telecommunications company specializing in telephone and internet services serving southern Virginia.    Kinex also repairs computers for businesses and individuals and is a partner and supporter of the Information Systems Technology program at SVCCKinex also provides a representative to serve on the Advisory Committee at the college for Information Technology. 

    Lucas is putting her classroom knowledge to work in a hands-on environment in the area of computer repair and troubleshooting.  She is Microsoft Office Specialist certified in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

    “When I contacted Joan Tuck with SVCC and explained that I was looking for an intern, I never expected to have someone of Jean Lucas’ caliber apply.  Jean came to us, mild, friendly and with a beautiful smile. Jean is a highly talented and a dedicated professional who is helpful and intuitive.    Her technical experience is strong and her organizational skills are invaluable.  She has effectively demonstrated her learned professional and technical abilities from SVCC.  We are happy to have her working with our team and recognize the valuable service SVCC offers our communities,” said Lorraine G. Carter, General Manager, Kinex Telecom, Inc.

    Another successful IST student is Oscar Ramirez (pictured) of Buffalo Junction, Virginia who is a 2011 graduate of Bluestone High School.  He completed his Associate in Applied Science degree at Southside Virginia Community College in December 2013 and has been hired full-time by Atos, an international Information Technology services company, in Boydton, Virginia as a data center entry-level technician.  Ramirez received his Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) certification in Security Fundamentals while taking classes at SVCC.

    According to Joan Tuck, Professor, Information Technology for the Daniel Campus, “the Information Technology field changes rapidly and is an exciting career choice for many people, especially those who enjoy a hands-on, challenging, problem-solving environment.   The faculty in the Information Technology Department are dedicated and committed to the success of our students.”

    The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the national median pay for computer support specialists is $46,260.  The national median pay for network support specialists is slightly higher at $59,090.  Computer support specialists provide installation, repairs, updates, help, and advice to people and organizations using computer software or equipment.  Network support specialists analyze, test, troubleshoot, and evaluate existing network systems, such as local area networks (LAN), wide area networks (WAN), and Internet systems. They also perform network maintenance to ensure networks operate correctly with minimal interruption. 

    SVCC has a robust associate degree program in Information Systems Technology with a variety of classes that include application software, operating systems, web design, programming, PC hardware troubleshooting and repair, networking, and security.   A networking specialization within the associate degree program is also available.  Many of the courses prepare students for industry certifications that are valuable in information technology careers. 

    For information, see the website at www.southside.edu

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  4. Obituary-Carter F. Lewis, Sr.

    Carter F. Lewis, Sr., age 72, of Freeman, Va. passed away February 25, 2014. He is preceded in death by his wife, Rena Anne Parker Lewis and his son, Carter F. Lewis, Jr. He is survived by his children, James L. Lewis and wife Connie, John W. Lewis and wife Linda, and Jane Lewis Brown; six grandchildren; four great grandchildren; and a sister, Delorese Stallings and husband Jimmy. Carter was a volunteer hunting instructor and Certified Treestand Safety Instructor for the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Hunter Education. Contributions to a memorial scholarship in Carter’s name may be sent to Dianne Cook, Treasurer, Virginia Hunter Education Association, 7184 Dryburg Road, Scottsburg, VA 24589. The family will receive friends from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Friday at Williams Funeral Home, Lawrenceville and Saturday from 1:00 to 2:00, prior to the service at the funeral home. Funeral services will be conducted 2:00 p.m. Saturday at Williams Funeral Home, Lawrenceville with interment in Oakwood Park Cemetery, Lawrenceville, Va.

  5. Greensville County Student Athletes Receive District and Conference Honors

     

    Back row:Shereba Doyle,Taiquona Conner,Michael Robinson,Jaylon Meredith,Jordan Peebles. Kneeling:Michael Robinson,Shyheim Anderson,Hunter Astrop.Not pictured:Sheena Johnson

    Boys Basketball

    The boys’ basketball team ended their season in the conference playoffs with several of the Eagles receiving honors bestowed on them by the coaches in the Tri-Rivers District and Quad Rivers Conference 34.

    Greensville who was previously in the Southside District is now part of the Tri-River District.  The eagles finished with a 10-7 record in the district. 

    Michael Robinson a junior shooting guard earned a spot on the Tri-River District All-Academic team.   Robinson boasts a 3.5 GPA.  “Michael is a very intelligent young man on and off the court, and his GPA reflects that he is also a hard worker in the classroom.  We are very proud of Michael’s accomplishment and hope that more athletes follow his lead”, said Coach Young.

    Freshman Hunter Astrop was named honorable mentioned in the Tri-River District.  The freshman point guard averaged 5points, 3 assist, with only 1.5 turnovers per game.  Hunter also boasts a 3.0 GPA.  “Hunter has some upside to him.  He knows the game and understands how to get his teammates involved.  His basketball IQ is very high.  Hunter will only get better when he gets stronger and bigger and more varsity experience”, said Coach Young.

    Sophomore Shyheim Anderson was also named honorable mentioned.  The sophomore point guard averaged little over 6 points per game and was an important piece to the Eagles season.  “Shyheim was a matchup problem for most teams, and was vital in some of the Eagles wins.  More consistency is needed from Shyheim for this team to advance”, said Coach Young.

    Junior Jaylon Meredith rounded out the list of the honorable mentioned athletes for the Greensville Eagles.  Jaylon averaged 5 points and 5 rebounds and made 14 three pointers for the season.  “Jaylon definitely will improve with time.  When he rebounded and played under the rim, we played better as a team.  When Jaylon gets stronger and faster he will grow into a very good basketball player”, said Coach Young.

    Junior Michael Patrick was honored with second team all-district.  He averaged over 10 points a game, and was consistently the Eagles penetrator.  “Michael was the second leading scorer and had several games over 20 points.  Several nagging injuries in crucial games prevented him from being as effective as he could be.  Michael will only get better”, said Coach Young.

    The cream of the crop from this year’s team was sophomore Jordan Peebles.  He received 1st team all-district and 1st team all-conference honors, and received very positive reviews from all the coaches.  Jordan averaged over 12 points a game, 7 rebounds and had 33 blocks throughout the season.  He was definitely the offensive glue for the Eagles this year.  “If Jordan gets bigger, stronger and faster the sky is the limit for him if he applies himself in the classroom.  I would love to see him assert himself more defensively and be a leader in practice as well”, said Coach Young.

    Girls Basketball

    Taiquona Conner and Sheena Johnson were named to the Tri-Rivers All District Team.  Taiquona Conner, a sophomore point guard for the Lady Eagles girl’s basketball team was named to the 2nd Team All District Tri-Rivers Team. Conner led the Lady Eagles this year averaging 13.6 points per game, 3.3 steals and 3 assists per game.  Sheena Johnson was named Honorable Mention for the Tri-Rivers District. Johnson averaged a double double with 10 points and 10 rebounds per game.  At the Quad Rivers Conference 34 meeting held recently, Taiquona Conner was named to the All-Conference Team.

    Coach Manning was very pleased with the selections for both of the young ladies. “I think it’s a great honor and well deserve for these young ladies. These young ladies along with their teammates put in a lot of hard work and I am proud of what they have accomplished.  I’m sad to see Johnson go, but I thank her for her contribution to the program.”   As for Conner, Manning says, “She has a bright future and hopes that she continues to grow and make great strides to get better.”

    All-Academic Team

    Sharebra Doyle, a senior on the Lady Eagles basketball team was named to the Tri-Rivers District All-Academic Team.  Doyle currently has a 3.6 grade point average.  Coach Manning was proud to have Doyle named to the team. Manning says, “Anytime you have athlete that can maintain a high grade point average like Doyle and play sports, it speaks volumes for that student/athlete.  Sharebra has always been a hard working and this award is very deserving for her.  I am just so proud of her.”

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  6. Sign up now for March 11 Statewide Tornado Drill

    More than 391,000 have registered for annual safety exercise

    RICHMOND, Va. – To help residents of Virginia practice tornado safety, a Statewide Tornado Drill will be held Tuesday, March 11, at 9:45 a.m. So far, more than 391,000 people have registered for the drill.

    Registration for the tornado drill is not necessary, but people can learn more and show their support by signing up at www.ReadyVirginia.gov. Everyone in Virginia can participate, including businesses and organizations, schools and colleges, and families and individuals. 

    “It’s vitally important to know what to do when a tornado warning is issued for your area. The Statewide Tornado Drill gives everyone an opportunity to practice,” said Brett Burdick, acting state coordinator of emergency management. “Knowing what to do can save your life.”

    The annual drill is a joint effort of the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and the National Weather Service.

    “Tornadoes in Virginia don’t have a season. In fact, three tornadoes hit southeast Virginia Jan. 11,” said Bill Sammler, NWS warning coordination meteorologist. “Tornadoes are possible in Virginia any time of year.  Every tornado warning should be taken very seriously, and if a warning is issued for your area, then you need to take cover.” 

    To start the tornado drill, at 9:45 a.m. March 11 the NWS will send a test tornado warning that will trigger a tone alert and broadcast message on NOAA Weather Radio. The message will be picked up by TV and radio broadcasts, simulating what listeners will hear during an actual tornado warning. 

    When the test tornado warning is sounded, people should move as quickly as possible to a safe area in a sturdy building. Safe areas are basements and interior rooms on the lowest level of a building such as bathrooms, closets or hallways. In choosing a safe area, stay away from windows. Once in the safe area, people should crouch down or sit on the floor facing down, and cover heads with hands. 

    In case of widespread inclement weather March 11, the Statewide Tornado Drill will be held March 13.

    “If you don’t have a NOAA Weather Radio, then make a point now to get one,” said Sammler.  “One of the fastest ways for people to get a tornado warning is by Weather Radio. With a Weather Radio, you get information directly from the nearest National Weather Service office.  When we issue a tornado warning, the Weather Radio sounds an alarm or flashes lights and then gives information on where the storm is, which way it’s moving, and telling people in its path to take cover. This radio could be a lifesaver.”

    NOAA Weather Radios with SAME alerts that target warnings to specific areas of the state are available at electronics and sporting goods stores, discount and department stores, and online.  They come in battery-powered models, and many also have AM/FM bands. A special needs NOAA Weather Radio is available as well. The special-needs NOAA Weather Radio can warn deaf and hard-of-hearing persons of hazardous conditions, giving them around-the-clock, up-to-the-minute weather information.

    For help in conducting a tornado drill and to register for the statewide drill, go to www.ReadyVirginia.gov

    Here’s a look back at tornadoes in Virginia during 2013:

    • 5 tornadoes were recorded (4 EFO and 1 EF1).
    • There were no reported injuries.
    • Property damage was nearly $72,000.
    • One tornado occurred in April and four struck in June.

    During 2012:

    • 11 tornadoes were recorded (8 EFO and 3 EF1).
    • There were no deaths, but six people were injured.
    • Property damage totaled $3 million.
    • The highest number of tornados occurred in June (6).

    During 2011:

    • 51 tornadoes hit, the second highest number on record (87 struck in 2004).
    • In April, 10 people died and more than 100 were injured.
    • Most tornadoes occurred during April, but tornadoes also were recorded in March, May, August, September, October and November.
    • In April, 212 homes and 17 businesses were destroyed; more than 1,050 homes and businesses were damaged.
    • Nearly every part of Virginia experienced tornadoes, including mountain areas.
    • One-third of the tornadoes struck at night when people were asleep.

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  7. Wyatt Middle School Students Thrive Academically

    On February 20, 2014, Wyatt Middle School celebrated the academic achievements of students receiving honor roll for the first semester. Students were applauded for their continued dedication to their academic success. Several students were awarded for having made straight A’s for the semester. These students were given medallions and a certificate for their efforts. They were also treated to a Carolina BBQ lunch buffet on the following day. Students who receive A/B honor roll were given a certificate and will celebrate with an ice cream social Friday, February 28th. Seventh grade English teacher, Vonita McDaniel addressed students by providing words of encouragement for their thriving academic performance. Principal Noah Rogers added that much of the success of students can be attributed to parental participation, rigorous expectations and student attendance. The faculty and staff of Wyatt Middle School are very pleased with the success of their students and look forward to celebrating more achievements in the near future.

    6th Grade All A’s

    First row left to right: Nicholas Gordon, Dalton Harrison, Brooke Battle, Mattie King, Chloe Martin

    Second row left to right: Dawson Butler, Denise Cosio, Elijah Coker, and Jared Lynch

    7th Grade All A’s

    Left to right: Summer Jones, Jessie Li, Cassandra Robinson, Kavon Jordan, Karolina Allen, Chad Randall, and Elizabeth Moore

    8th Grade All A’s

    Left to right: Sara Harvey, Lindsey Gordon, Umang Patel, Samantha Richards, and Brittany Saleeby

  8. STUDENT OF THE MONTH SARAH-NICOLE RICH ABERNATHY (NIKKI) FEBRUARY 2014

    Brunswick Academy is pleased to announce that Sarah-Nicole Rich Abernathy has been chosen the February 2014 Student of the Month.  Nikki, a senior, is the daughter of Abbie and Sarah Abernathy of Dolphin.  She has two brothers, Jake and Evan.  Nikki was a varsity majorette and has played volleyball at Brunswick Academy since the 6th grade.  She has held numerous roles in the Brunswick Academy Theatre for the last seven years. She has participated in ASP mission trips with Liberty Church.  Nikki enjoys reading, riding horses, going to the beach and hanging out with friends. 

    Nikki will attend Longwood University where she plans to study elementary education.  She hopes to become a special education teacher. 

    WAY TO GO NIKKI!

  9. Medicaid Expansion Battle Foreshadows Potential Government Shutdown

    By Colin Kennedy, Capital News Service

     RICHMOND -- Virginia’s Republican-dominated House of Delegates and Democratic Senate both passed competing versions of a two-year, $96 billion state budget bill this past week, but not before the GOP reinforced its stern opposition to Medicaid expansion. 

    The Senate’s version (Senate bill 30) would allow the commonwealth to use federal money to help provide health coverage for an estimated 250,000 uninsured Virginians through a private marketplace. But Republican legislators responded with a symbolic vote that supports a position the GOP has held for months.

    In what was the latest move in an endless case of party politics at the state Capitol, House Appropriations Committee Chairman S. Chris Jones, R-Suffolk, proposed an amendment to add expanded Medicaid to budgetary House Bill 30 just moments before the chamber approved its version of the state budget.  As expected, the amendment that mirrored the Senate’s Medicaid expansion plan was rejected. However, Jones and the Republicans hope 67 votes against the provision strengthen their stance against federally-backed health care expansion.

    The emblematic move came less than a week after Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe openly criticized the House budget for failing to accept Medicaid expansion. The maneuver continues a partisan battle legislators on both sides of the aisle have warned may cause government impasse.

    An 11-person conference committee will meet to attempt to reconcile differences between the two budgets and will have until the start of the new fiscal year on July 1 to come up with a compromise. If nothing is settled by July 1, the state government will effectively shut down.

     Republicans hinted at the prospect of a government shutdown last year when McAuliffe insisted he wouldn’t approve a state budget that didn’t include Medicaid expansion during his campaign. And less than two weeks before the General Assembly’s scheduled conclusion date of March 8, some legislators are confident the battle over Medicaid expansion will prolong the session at the very least.  “If it’s not the biggest issue, it is one of the biggest issues,” Delegate Riley Ingram, R-Hopewell, said. “I will be surprised if we get out of here on March 8. I’ll be surprised if we’re out of here by April 15.”

  10. Petersburg, Chesterfield Negotiate School Acquisitions

    By Eric Luther and Liz Butterfield, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND — Petersburg City Public Schools may circumvent a state takeover, pending a Senate budget proposal aiming to provide Chesterfield County the authority to intervene and essentially manage the city’s worsening schools.

    Proposed by Sen. Thomas Norment, R-Williamsburg, the proposal allots more than $1.6 million to Petersburg and Chesterfield over the next two years for the purpose of developing a school-services cooperative agreement and tuition contract.

    The budget item is modeled after an agreement between Fairfax County Public Schools and Fairfax City, under which the schools are operated y the county but the buildings are maintained by the city.  Nicole Bell-Van Patten, a Petersburg Public Schools spokeswoman, stated in a press release that the division is aware of the budget amendment but was surprised to learn of the proposal.  “We will stay abreast of developments from the General Assembly regarding this issue,” Bell-Van Patten stated.

    According to a report from the Senate subcommittee on education, funding would allow for $1 million in the first year and $600,000 in the second year to alter a per-pupil funding disparity between the two districts.  The recommendation of the Senate subcommittee states the proposal is meant to avoid routing Petersburg’s failing schools to the Opportunity Educational Institution Plan … effectively avoiding a complete state takeover to solve the schools' problems.

    Petersburg schools, which receive funding from federal School Improvement Grant allocations, spent an average of $10,655 a pupil in fiscal year 2012, while Chesterfield schools spent $8,755 a student, according to a state senate report. 

    Norment spokesman Jeff Ryer says the proposal is an agreement between two localities within the same region, as opposed to the state imposing some other solution.  “I would look at it as an administrative change,” Ryer said. “I think everybody is looking for some kind of solution that occurs relatively soon. Every day a child is in a failing school is a serious problem.”

    Peabody Middle School and A.P. Hill Elementary were denied accreditation by the State Board of Education this academic year for poor performance. Other schools, including J.E.B. Stuart Elementary, Robert E. Lee Elementary, Walnut Hill Elementary, Vernon Johns Junior High and Petersburg High School, were allowed accreditation with a warning.

    Passing rates on the English test of the Virginia Standards of Learning in Petersburg schools decreased from 77 percent in 2010-2011 school year to 52 percent in 2012 - 2013. On the mathematics test, only 50 percent of students passed this past year, and only 56 percent of students passed the writing exam.

  11. GA Delaying Individual School Grading System

    By Chris Suarez, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND -- The House Education Committee approved a bill delaying the implementation of a new grading system for schools this past week, but some delegates are questioning if the new system meets the needs of Virginia schools, parents and communities.  This past November, the State Board of Education approved a new A-to-F grading system for individual state schools to supplement the current accreditation system.  The bill passed the House committee and delays incorporating the new grading system for one year, moving the deadline for grades to Oct. 1, 2015.

    The idea of introducing a grading system for state schools was rolled out last year as part of former Gov. Bob McDonnell’s “All Students” K-12 education reform. The grades would be assigned to schools based on students’ “demonstration of proficiency, academic growth and college and career readiness,” according to a November 2013 press release from the Virginia Board of Education. 

    The report cards are slated for release Oct. 1, 2014, but some legislators and teacher’s unions say more time is needed to assess how grades should be assigned.  “The A-through-F grading only grades poverty,” said Sen. John C. Miller, D-Newport News. “It doesn’t give a true indication of what goes on in schools.”

    This past week Senate Bill 324, the bill introduced by Miller, which would delay implementing the new grading system by three years, was combined with a companion bill, House Bill 1229, by the House Committee on Education.  Miller said he introduced the three-year delay after State Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Patricia Wright requested it. Wright says data still needs to be collected to make a fair assessment, according to Miller.

    Miller’s bill sought to include grades for experience and qualifications of teachers, funding per pupil, extracurricular activities, percentage of children eligible for free or reduced cost lunch, percentage of English language learners and other factors.  “The criteria need to include more factors that impact a child’s education,” Miller said. “If we’re going to give a grade, we ought to give a grade that properly reflects what’s happening in our schools.”

    While Miller’s bill outlined other factors that should be considered when assigning grades, the amended House bill leaves standards for what may or may not be graded up to further legislation. The House bill states the process would grade schools’ performances based on “standards of accreditation, state and federal accountability, and student growth indicators.”   “I think the Department of Education made it more complicated than it needs to be,” said Delegate Steve Landes, R-Verona, the chief patron of HB1229. “The criteria they came up with are convoluted and complicated. It’s not easy for the school systems, teachers or parents to understand what the grades mean.”

    Landes says he’s undecided on whether a single grade or a more comprehensive report card would be more beneficial for educators and families, but the year-long delay would provide more time for debate.  “I think he’s (Miller) doing the exact thing we’re trying to avoid: complicating it,” Landes said. “We need to make it simpler, more transparent and easier for people to understand.”

    While some legislators debate the time frame and manner of grading, other state officials and education organizations are strongly opposed to a letter-grade system.  The Virginia Education Association has come out in opposition to the letter-grade system. VEA President Meg Gruber says schools with high numbers of English language learners, low-income students, special education participants and other factors may affect a school’s grade and cause further disparity with high-grade schools.

    Earlier this month, Delegate Mark Sickles, D-Fairfax County, told the Virginian-Pilot the new grading system is similar to painting schools with a “scarlet letter.” 

    The bill that approved the letter-grade system last year was introduced by Delegate Thomas Greason, R-Lansdowne. According to a Loudon Times report, Greason drafted the legislation after attending events hosted by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative think tank that has lobbied for letter-grade systems in several states.   “Research will show you that there is not one state that has implemented an A-to-F grading system of their public schools that has been accurate or successful,” Gruber said. “Florida right now is looking at placing a moratorium on it because it’s so flawed ... Why are we putting in place a system that isn’t working anywhere else?”

    The bill is awaiting its third reading this week and is expected to meet a verdict before the General Assembly adjourns on March 8.

  12. Student Power Descends Upon General Assembly

    By Lauren McClellan and Jackson McMillan, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND -- College students from across Virginia met at the General Assembly this past week to lobby legislators about progressive issues, such as Medicaid expansion, women’s reproductive rights and education for undocumented students.

    University of Virginia alumna Clair Wyatt founded the Virginia Student Power Network in fall 2013 after she saw a need for students across the state to organize and come together to discuss and act on issues important to the state’s higher education students.  “The main student coordinators of the Virginia Student Power Network decided last fall that we wanted to have a statewide student lobby day during the 2014 General Assembly session,” Wyatt stated in an email. “We went to the General Assembly to tell our legislators to prioritize educational access, as well as social, economic, and environmental justice, because they need to be beholden to the interests of Virginian citizens – particularly us as the next generation – not private and corporate interests.”

    Grassroots movements can have a significant influencing effect on issues, says Kate Miller, a University of Virginia student.  “It’s really easy to be bogged down and feel like you can’t do anything once you realize how many problems the communities are facing,” Miller said. “Just reaching out to other people and finding a way to work with the system and to help fix some of these issues and just generally make a difference is a really, really wonderful thing.”

    Former student Jordan Gregory of Petersburg said healthcare issues are what attracted him to participate with Virginia Student Power Network.  “I fall in that percentile that doesn’t have healthcare,” Gregory said. “If I was to break my leg right now, I would have to pay out of pocket and that’s steep.”

    Around 15 students from Virginia Tech, the University of Virginia, Virginia State University and Virginia Commonwealth University met up in Richmond to talk with their respective legislators.  The day started with a training session in the Capitol where Cathy Woodson from Virginia Organizing, a progressive grassroots advocacy organization, led the students in a roleplaying exercise.  Students had the chance to learn how to best go about speaking to their local legislators.  Addie Alexander, an event organizer, played different legislators to help prepare the students.

    After the role-playing exercise, Delegate Alfonso Lopez, D- Arlington, talked to the students about issues he has been working on this General Assembly session. His talking points included women’s reproductive health, Virginia’s proposed version of the DREAM Act and environmental conservation.  “Virginia should be the leader in renewable energy,” Lopez said. “but we’re not.”

    Students then were given schedules for their meetings with legislators and went to watch the session.  Rachel Sine, a Virginia Commonwealth University student, met with aides for Delegate Jennifer McClellan, D- Richmond, and Sen. John Watkins, R- Midlothian.

    McClellan legislative aide Abbey Philips said McClellan shared similar position with the students on higher education, Medicaid expansion and reproductive health issues.   Philips also said McClellan supports Medicaid expansion because it would afford coverage to many people who live in her district.  “She (McClellan) has close to 30,000 constituents in her district that are currently uncovered,” Philips said. “There is a possibility that we will be holding some educational forums about Medicaid for our constituents so they know about it, and so they know what their options are with the health exchange.”

    Sine said she thought her meetings with legislators went well.  “They (the legislators) agreed with us on the policies we went in there to talk about,” Sine said, “and they were open to have a discussion with us and hear us out.”

    Virginia Tech student Claire Wicklund met with an aide from the office of Sen. John Edwards, D- Roanoke, and Delegate Joseph Yost, R- Pearisburg.  “We knew going in that Edwards would be really supportive, so it was cool going in to talk about how we can work together in the future as a student group with a legislator,” Wicklund said. “We were kind of surprised talking with Yost because we actually did have his support in some of the issues we were talking about up to an extent.”

    Miller met with aides for Sen. Creigh Deeds, D- Charlottesville, and Delegate David Toscano, D- Charlottesville.  “The two of them were very supportive,” Miller said.  “Both of them were mindful of the issues we talked about, which were reproductive rights, the environmental legislation on solar energy and the DREAM Act.”

    David Brown, the special assistant to Democratic Leader Toscano, said he and the students discussed a wide range of issues.  “It was very interesting and helpful to get the input of students who are very concerned about contemporary issues,” Brown said. “I think it’s really important for him (Toscano) to understand where all of his constituents stand on issues including students.”

    The students said they were happy with their experience and thought it helped them to get a better prospective of Virginia’s legislature.  “Engaging within that system was really interesting because you read about it in textbooks in class and you hear about how it works, but it’s very different up close and personal,” Miller said. “It was quite interesting to see how everything was shifting around.”

  13. Obituary-Eula Webb Miller

    Eula Webb Miller, 89, of Jarratt, widow of Ralph Wood Miller, passed away Friday, February 21, 2014. She was the daughter of the late Luther and Martha Harrell Webb and was also preceded in death by two brothers, Marvin and Otis Webb and a sister, Alma Michael. She is survived by one son, Ralph T. Miller and wife, Katha; grandson, Owen Miller and wife, Denise; great-grandson, Colton Miller; all of Emporia; two brothers, Carroll Webb and wife, Rae; also of Emporia and Shelton Webb and wife, Mary of Hampton and a number of nieces and nephews. A funeral service will be held 2 p.m. Tuesday, February 25 at Owen Funeral Home, 303 S. Halifax Rd, Jarratt, Virginia where the family will receive friends one hour prior to the service. Interment will follow at High Hills Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Jarratt Volunteer Fire Department, P.O. Box 562, Jarratt, Virginia 23867 or to High Hills Baptist Church, P.O. Box 296, Jarratt, Virginia 23867. Online condolences may be made at www.owenfh.com.

  14. OBITUARY-Michael Wayne Jones

    Michael Wayne Jones, 60, of Emporia, passed away Friday, February 21, 2014. He is survived by his wife, Patricia Ann Jones; two sons, Michael Wayne Wells, Justin Lee Wells;  a sister, Judy Moore and a brother, Jake Watson. The family will receive friends at his home on Sunday, February 23. A funeral service will be held 2 p.m. Monday, February 24 at Owen Funeral Home, 303 S. Halifax Rd, Jarratt, Virginia. Interment will follow at Emporia Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please consider memorial contributions to the family or the funeral home for assistance with final expenses. Online condolences may be made at www.owenfh.com.
  15. ARC Visits General Assembly

    The Members of The ARC of Virginia and Partners were visiting the Virginia General Assembly advocating to protect individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities access to needed services and avoiding unnecessary institutionalization.  The members and families visited Delegate Roslyn Tyler regarding increased funding intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) waivers.  She is supportive of additional waivers and this concern is now being discussed in the budget bill (HB 30). If you support additional waivers in Virginia, please contact your legislator.

    Susan Coon, Lia Tremblay, Joe Tremblay, (standing in back) Tommy Coon, Shannon Farthing, Delegate Roslyn Tyler, Anita Dommert, President of the Arc South of the James, and Becky Farthing.
  16. Federal Farm Bill Cracks Down on Animal Fights

    By Jessi Gower, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND – Patrons of animal fights will face harsher consequences thanks to the Agricultural Act of 2014, which recently was signed into law by President Barack Obama.  The legislation – also known as the “Farm Bill” -- includes provisions that not only make being a spectator or bringing a child under the age of 16 to animal-fighting events as federal crimes.

    Washington Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell, was the force behind the passing of this legislation, and she says these laws will help protect children from being traumatized or desensitized by the cruelty and suffering happening at animal fights.  Cantwell and supporters say they are hopeful the provisions also will help to prevent children and spectators from mimicking such heinous acts on humans.

    The Animal Legal Defense Fund stated on its website that animal abusers are five times more likely to harm a person.  This means animal-fight hosts and spectators -- including children -- are more at risk for developing domestic violence tendencies, than people who do not attend these bloody events.  U.S. Human Society President and CEO Wayne Pacelle stated he thinks the bill will promote prevention while also giving law enforcement more tools to further shut down the illegal animal-fight industry.     “The farm bill gives us a new hammer in breaking up dogfighting and cockfighting rings,” Pacelle stated in a HSUS news brief, “allowing law enforcement (more legal options to) crack down on the entire cast of characters involved in these sickening enterprises.”

    Along with these provisions, the law also omits the controversial King Amendment, which according to the humane society, attempted to nullify state laws and strip states of the rights to ensure the health and welfare of citizens.  This means the law will authorize the purely local sale and consumption of “any agricultural product,”  no matter how dangerous, unethical, environmentally destructive or of concern.  “The farm bill also drives a stake in the heart of the overreaching and destructive King amendment,” Pacelle stated, “which threatened so many state and local laws against inhumane farming practices.”

    Because the King Amendment was omitted from the final draft submission, state laws on health, safety and animal welfare currently are safe from nullifications and law changes.

  17. Seminars for Small Business Owners

    Art As A Business & Doing Business in a “GAFA” World (Google, Amazon, Facebook & Apple) **Rescheduled from January 30, 2014**

    Marc Willson, Retail Consultant for the Virginia Small Business Development Centers will conduct a FREE seminar on “Art as a Business & Doing Business in a GAFA World”. He will discuss how to sell your art without selling your soul, define and engage your collector, master merchandising basics, market and advertise your product/artwork, build your brand, create a social media presence, and embrace and understand the business side of selling your product/artwork.

    Marc brings 35 years of experience in assisting retail, restaurant and tourism-related small businesses refine and promote their concepts to the public. He joined the Virginia SBDC in 2009 as a Retailer Industry Consultant and has delivered seminars and assisted retailers throughout the United States.

    Tuesday, February 25, 2014
    9:00am—12:00Noon
    Lake Country Advanced Knowledge Center
    118 E. Danville Street
    South Hill, VA 23970
    FREE seminar
    To register: 434-738-6191 Ext. 4261 or gina.mull@mecklenburgva.com
    **If you registered for the class for January 30, PLEASE REGISTER AGAIN**

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  18. Red Light Cameras Remain Legal

     By Quinn Casteel, Capital News Serviice

    RICHMOND – Red light cameras will remain legal in Virginia for at least another year, as the House Transportation Committee defeated a bill this past week that would have forced the discontinuation of such photo-monitoring systems.  The committee voted 13-8 against House Bill 973, sponsored by Delegate Benjamin Cline, R – Amherst, which would have repealed local authority to operate the systems known as “photo red” or “red-light cameras.”

    Virginia police from several localities attended this past week’s meeting to lobby in favor of keeping the cameras, citing safety as the number one concern. Localities that have implemented the systems have reported decreases in red-light violations as high as 33 and 40 percent.

     Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn, D – Springfield, and committee chair Delegate Thomas Rust, R – Herndon, were among the House members voting against the bill.  “My main reason for voting against it: safety,” Rust said.  “A lot of people were saying it saves lives and stops crashes.”  Filler-Corn, a fellow Fairfax County delegate, echoed Rust’s opinion.   “In Fairfax County we don’t have red-light cameras,” Filler-Corn said, “but I do feel strongly that we need to retain the option and flexibility because I do believe it (cameras) saves lives.”

    Among those opposing the monitoring systems and voting for the bill was Delegate Timothy Hugo, R – Centreville, who questions the localities’ motivation.  “You’ve seen what they’ve done in D.C. – they shorten the lights to basically increase the revenue,” Hugo said. “I’m very hopeful -- right here in the House -- we’ve passed a bill to set a standard for the yellow light.”

    House Bill 116, sponsored by Delegate Joseph Morrissey, D – Richmond, would tighten regulations on the photo systems in regards to the timing of yellow lights and how law enforcement uses the cameras to monitor right turn lanes. “What you don’t want to see is these lights being used as a revenue builder,” Hugo said.

    Virginia Beach is home to the state’s longest-running photo-monitoring program.  The city reported it netted $3.3 million on 12 cameras from 2009 to 2012. Fairfax City has made $500,000 in profit on just three cameras since 2011 and has plans to add three more, according to a report by WTOP-FM.

    Other localities with red-light-camera monitoring include Richmond, Albemarle County, Norfolk, Newport News, Chesapeake, Petersburg, Charlottesville, Blacksburg, Centreville, Arlington, Vienna and Woodbridge.

  19. Community Garden Boxes Still Available

    The Greensville/Emporia Extension Office has four community garden boxes available for rent and would like to invite all agriculture supporters to adopt one. This project has two key goals for our community:

    1) The community garden boxes serve as a tool to enhance community beautification and educate individuals about gardening.

    2) Serve as a unique symbol in the fight for childhood obesity by encouraging healthy eating through gardening.

    These initiatives cannot be accomplished without your support, attached you will find the Adopt-A-Box letter along with the registration form. All fees and forms are due back to Brittany A. Council by March 10th, please write your organization name as you want it to appear on your sign. I look forward to having your business adopt-a-box and if you have any questions please feel free to contact Brittany at 434-348-4233.

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  20. Women Can Fly Event Will Introduce Flight to Girls and Women in Virginia

    Women Can Fly, a series of four special Saturday events scheduled for May and June of 2014, will introduce aviation to more girls and women in Virginia. While the number of women working in the aviation industry has steadily increased, they are still underrepresented in the workforce and the number of women pilots is only 6% of the total pilot population. Women Can Fly will be an enjoyable and educational event for girls and women of all ages to learn more about flight through a variety of experiences including static displays, special guests, simulation opportunities, preflight briefings, and a flight in a general aviation aircraft for participating girls and women. The goal is to inform them about career opportunities as well as introduce them to the fun and camaraderie of general aviation.

    Women Can Fly events will be held at Warrenton‐Fauquier Airport on May 10, 2014; Lynchburg Regional Airport on May 24, 2014; Hampton Roads Executive Airport on June 21, 2014; and Charlottesville‐Albemarle Airport on June 28, 2014.

    Local contacts are:

    Doris Gatewood
    Aviation Adventures at Warrenton
    Warrenton‐Fauquier Airport
    dorisgatewood@gmail.com
    (540) 522‐6115


    Becky Farley
    Hampton Roads Executive Airport
    bfarley@flypvg.com
    (757) 488‐3166


    Amanda Spence
    Lynchburg Regional Airport
    Amspence2@liberty.edu
    (717) 826‐3045


    Banu Cole
    Charlottesville‐Albemarle Airport
    banucole@gmail.com
    (757) 575‐6792

    Three Women Can Fly events were held in Virginia in 2013 and 373 women and girls were introduced to aviation and received a free flight. More information about Women Can Fly as well as photos from previous events can be viewed at www.womencanfly.org.

    Women Can Fly is sponsored by the Ninety‐Nines, Inc. (International Organization of Women Pilots), Warrenton Fauquier Airport, Hampton Roads Executive Airport, Charlottesville‐Albemarle Airport, Liberty University, Freedom Aviation, and the Virginia Department of Aviation.

    The Virginia Department of Aviation continually strives to become the standard of excellence among state aviation agencies through its cultivation of an advanced aviation system that is safe, secure and provides for economic development; its promotion of aviation education and awareness; and by providing flight services for Commonwealth leadership and state agencies.

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  21. Obituary-Benjamin Franklin Baker

    Benjamin Franklin Baker, 91, Emporia, Virginia, died February 19, 2014 at home. Mr. Baker was born in Dyersburg, TN on May 19, 1922 to Benjamin Americus and Golden Verna Baker. He was third of nine children. Deceased sisters are Adele, Frances, Agnes, Dorothy and two living sisters Ernestine and Mildred and one brother Fred (Nellie). He was predeceased by his wife of 54 years, Virginia Frances Long Baker. Survivors are daughter Bettie (Tex) Gordon and two sons, Benjie and Dennis, Sister in Law Mary (Allen) Inge, six grandchildren, Leslie (Kevin) Mann, Joel (Jennifer) Gordon, Katie Baker, Bernadette (Ty) Baker-Baughman, and Theresa (Ryan) McClure, and David Baker, and four great-grand children, Sidney, Addy, Wyatt, Abigail and one to be born in June. He was a long time active member of Main Street Baptist Church serving as Deacon, Sunday School Director, choir member and many other capacities. He loved his church dearly. He was a mechanic with Watkins Ford Motor Company. He was a gifted musician who loved to entertain with his banjo and guitar. Music was his passion. He was also a great fisherman. He was a good neighbor helping anyone in need and was awarded a plaque in appreciation of continuous service to the Walnut Heights Homeowners Association for unselfish time and efforts. He was also a Navy WWII survivor at Pearl Harbor fortunate enough to return home to his family. We thank special care givers Greta, Lisa, Nan and Gentiva Hospice for Dementia, Jennifer, Frances, Queen, La Sundra, Rhonda, and sitters Sandy and Joy. Family will receive friends for the viewing at 1:00 pm on Saturday, February 22, 2014, at Main Street Baptist Church. The funeral service will follow at 2:00 pm at the same location officiated by Dr. Rick Hurst. Interment will be at Emporia Cemetery. Lunch will be provided following the burial. Pallbearers are Joel Gordon, Kevin Mann, Larry Adams, Ted Blankenship, Charles Brickell and Aaron Hatch. Honorary Pallbearers are Carl Rae, Russell Lundy, Steve Braswell, Boyce Wornom, Tom French and Dave Roberts.  Condolences may be sent to www.Echolsfuneralhome.com

  22. Code Amentment on Logging Trucks Fails...For Now

    The Tuesday, February 18, Emporia City Council meeting began with a public hearing.  At issue was an amendment to city code section 74-13 offered by City Council Member F. Woodrow Harris.

    After Mayor Mary Person opened the public hearing, City Manager Bryan Thrower read his recommendation from previous meetings; and stated that neither the Chief of Police and Emergency Services Coordinator would recommend amending the code to allow logging trucks on Main Street.  (The city manager’s recommendation not to change this city ordinance can be read on here).  He also added that to open city streets to overloaded trucks from only one industry seemed inequitable. After hearing the recommendation from the City Manager, Mayor Person opened the floor to public comments.

    Mr. Bernard Rose an employee of Kapstone Paper in Roanoke Rapids North Carolina offered what he considered to be an industry perspective.  He began by stating that using city streets as opposed to interstate 95 was not an ideal long-term solution.  He further stated that landowners northeast of the city were at an economic disadvantage because trucks must be loaded two towns lighter.  He added that no paper company would offer of those landowners a competitive bid due to that 4000 pound disadvantage.

    Mr. Rose further stated that he doubted that Emporia would see the large number of trucks and that the city of Roanoke Rapids does; he even seemed to represent that there were no issues with 300 or more logging trucks using Roanoke Avenue every day.

    Mr. Rose’s comments in favor of changing the ordinance were the only citizen comments heard during the public hearing.  In this week's EmporiaNews.com poll readers were asked if they were in favor of allowing overloaded logging trucks on Main Street.  Out of 732 votes, 34 people voted yes and 698 voted no.  These results were shared with City Council Members via e-mail.

    Mayor Person closed the public hearing and moved on to the regular City Council meeting.  The invocation was given by Deacon Cornel Hines.  After the approval of the minutes the bills the reports and the agenda, City Council moved to fill two vacant positions on the industrial development authority.  The unexpired terms of Mr. J. Reid Wrenn and Mr. Roland Weaver, who have both resigned, need to be filled.  Council member Ewing nominated David Webb for one of the open slots and the nomination was accepted.  As there were no further nominations further action was tabled until the next meeting.

    The next item on the agenda was the amendment of code section 74-13, the topic of the evening’s public hearing.  Mr. Thrower began by advising council that he had talked when other industry asking to use city streets for their overloaded vehicles and asked that Council defer action until later so that he could get them complete information.

    Council Member Harris made a motion to amend the code section, adding an exemption for only logging trucks.  He further stated that changing the code section would be a benefit to the city from indirect commerce, a claim that directly contradicted the City Manager and was not substantiated with any data.  He also stated that logging was a major industry in this area and that we all reap a huge benefit from it.  Mr. Harris further stated that the City Council had an opportunity to fix something that Congress messed up and perhaps if they did well Congress would look to them to fix more of the problems in our country.

    Council Member Harris’ motion died due to lack of a second.

    The next two items were reappointment to boards and commissions.  Mr. Thrower advised city council that both Cora Hines and Marva Dunn, who were willing to continue to serve on the Board of Zoning Appeals, appointed by the Circuit Court.  Council Member Harris made a motion to recommend the circuit court that both members be retained, and the motion carried.  Mr. Thrower further advised that the two year terms for all members of the Citizen’s Advisory Board expired at the end of this month and that all members were willing to be reappointed.  Council member temple made a motion to retain all members of the Citizen’s Advisory Board for another term, and the motion carried.

    During the public comment period, the first person to speak was Mr. Jim Saunders, now a resident of Virginia Beach.  Mr. Sanders recently ran for mayor and lost to Mary Person.  He began his comment by saying that while it was not what he was there to speak about he thought that Council Member Harris’ motion made sense.

    Mr. Saunders concern was the recent $7000 request for the County Mega Site that was not entertained by City Council.  He stated that he understood the budgeting process, and knew that this request came outside of the regular process, but stated that City Council needed to take the initiative and ask the county why this request did not come through a regular RIFA proposal.  He further stated “for the future of this city, for the future of our children when we are gone, we need jobs.”  He added that we all knew how much Social Services cost the City, therefore we needed jobs and the Mega Site was the best hope.

    The next citizen to comment was former City Council Member Alton Owen.  Mr. Owen was extremely disappointed that not a single council member would even second Mr. Harris’ motion, and dressed City Council down for what he considered to be a “hiding behind their podium.”  He further stated that “these guys are being held hostage by something that Congress has done.”

    The last citizen to comment was Ken Ryals, who stated that he remembered Atlantic Avenue before the bypass and Main Street before the interstate.  He thanked City Council for not amending the code section to allow logging trucks on city streets.

    With the public comment period at a close, Mayor Person entertained a motion to adjourn to closed session.

  23. Measure Could Amend Zero-Tolerance Policy

    By Chris Suarez, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND -- The federal statute requiring students, who bring firearm or drugs to elementary or secondary schools, be expelled for a full year might see a change in Virginia if state Senate Bill 441 passes.

    The bill, introduced by Sen. Thomas Garrett, R-Hadensville, seeks to offer leniency under certain circumstances to children facing expulsion or suspension.  “We have a bunch of wonderful professional educators in the commonwealth of Virginia, but they’re not lawyers,” Garrett said. “When you have a federal bill that dictates ‘zero-tolerance policy’ you end up with administrators and educators who think their hands are tied, and they have to expel.”

    Federal mandate states students who bring firearms or drugs on to school property “shall” face a suspension or expulsion. The bill, written to clarify the mandate seeks to substitute  the word “may” for “shall,” when there is no real firearm or drugs involved Garrett said.  Examples of children across the country who’ve faced expulsion for imitating weapons with objects such as pencils, or fingers, or passing off kitchen spices for illicit drugs is the reason why Garrett says he’s introducing the bill.   “Where there’s a real gun or real narcotics, I can see a zero-tolerance threshold,” Garrett said. “But when there’s a kid with a Pop Tart, a pencil or his finger saying ‘pow,’ it’s nuts.”

    This past September, two Virginia Beach minors were suspended for shooting an airsoft gun near a school bus stop. The families of the two 13-year old students suspended by the Virginia Beach Public School System appealed the decision saying the minors shot the pneumatic gun on private property.  The language of Garrett’s measure states pneumatic guns do not fit under the federal zero-tolerance policy because a firearm is described as a weapon that fires a projectile by means of an explosion.  

    Garrett cited the Virginia Beach story as the reasoning behind the bill because both teens could face future repercussions having expulsions on their respective permanent records.  “It’s gotten to a point, frankly, that I might expect this from other states,” Garrett said. “But when it starts happening in Virginia, something needs to be done,”  Garrett’s measure has seen little opposition, being passed by the Senate and the House committee on Education unanimously the past two weeks.

    The Virginia School Boards Association supports the bill and says amendments made by Garrett influenced the association’s decision to back the legislation. “The amendment was very straightforward and clear; saying nothing in the section should be construed to require expulsion regardless of the facts and circumstances,” said Pat Lacy, a special counsel to the school board association.

    The measure will be heard by the House of Delegates in the next week.

  24. SVCC Students and Administrators Visit General Assembly

    Southside Virginia Community College students and administrators visit the Virginia General Assembly each year speaking with Delegates and Senators about the importance of the college and the benefits to people in the area.  This year's delegation is shown with Delegate Tommy Wright and they are (Left to Right) Robert Wrenn of Emporia, Aaron Newby of South Hill, Makayla Evans of Lawrenceville, Jeff Karow of Emporia, Delegate Wright, Tyler Johnson of Lawrenceville, Dr. Al Roberts, SVCC Provost, Freddie Reekes, SVCC Recruiter and Dr. John J. Cavan, SVCC President.
     
     
    This year's delegation is shown with Delegate Rosalynn Tyler and they are (Left to Right) Dr. Al Roberts, SVCC Provost, Jeff Karow of Emporia, Makayla Evans of Lawrenceville, Delegate Tyler, Tyler Johnson of Lawrenceville and Bobby Wrenn of Emporia.
  25. Reorder Jarratt High School Miniatures Now

    The 2013 Riparian Miniatures arrived in November and, very quickly, were selected for treasured Christmas gifts. We have requests for more miniatures of the historic Jarratt High School and need to learn if others wish to place an order.  Please call Evelyn Ewing  at 434-634-9227 as soon as possible for delivery in March. The cost of the miniatures is $25.00. 

  26. Logging Trucks Allowed on City Streets? Public Hearing This Evening

    For several weeks now, the Emporia City Council has been hearing discussing the possibility of allowing overloaded logging trucks on City streets.  The logging trucks in question are knowingly overloaded, in spite of the fact that their Overload Permits are no longer valid.

    The crusade to put the safety of Emporia’s Citizens at risk is seemingly led by Council Member F. Woodrow Harris, who first had the item placed on City council’s Agenda for the December 3, 2013, meeting.  At that meeting City Council was informed that while the fine for any through truck traffic in the City is $175 with Overload fines on the Interstates being much higher.  Chief of Police Don Wyatt also advised City Council that the citations being written were all in the County and that any changes to the existing City Code would not stop those citations.

    Logging Trucks with payloads of 84,000 pounds had, until recently, been allowed to use I-95.  Payloads of 84,000 pounds were only allowed on the Interstate with permits that are no longer valid.  State Police are currently enforcing an 80,000 pound limit for trucks using the Interstate System.

    Local logging interests, including Gasburg Timber Association President Franklin Myers asked City Council to explore lifting the ban on through trucks in the city, which has been in place since 2005.  A change to this ban would allow logging trucks with VDOT Overload Permits to once again use Main Street to reach the mills in North Carolina.

    For an idea of what Main Street would look like, Council Member Rev. Dr. Carolyn Carey suggests looking at US 58, East Atlantic Avenue, from the Bypass to the Truck Entrance for Georgia-Pacific.  This street is in less than desirable condition.  The shoulders are rutted and severely damaged, where trucks have pulled off of the street before reaching the plywood plant.

    In addition to the physical condition of the roadway, there are also traffic concerns.  How would the addition of potentially hundreds of logging trucks each day affect Main Street?  Adding that much of a traffic burden to an already congested area like Downtown needs further study.

    City Manager Brian Thrower, who was tasked with studying the issue in December, recently presented City Council with six options for changing the current restriction, including added fees for overloaded trucks, but ultimately advised City Council to keep the current restriction in place.  In light of Mr. Thrower’s recommendation, however, Council Member Harris still made a motion to hold a public hearing on changing the ordinance.

    UPDATE:  Listed below are the options given to City Council by the City Manager, followed by the reasons for recommending leaving the ordinance as it is:

    Option 1- Maintain the status quo and continue to enforce the existing ordinance as written.  Many other cities have similar ordinances prohibiting through truck traffic or restricting truck traffic to certain streets.

    Option 2 - Allow through truck traffic on City streets.  No permit fees required.

    Option 3 - Allow through truck traffic on City streets.  Require trucks (trucking companies) to obtain permits from the City prior to using City streets.  Permits to be issued and fees paid on an individual (per through truck trip) basis.

    Option 4 - Allow through truck traffic on City streets.  Require through trucks (trucking companies) to obtain a monthly or annual permit from the City prior to using City streets.  Permit fees to be based n the number of anticipated monthly or annual through truck trips.  Reconcile anticipated versus actual trips at the end of the month or year with reimbursement or additional payment required.

    Option 5 - Allow through truck traffic on City streets.  No requirement of through trucks (trucking companies) to obtain a permit from the city prior to using City streets.  Require monthly or annual fee based on the actual number of through tips made the previous month or year.

    Option 6 - Allow through truck traffic on City streets.  Require through trucks (trucking companies) to obtain a monthly or annual permit from the City with the permit fee based on the number of trucks that will be traveling on city streets that month or year.

    Option 1 was recommended for several reasons.  Maintaining the existing code serves to reduce unnecessary traffic congestion and damage to City streets.  Allowing additional truck traffic will increase the potential for traffic accidents and the need for additional street maintenance funding.  Emergency vehicles may also be hampered due to increased traffic congestion caused by tractor trailers.

    Trucks are already allowed to use Interstate 95 and US 58 within the prescribed weight limits.  Trucking companies are only requesting this allowance in an effort to maximize profit at the expense of the City (traffic congestion and street damage)

    Designing, implementing and enforcing any of the permitting and fee system will be difficult and time consuming.  There is very little economic interest for the City to allow through truck traffic, as the trucks are not directly engaged in commerce with City businesses and industries.

    Both City Administration and the Chief of Police recommend keeping the Code as it is.

    After hearing all of the above options, Council Member Harris offered an additional option:  amend Section 74-13 of the code to add an item (D) which will state exempted from this ordinance are loaded log or chip trucks traveling on Main Street in the City through December 31, 2015.  Council Member Harris made a motion that City Council conduct a Public Hearing on that specific amendment.

    The Public Hearing will be held before the Tuesday, February 18, City Council Meeting.

  27. Should the City code be amended to allow overweight logging trucks to use Main Street to reach mills in North Carolina?

  28. National Guard Troops on Way Home

    By Mr. Cotton Puryear

    SANDSTON, Va. — Approximately 150 Soldiers from the Virginia National Guard’s Emporia-based 1710th Transportation Company, 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 329th Regional Support Group returned to the United States Feb. 15, 2014, after serving on federal active duty in Afghanistan since June 2013 where they conducted transportation support operations at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan. Soldiers from the 1710th began serving on federal active duty on April 1, 2013.

    The Soldiers arrived at their demobilization station of Fort Hood, Texas, where they will spend approximately seven to 10 days for reintegration training, medical evaluation and administrative tasks to transition from federal active duty to traditional National Guard status. The time schedule for the return of Soldiers to Virginia has not been finalized.

    The company had no Soldiers killed in action or seriously wounded.

    As of mid-December, Soldiers from the 1710th Transportation Company had driven more than 275,000 miles since they began running transportation support missions in June 2013 in Afghanistan. They conducted more than 40 sustainment and retrograde missions where they hauled more 3,000 20-foot container units for resupply operations and 100 pieces of rolling stock for transport out of country. During these operations, they maintained a 98% operational readiness rate and received a safety streamer for having no serious accidents.

    The company’s maintenance section has performed nearly 800 quality assurance and quality control inspections before each vehicle leaves on a mission. They have also performed 95 repairs and completed 55 annual services.

    While headquartered in Emporia, the 1710th is made up of Soldiers from all over the state. Approximately 70 Soldiers are from the Hampton Roads area, about 30 are from the Richmond and Petersburg area, approximately 15 are the Emporia, Franklin and Courtland area, about 10 are from the Northern Virginia area and the other Soldiers are from various locations across the state.

    The 1710th Transportation Company last served on active duty in Iraq from May 2008 to February 2009. The unit provided medium lift transportation that moved critical supplies from logistical support areas out to different forward operating bases, traveling supply routes all through Iraq. “We have a great group of ambassadors here with the 1710th,” said Capt. Rodney Rhodes, commander of the 1710th. “They know the standard, and they apply that each and every day. They are hard working men and women, and I am proud to be their commander.” Since September 11, 2001, more than 15,000 Virginia Guard Soldiers and Airmen have mobilized on federal active duty for homeland security missions and combat operations, sustainment support and peacekeeping in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo and other locations around the world.

     See more at: http://vaguard.dodlive.mil/2014/02/16/4961/#sthash.TLZhCVgV.dpuf

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  29. Pro-Choice Coalition Lobby (Snow) Day

    By Dana Carlson, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND -- A winter snowstorm didn't stop the Virginia Pro-Choice Coalition's Day of Action from bringing women's issues to the Capitol, but the weather did force the group to improvise its lobbying tactics.  The lobby day was revamped as a (Snow) Day of Action taking place online after Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a "state of emergency" the previous evening.

    Organizations such as Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia, NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, Virginia NOW and others took to the Internet to reach out to General Assembly members.  With the roads slick with snow and ice, the coalition turned to social media forums such as Facebook and Twitter to begin discussions about women's health care issues on the legislative agenda this session.  "I don't have data to quantify the Day of Action because we used links from multiple organizations," grassroots advocacy manager of Planned Parenthood, Tara Gibson, stated in an email.  "It might not have been our original plan, but supporters across the state took to the phones and the Internet to stand up for women's health."

    Volunteers and activists were encouraged to reach out to their representatives by contacting legislators who would be voting on women's health bills.  Senate Bill 617, which would repeal the ultrasound mandate for women seeking an abortion, was a subject of interest for the Day of Action.  "I just emailed my delegate to repeal Virginia's mandatory ultrasound law and you should too!" Sandra Sanchez tweeted in the #4HealthVA tweet chat.

    The measure, however, was laid on the table by a voice vote in the Criminal Law committee on Valentine's Day.  "SB617 would've removed a chance for women to see an ultrasound before abortion," tweeted Olivia Gans Turner, director of Americans Victims of Abortion. "Why protect abortionists before women?"

    Senate Bill 618, which would have removed the abortion prohibition from health insurance coverage, was defeated by an 18 - 22 vote on the bill’s third reading in the Senate before crossing over to the House. "SB 618 simply respected that most Americans don't want their taxes paying for abortion," Turner stated. "The GA's vote got that right."

    Medicaid expansion was another focus for the coalition lobbyists who circulated an online Medicaid expansion petition seeking 1,000 supporters on the Day of Action.  "If Virginia fails to expand Medicaid," Planned Parenthood Virginia tweeted, "112,642 women of reproductive age will fall into the coverage gap."

    In a Planned Parenthood advocacy meeting this past week, Medicaid expansion took center stage after Sen. John Watkins, R-Powhatan, proposed an amendment called Marketplace Virginia.  The legislation would require recipients of health insurance expansion to pay a premium that would be collected and applied against the state's share of the cost once the federal government no longer incurs 100 percent of the expense.

    Watkins sits on the Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission but is the only Republican to propose a plan of action involving extending health care services.  During the advocacy meeting, Gibson and other grassroots advocates outlined a plan to contact Watkins' constituents encouraging them to reach out to the senator about  Medicaid expansion.

    "The Day of Action really is an opportunity to talk about Medicaid expansion because it impacts so many people," said Cianti Stewart-Reid, the Planned Parenthood PAC liaison. Other Day of Action lobbying efforts have been rescheduled to a later date.    A reception with Lt.Gov. Ralph Northam, who cast the tie-breaking vote in favor of the ultrasound repeal, and a happy hour meeting with the Reproductive Health Caucus, have been postponed.  "Virginia's women's health supporters are passionate and engaged," Gibson stated. "A little snow couldn't keep us from ensuring legislators hear our voices."

  30. Senate, House Debating Student Concussion Policy

    By Chris Suarez, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND -- Student-athletes in youth-sports programs could be included under new concussion policies if a bill seeking to add guidelines for non-interscholastic teams passes.  House Bill 441 patron Delegate Richard Anderson, R-Woodbridge, said the bill was introduced in memory of Austin Trenum, a student from Brenstville High School in Prince William County. In August 2011, Austin -- the son of Prince William County School Board member, Gil Trenum -- took his own life after experiencing a concussion during a high school football game late that summer.

    Paul McShane, a senior at Centreville High School, who suffered a concussion the same month as Austin, has yet to be medically cleared for any contact sport  McShane says suffering a concussion is a unique injury because typical remedies do not work. While many players combat injury by taking rehabilitative services or medicine, McShane says there is no concrete treatment for concussions.  “Not knowing is the worst part. I don’t know when the day will be that I don’t wake up with a headache,” McShane said. “I don’t know what it’s not like to have one.”

    Virginia public-schools instituted new policies for managing student-athlete concussions in the wake of Austin’s death, but youth sports organizations, which use public-school property, are not legally held to the same standard, Anderson said.  “There’s a well-defined body of guidance for scholastic teams, but there is no requirement right now for non-interscholastic teams to comply with any sort of concussion protocol.” Anderson said.

    While the procedure will require extra work for non-interscholastic youth sports programs, Anderson said he thinks the policy should be an easy transition if the groups work in conjunction with the schools.  “If they’re going to practice or play on school property, they’ll have to either develop their own concussion protocols in accordance with school policies or adopt an existing policy that’s been authored and blessed by the state Board of Education,” Anderson said.

    The bill was rejected by the House of Delegates this past week after coming back from the Senate. Amendments made by the Senate struck down a clause in the bill encouraging the tracking of students’ academic performance after suffering a concussion.

    A Senate companion bill without the academic-effects clause currently is making its way through the House, but Anderson says any related bill that passes the House will include the provision.  “When we go to conference committee, we’ll make the agreed upon version between the House and Senate include the statement about the effects of concussions on student-athletes academically,” Anderson said.        

    McShane, who had to drop out and become home schooled after his injury, says the provision to educate coaches, students and their families about the adverse effects on academic performance would be welcomed.  “I think the coaches of whatever sport and training staff are fully responsible and should be held accountable,” McShane said. “A child’s future and development as a person is rooted in their programs ... and they’re responsible for that.”

  31. Herring Supports Court’s Gay-Marriage Decision

    By Liz Butterfield, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND — The fight for marriage equality for same-sex couples in Virginia continues to progress through the courts this week after a federal judge ruled the state’s ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional.

    Federal District Judge Arenda Wright Allen struck down the law used in the controversial Bostic v. Rainey case as unconstitutional in Norfolk’s federal court this past Thursday. Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring declared his support of the ruling against the same-sex marriage ban in the commonwealth.  "The ruling by Judge Arenda Wright Allen is yet another step forward in the long road toward ensuring that all Virginians are treated fairly and equally under the law," Herring said.

    Herring announced just days after coming into office his administration would not support the commonwealth's law in federal court.

    In her 41-page opinion, the judge cited violations of the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution as factors that ultimately reversed the ban. "What Judge Wright Allen affirmed is that couples like them who are committed to sharing the marital bond deserve to be treated equally under the law," Herring said.  Opponents of the decision are expected to support an appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

    Approximately 57 percent of voters ratified the same-sex marriage ban, known as the Marshall-Newman Amendment or the Virginia Marriage Amendment, in 2006. The law strictly defines marriage as exclusively between one man and one woman, and refuses to recognize similar legal status for other couples.

    While the appeal progresses, same-sex couples will not be able to marry in Virginia because of a stay on the execution of the decision issued by Wright Allen.

    Virginia Solicitor General Stuart Raphael argued the case on the behalf of the commonwealth. Timothy Bostic, Tony London, Carol Schall and Mary Townley acted as plaintiffs in the case before the Norfolk court.

    Herring reversed Virginia's legal position on its stance in Bostic v. Rainey upon entering office in late January. During his 2013 election campaign, Herring said publicly he would investigate the constitutional issues of Virginia's law before changing the commonwealth's political position.  "When I ran for the office of attorney general I promised the people of Virginia that regardless of my personal support for marriage equality I would conduct a rigorous independent analysis of the constitution’s questions before determining the state's legal position in this case," Herring said. "I concluded that based on extensive court precedent ... marriage is a fundamental right protected by the United States constitution."

    A class action lawsuit challenging the same-sex marriage ban still is pending review in a federal court in Harrisonburg.

  32. WOMEN'S HEALTH DIVIDES GENERAL ASSEMBLY

    By Dana Carlson, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND -- The Republican sponsored law that presently mandates ultrasounds for women seeking abortion services may face repeal after Senate Bill 617, patronized by Sen. Mamie Locke, D-Hampton, passed this past week through The Virginia Health and Education Senate Committee. The bill narrowly passed with a tie-breaking vote from Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam as senators demonstrated the pro-choice and pro-life rift, which divides the General Assembly along party lines.  The measure will make its way to the House where a number of similar measures to eliminate the ultrasound requirement died in various committees.

    Among the bills to be tabled this week is House Bill 546, supported by Delegate K. Rob Krupicka, D-Alexandria. The bill would have made the ultrasound procedure optional but died in the Courts of Justice subcommittee of Constitutional Law by a party-line voice vote.  Cianti Stewart-Reid, the Planned Parenthood PAC liaison, credited the defeat of the House bills to the dramatically different composition of the chambers.  "There is no reason why politicians in the General Assembly should be deciding very personal, very difficult decisions that women need to make with their family, their faith and their medical provider," Krupicka said.

    According to the American Pregnancy Association, ultrasounds only are considered necessary if there is a medical concern. The procedure is not a requirement of prenatal care for women who plan to continue their pregnancies to term.  "If a doctor doesn't think it's safe, or a doctor doesn't think it's necessary, the years and years of medical school go out the window because a politician has a different point of view," Krupicka said.

    Pro-life protester Karin Jewell spends some of her Saturday mornings outside of the Richmond Medical Center for Women offering prayers to patients entering the clinic.  "I think (ultrasounds) are a very good thing because then women can recognize what is going on in their belly and maybe would decide against abortion," Jewell said. "You can recognize the heart beat and recognize that the baby is already alive and not just a blob of tissue."

    In Virginia the average cost of an ultrasound at a private physician’s office is $345 and $602 at a hospital-outpatient provider, according to the Virginia Health Information website.  "This mandate seems to contradict claims that we need to manage health care costs better," Krupicka said.

    In 2012 the Virginia Department of Health recorded 22,916 terminated pregnancies throughout the state, but a 2012 law also prohibits insurance companies from covering the cost of abortions. "I think we are in a time where we are talking about expanding access to health care,” Stewart-Reid said. “But when you talk about things like the cost of an ultrasound, that narrows the number of people who can access care,"

    Senate Bill 618 also passed The Virginia Health and Education Senate Committee this past week and would add abortion procedures to health care coverage.  The original legislation to ban abortion from insurance plans was proposed by former Governor Bob McDonnell in 2011. A contrasting bill, House Bill 1417, patronized by Delegate Bob Marshall, R-Manassas, would prevent insurance companies from providing any form of contraception drug or device.  While SB 618 may make reproductive health services more affordable, the impact of last year's Virginia Board of Health abortion hearings has forced a number of the state's abortion providers to close.

    The regulations championed by former Virginia Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli force abortion providers to meet the building-code standards of hospitals… at a cost most clinics cannot afford.  "The clinics that are being forced to close provide services beyond abortion," Krupicka said. "When they are forced to close they deny women access to a number of health services … and that's the tragedy in this."

    Among the clinics scheduled to close was NOVA Women’s Healthcare in Fairfax City -- the busiest abortion provider in the state.  “Babies and their mothers are safer in Northern Virginia because this deadly facility has been closed," said Olivia Gans Turner, director of Americans Victims of Abortions in a Virginia Society for Human Life press release. "Abortion is often a dangerous procedure for women and always a deadly one for their innocent unborn children." 

    As the deadline to meet the new regulations looms, more clinics may be pressured to close in the coming months.  Planned Parenthood, the nation's leading reproductive health care advocate, also has been targeted with legislation meant to restrict the organization’s services.

    Although House Bill 531, which would have eliminated state funding for Planned Parenthood, was defeated in the Health and Human Resources committee an identical measure in the budget bill remains in consideration.  "In 2012 we served 24,000 men and women at Planned Parenthood," Stewart-Reid said.

    Stewart-Reid said people who depend on high quality care at an affordable cost would be left without resources like STD screening, family planning, reproductive education, birth control and more.  "The public has been clear that they think women should be able to make their health care decisions with their family and their doctors," Krupicka said. "For some reason we keep revisiting these issues, and it really distracts from all the work we can do collaboratively and (in a) bipartisan (manner)."

  33. OBITUARY-Neal Moss-Updated Visitation and Service Times

    Neal Moss, 56, of Emporia, passed away Monday, February 10, 2014. He was the son of the late Romie and Carrie Moss. He is survived by a son, Brent Moss, a daughter, Brandy Moss; three sisters, Pam Moss Gregory, Carolyn Moss Harkness and Beverly Moss; four brothers, Roy Moss, Randy Moss, Glenn Moss and Wesley Moss, a half-brother, William Moody and numerous nieces and nephews. DUE TO INCLEMENT WEATHER  The family will now receive friends 6-8 p.m. FRIDAY, February 14 at Owen Funeral Home, 303 S. Halifax Rd, Jarratt. The funeral service will be held graveside 2 p.m. SATURDAY, February 15 at Emporia Cemetery.
  34. Obituary-Bertha Mae Lightfoot

    Bertha Mae Lightfoot, 90, of Emporia, widow of Marvin Lightfoot, passed away Thursday, February 13, 2014. She was preceded in death by a daughter, Barbara Mitkos and five brothers and sisters. Survivors include a daughter, Peggy Loveless and special friend, Allen Guy of Emporia; two sons, Gary Lightfoot and wife, Marjorie of Donnellson, Iowa and William Lightfoot of Oregon; 18 grandchildren; 27 great-grandchildren; 5 great-great-grandchildren; a sister, Patsy Dix of Viburnum, MO; a special cousin, Beulah Marler and numerous nieces and nephews. A funeral service will be held 3 p.m. Sunday, February 16 at Owen Funeral Home, 303 S. Halifax Rd, Jarratt, Virginia where the family will receive friends prior to the service beginning at 1:30. Interment will be in Bismarck Masonic Cemetery, Bismarck, MO. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions be made to the American Cancer Society or to a favorite charity or please consider donations to complete her fervent wishes for burial in her hometown. Online condolences may be made at www.owenfh.com.

  35. MOORES FERRY ROAD PRELIMINARY ENGINEERING REPORT

    The Preliminary Engineering Report for the Moores Ferry Road Project was delivered to the Greensville Water and Sewer Authority in January of 2014.  The report, which was prepared by the Professional Engineering firm of B & B Consultants, Inc., examines the expansion of the Authority’s existing potable water system at Exit #4 on Interstate 95.

    The Consulting Engineers determined that three different activities must be addressed in order to implement any moderate-to-large system expansion.  The issues that were examined and the PER recommendations are as follows:

    • Conversion to a Community Water System:  B&B determined that the existing water treatment system must be modified to meet the VA Department of Health’s Community Water System requirements.  The consultant evaluated two treatment options and selected Hydrous Manganese Oxide (HMO) addition as the better alternative.  The B&B analysis also concluded that the HMO process had the lowest annual cost of operation.  The total cost for the equipment and installation is $81,225.
    • Potable Water Extension:  In order to serve the homes on the western side of I-95, the existing potable water system must be extended.  B&B analyzed this proposed project and determined that the extension cost will be $231,041.  The extension will serve 8 or 9 single family homes. 
    • Increased Capacity:  The existing potable system is served by two water wells, which are designated by VDH as Well #2 and Well #3.  Those wells currently handle the demand at the interchange and have a small amount of reserve capacity.  The excess well capacity could handle a small user at the interchange, but it could not accommodate the addition of the families on Moores Ferry Road or another major commercial customer.  Fortunately, the Authority has anticipated this demand and another well, which is designated as Well #4, has already been drilled and tested.  The PER estimates that the cost to place the new well into service will be $144,475.

    The cost of implementing all three of the Consultant’s recommendations is $455,316.  This is a large expenditure and the proposed projects will not generate adequate revenue to fund the associated debt service.  Therefore, the Authority has taken formal action to prioritize the projects in the following order: (1) the addition of Well #4, (2) the conversion to a Community System, and (3) the extension of service to the residential area west of the Interchange

    The Authority Staff has identified a possible funding source for the first phase of improvements and hopes to have a firm commitment on those monies in the next 6-8 months.

    Additional information on this project can be obtained by contracting Moses A. Clements, Public Works/Assistant Authority Director at the Authority Offices, 1781 Greensville County Circle, Emporia, VA – 434-348-4213.

  36. No Snow Days For Virginia Legislators

    By Lauren McClellan and Jackson McMillan, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND – Despite multiple days of slushy snow and freezing temperatures, the General Assembly still has held session without taking any days off this winter.  Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced this past week that Virginia was under a state of emergency because of Wednesday’s snowstorm. According to the National Weather Service’s website, Richmond saw around 4 inches of snow.  Many area schools and local government offices closed because of the inclement weather. 

    Delegate Matthew James, D-Portsmouth, said members of the General Assembly still have been coming to work despite the weather conditions.  “We’ve had sessions go on,” James said.  “We don’t take days off.”

    However, the snow made it more difficult for constituents to come to Richmond to meet with General Assembly members.  “I try to meet with as many constituents as I can while I’m in Richmond so I can hear their voices. So I think the biggest impact that I can see is that (the snow) has maybe made it harder for constituents to get to Richmond,” James said.  “They’re worried about traveling on the icy roads, or they’re worried about getting back home and taking care of their family and friends. I think that’s been the biggest impact that I can see.”

    Delegate Monty Mason, D-Williamsburg, also said snowy or icy conditions could make it difficult for those without professional interests to attend session. “(Snow) may impact people coming to Richmond to testify, but all of the professional lobbyists and groups with interests in the General Assembly are here,” Mason said, “and we didn’t miss a beat,”. 

    Mary Beth Washington, legislative assistant for Delegate Roslyn Tyler, D- Jarrat, said the General Assembly has not been very busy this past week.  “It’s the beginning of the crossover, and we’re gearing up for that,” Washington said. “So there’s not that many meetings being held right now.  Next week we’ll be in full force, but this week there’s not that much going on right now.”

    Washington also said that the despite the snow, aide staff still showed up to work.  “It took (some of the aides) who live locally in the Richmond area longer to get to work because the streets were not clear in their communities,” Washington said, “but they all showed up, the ones that could get here.”

    Mason said the General Assembly meets “regardless of circumstances.”  “(Inclement weather) doesn’t affect the inner workings of the General Assembly in the least,” Mason said. “This really is a show-must-go-on situation. The toughest part for me was the four blocks between the (downtown) Marriott and here, but once you’re in the door it’s business as usual.”

    The last time the General Assembly was closed because of inclement weather was February 2010.

    Photographs courtesy of Virginia Commonwealth University's Capital News Service.

  37. Happy Valentine's Day

    (image courtesy of www.vintagefangirl.com)

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  38. Two Virginians Die in Weather Related Crashes

    From 4 p.m. Wednesday (Feb. 12) through 8 p.m. Thursday (Feb.13), Virginia State Police state police emergency dispatch centers fielded 5,220 calls for service. During that same period, state troopers responded to 1,358 traffic crashes and 1,417 disabled vehicles across the Commonwealth.

    The majority of crashes investigated by state police continue to only involve damage to vehicles and no injuries. However, there have been two storm-related fatal traffic crashes. The first occurred Wednesday in Halifax County and claimed the life of a local man. The second fatal crash occurred earlyThursday morning in Loudoun County and claimed the life of a Vienna, Va., man.

    Virginians are still advised to stay off the roads overnight until conditions improve. Virginians are also advised not to call 911 or #77 on a cell phone for road conditions. Emergency lines must be kept open for real emergencies requiring police, fire, and/or medical response. To obtain information about road conditions (and this applies to media, too), please call 511 or go to www.511virginia.org.

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  39. YMCA Preschool Visites Valentines!

    YMCA Preschoolers took a trip to the Valentines Post Office.  Mrs Kathy Fajna, Postmaster, showed the kids the "special" Valentines, Virginia stamp as well as cards that people all over the world send in to have the special postmark on them! The kids were able to purchase their own stamps and mail homemade Valentines cards to their "Valentine's."

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  40. VIRGINIA STATE POLICE URGE SAFETY WITH IMPENDING WINTER WEATHER

    RICHMOND – As the Virginia State Police prepares for the impending snow storm, Virginians are encouraged to get ready and plan ahead, too. Forecasts are currently calling for regions of the Commonwealth to get anywhere from four inches to a foot of snow between Wednesday (Feb. 12, 2014) and Thursday (Feb. 13, 2014).

    Virginia State Police will have all available troopers and supervisors working in advance of and the duration of the storm as it makes its way into the Commonwealth. To prevent unnecessary traffic crashes from occurring on Virginia’s highways during the storm, state police advises residents to postpone travel plans and avoid driving, when possible.

    “This storm has the potential to significantly, adversely impact the safety of motorists on our highways,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “We encourage Virginians to plan now so they are not caught out in the storm and put themselves and others at risk.”

    If having to travel during the storm, drivers are reminded to do the following:

    ·  Use headlights. Increasing your visibility helps you to avoid slick and dangerous spots on the road, as well as helps other drivers see you better.

    ·  Slow your speed. Though state police works closely with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) to identify problem areas on Virginia’s highways during a snow storm, drivers still must drive for conditions. Slowing your speed gives you more time to safely react and avoid a crash. Drive your vehicle based on your ability to properly maintain control of your vehicle.

    ·  Don’t tailgate. You need increased stopping distance on slick road surfaces. Give yourself more space between vehicles traveling ahead of you in order to avoid rear end collisions.

    ·  Buckle Up. Most crashes that occur during winter weather are caused by vehicles sliding into guardrails, off the road or other vehicles. Wearing your seat belt protects you from being thrown around the inside of your vehicle and suffering serious injury in a crash.

    ·  Check Your Vehicle. Make sure your vehicle is in good working order for the conditions. Fill up the tank in advance. Check windshield wipers, windshield wiper fluid, tire tread, battery life, etc.

    ·  Don’t leave home without a window scraper, blanket, bottled water, snack, cell phone charger and flashlight.

    For the latest in road conditions and updates, please call 511 on a cell phone or go online to the VDOT Virginia Traffic Information Website at www.511virginia.org.

    Virginians are advised to only call 911 or #77 on a cell phone in case of emergency. It is essential to keep emergency dispatch lines open for those in serious need of police, fire or medical response.

    Statistics from during the storm

    From 4 p.m. through 8 p.m. Wednesday (Feb. 12), Virginia State Police state police emergency dispatch centers have fielded 890 calls for service. Troopers have responded to 342 traffic crashes and 134 disabled vehicles across the Commonwealth. As of 8 p.m., there were 140 active crashes being worked by troopers statewide.

    There were two traffic fatalities Wednesday afternoon. The one in Spotsylvania County worked by state police was not weather-related. That crash claimed the life of a 21-year-old Fredericksburg man when his vehicle ran off the road and rear-ended a disabled truck on the right northbound shoulder of I-95.

    The fatal crash in Halifax County was weather-related. That crash occurred at 2:38 p.m. on Route 501 and claimed the life of a 55-year-old Nathalie man when his car was hit head-on by another vehicle…and his wife was sent to the hospital with serious injuries.

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  41. Winter Storm Update and Road Clearing Schedule

    Spreaders and plows are installed, checked for operation and vehicles topped off with fuels. Salt and calcium mix will be loaded in advance of the storm allowing crews to get the initial application under the snow, to prevent bonding. Clearing is done on a priority basis, Bridges and high volume streets cleared first (Main & Atlantic). Once the most heavily traveled streets and emergency routes are adequately clear, snow crews will move to less-traveled streets and subdivisions.

    Bridges are likely to freeze first in this storm so we will be treating them first. Locations are Main St, Hicksford Ave, East Atlantic St and Sunnyside Rd.

    Priority Snow Removal Routes                

    It is the goal of the City to remove snow and ice from all city streets. Staffing and equipment limitations require the setting of priority routes. Recognizing that all streets with high traffic volume and emergency access demand the most immediate service, the following streets shall receive top priority for snow and ice removal:

    First Priority

    Main St., Atlantic St., Market Dr., Cloverleaf Dr., Dominion Dr., Commonwealth Blvd.

    Emergency Routes

    Valley St., Halifax St. (business), Baker St., Budd St (Police Dept), Virginia Ave., Fire Station (Driveways), GVRS (Driveways), Tall Oaks Dr. (WWTP), Wiggins Rd. (WTP),

    Weaver Ave.

    Industrial Routes

    Sunnyside Rd., Industrial Dr., Reese St., Davis St., Mills Rd.

    Second Priority

    Halifax St., Southampton St. , Lee St., Hicksford Ave., Brunswick Ave., Laurel St., Lowground Rd., Brink Rd., Purdy Rd.

    Third Priority

    Satterfield Dr.,Lakeside Dr.,Walnut Dr., West End Dr.,Carroll St.,Park Ave.,Center St.,Tillar St.,Clay St., Jefferson St.,Peachtree St., Church St., Old Halifax Rd.

    Snow and ice shall be removed from all remaining streets based on traffic volume as conditions, staff and equipment allow.

    Once Snow and Ice Begin to Accumulate, Residents are Advised to Travel Only of it is Absolutely Necessary.

    The City of Emporia will run the Normal Sanitation (Garbage) Route on Thursday.

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  42. Bill Seeks Compensation for Dog-Ravaged Livestock

    By Jessi Gower, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND -- Livestock and poultry owners in rural areas of Virginia may find some solace in the coming weeks if Senate passes House Bill 54, which guarantees monetary compensation for owners whose livestock and poultry that have been killed or injured by dogs.

    Virginia is currently home to more than 46,000 farms and a large percentage of those farms house livestock of some form.  According to Dr. Dan Kovich, program director for the Office of Animal Care and Health Policy, there is currently no statewide recording mechanism for the number of livestock or poultry killed on these farms by dogs each year … but that does not mean these incidents are not occurring.

    Mike and Dianne Taylor own and operate Empress Farm in Hanover, which raises free-range poultry to sell at local markets.  Dianne Taylor says she and her husband have had several incidents in which their turkeys and chickens have either disappeared or were found maimed.

    The livestock owners eventually caught a neighbor’s dog in the act, but the couple was not pleased with the legal options available to them upon reporting the losses.

    “The game lawyers said there wasn’t a whole lot that they could do,” Dianne Taylor said.  “We could take them (the neighbors) to court, but you know, there’s a lot of hassle in that.”

    If passed, HB54 will ensure the Taylors and other rural Virginians receive the reparation upon any future dog attacks on livestock and poultry; even if the livestock owners do not know who owns the dog.

    According to the bill’s chief patron, Delegate Keith Hodges, R-Urbanna, the funds for the compensation will come from collections of dog and cat license taxes by the treasurer of each locality.  These taxes are put into a separate account made for the precise purpose of damaged livestock.       

    “Certainly this bill can benefit producers who are suffering losses (of livestock or poultry),” Kovich said. “Especially when the owner of the dog can’t be found. They (owners) are still going to be compensated.”      

    HB54 passed unanimously in the House earlier this week and is currently awaiting the Senate’s vote.

  43. Dr. John J. Cavan Recognized As Devoted, Innovative Leader By Virginia General Assembly

    The General Assembly of Virginia recently commended Dr. John J. Cavan, President of Southside Virginia Community College, for his work helping student of the Commonwealth to build bright futures.  Dr. Cavan is retiring in 2014 after 32 years at the helm of SVCC.

    Senate Joint Resolution Number 92 was agreed to by the Senate and House of Delegates on January 14, 2014.  It recognized Dr. Cavan as a devoted, forward-thinking leader in higher education.  The resolution states that “due in large part to John Cavan’s dedicated leadership, Southside Virginia Community College has one of the best served and largest service areas in the Commonwealth.”

    Dr.  Cavan began his presidency at SVCC in 1983 with a goal of moving the college into the 21st Century.  Dr. Cavan never forgot his roots and made a commitment to serve the under-served community and build a strong tradition of education for the region that he has come to love.               

    A graduate of Nicholls State University, he received his master’s degrees from Kean University and Yeshiva University.  He also completed the Ed.S. and Ed.D. from Yeshiva’s Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology and has completed postdoctoral study at Harvard University.

    Dr. Cavan held numerous administrative positions at Atlantic Community College in Mays Landing, New Jersey and Mohawk Valley Community College in Utica, New York.  He has taught in the graduate school of George Mason University, George Washington University and Yeshiva University and been a guest lecturer at the Center for International Leadership in New York City. 

    Growth of centers offering college courses has been initiated by Dr. Cavan during his tenure with him promising to “take the college to the people at any place and any time.”  The college has two campuses, and many permanent centers.

    An avid basketball player, he has been named to two college basketball halls of fame and the athletic hall of fame for Newark, New Jersey. Dr. Cavan is as persistent in his athletic endeavors as he is in providing quality education to Southside Virginians.  A marathon runner, he has completed a total of 120 marathons including 18 Boston Marathons and 29 New York City Marathons. 

    Cavan has devoted his life to education and athleticism. 

    “With his vision, determination and professionalism, Dr. John Cavan leaves a legacy of excellence to SVCC and community college presidents throughout the Commonwealth,” the resolution reads.

    Senator Louise Lucas presented the resolution to Dr. Cavan.

  44. Governor Terry McAuliffe Declares State of Emergency As Winter Storm Approaches

    RICHMOND, Va. – Governor Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency today, an action that authorizes state agencies to be ready to assist local governments in responding to the major snow storm that is forecast to hit the Commonwealth starting tomorrow.

    In declaring a state of emergency, the governor authorizes state agencies to identify and position resources for quick response anywhere they are needed in Virginia.

    “Now is the time for Virginia to get ready for this storm,” said Governor McAuliffe. “This state of emergency declaration will empower the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, the Department of Transportation, the Virginia National Guard, and our electric and cable utilities to prepare for a storm that is predicted to create power outages and significant travel challenges across the Commonwealth over the next few days. 

    “Just as state government is preparing for this storm, I urge every Virginian to take proper preparations. Prepare to limit unnecessary travel during the storm, have emergency supplies on hand and be ready in the event that power in your area goes out.”

    To prepare for the storm:

    • The Virginia Emergency Operations Center has additional response team members to coordinate the state’s response to the storm.
    • The Virginia Department of Emergency Management is coordinating conference calls between the National Weather Service, state agencies and local governments.
    • The Virginia Department of Transportation is treating roads in some parts of the Commonwealth, and crews will be out in full force for snow removal as the storm arrives. Roads with the highest traffic volumes are cleared first.  VDOT has adequate supplies for this storm. 
    • The Virginia National Guard has been authorized to bring up to 300 personnel on state active duty to support emergency response operations.  Virginia Guard personnel will be alerted to begin staging and expect to be in place Wednesday so they are able to rapidly respond if needed.
    • The Virginia State Police will extend shifts and have additional troopers on patrol to expedite response times to traffic crashes and disabled motorists. 

    Citizens should:

    • Be prepared to take care of yourself and your family for at least 72 hours, in case roads are blocked and/or there are power outages.
    • A three-day supply of food includes a gallon of water per person per day and food that does not require electricity to prepare it.
    • Have a battery powered and/or hand-crank radio and extra batteries for emergency information.  Listen to local weather forecasts and instructions from local officials.
    • Always run generators outside in well-ventilated areas.  Never use a portable generator in any enclosed or partially enclosed space.
    • Only travel if absolutely necessary.  Roads can become very hazardous very quickly.  Always wear a seatbelt, and know road conditions before you leave.  Road condition information is available 24/7 by calling 511 or going to www.511Virginia.gov
    • Have emergency supplies in your vehicle.  If you are stranded you will need water, food, blankets, flashlight and extra batteries at a minimum. 
    • Avoid overexertion while shoveling snow and cleaning up from the storm, no matter your age or physical condition.  Shoveling snow or pushing a car can bring on a heart attack or make other medical conditions worse.
    • If you need help for an elderly or disabled person during the storm, need information on warming shelters or are concerned about an unsheltered individual or family, call 211 or visit www.211virginia.org.  When you call 211, a trained professional will suggest sources of help using one of the largest databases of health and human services in your community and statewide.
    • Get winter weather preparedness information at www.ReadyVirginia.gov and download the new Ready Virginia app for iPhones and Android devices.
  45. Chicken Muddle Fundraiser

    The Greensville Co Farm Bureau Women's Committee would like to send out a BIG THANK YOU to each and every one that purchased chicken muddle on Saturday February 8, 2014.  The fundraiser was a joint effort between the Women's Committee and Three Creeks Hunt Club.  We would like to sincerely thank the Stew Master Trio:  Randy Wright, Charles Howerton, and Lee Seymour.  They were fantastic to work with and without them the event would not have been possible.  We would also like to thank Lee Seymour for his sales to his dedicated regular customers.  Our committee is dedicated to promoting agriculture to our youth as well as the young at heart.  Our "Food Source" depends on our future young farmers.  We cannot stress enough the importance of relying on our Local Farmers for our food rather than having it imported from other countries.   It is activities such as this that enable us to fulfill our mission.

    Sincerely,

    Susan Harrell, Committee Chairman

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  46. SOUTHERN VIRGINIA REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER GOES RED FOR WOMEN

     (EMPORIA, VA) – Heart disease is the number one killer of American women, having claimed the lives of more women than men each year since 1984, and more than all forms of cancer combined.  According to the American Heart Association, heart disease kills approximately 1,100 women each day, or one every minute, and 90% of women have one or more risk factors for heart disease.  Still, only one in five women believes that heart disease is the greatest threat to her health.  

    To further complicate the matter, the symptoms that women often experience with heart attack can be much different than the highly publicized symptoms that most men experience.  Shortness of breath, sweating, pressure, nausea/vomiting, back/jaw pain, dizziness, lightheadedness and/or fainting are all common symptoms of heart attack in women that are all too often dismissed as some other benign illness.  Because women misread these symptoms, care is often delayed which puts the woman’s life at risk.  For this reason, it is vitally important to know one’s risks and make the necessary changes to reduce or eliminate them altogether.  To reduce the risk of heart disease, try making these lifestyle changes:

    • Stop Smoking
    • Maintain Healthy Blood Sugar
    • Maintain/Lower Blood Pressure
    • Maintain/Reduce Cholesterol
    • Know Your Family History
    • Be Active
    • Maintain A Healthy Weight
    • Eat Healthy

    In 2003, the American Heart Association launched Go Red for Women to educate all Americans about the risk of heart disease.  Since that time, much progress has been made, but the battle against heart disease continues.  Held each year on the first Friday in February, this national campaign provides women and men across the country an opportunity to show their support for this life-saving movement by showing off their favorite red dress, shirt, or tie. 

    On Friday, February 7th, Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center (SVRMC) staff participated in the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women day.  SVRMC participants were asked to wear their favorite red article of clothing to join in the national celebration and remind women that cardiovascular disease in not just a “man’s” disease.  In addition to wearing red, staff had the opportunity to wear their favorite jeans for a $5.00 donation.  Through these efforts, SVRMC staff raised a total of $480.00 that will benefit the American Heart Association.

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  47. Kindnapped Dog Found

    Kidnapped Dog Found Safely.

    Not kidnapped after all.  Was rescued from busy highway by wonderful people in Virginia Beach who we are now very good friends with.

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  48. Battle Follows Tough Act at SVCC

    Bernadette Battle faced a tough act to follow when promoted at Southside Virginia Community College recently.  When Judy Shepherd, former Director of Counseling on the Christanna Campus, retired last spring after 40 years of service to the College, she left a void that was not easy to fill.

    Fortunately for Southside, Battle was waiting in the wings and ready to follow in Judy’s footsteps.  Bernadette, or “Bern” as she is affectionately known, joined the Southside family in 1999 as Student Activities Coordinator and has since held several positions of increasing responsibility. She says she is “humbled and honored to accept the torch of leadership from my friend and mentor.” Bern, who describes herself as “a student-centered administrator,” credits Judy with preparing her to assume the responsibilities of her new position and is “also grateful for the support of the entire student development team and College administration.”

    Throughout her tenure at Southside, Bern has been recognized for her outstanding professionalism and superior performance. She has been responsible for the creation and implementation of numerous activities and programs that contribute to student engagement and success.

    Additionally, she has served the Virginia Community College System as an active member of several state-wide committees and workgroups. In recognition of her many accomplishments, Bern represented the College at both the Classified Leadership Academy and the Faculty and Administrative Leadership Academy, received the Chancellor’s Fellowship, and selected twice by her peers to receive the VCCA Showcase Award. 

    According to Judy, her former supervisor, Bern “truly lives the College mission in the fullest sense.  She is an advocate for students, helping them to find the very best that they have.”

    Battle received her B.S. in Human Ecology from Virginia State University and her Master of Education in Counseling from the same institution.  She completed the Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute at Virginia Commonwealth University in 2013 and also has taken course work towards n Ed.D. in Community College Leadership. 

    She resides in Emporia Virginia with her husband, Preston, and two children, P.J. and Brooke.

  49. Bill Seeks Adjacent Graves for Pets, Owners

    By Jessi Gower, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND -- Virginia codes currently prohibit animals and humans from being buried together in the same cemetery, but one delegate hopes to change that with House Bill 588.

    Delegate Israel O’Quinn, R-Bristol, proposed HB588 and if passed it would allow pets and owners to be buried together under certain circumstances. Inspired by a retired police officer wanting to be buried alongside his dogs, the bill is already gaining support from pet lovers and cemetery owners.

    Sharon Lucas, who works at Richmond’s Greenwood Memorial Gardens, says many of the cemetery’s clients have shown interest in this type of arrangement.  “Many people who come to (Greenwood to) ask about it when they’re pre-planning,” Lucas said. “They’ll ask if they can have Fluffy or Spot buried with them, and I have to tell them no, that is state law that you can’t.”

    O’Quinn says he recognizes that not everyone will want to be buried near deceased animals and his bill clearly specifies that owner-pet gravesites must be completely segregated from the cemetery plots devoted to traditional interments.

    “Some people have an extreme aversion to animals, and others have a strong affection for them," he told The Washington Post. "There are some people who do not want pets or any furry animal buried near them, and that is their right."

    The bill also specifies that companion animals are not to be buried in the same grave as their deceased owners, but rather in a separate grave adjacent to the owner‘s, which is close enough for pet owners wanting to make these arrangements.

    If passed, the bill also could monetarily benefit struggling cemeteries. According to the 2012 Cremation Association of North America annual report, more and more people are choosing to be cremated because it is cheaper than a traditional burial. If pet owners were able to rest alongside their furry friends, more people might consider burial as an option, despite the price-which would, in turn, bring more business and money to the cemetery and funeral industry.

    Currently only two locations in the United States offer owner-pet burials; Hillcrest Memorial Park in Pennsylvania and Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens in Maryland. If HB588 passes, Virginia could be the third.

  50. STATE DECLINES DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS STUDY

    By Eric Luther, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND – A resolution allowing government agencies to examine employment conditions of penitentiaries statewide was tabled this week by the General Assembly’s Committee on Rules.  The resolution, proposed by Delegate Roslyn C. Tyler, D- Jarratt, would have directed the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission to study employee health and safety concerns at the Virginia Department of Corrections. The resolution also would have inspected adequacy of staffing levels and turnover rates at correctional facilities across the Commonwealth.  Tyler says the committee acknowledged the study was needed.  However, JLARC is already three years behind in completing other studies.  “There are 30,000 inmates in prisons that (corrections officers) protect us from each day,” Tyler said. “They deserve the right to be kept safe and compensated as any other law enforcement officer.”

    Don Baylor, an organizer for the National Coalition of Public Safety Officers’ Virginia chapter, spent nearly 30 years at the DOC before retiring in 2007. During his time with the department, Baylor worked as a corrections officer and watch commander at facilities throughout the state.  Baylor personally conveyed DOC health and safety concerns to Tyler. He says it is time to address the burden understaffing and budget cuts has placed on frontline correctional officers.  “There are a number of reasons why we need this study,” Baylor said. “The stress on these individuals who provide security and protection in these facilities is widespread and increasing.”

    According to Baylor, studies by the U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Justice Services and other organizations illustrate deteriorating health conditions among DOC personnel.  “We’re talking about a group of employees who are carrying one of the highest suicide rates, divorce rates and mortality rates of any other employees in this nation,” Baylor said. “Studies show that these folks are reaching stress levels of epidemic proportions.”

    One such study was presented at the 2011 American Psychological Association’s Annual Convention by Desert Waters Correctional Outreach, a nonprofit organization seeking to improve health and safety of corrections staff through data-driven analysis.  The study sampled more than 3,500 corrections professionals’ from 49 states and three U.S. territories to assess the prevalence of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and comorbid PTSD/depression among workers.

    Desert Waters also explored the relationship between specific disorders and job type, according to official documents. Indices of health and well-being such as doctor visits, work absences and substance use also were measured.  Results show depression and PTSD rates among corrections personnel far exceed those of the general population. Overall, PTSD prevalence was estimated to be about 27 percent, according to the study. More than three times the rate of U.S. adults. 

    Additionally, Desert Waters determined corrections officers’ risk of suicide is 39 percent higher than all other professions combined.  Baylor says residents and legislators alike need to be aware of the long-term physical and mental issues DOC working conditions can create.  “We need to take a look at these professionals and understand that if we get to a breaking point -- not only are correctional officers and the (incarcerated) people they are in charge of at risk,” Baylor said. “But the public at large.”

    The results highlighted in Desert Waters’ study suggest the need for a comprehensive screening of employee health in corrections.

     According to official documents, system-wide interventions to address elevated levels of depression, PTSD and comorbidity also are necessary.  HJ31 stated all agencies of the commonwealth shall provide assistance to JLARC for this study, upon request. JLARC’s chairman then would submit a summary of its findings and recommendations no later than the first day of the 2015 General Assembly session.

    Co-patron Delegate Vivian Watts, D-Annadale, and NCPSO President Richard Hatch did not respond to requests for comments.

  51. Grant Would Fund Active-Shooter Training

    By James Galloway, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND – A bill is advancing through the House that would grant “active shooter” training funds to smaller police forces, which currently have no budget to accommodate the over-time pay to prepare for mass shootings.  Delegate Mike Webert, R-Marshall, said the Fauquier County Sheriff Department recently integrated an active shooter program. To do so, he said the department brought in experts from Fairfax, which has a larger police force.  “(Fairfax) has one of the best task forces in the nation,” Webert said. “A lot of their guys end up training our smaller localities. So, we want to be able to provide our localities with the tools to help keep our children safe.”

    Webert said the initial training cost Fauquier County money that was not in the police budget, which is why he introduced legislation calling for a $500,000 training grant. His bill would grant funding up to $50,000 per locality to provide overtime pay for police officers to be trained to respond in the event of a shooting.

    Lt. James Hartman, of the Fauquier County Sheriff Department, said his department is “very much in favor of the bill and (supports) it 100 percent.”

    Hartman said it is obvious the active shooter and training grant fund is needed in jurisdictions like Fauquier County. He described his department as “too small to be big, and too big to be small,” adding that the force has about 125 sworn officers covering patrols and stationed in schools.  Hartman said overtime pay for active-shooter training exceeds the police budget. He said over-time costs between $16,000–$17,000 for each training session and consists of about 22 officers.

    The training covers response tactics leading to the neutralization of an active shooter. Usually, Hartman said, his department will go into a school when students are out and stage a simulation using actors. County schools even have color-coded doors so officers easily can communicate their locations from within a building.  Although his department trains for the first critical minutes of a public school incident, Hartman said “active shooter” applies to more than just school shootings.  “Active shooter incidents across the country mainly have just been in schools,” he said. “But we’ve also seen active shooters in workplaces, such as the Navy Yard shooter (and) movie theaters.”

    Hartman said his department already has conducted four training sessions and had a fifth planned in January.

    Chief John Venuti of the VCU Police Department would not discuss specific training.  "The VCU Police Department provides active shooter training to the campus community,” Venuti stated in an email. “We do not discuss specific information pertaining to training, technology or tactics."

    Webert said he hopes to convince the appropriations committee to create a grant from the currently unappropriated federal fund, which he said is about $15 million.

  52. Obituary-Laura Claudette Barnes

    Laura Claudette Barnes, 46, of Emporia passed away on February 7, 2014.  She was preceded in death by her father William Barnes.  She is survived by her mother Judy Barnes; children, Shannon Faison and husband Kent, William Matthew Barnes, Ashley Walker and husband De’Von and Joshua Barnes; step-grandchildren Bailey and Sydney; sister Pam Barbour and husband Tim; nephews Brad and Bryan; niece Carrie; two great-nieces Kalli Barbour and Alivia Barbour.  A visitation will be held Sunday, February 9th, at 2pm, at Word of Life Assembly of God Church followed by a memorial service at 3pm. In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to Word of Life Assembly of God Church, 707 Brunswick Ave., Emporia, VA 23847.   Condolences may be sent to www.Echolsfuneralhome.com

  53. Sunday Hunting Bills Progress Through General Assembly

    By Liz Butterfield, Capital News Service

     RICHMOND — Two bills seeking to allow Sunday hunting of deer and wild animals on private Virginia property and state waters are progressing through the General Assembly.

    However, hunting with dogs or hunting within 200 yards of a house of worship would be prohibited.  The House passed House Bill 1237 this past week and sent the legislation to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources. Senate Bill 154 is expected to go before the full Senate next week. Although seen as a bipartisan bill by many in the General Assembly, the bills are facing unanticipated pushback from some rural area representatives and the Virginia Farm Bureau.

    Delegate Tommy Wright, R-Victoria, said the majority of people t supporting HB 1237 are not the ones most affected by the legislation.  "The people that are affected the most don't have the majority of the votes," Wright said. "You're not going to have much hunting going on in Fairfax, Va. You may have people coming from Fairfax into the rural areas that want to hunt, but this is going to affect the rural areas. It's going to affect hunting and it's going to affect the Lord's day."  A self-proclaimed “avid” hunter and lifelong NRA member, Wright said he doesn't believe the extra day of hunting will have a positive economic impact on his community.  "We hear that argument over and over again," he said. "The statistics show there has been no (economic) improvement and (increase in) hunting-license sales in states that have had Sunday hunting."

    Wright said more than 95 percent of his constituents who contacted him about the bill do not support Sunday hunting legislation.  "It'll be a big impact negatively on hunting in general, “Wright said, “and on the lifestyle we've enjoyed … the peace and quiet in rural Virginia we've enjoyed."  Patron of the House bill, Delegate Todd Gilbert, R-Woodstock, said the legislation is meant to counter the decline of hunting-license purchases in Virginia. Gilbert said license purchases have decreased by 50 percent over the past 30 years.  "Virginia has such a strong hunting heritage that we thought this would be a great opportunity to attempt to reverse that trend," Gilbert said. "Where I live the rifle (and) the high-powered rifle season for deer is only two weeks long. So if you're a hardworking person, you really only have two Saturdays in which to engage in that activity all year. This would simply give you a couple extra days to enjoy a sport you love and be able to put food on the table."

    The Virginia Farm Bureau did not respond to requests for comment.

  54. Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative Directors Meet with Area Elected Officials in Richmond

    Chase City, Va. – Several directors and key staff members of Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative (MEC) traveled to Richmond on January 27, to meet with state legislators at the Virginia General Assembly. They joined more than 200 directors and staff members from 12 other member-owned electric cooperatives across the Commonwealth who converged on the Capital for the Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperative’s (VMDAEC) annual Legislative Day.

    Attending from MEC were board members Stan Duffer, Bob Jones, Donnie Moore and John Waller as well as President & CEO John Lee, COO Glen Gillispie and Vice President of Member and Energy Services David Lipscomb. The office visits and reception afforded MEC directors and management an opportunity to meet one-on-one with legislators to talk about this year’s session and to discuss any legislation that might affect the Cooperative and its ability to provide its Membership with reliable, affordable and environmentally responsible electric power.

    Cooperative representatives were briefed by VMDAEC staff members and political experts on the 2014 General Assembly before the group traveled to Capitol Square to call on Delegates and Senators representing the nine counties served by the cooperative. MEC representatives distributed a fact-filled handout to help educate newly elected legislators and the new administration about the “cooperative difference.” They also discussed issues pertinent to the Cooperative and invited the legislators and their staff members to the VMDAEC’s annual Legislative Reception planned for that evening.

     “This personal interaction is critical as MEC’s representatives work to develop strong working relationships with our local legislators and state officials,” states Lee, adding, “We must make every effort to educate them on the cooperative business model and ensure that these decision makers, who represent those we serve, are aware of the importance of electric cooperatives in providing energy to Virginia’s homeowners, farmers, businesses and industries. Ultimately, we are there to protect the best interests of our members and rural Virginia because there are few champions for those living in Southside Virginia these days and they are facing tremendous odds with regards to influencing legislation that impacts our rural way of life.”

    AboutMecklenburg Electric Cooperative: Headquartered in Chase City with district offices in Emporia, Chase City and Gretna, Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative is a not-for-profit member-owned energy provider that serves more than 31,000 homes, farms and businesses throughout nine Central and Southside Virginia counties. For more information, go to www.meckelec.org.

    In the photo: Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative (MEC) representatives meet with Delegate Roslyn Tyler in her office to discuss legislative issues that could have an impact on rural electrification.  More than 200 directors and staff members from 13 member-owned electric cooperatives converged on the Capital to call on delegates and senators for the Virginia, Maryland and Delaware Association of Electric Cooperative’s annual Legislative Day. Seated from left to right are MEC President & CEO John Lee, Jr., COO Glen Gillispie, and board member Donnie Moore.

  55. Ronald Boone Retires from Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative

    CHASE CITY –In honor of his retirement, Ronald Boone, Sr., was recognized recently at a monthly meeting of Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative’s board of directors.  Chairman of the Board David Jones presented a Resolution of Appreciation to Boone for his many years of service to the member-owned organization. The presentation was made at the Headquarters office in Chase City in the presence of the other 10 board members and Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative (MEC) senior staff members.

    “We appreciate Ronnie’s dedication to his duties, and his commitment to our members, and we recognize and honor his 34 years of hard work on their behalf,” comments MEC President and CEO John Lee, adding “and while he’ll be missed, we wish him and Isabel the very best in this next chapter of their lives.”

    Boone was hired as a meter reader/groundman in 1979 and was initially trained to record meter readings throughout the service territory and check facilities for conditions that would affect reliability and safety.  Throughout his years of service, he assisted with construction and maintenance of the Cooperative’s electrical system and was on call to restore power as outages occurred.  He also assisted with power restoration when the call for help came from sister electric cooperatives following severe winter storms and hurricanes.

    During his employment at MEC he attended educational and safety training classes, served as recording secretary at monthly safety meetings, and was a member of the Action Committee for Rural Electrification (ACRE).  He and his wife, Isabel, live in the Emporia area and have two children, Olivia and Ronald, Jr. (RJ).  

    Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative is the not-for-profit consumer-owned energy provider to over 31,000 meters located in portions of Brunswick, Charlotte, Greensville, Halifax, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, Pittsylvania, Southampton and Sussex Counties.  It is a Touchstone Energy Cooperative, headquartered in Chase City with district offices in Emporia, Chase City, and Gretna. For more information, visit www.meckelec.org.

  56. Breast Health Research Champions Needed

    Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) is conducting research about breast cancer awareness and clinical trials.  The purpose of this research is to see if breast health research  champions trained in the areas of breast health and clinical trials can effectively bring this information to their communities.  The breast health research champions will be asked to share this information at informal house and/or community meetings in Southside  Virginia.  We are looking for 10 breast advocates to enroll in this study.  Breast health research champions will be provided with four training sessions and asked to host two home/community meetings.  They will receive a stipend for their time and expenses.  If you are interested in learning more, please contact  Marilyn LeGrow @ 434-637-7281 or email mslegrow@telpage.net

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  57. Boston Butt Fund Raiser

    The Emporia-Greensville Humane Society is now taking orders for their 9th Semi-Annual Boston Butt Fund Raiser to be held on March 7th & 8th.

    Orders need to be placed in advance.  Call Peggy Bailey at 634-3413 to reserve your ticket today.

  58. SOUTHERN VIRGINIA REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER ANNOUNCES JANUARY EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH

    EMPORIA – Stacy Eubanks has been named the Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center (SVRMC) Employee of the Month for January 2014.  Ms. Eubanks, who has been employed with the hospital since January 2013, is a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) in the Rehabilitation Services Department.

  59. February is Black History Month in the City of Emporia

    Proclamation

    Black History Month

    Whereas, February is recognized nationally as Black History Month and Dr. Carter B. Woodson, a distinguished African American author, editor, publisher and historian, is acclaimed “Father of Black History Month”.  Dr. Woodson believed that African Americans should know their past in order to participate in the affairs of the country; and

    Whereas, Black History Month acknowledges both past and present African and African-American icons whose courage, sacrifices, and relentless efforts have sought to improve the quality of life for all in the name of justice, honor and freedom; and

    Whereas, such noted African-American icons as Ida B. Wells, the renowned writer, teacher, women’s suffragist and anti-lynching crusader; and Rosa Parks, whose famous decision to remain in her seat symbolized the spirit of the Civil Rights Movement, have made imperative contributions to our society; and notable local African Americans as Joseph C. Bond, a mortician, was the first African American to serve on Emporia City Council and a founder of the local NAACP branch; Dr. Willie Joyner, a physician and entrepreneur, owned a medical building, a movie theatre, and rental properties; Dr. Joseph Macklin, a pharmacist, was the first African American druggist to manage his own business; Charles Harris, a mechanic, was the first African American to own and operate a service station; Edward Westwood Wyatt, an advocate for improved school conditions for African Americans and a zealous educator, legacy lives on as the first African American High School (E.W. Wyatt High School) was named in his honor; Charlie Stephen Thomas, a businessman and a founder of the local NAACP branch, operated a grocery store across from Greensville County Training School to provide snacks for the students, since there were no cafeterias at that time; Etta Reavis, a homemaker, provided hot meals and shelter for local teachers at R.R. Moton Elementary School; Elizabeth R. Allison, Reverend and Mrs. Willie Curley, Sr., Annie Green, and Helen Kindred provided shelter and meals for the teachers on the North side of town; George C. Williams, a local farmer, purchased a bus to transport students and teachers to school that resided in the county; and

    Whereas, the Honorable Mary L. Person was elected as the first African American female to serve on Emporia City Council, made history again when she was elected on  November 6, 2012, as the first African American and first female to serve as Mayor for the City of Emporia; and

    Whereas, it is essential to learn from the many lessons of history from world renowned leaders as well as the contributions of local African Americans to continue the pursuit of our Founding Fathers’ vision of liberty, justice and equality for all; and

    Now, Therefore, I, Mary L. Person, by virtue of the authority vested in me as Mayor of the City of Emporia, Virginia do hereby proclaim February 2014 as Black History Month in the City of Emporia.

    Done this 4h day of February in the year 2014.

  60. Obituary-Lula Nash Futrelle

    Lula Nash Futrelle, 89, formerly of Emporia, Virginia, died  Wednesday, January 22, 2014. She was the widow of Dean Ray Futrelle and was preceded in death by her parents, Haney and Sallie Lou Nash. She is survived by her daughters, Peggy Futrelle Lawson and husband, Andy, of Midlothian, Virginia and Nan Rae Futrelle of Glen Allen, Virginia; two grandchildren, Nan Rae McGoff and husband, Michael, of Richmond, Va. and Andrew Nash Lawson of Arlington, Va.; two great-grandchildren, Addison Marie McGoff and Nash Michael McGoff; and devoted friends, Billy and Lisa Latham and their daughter, Hillary, of Emporia, Virginia. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to your favorite charity in her memory. A funeral service will be held Saturday, February 8, at 12 noon at the Echols Funeral Home Chapel, 806 Brunswick Ave., Emporia, Virginia, with Rev. Colin Cooper officiating. She will be remembered as the life of the party by her friends in Emporia and Brandermill Woods.

  61. 3WD Radio, Mecklenburg Electric and the Community Partner in “Hearts to Heroes”

    3WD radio station in South Hill and Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative (MEC) recently partnered on a project to adopt the troops of Alpha Company 3rd Platoon who are currently deployed in the Middle East and will be there for at least another six months. Greg Thrift, manager of 3WD, explains, “We sent Christmas packages to this same group of soldiers back in 2011. When we heard that they had been deployed again, we decided to send items for Valentine’s Day because they usually get items at Christmas, but not so much at other times of the year.”

    Hailed as the “Hearts to Heroes” campaign, daily announcements were made on 3WD radio station encouraging individuals, families, Sunday school classes, and students in elementary, middle and high schools to donate items such as snack foods, playing cards, magazines, personal hygiene items, hand-made Valentine cards and anything that would brighten the soldiers’ Valentine’s Day since they will be away from their loved ones on this heartwarming holiday.

    Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative became aware of the cause, and its employees volunteered to help with the project.  MEC President and CEO John Lee comments, “Because the employees of Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative have shown overwhelming and gracious support for so many causes in our community in the past, we offered to assist in this effort for the heroes who protect our freedom. We began by sending an email to our 114 employees in the Chase City, Emporia and Gretna districts asking them to donate items for the “Hearts to Heroes” project.  The response was overwhelming…. I am so proud of the giving spirit that our employees have; anytime a need arises within our Cooperative family or in the communities we serve, they are among the first to unselfishly step up and assist. Every single one of them has the desire to make a difference in the lives of others.”

    Lee adds, “In addition to asking our employees to donate items, Mecklenburg Electric’s Chase City office served as a collection station for all of the items donated from throughout Mecklenburg and Brunswick counties. We used our lunch hours to prepare and pack the items for shipping overseas. We also generated large Valentine Posters that were distributed to schools so that students there could send a Valentine message to our heroes in a format that could be proudly displayed in the barracks as a constant reminder of the support from home.”

    Donations were made by listeners of 3WD radio, local businesses, Brunswick Academy, Bluestone Middle School, Rivermont School in Chase City and many elementary schools in the area, such as South Hill, Clarksville, Chase City and LaCrosse.  In addition to donations, Park View Middle School’s art classes created American flags in batik design, an ancient form of art, to show their support of the troops.  Greetings from home also included recent local newspapers spanning Southside Virginia and northern North Carolina; there is nothing like keeping up with the local news to feel a little closer to home.

    Lee continues, “We were delighted with the donations made by the community. The Cooperative’s break room was filled with all sorts of items that will be warmly received by our troops. We packed 21 large boxes with over 1,100 pounds of “THANK YOU” and labeled them to be shipped to our troops in Kuwait. I would also like to express appreciation to the Chase City Food Lion for contributing the paper bags we used to divide the items up into individual soldier packs, to Home Depot for generously contributing the boxes we used to ship the items to the platoon and to MEC’s employees for their devotion to our communities and their willingness to always do the right thing and step up when someone is in need.”

    Thrift notes, “Our station was pleased to sponsor this venture. One of the soldiers in this group is my cousin, Brigham Wilson, who grew up here and graduated from Park View.  He serves as our platoon point of contact in Kuwait and ensures that the items are distributed among the soldiers there. At 3WD, we are always looking for ways to make a difference in our community.  We are extremely grateful to everyone who donated items and especially to Mecklenburg Electric for their willingness to partner with us in this venture and take it to the next level.”

    Employees of Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative (MEC), some of whom are pictured above, and 3WD radio station partnered in the “Hearts to Heroes” campaign to send Valentine greetings, snack foods and other items to brighten the day for soldiers in Kuwait. The Cooperative packed and shipped 21 boxes of donations that weighed over 1,100 pounds. 3WD and MEC extend thanks to everyone who donated to this project for our heroes.

    Bluestone Middle School students participated in the “Hearts to Heroes” campaign, an effort sponsored by 3WD radio station and Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative, to remember troops stationed in Kuwait on Valentine’s Day. The Cooperative created and printed the giant card that was signed by students who sent their best wishes to the soldiers of Alpha Company 3rd Platoon.  The successful effort resulted in 21 boxes of donated items, weighing a collective 1,100 pounds, contributed by the community and sent to the platoon in Kuwait.

    Chase City Elementary School students participated in the “Hearts to Heroes” campaign by signing a Valentine poster for soldiers in Alpha Company 3rd Platoon. The giant card was created and printed by Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative, whose employees sponsored the event along with 3WD Radio. The Cooperative served as a collection station for donations from the community, and its employees packed and shipped 21 boxes, weighing a collective 1,100 pounds, of snacks and other items to the platoon stationed in Kuwait.

    ­Students from Clarksville Elementary School signed this giant poster sending Valentine greetings and support to soldiers in Alpha Company 3rd Platoon who are stationed in Kuwait. The “Hearts to Heroes” campaign was sponsored by 3WD radio station and Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative. The Cooperative designed and printed posters for local schools and volunteered to serve as a collection station for donations from the community. The posters and 21 boxes of snacks, hygiene articles and other items were packed and shipped to reach the troops before Valentine’s Day.

    Lucas Crutchfield (left) and Carter Early display a poster that students at South Hill Elementary School signed with handprints for the “Hearts to Heroes” campaign sponsored by 3WD radio station and  Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative. The Cooperative created the poster for the children to sign and volunteered to serve as a collection station for items donated to Alpha Company 3rd Platoon stationed in Kuwait.  Employees of the Cooperative packed and shipped over 1,100 pounds of items to the platoon. 

    Claudia Brooks, an art student at Park View High School, displays an American flag created in batik design (an ancient art form) to send to soldiers in Alpha Company  3rd Platoon stationed in Kuwait. Among those in the platoon is Sergeant Brigham Wilson, a native of South Hill and a Park View High School graduate.  3WD radio station and Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative sponsored the “Hearts to Heroes” campaign to provide packages for our overseas armed services personnel for Valentine’s Day.

    Care packages containing snacks, hygiene supplies, Valentine posters and cards, and other items were sent to the soldiers in Alpha Company 3rd Platoon, stationed in Kuwait, as part of the “Hearts to Heroes” campaign sponsored by 3WD radio station and Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative.  Sergeant Brigham Wilson, a native of South Hill and a Park View High School graduate is pictured (back row, fourth from left) with other members of the platoon. Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative’s employees joined those contributing and also collected items donated by area students and residents. The Cooperative’s employees sorted and packed the treats and items, which collectively weighed over 1,100 pounds, and shipped them overseas in time for the soldiers to receive their packages for Valentine’s Day.

  62. Obituary-Donald Thomas Starke

    Donald Thomas Starke, 77, of Emporia, passed away Tuesday, February 04, 2014. He was the son of the late Ashby and Florence Starke and he was also preceded in death by a daughter, Valerie S. Newsome, a brother, William “Billy” Starke and a sister, Loretta “Chick” Starke. Survivors include  his wife, Carolyn Starke; two daughters, Penny S. Holland and husband, Al and Barbara S. Wyatt and husband, Danny; a son, Nelson Thomas Starke; 10 grandchildren; two great-grandchildren, two sisters, Evelyn Hall and Regina Ashby; two brothers, Ashby “Red” Starke and Roger D. Starke and his extended family of caregivers at Greensville Manor. A graveside memorial service will be held 2 p.m. Saturday, February 8 at Antioch Baptist Church Cemetery, Yale, Virginia. Online condolences may be made at www.owenfh.com.

  63. Obituary-Phillip Bruce Beville

    Phillip Bruce Beville, 65, of Stony Creek, Virginia went home to be with the Lord on Thursday, January 30, 2014. Phillip was born April 7, 1948 to Emmett Ashton and Carrie Lee Price Beville, the ninth of eleven children. Phillip was preceded in death by his parents; two sisters and three brothers. Phillip is survived by his brothers, Henry, William, Peter, Richard and George Beville; numerous nieces and nephews, cousins and other relatives and friends. The family would like to thank Audrey Hall and Mary Frazier, Phillip’s caregivers while he was home at Stony Creek, and who continued to visit him regurlary and cut his hair. These two ladies were a God-send and truly blessed Phillip with their compassionate and dependable care. In July, 2007, Phillip became a resident of Hopewell Health Care Center in Hopewell. For the last six years, this was home to Phillip. The nurse, aides, social workers, and other staff members at Hopewell Health Care Center were very loving and compassionate to Phillip and his daily needs. May you all be richly blessed for being part of Phillip’s extended family. The family will receive friends at the Beville home, 12507 Church St., Stony Creek, Virginia on Thursday, February 6, from 4 p.m. – 8 p.m. Visitation will be at Owen Funeral Home, 303 S. Halifax Rd, Jarratt, Virginia on Friday, February 7 at 2 p.m. followed by funeral services at 3 p.m. Interment will follow at High Hills Memorial Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be sent to Fort Grove United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 145, Stony Creek, Virginia 23882. Online condolences may be made atwww.owenfh.com.

  64. SVCC Sponsoring the Tenth Annual African American History Quiz

    The tenth annual African-American History Contest sponsored by Southside Virginia Community College will challenge what you know and offer a chance to win monetary prizes, too.  Students and the general public are eligible to participate for prizes of $125, $75 and $50.  Sponsors include the SVCC President Dr. John J. Cavan, Student Development and Student Activities.

    Contest questions will require some knowledge and/or investigation on the part of the participants. 

    Contest materials can be picked up from these SVCC locations now: Southside Virginia Higher Education Center in Emporia from Gary Cifers; the SVCC Christanna Campus in Alberta from Vondrenna Smithers or Susan Early or Louise Ogburn; SVCC John H. Daniel Campus in Keysville from Letina Giles; the Estes Community Center in Chase City from Melissa Robbins; Southern Virginia Higher Education Center in South Boston from Kathy Whitt; Occupational Technical Center in Blackstone from LaTonya Fowlkes; and Lake Country Advanced Knowledge Center in South Hill from Makiko Malone.

    The deadline for submitting completed entries is 5 pm on Thursday, February 20, 2014.  Celebrate African American History Month by participating in this exciting challenge.  For further information, contact Vondrenna Smithers  at 434-949-1028 or Le’Tina Giles at 434-736-2023.

  65. Mid-Atlantic Advanced Manufacturing Center receives two grants to expand Otterdam Road

    The Virginia Tobacco Commission has awarded a fourth grant to the Mid-Atlantic Advanced Manufacturing Center (MAMaC) in excess of $4.4 million. The award, serving as a match to $3.3 million grant award from the Virginia Department of Transportation, completes funding for the expansion of Otterdam Road to serve the site from I-95. Greensville County, Mecklenburg County and the City of Emporia are partners in the Regional Industrial Facilities Authority created to support the site’s growth. The localities submitted a joint application to the Tobacco Commission for this funding opportunity.

    Senator and Tobacco Commission Vice-Chair Frank Ruff stated,”The Tobacco Commission is very supportive of the regional effort that is being made in Greensville County toward the development of a first class mega site that will have the assets needed to attract a major employer.  In the last several years, Virginia had missed opportunities to recruit major companies because we were not ready with a site large enough to fulfill their needs. All of us believe MAMac will allow Virginia to compete."Otterdam Road, a two lane rural route, will serve as the gateway to MAMaC. Engineering for the road upgrades from Interstate 95 exit 13 to the northern portion of MAMaC is 90% complete. The Virginia Department of Transportation awarded a $508,000 grant to fund the engineering. This award was made through the Economic Development Access program. Construction will begin by summer 2014.

    MAMaC is a 1,600 acre McCallum Sweeney Certified “Mega-Site” located in Greensville County just north of Emporia with direct access to the CSX mainline rail and approximately 1.3 miles of frontage along Interstate 95.  The development of this project will be transformational for the entire 60 mile radius surrounding the site. In correspondence to supporting county officials, Greensville County Administrator David Whittington said the MAMaC site is the only certified “mega-site” in Virginia, and one of only 10 in the U.S. He stated five other certified “mega-sites” across the country had already been sold, with each site averaging more than $1 billion in investment and creating on average more than 1,000 jobs.

    Regional economic impact analysis indicates an economic benefit ranging from $2.8 billion and 2,487 permanent jobs for an advanced manufacturing center, to $3.7 billion and 3,297 permanent jobs for an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) such as Toyota or Volkswagen.

    The Tobacco Commission Mega Site grant program is a five part opportunity for communities to greatly advance the development of their large scale industrial sites. MAMaC is one of only four sites throughout the Tobacco Commission Region to receive funding through the program this year.

    The Virginia Department of Transportation awarded the project $3.3 million through the Revenue Sharing program. The “Revenue Sharing Program” provides additional funding for use by a county to construct, reconstruct, improve or maintain the highway systems within such county. Locality funds are matched, dollar for dollar, with state funds. The Tobacco Commission award along with the Revenue Sharing award completes the $7.7 million balance for the road expansion.

    Chairman of the Greensville County Board of Supervisors, Peggy Wiley, stated, “Without the generous support of the Tobacco Commission and the Virginia Department of Transportation MAMaC would continue to be a dream. The development of this site has already brought three localities and several state agencies together in partnership. Greensville County is excited about the additional opportunities a future client will bring to the community.”

    To ensure MAMaC is developed effectively for a target client, a development team has been assembled. The team is comprised of representatives from partnering localities, service providers, marketing partners, workforce training providers and engineers. These representatives will assist in the development and marketing of MAMaC.

    For more information, visit the MAMaC website at www.mamacva.com.

  66. Emporia City Council Meeting

    The Emporia City Council met on Tuesday evening for a meeting with a short agenda.  The meeting opened with a moment of silence for Deputy Lee House, who lost his life in the line of duty last week.  The moment of silence was followed by an invocation from Council Member Rev. Dr. Carolyn Carey.  After the minutes of the last public hearing and meeting and the agenda were approved, the first order of business was a resolution in recognition of Black History Month in the City of Emporia (the text of which I hope to publish tomorrow).  Mayor Person read the resolution and presented it to Cornell Hines.

    City Manager Brian Thrower presented council with a funding request for the MAMaC Regional Industrial Facilities Authority.  As reported yesterday, each locality in the Authority (Greensville County, the City of Emporia and Mecklenburg County) were asked to fund an additional $7000 to extend the contract of Troutman Sanders Strategies for another year, at a reduced rate of $4000 per month.  Staff recommended that the request not be funded for two reasons.  Firstly, the request was outside of the regular budget process.  Secondly, City Manager Thrower pointed out that the City of Emporia will receive no tax revenue from this project.  Thrower concluded by stating that if Council agreed with his recommendation that no action was needed and that there would only be a need for a vote on the matter if they disagreed.  There was no motion to provide any additional funds for the contract.

    City Manager Thrower informed Council of two vancancies on the Industrial Development Authority as both J. Reid Wrenn and Rolland Weaver had offered letters of resignation.  Council was asked for two nominees to fill the remainder of those terms, but action was tabled until the next City Council Meeting.

    The City Manager also informed Council that the City had been awarded an OAG Grant from Federal Forfeituress of more than $23 Thousand; the funds are to be used to purchase a Harley Davidson motorcycle for the Emporia Police Department.

    Only one citizen spoke during the Public Comments period-Judy Mathews advised Council of a potential safety issue involving rail road crossing arms that malfunction during cold weather.  She was concerned that the extra time it took for Emergency Service vehicles to use the 58 Bypass to reach the east side of town could be detrimental to those in need of service.  City Manager Thrower advised that they knew of the issue and that the City was already working with CSX to repair the situation.

    City Council ended the meeting in closed session.

  67. February 2014 Declared Black History Month in Greesville County

    RESOLUTION #14-99

    RECOGNITION OF BLACK HISTORY MONTH

    FEBRUARY 2014

    WHEREAS, the month of February has been set aside as a time to recognize accomplishments of African-Americans; and

    WHEREAS, two natives of Southside Virginia, the late Dr. Charles Drew and Dr. Carter G. Woodson, and many others were instrumental in initiating  scholarly studies of Black History and other historical endeavors; and

    WHEREAS, the late Garland P. Faison, was the first African-American to hold elected office in Greensville County; first as Justice of the Peace and then as a member of the Board of Supervisors for 20 years where he was dedicated to improving conditions for all county citizens; and

    NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Greensville County Board of Supervisors does hereby recognize February 2014 as Black History Month in Greensville County.

    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Board of Supervisor encourages all Greensville County residents to actively pursue information that will enlighten them on the many valuable accomplishments to Greensville County by African-Americans.

  68. Greensville County Board of Supervisors Meet

    The Greensville County Board of Supervisors met Monday evening.  Chairperson Peggy Wiley reconvened the meeting with a moment of silence for Deputy Lee House, who died while on duty last week.

    After the moment of silence and opening prayer, the first order of business was the approval of the consent agenda, with the minutes of the last meeting, budgetary matters, warrants and a resolution. 

    Joe Lomax advised the board of local road conditions, recent work and future projects and thanked local residents for their patience during the recent winter weather.  Lomax also advised the Board of an upcoming “Pothole Blitz,” and urged residents to call VDOT at 1-800-FOR-ROAD (1-800-367-7623) with the locations of potholes in the area.  It was explained that any fixes would be cold patches, with permanent repairs coming during the warmer months.

    The Board was given the opportunity to share what they thought were trouble spots in the county. 

    Chairperson Wiley praised VDOT for the removal of several trees in the median on US 58 near the landfill and advised of a dead tree near that location. 

    Supervisor Ferguson let Mr. Lomax now that grass along Brink Road has been cut around fallen trees instead of the trees being moved and asked if Brink Road would be paved in 2014.  Mr. Lomas said that the resurfacing of Brink Road was approved for Fiscal Year 2015, which begins in July, but that the work should be done in calendar year 2014.  Supervisor Ferguson also asked if more ditching would be done, specifically along Pine Log Road, to help keep water off of the roadway and aired some concerns about the intersection of Brink and Macedonia Roads where the shoulder drops off dramatically.

    Supervisor Lee shared her concerns with areas along US 301 and on Crescent Road where standing water is an issue.  Dr. Lee was most concerned, though, with the intersection of James River Junction and Brickyard Road, where there are issues with low lying land and the railroad right of way. Mr. Lomax agreed to meet with her to discuss the issue further and view photographs of the area.

    The issues on Quarry Road were also discussed as the road has been underwater twice in the last few months.  Mr. Lomas shared that the issue on Quarry Road was a drainage problem on Vulcan Property, nearly a mile off the road. Supervisor Ferguson asked if Vulcan could be charged in any way for obstructing the roadway and Mr. Lomax is looking into the matter further.

    It was stressed by Mr. Lomax that calls to 1-800-FOR-ROAD (1-800-367-7623) from this area are lower than other localities, and that it is important for issues to be known there.  With a call to the hotline, problems are logged and can be tracked, possibly allowing for quicker resolution.

    Mr. Lomax concluded by sharing that there was some trouble with the new pavement adhering to Route 730 and that it would be repavedVDOT is in discussions with the contractor about who should pay for it, consensus at the meeting was that the contractor should bear the expense.

    There were no public comments, so the meeting moved to future renovation projects for both the Sheriff’s Office and Courthouse security.  Charles Veliky updated the board on the interviews of architectural firms for Preliminary Architectural Reports for possible future projects.  The committee chose the same firm for both reports, Baxter Bailey and Associates.  The PAR for the Sheriff’s Office is not to exceed $10,800 and for Courthouse security, not to exceed $18,100.  Separate votes were taken for both bids, and both were accepted.

    Natalie Slate presented the Board with a budget request for the MAMac Regional Industrial Facilities Authority board to extend the contract with Troutman Sanders for another year, at a reduced rate.  This contract is contingent on each of the three localities involved adding $7000 to the current operating budget.  This is needed as the Tobacco Commission has split this grant year into two cycles.  Troutman Sanders has lobbied the Tobacco Commission on behalf of the County before.  To date Greensville County has received $21 million in grant funds.  Funds were appropriated by unanimous vote.

    The Tobacco Commission is considering holding their May meeting in our area and will be touring the Golden Leaf Commons and other facilities.  The Board will waive any fees associated with that meeting at the Golden Leaf Commons and/or the Community Room.

    County Administrator Dave Wittington has been authorized to execute a contract with Harrell Contracting, Inc, for demolition and grading of the Frodl farm and surrounding area in the MAMaC Development area.  Harrell Contracting one of two bidders for the job and beat out Dickens Construction.  Brian Petty recommended Harrell Contracting for the job as he thought that Harrell “had a better understanding of the required work and submitted an acceptable price.”

    The last item on the published agenda was Resolution #14-99, Recognition of Black History Month, February 2014.  County Administrator Dave Wittington read the resolution setting aside the month of February as a time to recognize accomplishments by African Americans. 

    Additions to the agenda were approval of a press release announcing the award to the County of $4.4 million dollars to finish Otterdam Road leading to MAMaC and the approval of the Contract with the Tobacco Commission to accept said Grant. 

    The last item was the approval of a Contract to accept a grant to pay for the connection of the newly finished Skippers well into the water system serving the businesses around Exit 8.

    After adjournment, the Board went directly into the meeting of the Greensville County Water and Sewer Authority.  Open session business for the WSA consisted solely of the consent agenda and no new business was discussed.

  69. OBITUARY-Percy Lee House, III

    Percy Lee House, III, passed away Saturday, Feb 1, 2014. He is survived by his fiancee’, Roxanne Barr; his parents, Percy and Maxine Daughtry House, sister, Bonnie House Ransone and husband, Randy; brother, Steven Floyd “Moose” House; nephew, Steven Floyd House, II and neice, Garnette Maxine Ransone. The family will receive friends 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb 4 at Owen Funeral Home, 303 S. Halifax Rd in Jarratt. The funeral service will be held 2 p.m. Wednesday, Feb 5 at Golden Leaf Commons, 1300 Greensville County Circle, Emporia, Virginia. Private interment will follow at House Family Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions be made to the Greensville Volunteer Rescue Squad or to the Emporia Volunteer Fire Department. Online condolences may be made at www.owenfh.com.
  70. Tunnel Construction Relief Bills Killed

    By Lauren McClellan, Capital News Service

     RICHMOND -- Two bills that would have provided monetary relief to Hampton Roads area businesses affected by construction on the Downtown Tunnel have been killed in the General Assembly.  Senate Bill 292, introduced by Sen. Louise Lucas, D- Portsmouth, would have established the Downtown Tunnel Construction Relief Grant Fund. The fund would have provided each local business affected by construction with $10,000 for economic hardship experienced because of the project.  SB 292 was passed by indefinitely in committee this past week.

    House Bill 351, like SB292, aimed to establish the same fund, but would have given businesses $1,500 instead of $10,000.  HB 351, which was introduced by Del. Matthew James, D-Portsmouth, was killed Jan. 20.  “If you have a company, or you are an employee and depend on people coming to your place for dinner or something like that, (tunnel construction) would be disruptive to your business,” James said. “People would naturally make a decision sometimes and say ‘Well, I don’t know if the tunnel’s open or closed.  So, I’m going to go to another (business).’”

    According to James, a survey done by the General Assembly and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership found many businesses in the area were suffering severely because of the construction.  President Tony Goodwin of the Portsmouth Olde Towne Business Association is concerned with how the construction and new tolls will affect downtown Portsmouth. He said construction essentially “isolates” the area.  “I don’t think I would wish (this situation) on anyone, as my competitors or my enemies,” Goodwin said.  “Until people start adjusting their habits -- and things balance themselves out -- it’s going to be a little bit of a tough road.”

    Goodwin also expressed concern about the state not releasing pertinent economic information about the overall Elizabeth River tunnel projects.  “As they (the state and contractors) were coming up to the point of financing and signing the contract, we (the business association) demanded they do a full-blown economic impact study,” Goodwin said, “which was never released to the businesses nor the public because it was supposedly proprietary information.” 

    Opponents of the bill were concerned about the future ramifications the fund might have on other communities.  “I was told that the bill was a creative fix, and that they were sympathetic,” James said. “But (opponents of the bill) told me that they were worried about the precedent, even though we had a sunset that once the tunnel opened, the grant would not be available.”

    Both bills would have required local business owners to submit applications to prove the Downtown Tunnel construction had affected their business.  Downtown Norfolk Council President Mary Miller said some of the information in the bills was unclear.  “Was it really supposed to be the Downtown Tunnel and the Midtown Tunnel?  Or just one?” Miller said. “Because the Elizabeth River tunnel project involves two tunnels.”

    Miller said she was not sure the bill would have helped businesses in Norfolk because of its vague language.  “You have to have a pretty clear -- I think -- idea of who’s impacted,” Miller said. 

    Two impact statements were released estimating the costs of the projects outlined in each bill.  "The potential number of applicants for a grant under the program is indeterminate," the impact statement stated. "The impact estimate … anticipates that VEDP will receive and review several thousand applications during the grant period established in the bill."

    The Virginia Economic Development Partnership estimated that the cost of creating the fund would have been around $538,000.  According to the impact statement, multiple positions would have had to be created in order to administer the funds.   The positions needed included one marketing representative that would explain the program to those potentially affected by the tunnel construction, three grant processors and performance monitors, and an administrator to oversee the project.  Salary and benefits for these positions ranged from $50,000 to $140,000 apiece.

    If passed, both bills' provisions would have sunsetted in July 2015.  Tolling for the Downtown and Midtown Tunnels in the Hampton Roads area begins Feb. 1.

  71. Obituary-William Michael Holland

    DREWRYVILLE - Mike Holland, age 62, of Southampton County formerly of Virginia Beach, died January 30, 2014, at Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center in Emporia.  He was born October 24, 1951, in Alaska, to the late Marjorie Matthews Holland and Willie Morgan Holland.
     
    Mike spent the later years of his life raising and selling meat goats on Holland Farm in Drewryville. He started the 4H Meat Goat Club in Chesapeake and later initiated the meat goat show for the Virginia State Fair. He was an active board member of the Greensville Emporia Ruritan Club. Previously, he was a mechanic, a softball player and an avid Redskins fan.
     
    Survivors include his wife of 20 years, Nancy Naigle; a son, Michael Holland of Virginia Beach; a daughter, Michelle Justice and her husband, Tom, of Virginia Beach; his in-laws,  Bettie Coffin of Emporia, VA and Gary Naigle and Greta Gustavson of Norfolk; two sisters  Patricia Dianne Bateman of New Bern, N.C. and Margaret Ann Owen and her husband, Darrold, of South Mills, N.C.;  two brothers, Richard Stephen Holland and his wife, Sheryl, of Port Orchard, WA and Jon Allen Holland of Virginia Beach; a brother-in-law, Richard Thomas of Camden, N.C.; and numerous nieces and nephews.
     
    He was preceded in death by a sister, Susan Juanita Thomas, and a brother-in-law, Sidney Bateman.
     
    Visitation will be held at the Owen Funeral Home in Jarratt, VA from 12-1pm on Thursday February 6, 2014. A graveside service will be held at 2 p.m. at Greensville Memorial Cemetery in Emporia.
     
    In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the VCU Massey Cancer Center who provided treatment throughout his illness http://www.massey.vcu.edu/giving/honorary/memorial/. Online condolences may be made at www.owenfh.com.
  72. Kidnapped Dog

    Help us get our dog back.  Our Newfoundland dog named "Runway" was picked up on hwy 58 near Unkle Odies.  A car pulled over, put him in the car, and drove away.  Passenger that grabbed him had long blond hair.  Driving a small bronze or gold SUV similar to a Ford  Escape or Malibu. call 434-594-6333 or 434-637-2707 with info.   Reward is Offered.

    Tags: 

  73. Greensville County Sheriff’s DeputyPercy Lee House III Found Deceased In Apparent Car Accident

    GREENSVILLE COUNTY, VA – Early this morning, Percy Lee House III, the Greensville County Sheriff’s Deputy missing since Friday morning, was found deceased in his vehicle located in a creek off of Massie Branch Road in Greensville County.

    While the Virginia State Police is in the midst of conducting a full investigation, the accident is reported to be the result of icy road conditions. Before midnight, a dive team was dispatched to the scene not far from where the vehicle was last reported driving.

    “I want to thank my staff, volunteers from our community, and public safety agencies from the surrounding area for their quick response and support over the last 24 hours,” said Greensville County Sheriff James Edwards. “The loss of Deputy Lee House III to our close department and our community is tragic and unexpected. Please keep his family and all of our first responders in your thoughts and prayers.”

    After Deputy House was reported missing, Greensville County first responders were joined by the State Police, the Emporia Police Department, the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, as well as Sheriff’s departments in Brunswick, Northampton, Southampton, and Sussex.

    Deputy House, 52, last made contact with the Greensville County Sheriff’s Office about 9:24 a.m. on Friday. Deputy House was last spotted in the small town of Skippers in Greensville County. The Greensville Sheriff’s Office sent a “be on the lookout” notice to all law enforcement agencies nationwide around 3pm.

    John W. Jones, Executive Director of the Virginia Sheriffs’ Association, offered sentiments from sheriffs around the Commonwealth: “The Virginia Sheriffs family is saddened today by the loss of Deputy Sheriff Lee House. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and the Greensville County Sheriff’s Office for this tragic loss.”

    If you have information that could assist in the investigation, please call the Greensville County Sheriff’s Office at 434-348-4200.

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