Send news tips, story ideas and advertising questions to

Emporia News is best read in LANDSCAPE view on Mobile Devices. Please rotate your phone or tablet.

Current Weather Conditions

Seven Day Forecast for Emporia, Virginia

Community Calendar Sponsored By...


March 2014

  1. High Schoolers Visit VCU For Annual Robotics Competition

    By Chris Suarez, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND -- Dozens of robots gathered at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Siegel Center in late March with their high school creators, competing in Virginia’s largest youth robotics tournament.  Celebrating its 15th anniversary, VirginiaFIRST held its annual FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition, inviting students from high schools all over the Atlantic coast to compete in the “varsity sport of the mind,” with all the flash of an NCAA sporting event. 

    Teams composed of either single or combined high schools had students in their respective robotics clubs making highly sophisticated robots for this year’s game. The student-constructed robots can be up to 120 pounds and 5 feet tall, built with no assembly instructions and only minor assistance from team mentors.  U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine spoke at the second day of the tournament, expressing his appreciation for the organization and mentioning his family’s prior experiences attending the competition.  “It’s all about taking the curriculum and making it real,” Kaine said. “I’ve already met with a number of former FRC competitors, who are now team mentors, and have gone on to have wonderful careers with companies or the military because they got excited about the work they can do in the math, science, technology and engineering fields.”

    The teams were first tasked with building their robot in January this year, given only two months to design and build their robot for this year’s game, “Aerial Assist.” The game divides teams into two alliances, where students’ robots are challenged to collect and shoot two-foot diameter exercise balls through goals on the ground and suspended on a truss above robot operators. Points are given based on goals and assists made by the alliances during the two minute and 30 second rounds.

    Don Brobst, a mentor for the team from George Mason High School in Falls Church, Va. supported the team throughout the design and build of its robot, bringing 30 years experience in software and systems engineering.  Brobst says the dedication of the 25 students on George Mason team demonstrate their potential as future engineers and scientists.  “We’ve been staying after school every day until 8 o’clock during build season,” said Abhijit Narain, a George Mason High School senior. “That’s been the key to this: Everyone’s been working really hard.”

    Despite being a rookie on the team, Narain says he has learned an immense amount about coding, electronics, physics, design and hardware while competing with his team. Narain also says he plans to study engineering in college and is waiting for a response from Virginia Tech, but already has received acceptance letters from George Mason University and Virginia Commonwealth University.

    VirginiaFIRST Executive Director Pattie Cook praised all the students and the teams for accepting the challenge and performing at a high level. Cook says high-tech firms and business sponsors notice the ambition and promise student competitors show.  “It’s been the culmination of weeks and weeks of hard work and collaboration; facing challenges from all the snow days, not enough funding and all the dynamics of working as a team. It’s intricate layers of problem solving,” Cook said. “It’s an exciting time for youngsters to see what they’ve learned in school and on their team.”

    Cook said programs initiated by FIRST are setting up young people to become future innovators by gaining team-building skills and encouraging children to become interested in technology.  “It’s not just a competition, but it’s become messaging and outreach,” Cook said. “We take our robots out -- all over the state -- to let kids touch technology. We went from one big event to a pipeline of many programs and activities throughout the year.”

    Because the robots are designed and built with sophisticated equipment and machinery, teams are required to meet a budget of $9,000 to $12,000. FIRST and participating teams are supported by sponsors such as VCU School of Engineering, NASA, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Booz Allen Hamilton.  Teams also are encouraged to find private sponsors as well, generating interest and support on a smaller community level.

    Genworth Financial Chief Information Officer and Senior Vice President Scott McKay says financial institutions also have an interest in FIRST.  “As a financial services company, we are very dependent on technology,” said McKay, who is also acting chairman for VirginiaFIRST. “We are always challenged to find enough information technology people, especially in the U.S. where there aren’t enough IT graduates to fill the positions we have.”      

    FIRST began in 1992 as an organization encouraging young people to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and careers. VCU has played host to the competition since the inception of VirginiaFIRST, the Virginia-based affiliate of FIRST. 

    The initial FIRST Robotics Competition came to Virginia in 1999 under the moniker of the NASA Langley-VCU Regional. Since its foundation, the competition has become a staple for high school robotics clubs in the commonwealth looking to participate in a tournament with all the pomp and fanfare of a large sporting event.  “There is something for everyone on the FIRST team,” Cook said. “Sometimes people think they need to be invited. When you walk through the door, you’re family. You could help make a business plan. You could be a project manager. You could build a robot. We need leadership.”

    High school teams who ranked high enough at the end of the competition were invited to the FIRST World Robotics Championship, which will take place at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Mo. on the last weekend of April.

  2. Tenth Annual SVCC African-American History Contest Winners Announced

    The tenth annual African-American History Contest sponsored by Southside Virginia Community College celebrated the winners on Friday, March 21 with a luncheon held in Keysville, Va.   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.  Those who won in the Category of  Community included Mary Hamlett of Alton who has placed nine times in the contest and won first place this year. 

    She is shown with-- (Left to Right) Le'Tina Giles, Student Activities Coordinator on Daniel, Hamlett, Vondrenna Smithers, Student Activities Coordinator for Christann, Dr. Paula Gastenveld, Provost of Daniel, Bernadette Battle, Coordinator of Counseling for Christanna, and Dr. John J. Cavan, President.

    Brenda Richards of Green Bay was second, and Dominque Nelson of Lynchburg was third.

    In the John H. Daniel Campus winners, Summer Fink of Boydton placed first, Josh Rawson of Clarksville placed second and Dimitri Jones of Victoria placed third.  Shown with Dimitri (Far Right) are (Left to Right) Vondrenna Smithers, Student Activities Coordinator for Christanna, L e'Tina Giles, Student Activities Coordinator on Daniel,  Dr. Paula Gastenveld, Provost of Daniel, Bernadette Battle, Coordinator of Counseling for Christanna, and Dr. John J. Cavan, President.

    Christanna Campus student winners are Dana Nikolaisen of Ford, First, Mostafa Negm of Crewe, Second, and Amelia Paulette of Alberta, Third.  In the photo (Left to Right) Vondrenna Smithers, Student Activities Coordinator for Christanna,Dr. Paula Gastenveld, Provost of Daniel, Bernadette Battle, Coordinator of Counseling for Christanna, and Dr. John J. Cavan, President and Paulette, Nikolaisen and Negm.


  3. Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative Linemen Will Showcase Their Skills

    12th Annual Rodeo Competitions Set for April 4 and 5 in Caroline County

    (RUTHER GLEN, Va.) Nine Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative (MEC) line workers and one apprentice lineman will be competing at the 12th Annual Terex® Equipment Operator’s Rodeo on Friday, April 4, and the Gaff-n-Go Lineman’s Rodeo on Saturday, April 5. Both competitions will be held at the Caroline County Agricultural Fairgrounds near Ruther Glen. MEC will also have six employees at the event serving as judges among volunteers from other electric cooperatives, utilities and business associates.

    The only competitions of their kind held in Virginia, these utility equipment operator and climbing rodeos are open to linemen from all types of electric utilities. This year 120 electric linemen from Virginia and seven other states plan to attend, some from as far away as South Carolina and Rhode Island.

    Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative’s President and CEO John Lee gives further explanation, “Friday’s rodeo features equipment operators testing their ability to maneuver the bucket trucks and digger derricks used to build and maintain electric distribution systems. Saturday’s Gaff-n-Go competition features three-man journeyman line-crew teams and individual apprentice linemen. Working 40 feet above the ground on a course of utility poles, these professional linemen will demonstrate technical skills performing a variety of work tasks during timed and scored events. Each team or individual apprentice is judged on the time it takes to perform a task and, more importantly, on whether the task is performed according to safe and efficient work practices.”

    He continues, “Safety is our top priority at Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative, and we are pleased to take part in this event to sharpen our skills and take efficiency of our service to a new level. This is our tenth year of participation in this unique event. I am proud of all our past participants and am looking forward to being there this year to support our guys and be with their family members.”

    The Saturday rodeo gets its name from the “gaff” or metal spike that linemen attach to their boots to assist in climbing wooden utility poles. Participants and attendees can also check out the latest in tools and equipment each day as part of a vendor expo held in a pavilion adjoining the rodeo field.

    “This two-day event is a celebration of the skills of line crews who work to keep the lights on in all types of conditions,” says Richard Johnstone, executive vice president of the Virginia, Maryland and Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives (VMDAEC) that hosts the event. VMDAEC provides a variety of services to its 15 member co-ops in the three states, including an array of lineman training programs, both for apprentice linemen and for more seasoned journeyman line crew members.

     “A lineman works around high-voltage power lines every day, often in the toughest weather conditions,” says Johnstone. “Both the Gaff-n-Go Lineman’s Rodeo and the Terex® Equipment Operator’s Rodeo showcase the special qualities those who choose this profession must possess ― discipline, training, teamwork and confidence,” he continued, adding that this annual event provides their families and friends with a unique opportunity to see their sons, husbands and brothers in action.

    Major sponsorship is being provided by Terex® Equipment and the Cooperative Finance Corporation (CFC), a not-for-profit lending institution. Terex® is a major supplier of heavy equipment used in the utility industry, including digger derricks, aerial devices, cranes and cable placers. Terex® Utilities, Inc. will also provide equipment, judges and awards for the equipment operators’ rodeo.

    Designed for the entire family, these rodeo competitions give linemen’s families and others a chance to

    celebrate and learn more about the work that linemen do every day. Both days’ events are open to the public beginning at 11:15 a.m. Friday and 7:45 a.m. Saturday. Admission and parking are free and food vendors will be available.

    For more information on the rodeo and directions to the Caroline County Agricultural Fairgrounds, visit Facebook fans of this event can check out photos from previous years and find out the latest at

    Shown in first photograph: Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative (MEC) employee Chad Harding is pictured at last year’s Gaff ‘n Go Lineman’s Rodeo as he prepares to begin his work task in competition with other line workers. Harding will be participating again at this year’s event in April along with nine other MEC employees.

    Shown in second photograph: Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative employees will be among the teams of electric utility linemen coming from eight states to compete in the Gaff ‘n Go Lineman’s Rodeo to be held at the Caroline County Agricultural Fairgrounds in April.

  4. SVCCC Job Fair Welcomes Large Crowd of Job Seekers

    “Our Christanna Campus Regional Job Fair was a huge success!,” according to Debra Smiley, Director of Workforce Development & Continuing Education at Southside Virginia Community College.

    Approximately 320 people came to the event held March 19 to learn about the job opportunities in Southside Virginia.  There were commitments from 28 employers and employer service agencies.    Those included in the list of business there to talk to prospective employees were

    American Buildings, Dominion Power, AmeriCare Plus, LLC, AVON Products, Mecklenburg County Schools, 3WD Radio(promotion), Transamerica Agency Network, Southern Virginia Medical Center,

    Community Memorial Hospital, Team Nurse, Care Advantage, Emporia/South Hill VA Employment Office, Old Dominion Home Health, Home Recovery Home Aid, Inc, Ameristaff, Workforce Invest Act Services (Workforce Center), Woodmen of the World, Lakes Media(promotion), JVR Tech, LLC,

    Fluor Construction Corporation, Wal-Mart Distribution Center, Virginia Staffing, Halifax Regional Health System, SVCC Human Resources and  Personal Touch Preferred Group.

    Cindy Kirby, Human Resource Director at American Buildings, Atlantic division, LaCrosse said, “The job fair at the Christanna campus provided American Buildings Company the ability to connect with welders and other job seekers who are interested in joining our team.  We were able to reach out to the community and provide information about our local business and also the opportunities available with our parent company, Nucor. It was a great networking opportunity for businesses, students and job seekers as well as educators and service providers to learn more about the many ways the community works together to get people trained and working!  I appreciate all the hard work put in by the staff and volunteers that made this job fair such a success; the campuses of SVCC are an important partner within the local business community.“

    “We are fortunate to have an institution like Southside Community College in our backyard,” said Danny Woods, operations and maintenance manager at Dominion Virginia Power’s Brunswick Power Station. “Their engineering program aligns well with the specialized skills we are looking for in entry level positions at the power station.”

    The event was coordinated and sponsored by SVCC Student Development and Workforce Development departments. 

    Smiley also thanked many who helped make the event a success especially local news media who helped with publicity.


  5. Virginia College Instructor, Dr. Madalyn Carey Remembered

    Richmond, VA – March 25, 2014 - Virginia College in Richmond is marking the one year anniversary of the death of Dr. Madalyn Carey, a beloved faculty member who died unexpectedly on April 2nd, 2013. At the time of her death, Dr. Carey was the college’s longest tenured Medical Assisting instructor.  She had been with the college since its opening in 2011 and was instrumental in changing and improving the lives of hundreds of students. She taught and mentored day and night students in the college’s Medical Assisting program. In honor of her service and dedication to the college and her students, Virginia College has dedicated the campus’ medical assisting lab as the Dr. Madelyn Carey Medical Assisting Laboratory. The loss of Dr. Carey was untimely and devastating for everyone, but especially for her students. Everyone across the campus knew and loved her.  She gave of herself unselfishly and inspired her students to pursue their dreams in their careers and in life.  Her presence will always be felt in the school’s classrooms and hallways and her many contributions will be forever remembered.

  6. Boating Safety Classes offered at Southside Virginia Community College

    Southside Virginia Community College is offering Boating Safety classes this spring starting April 21 in South Hill and May 10 in Clarksville.

    Scheduled class dates are as follows:

    Lake Country Advanced Knowledge Center – South Hill, VA
    April 21st and 23rd, 2014 from 4:00PM to 8:00PM
    (Must attend both dates to complete class)


    Clarksville Enrichment Complex – Clarksville, VA
    May 10, 2014 8:30AM – 5:00PM

    In 2007, the Virginia General Assembly enacted a law to establish a boating safety education compliance requirement. This requirement will be phased in over the next several years and by 2016, all operators of PWCs (Personal Watercraft such as jet skis, Sea Doos, Wave Runners) and operators of Motorboats with a 10 hp or greater motor, will be required to have a boating safety education course completion card on board when operating a PWC or Motorboat.

    As of July 1, 2009, all PWC operators 20 years old and younger must complete a boating safety course. This is the beginning of the phase-in of the Education Compliance Requirement for all Virginia boaters. As of July 1, 2010, all PWC operators 35 and younger must complete a boating safety course

    PWC Age Restriction: No person under the age of 14 may operate a PWC. Those operators 14 and 15 MUST show proof of completing an approved and accepted boating safety course either in a classroom or online. The challenge exam or other provisions of the Education Compliance Requirement do not meet the requirements of the age restriction law.

    A Personal Watercraft or PWC, more commonly known as a Sea-Doo® (Bombardier Recreational Products), Waverunner® (Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA), and JET SKI® (Kawasaki Motors Corp., USA), is defined as a motorboat less than 16 feet in length that are powered by jet pumps, not propellers, where the persons stand, kneel, or sit on, rather than inside the boat. If you are an experienced boater, you may choose to take an equivalency/challenge exam rather than take a boating safety course.


  7. McAuliffe Proposes Fed Funded Medicaid Program


    By Eric Luther, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND -- Gov. Terry McAuliffe addressed critics of Medicaid expansion as part of Virginia’s biennial budget by proposing a two-year pilot program he says would close the commonwealth’s healthcare gap without financial penalty to the state.

    McAuliffe’s 45-minute address signified the beginning of the General Assembly’s special session, which was scheduled in effort to reach an agreement on the roughly $96 billion two-year budget currently at odds over expanding Medicaid coverage to more than 400,000 currently uninsured Virginians.

    McAuliffe says the federally funded pilot program would allow Virginia to once again “lead the way” by helping its sickest citizens gain access to healthcare, keep hospitals and clinics afloat, and bring taxpayer dollars back to the commonwealth.  “Opponents have thrown up road block after road block,” McAuliffe said in the Monday address on Capitol Square. “But their arguments have been overcome by simple facts.”

    Detractors said closing the healthcare coverage gap would cost Virginia millions of dollars. However, according to McAuliffe, expanding Medicaid would in fact save Virginia’s state budget more than $1 billion between now and 2022.

    The proposed pilot program is backed by a letter from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and states if Virginia implements an expansion of Medicaid coverage for two years, and then drops such coverage at the end of that time period, there would be no financial drawback and no reduction in federal dollars otherwise available to Virginia for its Medicaid program.

    The letter is significant, McAuliffe says, because it opens the door for a pragmatic and balanced approach to closing the healthcare coverage gap that all sides should find reasonable.  “There can be no more excuses,” McAuliffe said. “Hundreds of thousands of working families throughout Virginia are counting on us to set aside partisan politics and get the job done.”

    McAuliffe harked back to the days of former Gov. Bob McDonnell to further the notion of setting aside partisan disagreements, and urged delegates and senators alike to reach a compromise in the coming weeks.  “Gov. McDonnell included funding in his budget for the Affordable Care Act as early as 2012,” McAuliffe said. “And please let us not forget that the Medicaid Innovation Reform Commission itself was a creature of the budget.”

    In addition to Medicaid expansion, McAuliffe highlighted some of the other elements of his biennial budget, including $1.8 million for mental health initiatives, $4.8 million for extended school year grants and $17 million to fund the Line of Duty Act with the Virginia Retirement System.

  8. General Assembly Braking on DUI Legislation

    By Jessi Gower, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND –Virginia passed landmark DUI legislation in 2012, requiring anyone convicted of a DUI in the commonwealth -- whether it’s a first or 31st offense -- have an ignition interlock device installed in their car.  After the passage of the milestone law, advocates are not surprised that further DUI legislation has been stunted in the past two sessions.

    President of the non-profit organization Washington Regional Alcohol Program Kurt Erickson says this stunting of DUI legislation is to be expected, but says he is disappointed in the fact that only one bill dealing with DUIs made it to the governor for signing this session.  “Once you pass something so landmark around this issue,” Erickson said, “it’s sometimes means the sessions after it don’t really have an appetite for (more) DUI legislation. “

    According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, 229 persons were killed and 5, 861 persons were injured in alcohol-related car accidents in 2012.  This number is a reminder that preventable accidents still are happening, despite previously passed laws.  “There’s still a need for DUI legislation,” Erickson said.  “We expect there not to be as much as legislation after such a landmark year, but that doesn’t mean that the problems has gone away. “

    This year there were about 2,700 bills introduced in the Virginia General Assembly. Virginia lawmakers only have 40-60 days to deal with proposed legislation, depending on the session. So it’s understandable how some issues may get put on the sidelines. But Erickson says he hopes future sessions will yield more DUI legislation.  “They (lawmakers) need to know that what’s happened in the past hasn’t been a cure-all” Erickson said. “Issues are still there and need to be dealt with.”

  9. Human Services Workshop Offered

    Southside Virginia Community College is hosting a Human Services Workshop on Wednesday, April 16 in Alberta.  Family System in Human Services Part Two is being offered.

     In Family Systems Part Two, participants will understand the patterns that are developed by family members and how behaviors of family members affect others in the family.   One of the best ways to begin therapy and to gain understanding of how the emotional system operates in your family system is to put together your family Genogram. Studying your own patterns of behavior, and how they relate to those of your multigenerational family, reveals new and more effective options for solving problems and for changing your response to the automatic role you are expected to play.

    Crisis Intervention with Adolescents - This workshop explores the differences in the brains of teens and adults, discusses common mental health diagnoses, gives participants invaluable information on managing family conflicts, and explores suicide prevention and intervention.

    Individualized Service Plan (ISP) - This unique workshop allows professionals to actively practice writing ISPs, get one-on-one support with planning their ISPs, and understand the clinical elements of a

    Person Centered ISP. This workshop uses the P.A.T.H. Intervention developed by Nikole Jiggetts, LCSW.

    Pre-registration required by Friday, April 11th

    Presented by: Pulliam Innovative Consulting Firm – .5 CEUs will be earned

    Date: Wednesday, April 16, 2014

    Time: Check-in: 8:30AM – 9:00AM | Seminar: 9:00AM – 3:30PM

    Fee: $15.00 (includes lunch)

    Location: Southside Virginia Community College, John J. Cavan Workforce Development Center – 109 Campus Drive, Alberta, VA 23821

    Pre-registration required by contacting: Angela McClintock at 434-949-1026 or Non-Credit applications can be faxed to: 434-949-0107


  10. Obituary-Samuel Webster Adams, III

    Samuel Webster Adams, III, 64, of Emporia, Virginia died on March 19, 2014 after a long illness. Born on February 6, 1950 in Morristown, Tennessee and reared in Martinsville, Virginia, he was the son of Dr. Samuel Webster Adams, Jr. and the late Catherine Price Chambliss Adams. He was preceded in death by his first wife Barbara Wornom Adams.  He is survived by his father Samuel Webster Adams, Jr. and step-mother Elva Adkins Adams; wife Shelby Pair Elliott Adams of Emporia; sons Boyce Webster Adams and his wife Katie of Charlotte, NC and William Randolph Adams and his fiancée Whitney Clarke Jester of Richmond; step-sons Logan Elliott and Jason Elliott of Emporia; sisters Susan Adams Oliver and husband Kenneth Oliver of New York, Margaret Adams Joback and husband John Joback of  Leesburg; brothers William Chambliss Adams and wife Phyllis Adams of Cary, NC, John Randolph Adams and wife Mary Adams of Richmond, David Adams and wife Michelle Adams of Albuquerque, NM; George Adams and wife Kim Adams of Galax; grandson Samuel Parker Adams of Charlotte, and many nieces and nephews.

    A local banker and businessman, Sam graduated from Randolph-Macon College where he was a member of the Kappa Alpha Order. At the time of his election to the Emporia City Council in 1974, he was the youngest councilman ever elected in Virginia. He served on the Emporia City Council for 38 years, and was Mayor for 20 of them.  He was a leader in Emporia-Greensville County economic development, serving on multiple boards and commissions. He was a founding member of the Board of Directors of the Emporia YMCA. Sam was a past president of the Virginia Municipal League, and was a founding member and past-president of the Virginia Municipal League’s Insurance Programs Member Supervisory Board. He officiated at high school basketball games throughout southern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina for many years. He was a long-time member and vestryman at Christ Church (Episcopal) and later at Church of the Resurrection (Anglican).

    The family will receive friends on Sunday, March 23 from 3 until 5 pm at the Echols Funeral Home Chapel located on Brunswick Ave.

    Funeral services will be conducted on Monday, March 24 at 12:00 noon at Main Street Baptist Church with interment at Emporia Cemetery, followed by a reception at First Presbyterian Church, Emporia.

    In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial donations be made to the Emporia-Greensville Rescue Squad or the Emporia Volunteer Fire Department.

  11. Virginia State Police Joins Drive to Save Lives Campaign

    The VSP join the International Association of Chiefs of Police, US Department of Transportation & State Police and Highway Patrol Agencies  Nationwide to Commence

    Drive to Save Lives Campaign

    Working Together to Reduce Highway Fatalities by 15 Percent in 2014

    Drive to Save Lives Press Conference, New Orleans, La.RICHMOND, Va.– Today Virginia State Police Superintendent, Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, joined state police and highway patrol leaders from 40 other states along with the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to announce the Drive to Save Lives Campaign at a press conference in New Orleans, La.    

    The implementation of the Drive to Save Lives Campaign is a united effort by state police and highway patrol leaders to reduce highway fatalities by 15 percent in 2014. More than 33,000 deaths occur each year on our nation’s roadways. Highway fatalities rank as one of the top 12 causes of death in the United States and it is the leading cause of death among teens. This is unacceptable because most crashes are preventable.

    As of Thursday (March 20, 2014), traffic deaths are on the decline in Virginia. To date, there have been 112 reported traffic deaths statewide, compared to 137 traffic deaths this same date in 2013.

    “Every decrease in the number of traffic deaths is a life saved on a Virginia highway,” said Col. Flaherty. “Yet, there have already been 112 traffic crash deaths in just the first three months of this year statewide. These are lives destroyed because somebody failed to make safe driving practices a priority. In 2012, traffic deaths on Virginia highways were more than double the total number of homicides reported statewide that same year.* If we are to make our highways safer in the Commonwealth and across the country, then Virginians have to take traffic safety as seriously as those of us in law enforcement do.”

    In order to decrease highway fatalities, state police and highway patrol leaders from the IACP Division of State and Provincial Police will lead a sustained effort over the course of the year that is data driven; focuses on the use of seat-belts and speeding; and targets impaired and distracted driving. The campaign will also include enforcement actions against the unsafe driving behaviors of the operators of large trucks and buses. State police and highway patrol leaders will work to change the high-risk behaviors of motorists that lead to crashes through education and awareness, partnerships, and high-visibility traffic enforcement.

    "Far too often, troopers, officers and deputies are called upon to notify a family member that a loved one is not coming home,” said Col. Michael Edmonson, Superintendent of the Louisiana State Police and General Chair of the IACP Division of State and Provincial Police “We, as law enforcement leaders, have an obligation to ensure that we are doing everything in our power to reduce highway fatalities in our communities, hence the Drive to Save Lives campaign. Through our collective efforts to educate and raise awareness about the leading causes of fatalities, our expanded partnerships to address these causes, and high visibility proactive enforcement to change behaviors, our goal is to reduce highway fatalities nationwide by 15 percent in 2014.”

    “The IACP is thrilled to partner with the United States Department of Transportation on the Drive to Save Lives campaign,” said Chief Yousry “Yost” Zakhary, IACP President. “During my 34 years as a law enforcement officer, I have responded to far too many crashes caused by speeding and witnessed too many deaths because drivers and/or passengers were not wearing their seatbelts, and because of impaired and distracted driving. Crashes are preventable -- and that is what this campaign aims to do. Prevent them from occurring in the first place. Through our partnership, we will work to reduce highway deaths in 2014, and the coming years, because even one death is too many.” 

    “Last year, we lost 33,000 lives on our nation’s roads, many of them because of drunk driving and from people not wearing seatbelts, speeding, and driving distracted,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “That’s why I’m pleased to join the International Association of Chiefs of Police in its ambitious goal to reduce highway fatalities by 15 percent. The Department of Transportation stands ready to do its part to help them achieve it.”

    Another major element of the Drive to Save Lives Campaign is officer safety. Traffic-related incidents are the leading cause of line-of-duty deaths of law enforcement officers. When discussing the importance of officer safety to the success of the Drive to Save Lives Campaign, California Highway Patrol Commissioner Joseph Farrow, chair of the IACP Highway Safety Committee commented: “As we Drive to Save Lives, it is important that we include the men and women of law enforcement in this campaign.” “Last year, 46 officers were killed on our roadways. This represents more than 40 percent of all line of duty deaths for the year. Equally troubling is the fact that the number of officers struck and killed while outside of their vehicles was once again in double digits, continuing the trend of the past decade.”

    The nationwide Campaign is not just a yearlong effort by state police and highway patrol leaders and their partners, this Campaign will be an ongoing effort to prevent the needless deaths that occur on Virginia’s roadways each year. Follow the IACP campaign on twitter at #Drive2SaveLives and Virginia State Police’s campaign on

    *2012 Virginia Traffic Crash Facts, 2012 Crime in Virginia Report


    EMPORIA, VA – The idea of a group to support patients undergoing cancer treatment and those providing care for them is not a new one, although one has not been offered through SVRMC.  The oncology staff of SVRMC recently witnessed the power of such partnering firsthand.  It happened that two patients, who already knew one another, were coming for oncology clinics.  As they were seeing each other so frequently, and under such stressful circumstances, they developed a special friendship through shared experiences and concerns that carried over to their spouses.  Through their mutual support of one for another, the relationship between these two couples inspired the SVRMC oncology staff to establish Cancer Connection, Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center’s (SVRMC) new support group for oncology patients and caregivers.

    The kickoff meeting of Cancer Connection will be Wednesday, April 9th at 5:30 PM in the SVRMC classrooms. Subsequent monthly meetings will be held on the second Wednesday of each month at 5:30 PM in the SVRMC Classrooms. The first 20 minutes of each meeting will be a combined session for patient and caregivers together, followed by breakout sessions comprised of patients only or caregivers only.  Each month there will be a program on different topics like exercise, diet, medication side effects, anemia or personal experiences.  This group meeting is FREE and open to all cancer patients and caregivers. For additional information, contact Cancer Connection Coordinators, Peggy Dunn, RN at 434-348-4625 or Robin Harris, RN at 434-348-4644



    Are you interested in learning more about Law Enforcement? Are you interested in creating a spirit of  friendship and cooperation  between Law Enforcement and the citizens it serves? If your answer is YES, you may want to consider attending the Emporia Police Department's CITIZEN'S POLICE ACADEMY.

    The Emporia Police Department's Citizen's Police  Academy  is a series of instructional courses presented by the Emporia Police Department to educate local citizens on the role of law enforcement in today's society.

    The Emporia Police Department will begin it's next     Citizen's Police Academy on  April 3rd, 2014 .  Any citizen who is age 18 or older should contact the Emporia Police Department at 434-634-2121, (Ext-6), or email ( You can also fill out the short application on this form and take it to the Dispatch Window at the EPD. The citizen will then be advised of the application process and be considered for enrollment The following is a summary of the Citizen's Police Academy enrollment and curriculum.


    Thirty (30) days prior to the beginning of the Citizen's Academy,  the Police Department will make applications available.  Anyone interested can at any time call the Police Department or email me at (  An application brochure will be provided for you. The first fifteen applicants accepted will be notified of the date when classes will start.  There will be no charge for the course. There will be certain requirements to attend. The following are the requirements:

     1.  Must be a legal resident, property owner or working in the City of Emporia.

     2.  18 years of age or older.

     3.  Have no Felony Record or Misdemeanor Record involving Moral Turpitude, or violent crimes.

     4.  Have a good driving record.

     5.  Present positive Identification, (Drivers License, ID card, Birth Certificate, etc.

    Selection of qualified applicants will be on a first come first serve basis. (appendix 1)

    Applications will be numbered as they are received. The first fifteen applicants that qualify will be selected to attend the CPA.  Each applicant accepted will be notified by letter and will be contacted by phone to determine their intention to attend.  This process will be repeated until fifteen applicants are accepted.  Applications who qualified but were not selected will be held until the next CPA and will be among those first accepted.


  14. Mayor, City Council Remember Larry Epps

    At Tuesday's City Council Meeting, Mayor Person presented the family of Larry Epps with a resolution celebrating his life and service to our community.



    A Resolution In Memory of Larry Epps


    Whereas,Larry Epps departed from this life on Sunday, October 13, 2013; and

    Whereas, Larry Epps was employed by the City of Emporia on February 26, 1980; and

    Whereas, Larry Epps began working in the Utility Department as a Meter Reader; and

    Whereas, on November 3, 1980, Larry Epps was promoted to Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator; and

    Whereas, in 1985, Larry Epps was promoted to Wastewater Treatment Plant Superintendent until he departed this life; and

    Whereas, for his skills, punctuality, dedication and easy going personality, Larry Epps quickly earned the respect of his coworkers; and

    Whereas, he has faithfully served this community for many years touching the lives of others and providing unconditional love and support to family and friends; and

    Now, Therefore, Be It Resolved,by the City Council of the City of Emporia, Virginia, meeting in Regular Session this 18th day of March, 2014, that the life of Larry Epps, a community leader whose influence and dedication left an indelible mark on this community that will never be diminished, is hereby recognized, and City Council expresses its gratitude for his many contributions to the betterment of our community.

    Done this 18th day of March 2014.

  15. Obituary-Marie Dianne Tarbert

    Marie Dianne Tarbert, 68, of 515 Peachtree St., a retired Public Librarian and mother, died Wednesday early morning March 19, 2014 at Vista park Memory and Respite Facility in Petersburg, Virginia. Mrs. Tarbert was born in Virginia Beach, Virginia and attended Princess Anne High School class of 1963. Both she and her husband attended Aberdour Presbyterian Church in Jarratt. Survivors include Malcolm E. Tarbert, her husband of 43 years; 3 sons; 2 stepdaughters; 11 grandchildren and one great-great-grandson. Immediate family includes 2 brothers and 2 sisters residing in Virginia Beach, Virginia and Sierra Vista, Arizona. A funeral service and reception that follows will be conducted 2 p.m. on Thursday, March 27, 2014 at Aberdour Presbyterian Church in Jarratt, Virginia with The Reverend Terry Woodard as Pastor. In lieu of flowers, contribute to the Alzhiemers Association so this horrible disease can find a cure. Dianne’s mother, Thelma Hancock, also died from Alzheimer’s just a year ago. A family’s future is put on hold while this disease runs its course. Thank a “Caregiver” for their service….truly a full-time job. Online condolences may be made at

  16. Autumn Trip Planned-Reservations Deadline is June 1st

    The Main Street Baptist Young at Heart group is planning a Motor Coach tour of Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine this fall.  Details are below.

  17. Greensville/ Emporia 2014 4-H Summer Camp spaces still available!

    Currently Greensville/ Emporia 4-H is still accepting boys and girls to attend the 2014 4-H summer camp to be held July 21-25th at the beautiful Airfield  4-H Educational Center in Wakefield, VA.  A variety of camp classes, afternoon activities, and special evening programs are great fun for all youth. Camp class examples include swimming, archery, riflery, arts and crafts, canoeing, nature, cooking, fishing, leather craft, sports, performing arts, climbing wall, high ropes and much more! Greensville/ Emporia 4-H Camp is open to all youth 9-13 years that are residents of Greensville/ Emporia. Campers must be 9 years old on or before September 30, 2013.  Older campers are eligible as long as they were no older than 13 as of January 1, 2014. The cost of camp is $200 for the first child, $195 for a second child, and $190 for any additional children. Limited scholarships are available. Scholarship deadline is April 11th. Greensville/ Emporia 4-H camp is the perfect way for your child to have a new, exciting experience this summer while making friends that will last a lifetime. Please contact the Greensville/ Emporia Extension Office for further information (434) 348-4223 or


  18. Local Minister Retires

    Reverend Dr. Ulysses S. Ross, pastor of the Oak Grove Baptist Church in White Plains, VA., retires after 35 years of service.  His past pastoralship includes: 8 years of service to Baltimore Baptist Church in Warrenton, N. C., 12 years of service to Oak Grove Baptist Church in Lawrenceville, VA., and 11 years of service to Friendship Baptist Church in Kenbridge, VA.  His employment career includes 20 years of service with the Administrative Office of the courts as a Magistrate.  It also includes service on local boards such as Warren County Planning Board, Warren County Pollution Control and Financing Authority, Domestic Violence Board, Kerr-Tar Economic Development Board, Triangle North Economic Development Board, Halifax Elected Membership Cooperative Board.  He is now serving on Warren County Board of Commissioners and Lake Gaston Weed Control Council.  He is a member of Lake Gaston Association and he is a Master Mason.

  19. Emporia City Council Meeting

    The Emporia City Council met briefly on Tuesday evening.  On the agenda were several appointments and one appropriation ordinance.

    There were no nominations to fill a vacancy on the Industrial Development Authority, so the item was tabled until the next meeting.

    Two members, Veronica Leach and Edward V. Lankford IV, of the Emporia Redevelopment and Housing Authority, whose terms were expiring, were reappointed

    Alton F. Owen Jr. has resigned his position on the Southside Virginia Education Center Board of Directors, but there were no nominations, so the matter was tabled until the next meeting.

    Nancy B. Squire has resigned her positions on both the Planning Commission and the Airport Commission; those positions were filled by Rev. Clifton Threat and Dale Temple.

    Rick Franklin's term on the Recreation Advisory Board has expired, and he did not wish to be reappointed; Council Member Carol Mercer was appointed in his place.  Council Members Deborah Lynch and Doris White were both reappointed, as was Edward V. Lankford, IV.

    The last item on the public agenda was the appropriation of $43,350 for the renovation and repair of the burn building used for training members of the Emporia Volunteer Fire Department.  This money was a grant awarded from the Virginia Department of Fire Programs.

    Mayor Mary Person recessed the meeting to a closed session to discuss "a prospective business or industry where no previous announcement has been made." 

    A second closed session item was added this evening, at the request of Council Member Ewing, to discuss with Legal Counsel the regulation of through truck traffic in the City of Emporia.  This issue was the topic of a February 18, 2014, public hearing, after which no action was taken by City Council.  City Administration, Public Works and the Police Department are all in favor of maintaining the existing ban on through truck traffic; as are a very strong majority of readers (732 readers are in favor of keeping the ban in place, while only 34 are in favor of allowing over loaded logging trucks on Main Street).  Council Member Harris made a motion to specifically exempt overloaded logging trucks, but that motion died due to the lack of a second.

  20. Obituary-David Hugh Justice, Jr.

    David Hugh Justice, Jr., of Skippers, passed away Friday, March 14, 2014. He was the only son of the late David H. and Texie B. Justice. A local business owner and family man, he served as a sniper/sharpshooter in the U.S. Marine Corps, reaching the rank of Sergeant. He was preceded in death by his dear wife Jane Parker Justice, married 40 years; both parents; and a close childhood friend, Sonny Arrington. He is survived by a son, John Robert Justice and longtime girlfriend Tara Richmond of Rising Sun, MD; daughters, Susan Justice Parker and husband Alan Parker of Holyrood, KS; as well as Robin Ann Justice and husband Justin Michalicek of Chesterfield, VA; grandchildren Amber Troutman, Jonathan Justice, Jordan Justice, Jerry Doyle, AJ Parker,  and Ana Michalicek; sisters, Phyllis Lynch of FL, Carol Butler and husband Buck of FL, Dawn Smith of Amelia, VA, Gail Pennington of MD, and DeeLaine Elliott of Emporia, VA; honorary grandchildren Kate and Andrew Best; 5 great-grandchildren; 13 nieces and nephews; and numerous great and great-great nieces and nephews. Visitation will be Thursday, March 20th from 6-8pm at DeeLaine's home, and memorial services are this summer, date and time TBA, for the spreading of the ashes of both David and his beloved Jane.  Condolences may be sent to

  21. Upcoming Workshops at Southside Virginia Community College


  22. Register for 4-H Summer Camp Today!

    Registration for 4-H Summer Camp will be held on Saturday, March 15, 2014 beginning at 8:00 a.m. and continuing until camp is full or 10:00 a.m. Camping spaces are offered on a first come first serve basis.  Greenville/ Emporia 4-H Camp is open to all youth residents of Greensville/ Emporia who are 9-13 years old.  If you are not sure if your child is eligible, please call our office at 434-348-4223 before camp sign-up day. 4-H Camp Sign-up will be held at the Greensville/ Emporia Extension Office located at: 105 Oak Street, Emporia, Virginia 23847.

    The purpose of 4-H is to help develop life skills in community youth.  Greensville/ Emporia 4-H is centered on positive youth development and camp have proven to be one of the most effective methods to involve a large number of youth in the 4-H program. 

    4-H camp can have a huge impact on a child’s life.  Along with making lifelong friends and having fun, youth learn valuable life lessons and skills that they will carry with them the rest of their lives.  Many campers return to camp as a 4-H Teen Counselor where they gain valuable leadership experience volunteering their time to give back to 4-H. 

    4-H camp is a fun opportunity for boys and girls to learn skills through hands-on experiences.  The camping program helps youth build self-esteem, and challenges them to be innovative and creative.  Participants have the opportunity to take several exciting classes, including Advanced Swimming, Beginning Swimming, Archery, Advanced Art, Arts & Crafts, Canoeing, Cooking/ Foods, Advanced Fishing, Fishing, GauGau, Leather Crafts, Low Ropes, Nature & Forestry, Outdoor Living, Riflery, Cheerleading, Sports of All Sorts, Theatrical Arts, Gardening, Woodworking – about 25 to choose from: There’s also arts and crafts, swim and recreation time, special evening events, songs and games, and more.

    Don’t miss the opportunity to register on March 15th from 8:00am-10:00am or when space is full whichever comes first.


  23. Southside Regional Medical Center Offers FREE Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Screening

    Petersburg, VA – Southside Regional Medical Center is offering a FREE oral, head and neck cancer screening onThursday, April 10 from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. The screening will be held at Southside Regional Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists, located at 40 Medical Park Boulevard, Suite D, in Petersburg.

    According to the National Cancer Institute, symptoms of oral, head and neck cancer include:

    • A lump or sore that does not heal
    • A sore throat that does not go away
    • Trouble swallowing
    • A change in or hoarseness in the voice

    85% of head and neck cancers are linked to tobacco use, including smoking and smokeless tobacco. If found early, these cancers are often curable.

    Dr. Tejas H. Raval, Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Dr. David Penberthy, Radiation Oncology, and Dr. Robert J. O’Neill, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, will be performing the screenings. Appointments are preferred but not required.

    To schedule an appointment or for more information, please call 804-765-5320.

    SRMC is a 300-bed, acute-care facility located at 200 Medical Park Boulevard in Petersburg, VA. SRMC serves nearly 200,000 residents and boasts a medical staff of more than 380 physicians representing over 40 specialties. SRMC treats more than 55,000 patients annually in its Emergency Department and is a Level III Trauma Center. The medical center provides inpatient care for approximately 12,000 patients per year. For more information about SRMC and the services it provides, please visit



    EMPORIA, VA - The Nutritional Services Department of Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center (SVRMC) is planning a community food drive in conjunction with Sodexo’s “STOP HUNGER” program to benefit the local Family Violence/Sexual Assault Prevention Program. 

    Sodexo, SVRMC’s vendor for food service management, serves thousands of nutritious meals in facilities across the country each day.  Unfortunately, an estimated 49 million people, including more than 16 million children, are at risk of hunger.  These daunting statistics lead to the development of Sodexo’s hunger-related initiative, the STOP Hunger program.  Through this program, Sodexo employees, clients and partners are encouraged to use their talents to help end hunger in America. 

    Please join SVRMC employees and staff as we support our Nutritional Services Department in this worthwhile effort.   Non-perishable food donations may be dropped off at the front desk located in the main lobby of the hospital or delivered to the cafeteria beginning Monday, March 17th through Monday, March 31stSVRMC staff will deliver the donations to the Family Violence/Sexual Assault Prevention Program on April 1, 2014.   Should you have questions regarding this information, please contact Sandy Webb, Director of Marketing, at 434-348-4447.


  25. Livestock Producers Affected by Severe Weather Urged to Keep Good Records

    WASHINGTON, March 6, 2014 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Juan M. Garcia, today repeated his appeal to livestock producers affected by natural disasters such as the drought in the West and the unexpected winter storm in the upper Midwest to keep thorough records.  This includes livestock and feed losses, and any additional expenses that are a result of losses to purchased forage or feed stuff.  

    "The 2014 Farm Bill provides a strong farm safety net to help ranchers during these difficult times,” said Garcia. “We’ll provide producers with information on new program requirements, updates and signups as the information becomes available. In the meantime, I urge producers to keep thorough records. We know these disasters have caused serious economic hardships for our livestock producers. We’ll do all we can to assist in their recovery.”

    In addition to western drought and the early-winter snowstorms, there are a variety of disasters from floods to storms to unexpected freezes.  Each event causes economic consequences for farmers and ranchers throughout the United States. FSA recommends that owners and producers record all pertinent information of natural disaster consequences, including:

    • Documentation of the number and kind of livestock that have died, supplemented if possible by photographs or video records of ownership and losses;
    • Dates of death supported by birth recordings or purchase receipts;
    • Costs of transporting livestock to safer grounds or to move animals to new pastures;
    • Feed purchases if supplies or grazing pastures are destroyed;
    • Crop records, including seed and fertilizer purchases, planting and production records;
    • Pictures of on-farm storage facilities that were destroyed by wind or flood waters; and
    • Evidence of damaged farm land.

    Visit or an FSA county office to learn more about FSA programs and loans.  For information about USDA’s Farm Bill implementation plan,


    Brunswick Academy is pleased to announce that Travis Graham Browder has been chosen the March 2014 Student of the Month.  Travis, a senior, is the son of Mike and Tina Browder of Dolphin.  He has two brothers, TJ and Josh.  Travis has been a member of the JV and Varsity Football team and was named to the 2nd team all conference team.  He has also played JJV, JV and Varsity basketball and is currently on the Varsity Soccer team.  He is a member of the Latin club, Honor Council, National Honor Society (Secretary-Treasurer), Hi-Y and has attended Model General Assembly.  He represented Brunswick Academy at the HOBY youth leadership camp and Virginia Boys State.  He is an active member of the Liberty Church youth group and as attended their ASP service project for several years.

    Travis enjoys watching basketball and football, riding 4 wheelers and hanging out with friends.  He will attend either Virginia Commonwealth University or University of Richmond and major in Biology.  He plans to attend dental school and return to Southside Virginia to practice dentistry. 


  27. GES Celebrates Dr. Seuss Day

    On February 28, 2014, Greensville Elementary School held “Dr. Seuss Day”.  Students were paired to work together to make crafts, participate in reading activities, make a “Cat in the Hat” snack, watch a Dr. Seuss movie, and be a part of a school wide banner competition.  Throughout the day, the students heard Dr. Seuss books read by several school board members and other members of our community.  Our banner competition was judged and the top three classes received prizes for their hard work.  Overall, this day was a huge success.     

     3rd place classes-Mrs. Walton & Ms. Brown and Mrs. Peete & Mrs. Little

    2nd place classes-Ms. Ore & Mrs. J. Owen

     1st place classes (Pictured in the photograph.  Ms. Cain is a Kindergarten teacher and Mrs. Hall is a third grade teacher)

    Ms. Cain & Mrs. Hall


  28. Brunswick Area Headstart Recruitment


  29. Little Shop of Horrors

    Brunswick Academy Theatre Presents

    Little Shop of Horrors

    Adult Tickets $12.00 each – Student Tickets $8.00 each.

    Dinner Tickets - $6.00


    • 7:30  Friday, March 21st. Dinner by Wilson’s BBQ (BBQ, String Beans, Slaw, Hushpuppies)

    • 7:30 Saturday, March 22nd. Dinner by Logan’s Diner (Roast Beef, String Beans, Mashed Potatoes, Rolls)

    • 3:00  Sunday, march 23rd.  Dinner by Brian’s Steakhouse (Stuffed Chicken Breast, Veggies, Side Item Rolls)

    Click here for the ticket order form.

    If you have any questions, please call Kristine at 434-848-2220.

    Thank you for your continued support of

    Brunswick Academy Theatre.


  30. Improving Economy May Reduce State Education Funding

    By Eric Luther, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND – Virginia’s rural localities may receive less state funding for public education than anticipated under this year’s budget proposal, resulting from a calculation used to determine a school division’s ability to cover educational costs.

    Deemed the Local Composite Index, the formula determines a locality’s ability to pay for educational costs considered essential to the commonwealth’s Standards of Quality for public schools.

    Sen. William Stanley, R- Moneta, says the Local Composite Index, when lowered, benefits rural and less affluent areas, but when a locality’s income increases – state funding decreases.  “You want financial success and prosperity for your area,” Stanley said. “But that financial success and prosperity does come at a cost because it does sometimes reduce funding from the state to locality for the purposes of education.”

    According to the Department of Education’s website, the Local Composite Index calculates a localities ability to pay based on three criteria: true value of real property, adjusted gross income and taxable retail sales. 

    Delegate Thomas Rust, R- Fairfax, says every locality across the commonwealth is treated equally under the Local Composite Index, which has been in place for nearly 30 years. Rust says because of the improving economy and real estate values, most localities will be responsible for a higher contribution margin over the next two years.  “I know that Loudoun and Fairfax –which I represent -- are both in the range of .68 or something like that,” Rust said. “That means Fairfax and Loudoun are putting 68 cents of every dollar into the education system … and both of them went up a little bit this year.”

    Sen. George Barker, D- Alexandria, says areas in Southside Virginia actually benefit from the Local Composite Index calculation based on their ability to pay. He says there are some jurisdictions where the state provides only 20 percent of funding for education, and the locality covers the remaining 80 percent.  “All across (the) Southside, a lot of the school divisions are providing basically somewhere (between) 15 percent and 30 percent of the funding that the state determines is necessary for the minimum level,” Barker said. “And the state is providing between 70 percent and 85 percent.”

    The increased obligation placed on some localities by the Local Composite Index does not suggest the proposed budget will negatively impact the state’s educational system.  Legislators have used this year’s proposed budgets to modify funding at all levels of education, ranging from pre-K-services expansion, addressing disadvantaged public school districts, revising Standards of Learning testing and making college more affordable.

    According to Barker, education is a top priority of the McAuliffe administration, and Barker says he expects a number of initiatives on those same issues in the coming year.

    However, time has run out for Virginia lawmakers to reach an agreement on the proposed $96 billion state budget plan. The General Assembly session adjourned on  Saturday, March 8, 2014, without a budget.  “I think what our school systems need to realize is because we are not going to accomplish a budget within the time frame of adjourning on March 8, we may go into overtime,” Stanley said. “That is a real problem because (localities) are going to start getting nervous … and it’s based on what we’ve done here in Richmond.”

    Rust echoes Stanley’s concerns. He says not finalizing a budget by the end of the session will have a negative impact everywhere throughout the commonwealth.  “Local boards of supervisors and school boards right now are in the process of setting budgets for the coming year,” Rust said. “Until they know how much money we’re going to send them it is difficult.”

    The standoff between House and Senate members revolves around whether or not to expand Medicaid and provide subsidized health coverage to a sizable number of uninsured Virginians as part of the official budget.

    (Editor's Note: With no State Budget in place, City, County and School Board officials will have a very difficult time preparing their own budgets.  The lack of a budget is a very big deal that will effect all of us in Emporia/Greensville.)

  31. Pastor and Congregation Seek To Impact The Lives of Local Youth

    Is there a local program that will empower the young people of Emporia and Greensville County spiritually, educationally, and socially? The answer to that question is, YEA! YEA is the abbreviated name of the St. Paul Youth Empowerment Academy! The Youth Empowerment Academy is a community outreach of the St. Paul Church Of God In Christ on Lowground Road in Emporia.

    The philosophy of the Youth Empowerment Academy harkens back to a period in history when each child was every person’s concern.  A day when the community understood that if any child fails, it affects us all.  This divinely inspired program embraces the challenge of the biblical commandment to “Train up a child in the way he should go...” (Proverbs 22:6), and the African Proverb “It takes a village to raise a child.” Both serve as the motivation and inspiration behind this holistic approach to the development of programs and activities that will enable the Academy to carry out its mission and fulfill its vision.   

    The mission of the Youth Empowerment Academy is to empower young people by way of spiritual, educational, social, and service-oriented activities.  Its vision is to impact the lives of every young person within its reach by providing them with the resources necessary to grow spiritually, to excel academically, to interact socially, and to serve their community wholeheartedly. To that end, every second Saturday of the month, young people from kindergarten through twelfth grade have an opportunity to learn from volunteers, subject-matter experts, and guest speakers in a safe and secure environment.

    When asked to share his thoughts about the establishment of the Youth Empowerment Academy, Brandon C. Allen, Pastor of St. Paul said, “I believe that the church has a responsibility to reach out and do what we can to impact the community around us. As far as our local community is concerned, parents need our help, the school system needs our help, and even though they may not realize it right now, the children of Emporia and Greensville County need our help. As an Emporia native whose life was positively impacted by community service organizations like the Community Youth Center, the 4-H Club, and others, I feel as though I have a duty to thank those who helped me during my formative years by doing something to help this current generation of young people, and those to follow. We have to do whatever we can to help ensure they’re successful in life. That’s why we made YEA free and open to all school-aged children. I’m glad that the members of my church have embraced this vision.”

    Community involvement will be essential to the Youth Empowerment Academy’s success.  Community leaders, business leaders, and people of faith should ask themselves, “Do I have a child, or know of a child that could benefit from this program?...Can I volunteer an hour or two to share wisdom, meet kids and praise their successes?... Can I provide resources to help fulfill the Academy’s mission?...Do I know of organizations and/or foundations that support these types of activities?” If your answer to these questions is, “YEA,” you are encouraged to attend the Youth Empowerment Academy’s Open House on Saturday, April 5th from 12:30 – 1:30pm at St. Paul Church Of God In Christ, 294 Lowground Road, Emporia. If you are unable to attend, or would like more information, you can visit, or send an email to


  32. Emporia YMCA Preschoolers enjoyed visits from "Celebrity Readers" during Dr. Seuss Week.


  33. Main Street United Methodist Church Dedicates New Organ, Kitchen

    The first Sunday of Lent 2014. March 9, saw the dedication of a new Church Organ and a newly remodeled kitchen at Main Street United Methodist Church. 

    The new organ is an Allen electronic organ that is 30 years newer than the previous organ and was a gift from the Pope family of Southampton County.  The organ, which has actually been in place for many months, was formally presented to the congregation by George E. Morrison III, chairman of the Worship Committee.  Morrison began his presentation by saying that “God is not always where you want Him, but God is always where you need Him.”

    Morrison also pointed out that he could see the faces of the congregation and the looks of surprise as everyone heard Randy Hudson play the new organ for the first time.  “I saw you turning and looking to where you had never heard those bass notes before; those bass notes that shake the pews,” indicating the new antiphonal speakers.

    The old organ, one of the Allen Organ Company’s first electronic models, had been in place for nearly 50 years, and finding parts had become difficult.  It was shared that there were many stops and keys that had quit working entirely and that a brand new organ would cost well over $50,000. 

    At the same time the old organ was becoming more and more temperamental, Will Robinson, a member of the Church, overheard a conversation about a family who had an organ that needed a new home.  The organ in question was in a house and Southampton County, and belonged to an organist at another Church.  It was that chance conversation that led the Pope family to donate their late mother’s Allen organ to Main Street United Methodist Church.

    The newer model Allen was used in the fellowship hall during opening exercises while funds were raised to pay for the new speakers required to use it in the Sanctuary.  Funds were raised through yard sales, bake sales and donations from organizations like the United Methodist Men.  It did not take long to raise the money to have several new speaker’s installed.

    Morrison thanked the many people who helped get the organ into the church (which involved the removal of more than one door), the people who helped organize the yard sale and bake sale that helped raise funds and those that assisted with the final installation (which included the removal of a portion of the choir rail).  Morrison praised the craftsmen have removed the choir rail by challenging those present to find the spot where it was cut.  The Organist, Randy Hudson, was also thanked for his efforts in working around the problems with the old organ, which drew applause from those gathered, starting in the Choir.

    After Morrison’s presentation, Johnny Morgan, the Lay Leader, lead the congregation in a responsive reading of Psalm 150.

    After the reading, Mr. Randy Hudson played, quite beautifully, “Variations on a Theme from Symphony Number 1” by Johannes Brahms, which showcased the range of the new organ.

    At the end of the service, Mr. Chet Boone presented the church with a newly remodeled kitchen.  In his presentation he stated that the kitchen remodel had begun as an idea in 2008 with a collection of the Easter offering.  He recognized each member of the kitchen renovation committee present, and every one of the contractors and craftsmen involved that were also in attendance.

    While it was not a complete kitchen renovation, there is an entire wall of new cabinets, new wall ovens, a new range and a new cooktop.  The cabinets were all refaced and new granite countertops were installed.  The existing sinks were reused, but new faucets were added.  Finishing touches included a fresh coat of paint on the walls and new floor covering.

    All those gathered were also invited to attend a meal, prepared in the newly renovated kitchen, immediately after the service.

    Mr. George Moseley, Chairman of the Kitchen and Hospitality Committee, accepted the newly renovated kitchen with a responsive reading.




  34. St. Pauls Art Contetst

    The Youth Empowerment Academy of St. Paul Church Of God in Christ is proud to announce their first Spring Art Contest.  Any youth, aged 7-18, that is a Greensville County or City of Emporia resident is eligible for entry.

    Those looking to submit must e-mail their intent to submit to or send a Facebook Message to St Paul COGIC at by Fri. March 14 with “Art in Your Heart” in the subject line for eligibility and to receive the art contest guidelines. 


    The first place winner of the contest will receive $100 and the chance to receive recognition in the Independent Messenger and on All competitors will have the opportunity to win $50 from the Facebook voting portion of the competition.

    The Deadline for entries will be April 26, 2014.

    At the conclusion of the contest the Youth Empowerment Academy will host an Art Auction for the remaining entries for proceeds to benefit and support the Academy.

    Good luck to all who enter, and may the best artist win!

    Click on the ad for complete information.






  35. GOP House Leaders Request Special Session on Medicaid Expansion

    By Colin Kennedy, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND – Republican leaders in the Virginia House of Delegates have proposed a special legislative session to address the debate on Medicaid expansion just three days before the General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn.

    The House and Senate are less than one-tenth of one percent (or $26 million) apart from compromising on a two-year, $96 billion state budget agreement, but GOP leadership reinforced its position Tuesday that Medicaid Expansion does not belong in the budget bill. 

    Majority Leader Kirkland Cox, R-Colonial Heights, said the commonwealth’s local governing bodies need budgeting information by Saturday’s deadline, and urged the General Assembly to pass a clean budget and reconvene at a later date to discuss Medicaid Expansion as a separate issue. “We need a solution at this point, and our solution is to call for a special session,” Cox said. “We (House Republicans) have been clear that (Medicaid Expansion) has no business being a part of this process. Let’s free the hostage (the budget) and do what’s right for our schools, teachers, college students and first responders.”

    Meanwhile, Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe publicly has refused to sign a budget bill that does not include some form of Medicaid expansion, and the Democratic Senate has yet to budge on its plan to provide up to 400,000 additional Virginians with health coverage under a private provider known as Marketplace Virginia.

    On Tuesday, House Democrats fired back at the Republican proposal for a special session, insisting the idea is a delay tactic and that the GOP is at fault for the government impasse.  “It’s very clear that a number of folks on that (Republican) side of the aisle have just been saying no to basically everything,” House Minority leader David Toscano, D-Charlottesville, said. “’Just say no’ isn’t a policy. (It’s) a recipe for a government shutdown.”

    Toscano refused to address Cox by name on the floor and said Democrats wouldn’t consider a special session without assurance the time would be used to work out the details of Marketplace Virginia or some other form of Medicaid expansion. “We (House Democrats) agree with the gentleman (Cox) from Colonial Heights,” Toscano said in reference to avoiding a government shutdown. “But we can’t leave $1.7 billion on the table. We can’t discuss a budget without including this money.”

    As members of both parties continue to point fingers across the aisle, one Republican legislator suggested the GOP has differences within its own caucus.

    Delegate Thomas Davis Rust, R-Herndon, said he doesn’t agree with House Republican leadership on all details of potential Medicaid expansion, but Rust did agree the legislature’s top priority should be passing a state budget on time.   “We can’t afford to go home Saturday without a budget,” Rust said. “And I think the fact that the two have been tied together is very detrimental to Virginia.”

    Delegate Robert G. Marshall, R-Manassas, went one step further, suggesting that Democratic President Barack Obama is “falsely taking credit” for federal deficit reductions. He said it’s the states like Virginia rejecting Medicaid expansion that are responsible for lowered national deficit projections.

    A joint budget conference committee containing six delegates and seven senators has until Saturday to come up with a compromise before the session is extended. If an agreement isn’t finalized by July 1, the state government will shut down until terms can be negotiated.

  36. Sunday Hunting Bill Signed into Law

    By Jackson McMillan, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND – Virginians will have the right to hunt on Sunday beginning July 1, 2014 according to a bill signed into law this week by Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

    House Bill 1237, introduced by Delegate Todd Gilbert, R-Woodstock, gives private landowners and their family members lawful authority to hunt and kill wild birds and nuisance species on their property, provided the land is not within 200 yards of a “place of worship.”

    An exemption in the law gives landowners and their family members the right to hunt outside of 200 yards of a place of worship “any wild bird or wild animal, including any nuisance species, on the landowner’s property.” That exemption means deer and bear may be hunted on Sunday in addition to wild birds and nuisance species.

    However, HB 1237 specifically prohibits hunting deer or bear with “with the assistance or aid of dogs, on Sunday.”

    Non-landowners also may hunt on Sundays, with the written permission of the landowner.

    Lee Walker, a spokesman for the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, said biologists with the Bureau of Wildlife Resources need to examine game species affected by the additional hunting day and make recommendations for when hunting seasons should begin and end.

    “The Bureau of Wildlife Resources will recommend setting (season) dates that will make sure additional hunting days will not negatively impact those hunted species (mentioned in the legislation),” Walker said. “We’re trying to make as few changes possible.”

    Walker said the new hunting regulations should be posted on the department’s website by July 1. The new regulations also will be included in the new hunting and trapping handbook, which will be released Aug. 1, 2014.


    Wanda Proctor has her blood pressure checked by Cardiac Rehab. Nurse, Kerrie Combs.

    Gladys Bowser, Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT) prepares to draw Milan Veliky’s blood for the cholesterol screening.

    Barbara Wyche and Cassandra Jones help themselves to the Heart Healthy breakfast at the Heart Month Cholesterol Screening.

    EMPORIA, VA – Cholesterol.  At some point, nearly everyone will have a conversation with his/her physician about managing cholesterol.  Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance made in the body and found in certain foods, such dairy products, eggs, and meat.  While the body needs some cholesterol to function properly, too much cholesterol can build up inside the arteries, reducing blood flow and increasing the risk for heart attack and stroke.   

    There are many factors that contribute to unhealthy cholesterol. Age, gender and ancestry are a few that an individual is pretty much stuck with.  Others, however, can be controlled or mitigated by lifestyle changes including:

    • Healthy Diet – Eat a diet low in saturated and trans fat.  Switch to low-fat or fat free dairy products, and limit meat selections to no more than six ounces of lean meat, fish or poultry a day.  Choose plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables high in soluble fiber and whole-grain foods.
    • Exercise – Incorporate 30 – 60 minutes of physical activity into each day.
    • Smoking - If you smoke, STOP!

    Unfortunately, if high cholesterol runs in your family, making some or all of these positive changes may not be enough.  In such cases, one should work with his/her primary care provider to devise an individualized treatment plan to reach the desired cholesterol goal.

    As a part of the annual Heart Month activities, Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center (SVRMC) recently hosted a cholesterol screening that was FREE, and open to the public.  Approximately 50 participants took advantage of the cholesterol screening, blood pressure checks, weight, and body mass index (BMI)   calculation, followed by a heart healthy breakfast. 

    For more information on maintaining healthy cholesterol, go to and click on the Health Resources tab or speak with your physician.


  38. YMCA Preschool Open House Monday

  39. Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative Reaches Major Safety Milestone

    Over Half Million Hours Worked Without a Lost-time Accident

    As Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative continues its observance of serving Southside Virginia for over 75 years, the member-owned organization has reached yet another meaningful milestone.  The Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives (VMDAEC) that oversees the safety accreditation program for cooperatives in a three- state area has recognized Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative (MEC) for reaching the 500,000-hour mark with no lost-time accidents. 

    Ron Campbell, vice president for safety and training services at VMDAEC, who also happens to be an MEC member, awarded a certificate of achievement to President and CEO John Lee on behalf of the 106 employees of Mecklenburg Electric. Campbell remarks, “This accomplishment is a direct result of the diligence of MEC employees to follow safe working practices. It is a result of their dedicated attendance of monthly safety meetings and training sessions, a commitment to watch out for each other, and a strong safety mindset in general.  Many MEC employees often work under extreme conditions that emphasize the dedication needed to achieve such an impressive milestone. It is with great pleasure that I recognize this quality organization for its accomplishment.”

    In accepting the certificate, John Lee remarks, “Here at this Cooperative, we place a high value on maintaining a safe working environment and a culture of safety for our employees and members.  In fact, safety has been, and will always be, our first priority. Several years ago we established a safety committee, comprised of representatives from each department, who are elected by their peers, and empowered them to take our safety program to the next level. The committee’s mission is to promote a safety program that encourages employees to hold themselves, and each other, accountable and responsible for safe working practices … and they are doing just that.

    “This is a very proud moment for me and all my coworkers.  If ever there were one, this is a recognition that cannot be achieved without the participation and buy-in of everyone who works here. I congratulate all of them for reaching this goal and setting their sights on the next milestone.”


  40. Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center’s Basic Life Support Training Center receives perfect score

    Pictured L – R:  SVRMC staff who serve as AHA instructors include Cynthia Mason-Kemp, RN, Robin Harris, RN, Amanda Posey, LPN, Deborah Powell, RN, and Barbara Jordan, RN.

    EMPORIA, VA – The American Heart Association (AHA) recently conducted an on-site visit and course monitoring for Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center’s Basic Life Support Training Center (TC).  During this biannual review, Regional Faculty from the AHA assess the TC’s course curriculum and compliance with the mission and guidelines of the AHA.  Finding no deficiencies, the AHA awarded the Basic Life Support Training Center at Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center (SVRMC) a perfect score.

    Originally certified as Community Training Center (CTC) by the AHA in the 90’s, the designation evolved over the years to that of TCSVRMC’s Basic Life Support TC has proudly maintained this certification by the AHA on a continuous basis since the inception of the initiative.   The role of the TC as defined by the AHA is to deliver lifesaving Emergency Cardiovascular Care (ECC) educational courses to the community, and thereby strengthen the chain of survival.   In keeping with this goal, the TC at SVRMC offers Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), Basic Life Support (BLS) and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) classes to healthcare professionals and the community, and also ensures that affiliate AHA instructors are kept current on the most up-to-date training programs and guidelines set forth by the AHA. 

    Under the direction of TC Coordinator (TCC), Cynthia Mason-Kemp, RN, the TC at SVRMC’s has approximately thirty AHA instructors including members of the SVRMC staff, staff from Southampton Memorial Hospital, Chesterfield, Fort Lee and Petersburg.  In addition to her role as TCC for SVRMC, Mrs. Kemp also serves BLS Regional Faculty for the AHA. 

    For more information of the TC at SVRMC or to register for an upcoming BLS class, call 434-348-4486.


  41. Sunday Hunting Bill Expected to be Signed into Law

    By Liz Butterfield, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND — Weekend hunters in Virginia may be able to enjoy more hunting opportunities if Gov. Terry McAuliffe signs a law lifting the traditional ban on Sunday hunting within the commonwealth.

    House Bill 1237, patroned by Delegate Todd Gilbert, R-Woodstock, passed the General Assembly and now is in the hands of the governor. A similar bill, Senate Bill 154, is expected to pass the General Assembly later this week.

    Both bills would allow for Sunday hunting of deer and wild animals only on private property. Hunting would be prohibited, however, within 200 yards of a house of worship.

    Although seen as a bipartisan bill, some lawmakers did not approve of lifting the ban on Sunday hunting.

    Delegate Thomas Wright, R-Victoria, said the bill will act like a Christmas tree in the legislature, a bill that allows for amendments, like ornaments, to be added on to over time.  Wright predicts the General Assembly gradually will chip away at some of the restrictions in the current bill to eventually make hunting on Sundays equitable to any other day.  “This time it was just private land and still hunting,” Wright said. “In the future I think there are going to be other bills amending this bill allowing eventually … the same hunting like on any other day of the week.”

    Forty other states do not have prohibitions on Sunday hunting, according to the Coalition to Lift State Bans on Sunday Hunting. Only Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia have kept these laws intact. 

    Both Wright and Gilbert are regular hunters in the commonwealth. Gilbert told Capital News Service earlier this month that the legislation is meant to counter a decline in hunting license purchases in Virginia.  "Virginia has such a strong hunting heritage that we thought this would be a great opportunity to attempt to reverse that trend," Gilbert said. "The high-powered rifle season for deer is only two weeks long. So if you're a hardworking person, you really only have two Saturday's 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."

    Governor McAuliffe could not be reached for comment.

    (Editor's Note: The Greensville County Board of Supervisors oppose Sunday Hunting and recently passed a resolution against abolishing the current restriction.)

  42. VCU Students Lead Charge in Living-Wage Fight

    By Gregory Wise, Special Correspondent, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND – The fight for a living-minimum wage has garnered a lot of attention in Virginia thanks to student-led groups at Virginia Commonwealth University that have used their school’s status in the local community to spearhead a fight for change.

    The Living Wage Campaign of VCU and Students for Social Action, two student led activism groups, have used a variety of tactics including silent protests and marches, to increase awareness for providing wages all Virginia workers can live on.  These groups have attempted to make their point known by first focusing on their school, which happens to be one of the most powerful employers in the city.

    VCU, the largest employer in the city of Richmond, currently employs more than 19,000 people and is the key to the living-wage debate within the city according to Dr. Mark Wood, director of VCU’s School of World Studies.  “The university prides itself on being a model community, and one of the principles in supporting the health and well being of its community,” Wood said. “So, modeling that (principle) by providing everyone with a wage to provide for their own health is vital.”

    To those involved in the Living Wage Campaign and Students for Social Action, being a model community would mean raising every employee’s wage above the designated “living-wage line,” which is the hourly wage a person working a 40-hour week would have to make in order to meet basic expenses in a designated area. This number, according to the living-wage calculator at, is currently $10.39 for one single individual living in Richmond, Va., which is a $3.14 difference from the current minimum wage in Virginia. “We're appealing to that strong sense of belonging, because we know VCU wants to do right by Richmond,” said Kathryn McNeal, a member of the Living Wage Campaign, “and as the largest employer in a city with a high poverty rate, (VCU) is in a strong position to do so.”

     One of the main sources of argument thus far has been the company ARAMARK, which currently is VCU’s food service vendor and which pays many of its employees around $8.25 an hour. This wage led students to conduct a march on the employees’ behalf this past May. The protesters argument was these employees should be making around $15.  The march received state-wide attention and led to a meeting with David Hanson, VCU’s chief operating officer.

    Since that event, the student groups have continued their quest by holding protests and rallies as frequently as they can, contributing to what Wood calls a “much more organized set of demonstrations.”  These events have included a silent protest and a living-wage forum, which have been held within the past two weeks.

    While there still hasn’t been implementation of a living wage in Virginia or Richmond, there have been signs of progress.  For one, the Virginia Senate passed a bill designed to raise the minimum wage to $9.75 by 2015, but the House of Delegates killed the bill in the crossover process.

    For students involved in the Living Wage Campaign and Students for Social Action just getting people to recognize the issue is a start. However, the activists don’t think their work will be done until workers are paid a living wage.   “I do not think it’s right at all,” Living Wage member Kaitlin Sine said, “and I’m passionate about issues that are immoral.”

  43. Community Lenten Services Schedule for 2014

    All Services Wednesday 12 Noon with Luncheon at 12:30 pm

    $4.00 donation to offset the cost of lunch.

    • March 5 Ash Wednesday Service – Monumental UMC, Rev. Bruce Carper

    • March 12 Main Street Baptist, Rev. Jeaux Simmons

    • March 19 Calvary Baptist, Rev. Kathy Shereda

    • March 26 St. John the Baptist Lutheran, Rev. Steve Bocklage

    • April 2 Main Street United Methodist, Rev. Dave Roberts

    • April 9 St. Richard Catholic, Rev. Ricky Hurst

    • April 16 First Presbyterian, Father Anthony Mpungu

    An offering will be received in support of Samaritan Helping Hands



    (PETERSBURG, Va.) Petersburg Health Department is celebrating the lowest teen pregnancy rate in four years. The health department has seen a decrease in the number of teen pregnancies within the City of Petersburg from 103.7/1000 in 2009 to 66.7/1000 in 2012. These rates represent a 36% decline.

    The Petersburg Health Department continues its focus to provide ongoing collaborations across schools, businesses, City of Petersburg Government agencies, community and faith-based organizations. “We are actively engaged with our community partners, says Alton Hart, Jr. MD, MPH, Crater Health District Director, it takes the entire community working together to provide guidance, education and services to continue the city’s decline in teen pregnancies.”

    The Petersburg Health Department provides a number of youth services to assist teens. HealthSpace Teen Clinic and PRIDE are community based programs. PRIDE is designed to provide educational outreach to youth ages 10-18 years old. HealthSpace Teen Clinic operates in the Cities of Petersburg and Hopewell offering reproductive educational and clinical services to teens ages 13-18 by appointment or walk-in. Clinical services provided by HealthSpace include; reproductive health screenings, sexually transmitted infection testing and treatment, and appropriate contraceptives for pregnancy prevention. All services provided are at no cost and confidential.

    We are currently reorganizing the Petersburg Teen Pregnancy Prevention Coalition and are thankful to our coalition members and their continued support. The coalition is open to anyone interested in championing the efforts to reduce teen pregnancy. Individuals interested in participating in Teen Pregnancy Prevention Coalition are encouraged to attend our next meeting on Wednesday, March 5, 2014, please call Monique Lindsey at 863-1652 X 8985 to RSVP.

    Funding for programs is provided by United Way, John Randolph and Cameron Foundations.

  45. Brunswick Academy Students Celebrate Dental health Month

    The Brunswick Academy Kindergarten had Mrs. Shannon Phelps, Hygienist, and Mrs. Brenda Diefert, Office Manager, from Dr. Douglas W. Harman’s dental office to come speak to the students for Dental Health Month! 

    The students pictured are as follows:  Bryce Abernathy, Jacob Ermel, James Fajna, Jackson Gibbs, Ricky Grassel, Mason Hardy, Peyton McAden, Mankirit Singh, Nathan Talbert, Riley Griffin, Emily King, MaKenzie Leeman, Kennedi Roberts, and Ruth Anne Torres.

  46. More Wintry Weather

    True to the adage about waiting five minutes if you do not like the weather in Virginia, yesterday's wintry weather was a complete turn around from Sunday.

    While the Sunday afternoon high was just over 70 degrees Fahrenheit, Monday's high never topped 40 and was accompanied by a North wind, rain, sleet and snow.  There was truly insignificant snow accumulation, but that thin layer of snow covers a thin sheet of ice. Please use caution if driving, and only do so if absolutely necessary. 

    Slick road conditions continued to cause problems Monday as more than 1,100 motorists crashed on Virginia’s highways. From 12 a.m. Monday through6:30 p.m. Monday, Virginia State Police troopers statewide responded to 1,145 traffic crashes and 451 disabled vehicles. Virginia State Police dispatchers fielded 2,952 total calls for service.

    The majority of traffic crashes involve damaged vehicles and no injuries. However, three fatal crashes are confirmed as weather-related:

    Shortly before 11 a.m. Monday, Virginia State Police Senior Trooper T. C. Smith responded to a single vehicle fatal crash on Route 614, Dennisville Road, approximately two-tenths of a mile north of Route 680, Maxey Lane, in Amelia County.  The crash occurred when the driver of a 1997 GMC Sonoma lost control of the vehicle and ran off the left side of the roadway striking an embankment.  The impact cased the pick-up truck to overturn onto the passenger side and strike a tree.  The 30 year-old male driver, who was not wearing his safety belt, died at the scene.  Speed and weather conditions are considered factors in the on-going crash investigation.

    On March 3, 2014, at approximately 12:03 pm, Virginia State Police responded to a single-vehicle crash on Buckley Road, south of Liberty Road in Brunswick County. A 1997 Ford Expedition was traveling northbound on Buckley Road when the driver lost control, ran off the road, struck a tree, and came to rest down an embankment. The driver, April Singleton, suffered non-life threatening injuries. The passenger, Sarah Singleton, 35, of Warfield, Va., died at the scene. The driver, April Singleton, 31, of Brunswick, Va., was charged with reckless driving.

    At approximately 12:15 p.m. Monday, Virginia State Police Trooper J.T. Murdoch responded to a two-vehicle crash in Campbell County. The crash occurred in the 5800 block of Village Highway. A 2002 Chevrolet Cavalier was eastbound on Village Highway when the driver lost control and spun backwards into the westbound lane where it was struck by a 2003 Dodge Ram 2500 pickup truck. The driver of the Cavalier, Mika T. Leclerc, 18, of Rustburg, Va., died at the scene. She was wearing a seat belt. The driver of the Dodge pickup truck, a 52-year-old Appomattox man, was not injured in the crash.

    In addition, motorists are advised to be extra attentive to the emergency responders working on Virginia’s highways at crash scenes. In Augusta County at about 4:30 p.m. Monday, a Virginia State Police trooper was struck while investigating a traffic crash on Interstate 81. Trooper G.W. Clifton was seated in his vehicle at the scene of the traffic crash in the northbound lanes of I-81 at the 212 mile marker when a 1997 Honda Accord rear-ended the trooper’s patrol car. The patrol car had its emergency lights activated at the time of the crash. Trooper Clifton suffered minor injuries and was transported to Augusta Medical Center as a precautionary measure. The driver of the Honda, Gabrielle Harney, 19, of Unicoi, Tenn., was not injured in the crash and was charged with reckless driving. The Honda was traveling too fast for road conditions, which were partially snow-covered at the site of the crash. Drivers are reminded, too, of Virginia’s “Move Over” law - which requires drivers to change to another travel lane or, when not able to, to cautiously pass emergency personnel stopped on the side of the road. State law includes highway maintenance vehicles and tow trucks equipped with flashing amber lights.

    The Winter Storm Warning remained in effect until Midnight last night.



    (EMPORIA, VA) – Larry Hale has been named the Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center (SVRMC) Employee of the Month for February 2014. Mr. Hale, who has been employed with the hospital since February 2013, is a Nutritional Services Technician in the Nutritional Services Department.


  48. Committee Considers Teacher Relocation Incentive Bill

    By Eric Luther, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND – One Southside senator has proposed legislation aiming to improve Virginia’s public education system by providing cash incentives to qualified teachers who transfer to disadvantaged school districts throughout the commonwealth. 

    Senate Bill 168, proposed by Sen. William Stanley Jr., R- Moneta, would establish a “Teacher Relocation Incentive Grant Fund” to embolden elementary and secondary school teachers to relocate to Virginia localities where the population is less than 50,000 or at least 40 percent of students qualify for free or reduced lunches.

    Under the proposed program, to be administered by the Department of Education, approximately 200 qualified teachers could receive up to a $5,000 grant for accepting positions at specified schools.

    SB 168 is meant to encourage teachers to move to Southside Virginia and other rural areas where the educators can make a meaningful difference in a child’s life, Stanley says.  “I think they came to the profession of teaching because they have a cause greater than themselves,” Stanley said. “And a calling to educate children and give them the opportunity to --not only have a quality education-- but achieve the American dream.”

    Stanley says SB 168 is not a magic-bullet answer for saving failing schools, but one of many parts meant to bring the best-of-the-best to areas where top educators are needed most.  “A lot of the bills I’ve proposed are anti-poverty bills … not to give (people) a handout, but a hand up,” Stanley said. “We know there are children that may not be getting the best opportunity to break the cycle of poverty.”

    Shaina Carter, a third-grade teacher in Fairfax County, is familiar with the obstacles faced by low-performing schools.   Carter says she worked in a struggling school district before moving to Northern Virginia. She says poor performing schools generally struggle with high poverty rates, which can have a major impact on the education, learning and the overall well-being of a child   “I don’t necessarily think it’s the teachers … there may be some bad ones, but a lot of it has to do with the background a child is coming from,” Carter said. “I work with a high Spanish population whose parents don’t speak English.  So, there’s no one at home to read or help students with their homework.”

    Carter says the $5,000 grant offered by SB 168 is not enough for her to pack her bags and leave Northern Virginia.  “I would relocate if legislators agreed to forgive my school loans,” Carter said.

    Margi Roseberry, a kindergarten teacher for Richmond City Public Schools for more than 16 years, says an income-tax incentive would influence where she decides to teach.  “I think I am pretty open-minded about poorly performing school districts,” Roseberry said. “For me to relocate, I would have to be eligible to get credit for my years in Richmond and not have my retirement money affected adversely.”

    Roseberry says there are more factors contributing to poorly performing schools than just money. She says school districts can have unrealistic expectations of teachers and students.

    According to the Department of Education’s 2013-2014 National School Lunch Program Free and Reduced Price Eligibility Report, 54.4 percent of Pittsylvania county students qualify for free or reduced lunches, making the district a good candidate for SB 168 benefits.

    Lilian Holland, assistant superintendent of administration for Pittsylvania County Public Schools, says the proposed incentive sounds like a good idea, but she is not sure if $5,000 is enticing enough for teachers to relocate from a thriving school district.  “If you look at the difference in the salaries … from northern Virginia’s school division versus ours,” Holland said. “I don’t know if $5,000 would be enough of an incentive.”

    Holland, who has nearly 30 years’ experience working in education, says schools in Pittsylvania County offer a competitive beginning salary for that region of the state. However, budget cuts have led to a decrease in available positions in recent years.  Nonetheless, Holland says teachers who are on the fence about relocating owe it to themselves to experience the beauty of Southside Virginia. She says the small friendly communities with proximity to larger areas such as Greensboro and Raleigh, and lower cost of living make Southside Virginia a great place to live.  “We have a strong support network within our schools to help individuals transition,” Holland said. “Our students are nice children, and we have very supportive administrators.”

    Stanley says SB 168 is one facet of a larger plan to ensure all schools in the commonwealth are on a level playing field.  “We’re trying to create a rising tide that floats all ships,” Stanley said. “For those teachers who would relocate, I can tell you that our areas would appreciate them the most.”

    SB 168 passed the Senate in early February in a 40-0 vote, and currently is awaiting deliberations in the House subcommittee on appropriations.

  49. Legislation Safeguards Pets Against Domestic Violence

    By Jessi Gower, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND – At least 71 percent of pet-owning women entering women’s shelters have reported their batterer had injured, maimed, killed or threatened family pets, according to the American Humane Association.  

    Delegate Benjamin Cline, R-Amherst, says he hopes to give solace to these pets and their owners with House Bill 972.  The bill states that a protective order may grant possession of the family pet to the petitioner and prohibit further violence directed toward the pet.  If passed, Virginia will join the 23 states that already have laws protecting companion animals.   “As a former prosecutor of domestic violence,” Cline told the U.S.  Humane Society, “I have seen firsthand the hesitation of victims to leave their abusers without their family pet. This important bill will help provide victims with the security they need to take that important step and successfully escape an abusive relationship.”

    According to sexual and domestic abuse statistics, abusers often go after pets because the animals offer a target for revenge and can be used to psychologically control the abuser’s victims.   

    Virginia director for the HSUS, Laura Donahue says stories about this type of incidents are common and that abused pets deserve as much justice and protection as the victims.  “These abusers are very calloused and will do anything to control their victims,” Donahue said. “It’s a fact that people love pets, and that most owners consider them part of their family. The abusers know this and will threaten to hurt the animal if the victim leaves, which ultimately prevents them (the victim) from escaping the domestic abuse.”

    The bill hopefully will help to protect domestic abuse victims and their pets, as well as keep them together.  Sharon Adams, executive director for the Virginia Beach SPCA, says the society regularly takes in animals involved in domestic violence situations so that owners can seek help at a shelter. She also said almost 70 percent of the time, the victim comes back for the pet once the victim has left the abuser and is a healthy, safe environment.   The animals that cannot be reunited with their owners are put up for adoption within the shelter or other organizations.

    Supporters of the legislation say they are hopeful that it will not only save owners from having to give up their pets, but the law also will save the lives of victims and animals who otherwise, wouldn’t be able to survive or leave the abuse.  “This is honestly a life-saving bill,” Donahue said. “Often times there aren’t a lot of bills where you can say for every animal life it’s saving, it’s also saving human life. It (the law) would help allow victims and their pets to get out of dangerous and abusive situations … together.”

  50. Bill Gives Officers More Options, Dogs More Chances

    By Jessi Gower, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND --  A bill giving animal control officers flexibility in dealing with livestock-injuring dogs is heading to the desk of Gov. Terry McAuliffe for signature, after passing the Senate unanimously this week.

    Under current law if a dog is found chasing, injuring or killing poultry and livestock, animal control and police officers have a duty to kill the dog, whether it has tags or not. 

    Delegate Jennifer McClellan, D-Richmond, proposed House Bill 740 this session to not only give officers more flexibility, but also to give pet owners peace of mind about their dogs.

    McClellan says that this bill is particularly necessary in the city because of recent ordinances that allow up to four hens to be kept in people’s backyards.  “A woman in Hanover, whose dog was killed by her neighbor for allegedly chasing her chickens, contacted me and (Richmond City) Councilman Charles Samuels about this issue,” McClellan said. “She said ‘Hey, you probably didn’t know about this law when you passed the chicken ordinance, but you should know now.’ So I met with the City Council and we all agreed that if someone’s dog was shot in the city because of chasing chickens, there would probably be a lot of problems.”

    When enacted, the bill will give responding officers the choice to seize the dog, instead of automatically killing it.  Although the bill states that officers can still legally kill the dog on site, McClellan says that most of animal control officers will opt to seize them and take them to the pound, depending on the severity of the situation.  

    Ellen Pedersen, dog owner and former VCU student, says this bill would alleviate some of her stress dealing with her dog and neighbors.  “My neighbors across the street just moved three chickens into their backyard,” Pedersen said. “I was really worried about what would happen if Bacardi (her yellow Labrador mix) got out of the house and went to investigate the new fluffy neighbors. He’d never chase or hurt the chickens -- just show some curiosity, so I’m relieved to know that he won’t have to be shot down if that ever happens.”

    If an officer does in fact kill the dog on site, there are laws that provide monetary compensation to the owner. McClellan says that one of these laws actually increased the amount of compensation that the dog owner would get in such a situation.

    Earlier this month HB 740 passed in the house with a 96-2 vote and crossed over to the Senate. The bill passed the Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources Committee with a 15-0 vote and was sent to the Senate floor, where it passed 40-0.

  51. Winter Weather Coming Our Way...Again

    From the National Weahter Service-











  52. Top Hand Sports Grand Opening Today!

    The first thing most people will notice about Top Hand Sports when they arrive is that it looks nothing like the garage where they used to get their cars inspected.  The entire building has been painted and the service bays are full of batting cages.

    Top Hand Sports is a family operation, started by Rustin Jesse.  Rustin is working with his dad (and former High School Basketball Coach) and sister Randa to coach kids in baseball and softball.  Sarah, Rustin’s wife works there as well, producing the marketing materials and keeping the Facebook page updated, among many other things.

    The entire family seems well suited to this new business.  Rustin is the Head JV Baseball Coach at Greensville County High School, where he played on teams that went to the state tournament all four years.  He has also played on travel teams that were second and fourth ranked in the Nation and played Division II Basketball in college.  In addition to coaching Rustin is also a Basketball Official for CVBOA.

    Rustin’s dad Randy coached Basketball at Greensville County High School for many years and has been coaching Little League baseball since he was 19.  He is currently the Athletic Director for Kings Fork High School in Suffolk.  Rustin played for Randy at GCHS; “I grew up coming through his baseball and basketball camps.”

    Other coaches include Rustin’s sister Randa Jessee, Trey Drake, Randy Everett, Taylor Slate, Rebekah Sykes and Jamar Walton.  It was stressed that all coaches have coaching experience, most have played in college, and Jamar Walton played professional Baseball.

    In addition to the lobby and waiting area, there is an Agility Room with a rubber floor where athletes can work on their speed and conditioning, in addition to basic exercise and fitness.  The big changes can be seen in the main service space.

    Gone are the lifts and racks of tires, replaced with chain link fencing and safety netting enclosing a practice mound and pitching machine.  There is plenty of space for batting practice and pitching practice, either self-guided or with the help of a coach.  Any one space or the entire building may be rented for special events like Birthday Parties; they have already hosted a Birthday Party, even before the Grand Opening.

    In addition to the training facility, there are seven travel ball teams, two (9u & 12u) coached here.  AU and USSSA travel teams are competitive teams, where kids can play in larger areas like Virginia Beach, Richmond or North Carolina.  For people interested in coaching one of the travel teams, there are volunteer positions available. 

    Randy stressed that Top Hand was “not to replace the local leagues, like EGRA that does a great job in this community, but to offer another avenue at another level, or during the off season.”

    When we first started, parents were told up front that this would not force the players to choose recreational (little league) ball or travel ball, which almost every other organization does, the schedule was built to play before and after the recreational league season.  The kids can still practice with us, but be able to play with their rec teams.

    When asked why this in Emporia, the succinct answer was “the need”.  Russ stated that he had been coaching HS baseball here for three years and he saw a need in this community and found a way to meet that need.

    Randy added, “When I first came here we started AU Basketball and a travel baseball team and Russ, Jamar and Trey, won national championships, and it carried over into their HS careers.  We traveled to New Orleans and other places for bog tournaments, but only a few could because there was nothing was built for it.  This is to try to help give all kids a chance to work in the off season and for people who want to get better at whatever they do.  This gives them an outlet for it.”

    Sarah pointed out that this was Russ’ lifelong dream come to fruition.  “How many people can say that?”  

    If you have ideas that will help, wish to volunteer to help coach, or are interested in team sponsorship opportunities, please visit their website at or stop by 119 North Main Street in Emporia.  The grand opening is March 2nd.

  53. Obituary-Dathrine Baird Powell

    Dathrine Baird Powell, 81, of Emporia passed away on February 28, 2014.  She is survived by her husband Allen Powell; sisters Jean Vincent and husband Lewis and Marion Green and numerous nieces and nephews.  A visitation will be held Sunday, 2-3:30 at Echols Funeral Home Chapel.  A funeral service will be held Monday, 11am at Echols Funeral Home Chapel followed by entombment in Greensville Memorial Cemetery.  In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to The American Lung Association or a charity of your choice in her memory.  Condolences may be sent to

  54. Whistle-Blower Protection Advances In Senate

    By James K. Galloway, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND – Whistle-blower protection moved forward this week after a Senate committee voted 36 to 1 in favor of House Bill 728, which would make it illegal to terminate an employee for reasons related to that person’s exposure of waste, fraud or abuse.  “Intimidation and threats are a problem when it comes to quashing the willingness of a public employee to look after the taxpayers,” said Delegate L. Scott Lingamfelter, R-Woodbridge, who introduced three bills on this topic—House Bills 728, 731 and 739. “So I think going forward, my intent is to correct a defect in the law because under current law it's not clear what a court does when there is a 'mixed motive' for the dismissal of an employee.”

    The legislation is important to people like Henry Lewis, a former Alexandria architect who won his whistle-blower case against the city last year, after a jury decided his 2011 termination violated the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act, passed shortly before Lewis lost his job. Lewis is represented by attorney Zachary Kitts, who claims on his website to be the principal architect behind the 2011 amendments to the FATA.

    Kitts said he told legislators, including Lingamfelter, he thought the legislation was needed.  “There's a risk that a defendant can say '99 percent of the reason that we terminated this person's employment was because they complained about fraud against the government,'” Kitts said, “but they could say one percent was a lawful reason and they could win the case based on that.”

    Lingamfelter repeated Kitts' assertion that whistle-blowers can be unjustly fired if the person who fired them for exposing fraud also claimed to have legitimate reasons to do so. Moreover, he introduced House Bill 731, which could shift liability onto the agent who illegally terminates a whistle-blower, in addition to the institution itself.

    HB 731 was defeated twice in the Courts of Justice Senate committee by tie votes that fell, by the majority, along party lines. Different members failed to register votes for each session. However, if the committee had voted on the bill again – and all members voted the same as they did previously – the bill would have passed, making supervisors liable for illegal terminations, in addition to the institutions they represent. On the bill’s final consideration, one member was not present: Sen. Thomas K. Norment, R-Williamsburg. Although Norment favored the bill, the absence of his vote caused its defeat. Norment did not respond to inquiries regarding his absence.

    “An abusive supervisor can escape any judgment in a court and it's the city, town or county that bears the full cost,” Lingamfelter said. “Shouldn't that supervisor bear some of the wrongdoing, since they're the one who committed it?”  Director of General Services for the City of Alexandria Jeremy McPike is one such supervisor, according to Lingamfelter. McPike made the recommendation that Lewis be terminated as city architect during construction of a police station. He also ran against Lingamfelter in the 2013 election for a seat in the House.

    “This language in this legislation coming from Lingamfelter doesn't surprise me at all,” McPike said. “He invited a trial attorney to our debate last fall to try to intimidate me. He sat in the front row. It's petty politics.”  The legislation, as introduced by Lingamfelter, states that a whistle blower may not be discharged, threatened or otherwise discriminated against, “in whole or in part,” for reasons connected to the exposure of fraud, waste or abuse.

    “If it were in a township that I was in charge of, (McPike) wouldn't have his job,” Lingamfelter said, “because I think that anybody who intimidates someone whose greatest sin is they're just trying to point out taxpayer fraud should not be supervising other people.”

    McPike said Richmond is beginning to operate like Washington, D.C.  “It's legislation driven, frankly, by the trial attorneys again,” McPike said. “Obviously, they're in cahoots with one another.”

    Kitts said one of the bills adds the words “in whole or in part” to the motivation section of the statute.  “Any employee shall be entitled to all relief necessary if that employee is discharged, demoted, suspended, threatened, harassed, or in any other manner discriminated against,” Kitts said, “'in whole or in part,' because of lawful acts done by the employee.”

    The purpose of existing fraud and abuse law is to “make whole” any person fired in retaliation for exposing fraud. When Lewis won his case against the city under the new law, he was then entitled to recovery in the form either of reinstatement of his job as city architect, or front-pay to match the number of years he could have worked; however, he had to appeal for that money. The city was denied its request for an appeal by the Virginia Supreme Court. Instead, the court heard Lewis' appeal for owed equities and benefits pay.

    At the hearing, the court asked Alexandria City Attorney Jonathan Mook how his city can ignore language in the FATA that says a person fired in retaliation “shall” be compensated for lost wages and benefits.  “How can you ignore the 'shall' in the law?” Justice William C. Mims asked. “How can reinstatement or front-pay not be required to make Henry Lewis whole?”

    Mook said Lewis is not entitled to back pay because any estimations on how long Lewis might have worked for the city would be speculative, to which Mims responded by asking, “Wouldn't any estimation be speculative?”

    Lingamfelter's legislation would turn the city's defense into an argument against itself.

    Mook told the court that Lewis was fired for at least two reasons: insubordination, or failing to maintain a harmonious work relationship with co-workers and supervisors; and Lewis' refusal to sign false invoices at McPike's request. Therefore, the city's estimation of how long Lewis might have stayed on differs by at least seven years when compared to what Mook called “abusive” and “punitive” estimations by Lewis and Kitts.

    Lingamfelter agrees there is an effort to politicize his whistle-blower legislation.  “I know that people like (Charlottesville Democratic Delegate David) Toscano want to politicize this. I got it. I understand that. That goes on down here all the time.”

    Toscano did not respond to requests for comment.

    Co-Chairs of the Senate Committee on Courts of Justice Henry L. Marsh, D-Richmond, and A. Donald McEachin, D-Richmond, did not respond to requests for clarifications as to whether the bill would be voted on for a third time early this week.

    HB728 awaits the signature of Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffeHB739 was left in committee.

Emporia News

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

Comment Policy:  When an article or poll is open for comments feel free to leave one.  Please remember to be respectful when you comment (no foul or hateful language, no racial slurs, etc) and keep our comments safe for work and children. Comments are moderated and comments that contain explicit or hateful words will be deleted.  IP addresses are tracked for comments. serves Emporia and Greensville County, Virginia and the surrounding area
and is provided as a community service by the Advertisers and Sponsors.
All material on is copyright 2005-2019 is powered by Drupal and based on the ThemeBrain Sirate Theme.

Submit Your Story!

Emporia News welcomes your submissions!  You may submit articles, announcements, school or sports information or community calendar events via e-mail on 

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