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January 2015

  1. Obituary-Esther “Chessie” Lewis Prince

    Mrs. Esther “Chessie” Lewis Prince, 91, widow of William D. Prince, Jr. of Emporia, passed away on January 22, 2015. In addition to her husband, she was preceded in death by her brother, Robert S. Lewis of Richmond and her sister, Mildred Lewis Walton of Smithfield, VA. Mrs. Prince was the daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Scott Lewis of “Little Dover” in Goochland County and later of “Rock Hill” in Madison County, Virginia. She was raised in Goochland County and was a graduate of Goochland High School and attended Mary Washington College. She enjoyed a career as a secretary before retiring in 1979. She was a faithful member of Christ Episcopal Church, Emporia, where she served on the Vestry. She was a reserve member after many years of active membership of the Emporia Book Club; the Hicksford Chapter, Daughters of American Revolution serving as Regent and longtime chairman of American History; and a former member of the Colonial Dames. She is survived by her children, Polly Miller and Garnett Miller of Wytheville, VA; Dr. William Daniel Prince,III and Lauren Prince of Martinsville, VA; Scott D. Prince and Mary Prince of St. Simons Island, GA; and Anne Deuchler and William Deuchler of Winter Park, FL. Also surviving are her grandchildren, William G. Miller, William D. Prince, IV; Matthew and Kate Prince, Mary Helen and Ike Johnston, Grace L. Prince, Philip B. Deuchler, Rand S. Deuchler and Catherine P. Deuchler. She is also survived by her sister, Louise L. Ebert and her husband, Jim, of Lumberton, NC as well as by many nieces and nephews. The family is most appreciative of her devoted caregivers, Lois Turner, Evelyn Wilson, Rosa Carson, Patsy Keenan, Mary Adams, Diane Givens and Beckey Presson. Funeral Services will be conducted by The Reverend Colin Cooper in the former Christ Episcopal Church, now Victory Fellowship Church, 200 South Main Street, Emporia, VA 23847 on Saturday at 11am followed by burial in the Emporia Cemetery. Memorials may be made to the YMCA of Emporia c/o Kristin Vaughan, 212 Weaver Ave, Emporia, VA 23847. Condolences may be sent to

  2. Obituary-Woodie Edward Smith

    Woodie Edward Smith, II, 74, of Emporia, passed away Tuesday, January 27, 2015. He is survived by his wife, Judith R. Smith; stepson, Michael Anderton and wife, Brandy; nephew, James Matthews, Jr. and wife, Sabrina; devoted cousin, Debbie Weiss and husband, Jim and a sister-in-law, Marilyn Riggan. Mr. Smith was preceded in death by his daughter, Teresa Smith. A memorial service will be held 2:30 p.m. Saturday, January 31, 2015 at Owen Funeral Home, 303 S. Halifax Rd, Jarratt, Virginia where the family will receive friends one hour prior to the service. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions be made to the Emporia-Greensville Humane Society, 113 Baker St. Emporia, Virginia 23847.

  3. Obituary-Bernadine Louise Robinson Becker

    On December 2, 1947, Bernadine Louise Robinson Becker (Dena) came wiggling, laughing and singing into the world.  She was here! She was a presence!  Few who met her would ever forget her.  Blessed with an indomitable spirit, she was able to negotiate her way through the significant trials and tribulations she faced during her life – sometimes with kindness and sometimes with fierce “feistiness.” 

    Dena possessed many attributes including being a talented hairdresser and a gifted writer and a gutsy determination to persevere. The world will miss her laughter as well as her bullheadedness. Even as Primary Progressive Aphasia and Alzheimer’s disease attacked her brain and, eventually, took her life on January 13, 2015, she almost completed her long-held goal of achieving her bachelor’s degree. 

    Most of those she loved and many who loved her had passed before her and were there to greet her in Heaven.  She does leave behind several grandchildren and great-grandchildren who she did not have the opportunity to know, a brother, a number of cousins, two friends – angels – Glaucia and Penny – who fostered her faith and her soul to the very end and her beloved Chihuahua, Baby.  Her family deeply appreciates the care and concern for her health and well-being provided by the employees at Emporia Manor.

    A memorial service will be held at 1:00 pm on Sunday, February 1, 2015 at The Word of Life Assembly of God at 707 Brunswick Avenue, Emporia, VA 23847.

  4. Obituary-Arthur Graham Elliott, Jr., “Artie”

    Arthur Graham Elliott, Jr., “Artie”, 50, passed away Thursday, January 29, 2015. He is survived by his wife, Faye Mangum Elliott; son, Justin Adams and fiancée, Kathryn Sheffield; his mother, Hazel Powell Elliott; sister, Brenda Bowen; mother-in-law, Marguerite Mangum; sister-in-law, Gene Mangum; a number of nieces and nephews and a large extended family. Artie was a devoted employee of Owen Ford where he was Parts and Service Director and was co-owner with his wife of Paws and Purrs Pet Spa. A true humanitarian, he was an active community leader having served on the Jarratt Town Council, had been very active with JRA and EGRA and a member of Jarratt Volunteer Fire Department of which he served as chief for a number of years. The family will receive friends 5-8 p.m. Saturday, January 31 at Owen Funeral Home, 303 S. Halifax Rd, Jarratt, Virginia where a funeral service will be held 2 p.m. Sunday, February 1. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions be made to Jarratt Volunteer Fire Department.  Online condolences may be made at

  5. Upcoming Benefit for Naomi Jackson Family

    N-Spirit Music Ministry of Lawrenceville, Virginia will be sponsoring a benefit program for the family of the late Naomi Jackson on Sunday, February 15, 2015. This program will be held at Olive Branch R.Z.U.A. Church (1699 Sturgeon Road Lawrenceville, Virginia) at 3 p.m. All proceeds will be given to the family.

    Invited Guests:

    • Jerusalem R.Z.U.A. Youth Choir
    • Wilson Chapel Baptist Youth Choir
    • Tabernacle of Zion (Praise Team)
    • Country Boys Gospel Singers
    • God’s Community Praise
    • N-Spirit
    • The Anointed Voices
    • Mr.  Crawley Hawkins
    • RGM

    For additional info, you can contact Deacon Kevin Wesson at 434-848-0333 or 434-532-6515


  6. Don't Fall For the IRS Scam

    Remember that the IRS will never call you and demand payment, banking information or credit card information, nor will they ever threaten to "throw you in jail."

    It’s tax time again and the IRS Scam Calls are very likely to increase. If you have been watching the news or surfing the internet you will likely have seen that this is an epidemic. Let me share with you as a Detective what I have found from the information I have been able to get from these complaints. The IRS Scammer (Caller) almost always has a very heavy foreign accent.  I’ve checked the telephone numbers and they are either unregistered magic jack numbers or they originate outside of the US. We do not have the resources at the Emporia Police Department to work an international case. I would suggest that you contact the Federal Trade Commission Complaint site online and it will allow you to leave an audio complaint and it will ask for certain specific information. If the FTC gets enough complaints it will be directed to the appropriate Federal  Law Enforcement Agency. There is also an excellent page at the FTC site that helps you identify Government Imposter Scammers. If you do not have the ability to file an online FTC complaint, I will be glad to help you file a FTC Scammer complaint online when I have free time. Just call EPD Dispatch and leave your name and Telephone number if I’m not available.  I’ll get back with you as soon as I can. Please keep the telephone number and the names and government agencies that the scammers use. Please keep good notes. If you can, record the scammer and what they are trying to get you to do. If you have the ability to file the complaint with the FTC please do. Below are links with further information.

    Here’s the Federal Trade Commission Complaint assistant link -

    Here’s how to “Recognize a Government Imposter” and Five Ways to Beat them! -

    Can you spot a Government Imposter?  -

    For further information or if you feel you have fallen victim to a scammer, call Det/Sgt Stan Allen # 136, Detective's Division / Narcotics Division, Emporia Police Department, 310 Budd Street, Emporia, Virginia, 23847.  Email: or phone (434)-634-2121 Ext-6





    Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine introduced the Providing Resources Early for Kids (PRE-K) Act, legislation to expand access to high-quality early learning programs for children from birth to age five. The PRE-K Act will help more kids enter kindergarten ready to succeed by establishing federal-state partnerships that incentivize states to both improve the quality of state preschool programs and expand those programs to serve more children in need.  

    “Expanding access to early childhood education helps close the achievement gap and prepare students for a lifetime of learning,” said Senator Kaine, who expanded the Virginia Preschool Initiative as Governor. “To keep our economy strong, we need a long-term plan that produces the best workforce in the world. A key step in growing our talented workforce is ensuring that all children are prepared to enter school ready to learn. Last year, I successfully urged the U.S. Department of Education to give Virginia a $17.5 million Preschool Development Grant to expand high-quality preschool programs for children from low and moderate income families. The PRE-K Act would build upon this grant, providing Virginia and the nation with opportunities to strengthen and expand our preschools.”

    The PRE-K Act creates a new federal-state partnership to improve state preschool programs and expand current programs to serve more children in need. States with small or newer programs could apply for startup funds if they submit a plan to establish a high-quality preschool program within two years. PRE-K Act funds could help states hire and train early educators, expand preschool days and hours, or provide comprehensive services such as health screenings and meals.

    Kaine has been a long-time champion of access to quality early learning programs. As Governor, he championed early childhood education by increasing Pre-K enrollment by 40 percent in the Commonwealth. As a Senator, he introduced the Strong Start for America’s Children Act in the last Congress to expand access to high-quality early learning programs for children under the age of five.

    Kaine introduced the PRE-K Act with the following cosponsors: Mazie Hirono, Sherrod Brown, Dick Durbin, Kirsten Gillibrand, Brian Schatz and Ron Wyden.

    Similar legislation is also being introduced in the House by Reps. Mark Pocan and Mike Honda.

    The PRE-K Act of 2015 has been endorsed by the following national organizations:

    • American Association of School Administrators (AASA)
    • American Association of University Women (AAUW)
    • American Federation of Teachers (AFT)
    • Association of Education Service Agencies (AESA)
    • Council for Exceptional Children (CEC)
    • Council of Administrators of Special Education - CEC
    • Early Care and Education Consortium
    • First Focus Campaign for Children
    • Good Beginnings Alliance
    • HighScope Educational Research Foundation
    • Learning Disabilities Association of America
    • National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
    • National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE)
    • National Education Association (NEA)
    • National Rural Education Advocacy Coalition (NREAC)
    • National Women’s Law Center (NWLC)
    • Parents As Teachers
    • School Social Work Association of America (SSWA)
  8. Give Caregivers Training They Need, Supporters Say

    By Noura Bayoumi, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND – Advocates for people who take care of elderly parents and other family members are urging the General Assembly to provide support for family caregivers.

    Robert Blancato, national coordinator of the Elder Justice Coalition, said two bills before the assembly would do that: HB 1413, sponsored by Del. Eileen Filler-Corn, D-Fairfax Station, and SB 851, introduced by Sen. Barbara Favola, D-Arlington.

    Under those measures, hospitals would have to provide a family member or other designated individual with information and instructions about follow-up care or treatment when a patient is being discharged.

    Information and training would be a big help to family caregivers as their loved ones transition home after a hospital stay, Blancato said at a press conference Tuesday. “There has to be a solid handoff from the hospital to the family in order for the patient to be in good care.”

    About half of all caregivers do not receive the training they need for the medical and nursing tasks they must perform, and more than two-thirds never receive a home visit by a health care professional after the patient is discharged, Favola said.

    “There is a problem that needs to be solved,” she said. “We want to give caregivers the knowledge and support they need that comes with training.”

    Pamela Bingham of Petersburg has been a full-time family caregiver since 2011. She is taking care of her mother, who has dementia.

    “Caregiving is the hardest job I have ever had,” Bingham said.

    Upon discharge, elderly patients often get paper instructions and prescriptions that they can’t read or decipher, Bingham said – and yet they are expected to know how and when to take medication.

    “I also have a five-shelved bookcase in my home filled with medical supplies that basically turn me into a home medical nurse with no medical training,” Bingham said.

    Amy Becker, a registered nurse, attended the press conference to show her support for caregivers. She said caregivers in Virginia are stepping forward in increasing numbers to take responsibility for providing complex medical care to their loved ones.

    “They are my heroes,” Becker said.

    On Tuesday, a subcommittee of the House Committee on Health, Welfare and Institutions voted unanimously in favor of Filler-Corn’s bill. HB 1413 now will be considered by the full committee.

    SB 851 is pending before the Senate Committee on Education and Health.

  9. Venture Mattress Donates Mattresses to Jackson-Feild

    Venture Mattress, headquartered in Franklin VA, recently donated 50 brand new mattresses to Jackson-Feild Homes to improve the bedding and sleeping conditions of its residents. 

    Working with their manufacturer, Mattress Tech, Venture developed the new mattresses and they in turn worked with their suppliers to produce them. Everyone along the way took a personal interest in this project and wanted to ensure the comfort of the children served  by Jackson-Feild.

    The new mattresses are twice as thick as the old and worn ones they’re replacing, and are much better built.  Already, the children are reporting that they are sleeping better and waking up in the morning feeling better.

    Jackson-Feild is very grateful to Venture Mattress, Mattress Tech, and their suppliers for improving the boys’ and girls’ quality of life.

    Jackson-Feild Homes is a residential treatment program with an accredited private school. It serves adolescent children who have severe emotional disorders. Established in 1855 the Home serves over 100 children annually. They are able to achieve positive outcomes for its residents where others have not.

  10. Obituary-LaRose Evans Gilbert

    Sadly on Sunday, January 25, 2015, Ms. LaRose Evans Gilbert, 96, of 23240 Moore's Road, Jarratt, Virginia, took her heavenly transition to be with the Lord. 

    A Homegoing Celebration for Ms. LaRose Evans Gilbert will be held on Friday, January 30, 2015 at 12 NOON at Saint James Episcopal Church in Emporia, VA. Reverend Harry V. Nevels, Officiating, Eulogist. 

    Ms. Gilbert will be laid to rest in the Hassidiah Baptist Church Cemetery in Jarratt, VA. 

    The staff of R.E. Pearson and Son Funeral Service, 556 Halifax Street, Emporia, Virginia, are in charge of the arrangements. 


    "A Complete Service To Those We Serve"

  11. Southside Electric Cooperative Donates to SVCC Ag Program

    "Southside Electric Cooperative is proud to partner with SVCC to help expand career training opportunities in Southside Virginia.  SEC’s Board of Directors and I believe strongly in giving back to the communities we serve, and we’re excited to be a part of this new endeavor led by Dr. Dalton.  It is our hope that other organizations and businesses in our area will not only see the benefits of preparing our students to work in the agribusiness industry, but will be encouraged to partner with SVCC in providing additional internship opportunities" - SEC President & CEO, Jeffrey S. Edwards said.  Edwards is shown here presenting a check to SVCC's Dr. Dixie Davis Walton.

    A donation to the Southside Virginia Community College Foundation, Inc., to start an internship program for students in the Agribusiness Program has been announced by Southside Electric Cooperative headquartered in Crewe, Virginia.  Dr. Dixie Watts Dalton, Professor and Program Director of Agribusiness, (Right) accepts the donation from Jeffrey S. Edwards (Left), President and CEO of SEC.  The Agribusiness program started at SVCC in 2010 and offers a two-year program in General Studies with a specialization in Agribusiness as well as a Career Studies Certificate.   As consumers, we are all impacted by the agribusiness industry.  From the food we eat to the clothes we wear and the homes we live in, agribusiness directly affects each of us on a daily basis, notes Dr. Dalton.  She looks forward to involving community businesses from all areas of agribusiness, including farms, financial institutions, farm supply stores, feed and chemical companies, information and consulting services, and others by partnering with them to create internship opportunities for students. For information, contact  Dr. Dixie Watts Dalton,Professor & Program Director, Agribusiness,109 Campus Drive, Alberta, VA 23821 or call 434-949-1053


  12. Banker's Day on Capital Hill

    Chris Everett, Will Clements, Delegate Roslyn Tyler, Dena Patrick and Eric Crawford meet at the General Assembly

    The Bankers of Southside Virginia Bank visited  Delegate Roslyn Tyler of the 75 th District during Banker's  Day at the Virginia General Assembly. The Virginia Bankers Association has developed the following bills that will strengthen the banking industry.

    Bills of importance are:

    • SB 860 Docketing of Judgement Satisfaction - The proposed legislation will allow will allow a designated successor that executes small estates affidavit to endorse checks and other  negotiable instruments made payable to the decedent's Estate.
    • SB 859 and HB 1800 Clarification of Payment Due Date - The Virginia Codes provides that no finance charge can be charged on a credit card debt that is paid in full prior to the next "billing date", Which must be at least 25 days later than the prior "billing date".  There has been confusion about what constitutes the "billing date." In order to clarify, this legislation will change "billing date to payment due date."
  13. Health Secretary Urges Medicaid Expansion

    By Margo Maier, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND – Virginia’s secretary of health and human services, William A. Hazel, wants legislators to put aside their political differences and ensure that every resident of the commonwealth has access to affordable health care.

    Hazel is urging the General Assembly to expand Medicaid, the health coverage program for low-income people, as states are encouraged to do under the federal Affordable Care Act. Hazel made his case again in a recent talk to students at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center.

    Although the Affordable Care Act made it easier and cheaper for many people to buy health insurance, Hazel said coverage gaps still exist.

    “We had about 1 million Virginians who were uninsured in 2010,” he said. “Probably two-thirds of the people who came to a community health center last year to try and get coverage were told, ‘You do not qualify for a benefit in an exchange because you do not make enough money.’ Also, we do not cover single adults. We have all these people at lower incomes who are not eligible.”

    That’s why Gov. Terry McAuliffe and other Democrats are pushing for the state to offer Medicaid to about 400,000 more Virginians. Under the Affordable Care Act, states can extend Medicaid to people with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level. The federal government has promised to pick up most of the cost, which would be about $2 billion annually for Virginia.

    “Last year, we made a big effort to get Medicaid expanded ... I think the political odds are this year that the House Republicans will not change their position, but I think this is something that we can do,” said Hazel, who was appointed by Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell and reappointed by McAuliffe.

    Republican legislators in Virginia oppose Medicaid expansion because the program’s costs have been growing and they fear the state eventually will be stuck with the bills. Republicans blocked several efforts by Democrats in the General Assembly to expand Medicaid in 2014.

    Hazel spoke at the VCU Medical Center, just blocks from the state Capitol, as the General Assembly’s 2015 session got underway.

    He told students that 18 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product goes toward health care – more than in any other nation. Switzerland has a universal health care system, and only 11.5 percent of its GDP in 2012 was spent on health care.

    “How can we justify spending so much more money than Switzerland?” Hazel asked. “They are spending two-thirds of what we are spending, and we have people who are not cared for. I’m asking how that happens.”

    Much of the problem, he said, is that many Americans lack health coverage and forgo preventive medical care, such as physical exams and screenings. When they have a dire need, they go to hospital emergency rooms, which must treat everyone regardless of insurance status.

    Hazel, an orthopedic surgeon, said he wants to change that: “We’re trying to go from ‘fix it when it’s broken’ – which has been my life’s work – to find out how to invest in healthier people who can be more productive.”

    McAuliffe has asked the General Assembly to consider expanding Medicaid when it revises the state budget during the legislative session, which runs through Feb. 28. Republican lawmakers so far have rebuffed that request.

    Other Medicaid-related proposals before the assembly include:

    ·         HJ 520, a constitutional amendment sponsored by Del. Patrick A. Hope, D-Arlington. It would exempt nonprofits serving indigent people from paying property tax.

    ·         HJ 637, by Del. R. Steven Landes, R-Verona. It would authorize a study on how to reduce Medicaid costs and improve patient services. A House subcommittee approved the resolution last week.

  14. YMCA Preschoolers Celebrate 100th Day!

    The YMCA Preschoolers enjoyed celebrating the 100th Day of School by learning to count by 10's,  making 10 sets of 10 pennies and other objects, stringing together  cheerios, graphing M & M's, measuring with 100 paper clips and and doing 100 exercises.  The pennies they collected will be used for the shoebox ministry postage.  The highlight of the day was a trip to Pino's Pizza to make pizzas!






  15. Law Would Let Dominion Hike Electric Bills

    By Matt Leonard, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND – Dominion Virginia Power would be allowed to avoid state regulation for eight years while having the ability to raise consumers’ electric bills, if the General Assembly passes a bill before the Senate Committee on Commerce and Labor.

    The legislation would require Dominion to maintain its base rate for eight years beginning in 2013 – when the state last reviewed the company’s rates – until 2020. While the base rate would stay the same, the company would retain the authority to increase fuel surcharges and other “riders” that are added to customers’ utility bills.

    The base rate typically makes up just over half of a customer’s bill, said Ken Schrad, director of information resources at the State Corporation Commission, which regulates public utilities.

    The riders – also known as rate adjustment clauses, or RACs – still would require approval from the SCC. But when approving them, the agency does not take into account Dominion’s “costs, revenues, investments, or earnings.” That is information the SCC examines during biennial reviews.

    Under current state law, the SCC performs a review of Dominion Power every two years to ensure that the company is not “overearning” by overcharging customers, Schrad said. But Senate Bill 1349, introduced by Sen. Frank Wagner, R-Virginia Beach, would prohibit the SCC from conducting its reviews until after 2020.

    Under the bill, the SCC would be “barred from adjusting the utility’s rates until the conclusion of the 2023 biennial review, with certain exceptions,” according to a summary of the measure by the Legislative Information Service, the General Assembly’s staff.

    The bill stipulates that “no adjustment to a Phase II Utility’s rates shall be made” – meaning Dominion’s base rate would not change; however, it says nothing to limit riders.

    Wagner approached Dominion for help with wording part of the bill, and the company provided “some draft language,” said Rob Richardson, a senior communications specialist for Dominion.

    Asked who would benefit most from the bill, Richardson said customers would. He said federal and state regulation, such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to reduce carbon emissions, could endanger “low electric rates and reliable service.”

    However, consumer advocates say SB 1349 could benefit Dominion at the expense of consumers.

    The Virginia attorney general’s office, which represents consumers in rate cases, said that the bill would eliminate SCC oversight, freeing Dominion to raise fees on consumers.

    “We oppose bills like this that limit the attorney general’s ability to advocate on behalf of consumers for the lowest rates possible or that tie the hands of the State Corporation Commission in setting appropriate rates,” said Michael Kelly, director of communications for Attorney General Mark Herring.

    Schrad said current Virginia state law binds Dominion’s rate changes to the biennial reviews. Changes can be made only after the review process.

    This became customary after a 2007 law ended a 10-year period aimed at creating competition in the electric industry. The 10-year experiment failed, and Dominion maintained a monopoly over Virginia utilities, Schrad said.

    The 2007 legislation brought back regulation of the electric industry.

    Under settlements reached after the SCC’s first review of Dominion, the company had to refund $726 million, with the average customer receiving $153.

    As a result of the SCC’s review in 2011, Dominion had to refund customers $78.3 million due to overearnings. The most recent review by the SCC resulted in a lower base rate.

    Wagner served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1992 through 2000, when he was elected to the Senate.

    Since 1997, Wagner has received $43,100 in donations from Dominion, according to the Virginia Public Access Project, a nonprofit group that compiles campaign finance data. Dominion gave Wagner $10,500 in 2013-14, VPAP records show.

    Wagner did not respond to a request for comment. But he told The Virginian-Pilot that he proposed SB 1349 because the EPA’s Clean Power Plan will impose costly pollution standards on Virginia.

    The bill has been referred to a subcommittee of the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee that is examining the EPA plan. Wagner chairs the subcommittee.

  16. Farm Bill Producer Meetings

    The Greensville County FSA will have two very important sessions on the 2014 Farm Bill Program. The ARC-PLC Programs will be discussed.

    • January 28, 2015 at 9:00 a.m. at the Greensville Extension Office: Topics: Base and yield updates - Melvin E. Hill, Jr.
    • February 11, 2015 at 3:00 p.m. at the Greensville Extension Office: Topics: Election of ARC-PLC Programs and Election Tools Update. Melvin E. Hill, Jr. Greensville CED, Herbert A. Brown Jr., Brunswick CED and Dr. Jim Pease, Extension Economist, Virginia Tech.

    Please attend both important sessions to meet upcoming deadlines.  For more information call (434) 634-2462, Ext. 2.

    Reasonable accommodations will be made, upon request, for individuals with disabilities, vision impairment, or hearing impairment to attend meetings sponsored by the Farm Service Agency. If you require special accommodations to attend one of our meetings,please call the FSA County Office and we will be happy to make any needed arrangements.

  17. Obituary-Avis Frazier

    Avis M. Frazier, 76, died Monday, January 19, 2015. A native of Emporia, she had been a Hampton resident since 1964 where she was a member of First Church at Port Warwick. She worked for many years with her husband at Gene’s Discount Auto Parts and was a member of the Golden Thimble sewing and knitting club.

    Gene would like to thank all of her nurses and doctors for all they did for her, especially on the 3rd and 5th floors at the Careplex; and Barry and Sandy Lowe for all of their help during Avis’ illness.

    Preceded in death by her son, Linwood G. Frazier; survivors include her husband of 55 years, Gene H. Frazier; a grandson, Kenny Frazier; two great-grandchildren, Megan and Justin Frazier; three sisters, Ruby Estelle Pearson, Betty Mae Velikey, and Erma Louise Vincent; and a brother, Melvin Louis Ferguson.

    A graveside service will be conducted at 2:00 PM, Saturday, January 24, 2015 at Forest Hill Baptist Church Cemetery, 2103 Pine Log Road, Skippers, VA by Rev. Ron Gallagher.

    Memorials may be made to First Church at Port Warwick, 410 Flannery O’Conner Street, Newport News, VA 23606.

    Arrangements by R. Hayden Smith Funeral Home.

  18. An Oasis in the Food Desert

    Volunteers prepare bags of food for distribution near the end of the event.

    Linda Thomas described Friday's visit from the FeedMore mobile food bank and a way to "bridge the gap" for those that do not qualify for food stamps.Linda and her husband Javon feel so strongly about giving back to the community that they were both volunteers on Friday. Linda, a self described contributor to the Food Bank for the last 24 years, has been volunteering for the last few months and described her experience:  "The first few years I got food from the Pantry - when I was a single Mom. Then God blessed me and I was able to start giving. A few months go my Husband and I started  volunteering."


    Shortly after arrival volunteers have already packed many bags of food for distribution.  Photos courtesy of Eric Miller.

    While the Mobile Food Bank distribution was not scheduled to start until 10:00, many people were lined up and waiting when the truck pulled in and set up began.  Hundreds of people were pre qualified for the event and tons of food were distributed.  Friday's selection included Organic Salad Greens and frozen poultry to augment the typical canned and boxed food usually seen at food banks.  According to Eric Miller with FeedMore, there is an effort to provide more fresh produce and nutritious foodstuffs.  In an e-mail, Eric described the Mobile Pantry as a "refrigerated truck that delivers canned and boxed food and perishables to neighbors who live in areas with limited access to healthy and affordable food options, also known as 'food deserts'.” Emporia is among the top five cities in Virginia for food insecurity."

    Volunteers nearly emptied FeedMore's Mobile Pantry on Friday Morning.

    Emporia lacks a bus system, and is not pedestrian friendly, lacking even sidewalks for the last stretch of the walk to either Food Lion or Wal Mart. Residents who have no transportation must rely on cabs to travel to Walmart and other stores to buy food. A cab fare is often $10 one way and that amounts to $20 that might have bought 20 cans of protein-rich beans, said Dorothy Prince of Emporia, a volunteer at the Mobile Pantry distribution site.

    Diane, an Emporia client of the Mobile Pantry, walked two miles to the Mobile Pantry. Fortunately, she found a cab driver who would transport her and her two hefty bags of canned and perishable food to her home for $5. She receives $53 a month in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, and the once-a-month visits to Emporia from the Mobile Pantry are a big help, she said.

    A few minutes after Diane left, the cab driver returned and took Eunice and Tara to their Emporia home for $5. The friendly cab driver said he would charge them only $5, adding, “I ain’t trying to get rich. Just trying to make a living.”

    “There are so many people around here that are hungry,” said Marilyn Williams of Jarratt, a volunteer who hopes to open a food pantry at her church, Salem Baptist of Emporia.


    Emporia has a high incidence of cancer, said several volunteers and a journalist at the Mobile Pantry distribution site at Peace of Mind Ministries along Main Street. Some food insecure residents must choose between buying food and paying for their cancer treatment or medication for other illnesses like Type-2 Diabetes. Overall, the August 2014 Hunger in America study revealed that 69 percent of FeedMore’s clients report choosing between food and medical care. Over one-fourth of Emporia residents are food-insecure.

    Other low-income residents have to choose between buying food and paying their power bill, rent and heating bill, Prince said. Their homes have cracks in the floors and windows that allow cold air into their homes, she noted.

    Friday's recipients were given enough food for several days.  The bags included the salad greens and poultry, including whole chickens and turkeys and pre packaged chicken parts (all frozen for safety), bread, two varieties of soup, pancake mix, canned vegetables, almond milk and bottled water.  In addition, there were fun items like Oreo and Chips Ahoy cookies and Cheese Nips.  Each person received several packages of the poultry and two or three loaves of bread.  Some of the food distributed on Friday is pictured here.

    From their Website: "FeedMore serves neighbors across Central Virginia’s 31 counties and 5 cities, spanning nearly one-third of the state. Through partnerships with businesses, faith-based, non-profit, public, and other organizations, FeedMore offers comprehensive hunger solutions that target our region's most vulnerable neighbors: children, families and seniors. From our distribution center that provided food for 17 million meals last year, the Hunger Hotline that connects people to nearby pantries, to our Meals on Wheels home deliveries, FeedMore’s multi-tiered approach to hunger relief targets the many gaps in our region. Kids Café provides 2,200 snacks each day at 63 sites for children ages 5 to 18 and provides supper at 42 of those sites each weekday during the school year. FeedMore’s Backpack program provides 12,000 meals every weekend to kids who might otherwise go hungry most of the weekend. For more information, visit"

    You will also find information on how to donate, host a food drive and where to find assistance on  According to their website, they are currently in need of Peanut Butter, Reduced Sodium Canned Vegetables, Whole Grain Snacks, Hot and Cold Cereal, Canned Spaghetti Sauce (no glass, please), Fruit Packed in Juice and Canned Chicken and Tuna.  Cash donations are also gladly accepted.

    Eric Miller, a Public Relations Associate at FeedMore accompanied the driver of the Mobile Food Bank and contributed to this story.

  19. Obituary-Edna Moore Birch

    Edna Moore Birch, 87, of Emporia, passed away on January 21, 2015.  She was preceded in death by her husband, Raymon Birch, Sr.  She is survived by her son, Ray T. Birch and wife Sharron; her granddaughter, Melissa; her sisters, Dorothy Coleman, Betty Gregory and Martha Williams.  A graveside service will be held on Friday, January 23, at 2pm in Emporia Cemetery.  Condolences may be sent to

  20. When to Seek Emergency Medical Help for the Flu

    The flu virus continues to spread across the U.S., with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) closely tracking the number of confirmed cases and urging stringent precautions to minimize its impact. The CDC reports the flu as being widespread throughout the state of Virginia. Southside Regional Medical Center continues to see flu-symptomatic patients in the emergency room and numerous patients have been admitted for treatment of flu-related complications.

    While most people will be able to endure the flu’s effects on their bodies and recover, others are at high risk for suffering complications and needing emergency intervention. Individuals at a higher risk include babies and children, the elderly, those with compromised immune systems, and individuals with lung disease – such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

    “Beyond feeling miserable, flu can develop into something much more serious, particularly for individuals who are at higher risk," said Dr. Bhavna Saraiya, an Internal Medicine physician at Southside Primary Care Petersburg. “It’s important for these individuals to be monitored closely so they receive timely medical help if needed.”

    Unlike a cold, the flu typically comes on suddenly. The most common symptoms are fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue and vomiting and diarrhea.

    If you suspect you have the flu virus, the CDC recommends seeking care from your doctor or an urgent care clinic, where you can be tested and receive a prescription for antiviral medication to minimize the intensity and duration of your symptoms. These medications work best when taken within 48 hours of becoming ill, but can still be beneficial when given later in the course of illness.

    When you or someone for whom you’re caring experiences any of the following symptoms – the CDC recommends seeking help from the closest emergency department:


    • Trouble breathing
    • No tears when crying
    • Significantly fewer wet diapers than normal


    • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
    • Bluish skin color
    • Not drinking enough fluids
    • Not waking up or not interacting
    • Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
    • Symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
    • Fever with a rash


    • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
    • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
    • Sudden dizziness
    • Confusion
    • Severe or persistent vomiting
    • Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough

    “Flu can become deadly, so it’s important to act promptly if these symptoms appear," said Dr. Saraiya. “And it’s still not too late to get a flu shot this year, which can lessen your chances of getting sick.”

    Southside Primary Care, the office of Dr. Michael Cohen, Dr. John Lewis and Dr. Bhavna Saraiya, is offering free flu vaccination clinics to help our community take this important step for prevention. These walk-in clinics are scheduled for Thursday, January 29th from 2:00 pm - 6:00 pm at Southside Primary Care Petersburg (50 Medical Park Boulevard, Suites C & D) and Friday, February 6th from 9:00 am - 1:00 pm at Southside Primary Care Colonial Heights (436 Clairmont Court, Suite 100). For more information, call 804-733-8821 (Petersburg) or 804-526-2121 (Colonial Heights).

    For more information on the flu, visit the special flu section “The Flu and You” at To find a primary care doctor visit the “Find a Doctor” link on the home page.


  21. Sleep Disorders and Treatments

    By: Rakesh Sood, MD

    As one of the most basic human needs, sleep allows the body to rest and restore energy. However, depriving the body of sleep can result in impaired memory and thought processes, depression, a decreased immune response, and a greater chance of being diagnosed with high blood pressure. If you often feel restless, tired or have trouble sleeping through the night, you could have a sleep disorder, which can be managed and treated once diagnosed by a doctor. With the help of your physician, you can quickly get back on the path to a full night’s sleep.

    Sleep disorders, which can be caused by physical, psychological or external issues, occur when one cause repeatedly interrupts the normal sleep cycle. A person’s lifestyle can also contribute to sleep problems. For instance, people who regularly smoke cigarettes or drink coffee or alcohol are more likely to have sleep problems. Medication, depression or anxiety can also contribute to sleep problems.

    Common sleeping disorders include:

    • Snoring:a problem where inhaled air rattles over the tissues of the throat. In some cases this can be a sign of sleep apnea.
    • Sleep apnea:a condition where the upper airway becomes completely or partially blocked, interrupting breathing during sleep. Severe sleep apnea is associated with high blood pressure and a high risk for heart attack or stroke.
    • Insomnia:a problem where people do not get enough sleep at night due to trouble falling asleep; 10 to 15 percent of adults say they have chronic insomnia.
    • Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS):a disorder where people feel the need to move their legs or feet, often delaying the onset of sleep and causing people to wake up during sleep.
    • Narcolepsy:a brain disorder that causes excessive, constant sleepiness during the day. Though television often shows narcoleptics falling asleep in the middle of everyday tasks, this only happens to a small percentage of people with this condition

    All of these examples of sleep problems can be triggered by various issues. For example, insomnia may start as a side effect from stress or medication, but because people can become conditioned to insomnia, it may last far longer than it would otherwise. Snoring can be caused by allergies. Sleep apnea can be caused by abnormal breathing during sleep and is often associated with being overweight.

    Due to the wide variety of possible causes, sleep disorder sufferers may need to try several treatment options or a combination of treatments in order to effectively treat the problem. Treatments used for sleep disorders include behavioral therapy, medication or alternative therapy. Behavioral treatments often include relaxation exercises, such as mental or breathing exercises. Stimulus control, another behavioral treatment, makes the bedroom into a space for sleep and little else, conditioning the person to sleep when in the bedroom. Medications for sleep deprivation are usually prescribed by a doctor. Medicines for sleep disorders are widely varied and are usually prescribed only for short term use as they can be habit-forming. Alternative therapy includes regular exercise, relaxation, and meditation, all of which are shown to help deepen sleep in people with or without sleep disorders.

    It is always best to discuss any sleep problems with your doctor, who can diagnose sleeping disorders and create a treatment plan tailored to your specific problems and needs. See your doctor if you are having trouble sleeping, waking up, or falling asleep during the day.

    The information in this article was provided by Rakesh Sood, MD, who is certified by both American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and the American Board of Sleep Medicine.  Dr. Sood’s practice, Southern Virginia Behavioral Health and Sleep Medicine is located at 727 North Main Street in Emporia.  For more information on services offered by Dr. Sood or to schedule an appointment, call at 434-348-4422.


  22. Herring Creates 1st AG Unit for Animal Law

    By Cameron Vigliano, Capitol News Service

    RICHMOND – Attorney General Mark Herring announced Thursday that his office is creating a unit to train and guide local law enforcement and state agencies on how to pursue cases involving animal welfare or abuse.

    Local prosecutors and police often seek help from the attorney general’s office on how to investigate and prosecute such offenses, Herring said.

    “For the importance of these issues, what I have done is created the nation’s first Attorney General Animal Law Unit,” Herring told a crowd of animal rights supporters on the steps of the state Capitol.

    Herring specifically discussed animal fighting, saying it is often associated with other crimes like illegal gambling, drug distribution and the possession of illegal alcohol or guns.

    For instance, a joint state and federal investigation into one of the largest cockfighting rings in the region resulted in two Virginians being found guilty on charges related to animal fighting. In addition, three out-of-state residents were found guilty of similar charges.

    The cockfighting ring was on a mountain in McDowell, Ky., and allegedly had a full-service restaurant for spectators and sold antibiotics for fighting birds. The ring drew spectators and competitors from Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland and Georgia, Herring’s office said.

    The animal law unit will consist of four attorneys led by Michelle Welch, an assistant attorney general with nine years of service, including work on animal-related cases. Welch has won awards from the Humane Society of the United States, the Animal Welfare Institute and other groups.

    Herring said the power to initiate an investigation or prosecution will remain with local agencies. But some of those agencies may not be aware that the state provides help for combating crimes of animal cruelty.

    “So by creating this animal law unit, what I hope to do is increase the awareness of the great specialized work that these lawyers do in this area,” Herring said.

  23. Right Where You Stand...

    On February 9th, Greensville County Public Schools will host an information session and reception for local church leaders. School Officials will share information about current school and division wide priorities, and how church leaders can contribute to the success Right Where They Stand.
    The event will be held at Greensville County High School on February 9th, from 5:30 until 6:45 P.M. Letters of invitation were mailed to pastors of all churches listed in the local telephone directory. All local church leaders are invited to participate. Anyone who did not receive a letter and desires to attend should contact Mrs. Paige Crewe at 634-3748 or by February 2nd.


  24. Brunswick County Announces Honor Roll

    Brunswick Academy Upper School Honor Roll - Third Six Weeks of 2014-2015

    Headmaster’s List – All A’s


    Grade 9

    Zachary Clary

    Sydney Robertson


    Grade 10

    Zihua (Lesley) Qu



    Grade 11

    Ashley Clary

    Dallas Hawthorne


    Grade 12*

    Tyler Moore


    *Dual Enrollment students qualify for Honor Roll at the end of each semester.


    “A” & “B” Honor Roll

    Grade 9

    Karly Blackwell

    W. Cole Bradley

    John (Jay) Edmunds

    Claire Gregory

    Matthew Harrison

    Benjamin Lewis

    J. Alexander (Alex) Parrott

    Sarah Poarch

    Jeb Redman

    Heather Thompson

    Ashley Wiggins


    Grade 10

    Xuanjiang (Bob) Guo

    Mason Jones

    Adam Rutherford

    Samantha Woyer



    Grade 11

    E. Grant Bradley

    Hannah Glenn

    Garrett Ramsey

    Anthony Rivas


    Grade 12*

    Madison McLawhorn

    Rachel Woyer

    *Dual Enrollment students qualify for Honor Roll at the end of each semester.

  25. Virginia Infrastructure Earns Grade of C-Minus

    By Sarah Drury, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND – Virginia’s bridges, roads and other infrastructure have earned a grade of C-minus from the American Society of Civil Engineers.

    That is slightly better than the state’s previous assessment – a D-plus in 2009, ASCE officials said this week in releasing the 2015 Report Card for Virginia’s Infrastructure.

    “The question is whether a C-minus grade is good enough for Virginia,” said Don Rissmeyer, who chaired the latest assessment effort. “Think about your children’s report card when you celebrate a C-minus. For me, a C-minus isn’t good enough for Virginia today, and it’s certainly not good enough for us tomorrow.”

    The report card covered 10 infrastructure categories, and each received its own grade:

    • Bridges – C
    • Dams – C
    • Drinking water – C
    • Parks and recreation – C-plus
    • Rail and transit – C-minus
    • Roads – D
    • Schools – C-minus
    • Solid waste facilities – B-minus
    • Stormwater facilities – C-minus
    • Wastewater facilities – D-plus

    Those categories were averaged for a cumulative grade of C-minus.

    At a press conference on the Capitol grounds Tuesday, Rissmeyer explained the reasons for the grades. Virginia’s roads got the lowest grade, for example, largely because of traffic congestion in areas such as Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads.

    The state’s dams received a C because many of them lack emergency action plans: 141 of Virginia’s high-hazard dams – 45 percent of the total – do not meet current dam safety standards.

    Although the grade for the commonwealth’s drinking water has improved, the report card estimates that this infrastructure category needs an investment of $6.1 billion over the next 20 years.

    Virginia’s stormwater facilities received a grade of C-minus primarily because state and local governments lack funding to implement regulations to reduce pollution in the Chesapeake Bay and other impaired waters.

    “Clean water is the backbone for maintaining public health in Virginia, but it can also improve our economy,” Rissmeyer said. “In fact, a cleaner Chesapeake Bay has been estimated to generate $8.3 billion in economic benefits annually to Virginia.”

    The press conference also was an opportunity for ASCE officials to explain the role of civil engineers.

    “Civil engineers are responsible for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of our vital public work,” said Christina Ammens, president of the society’s Virginia section.

  26. Obituary-Doiam Nock

    Mrs. Doiam Nock, daughter of the late Albert Davis and the late Dorothy Gaines, was born December 6, 1951 in Columbia, SC. She entered into eternal rest on December 26, 2014 in Richmond, Virginia.

    She attended public schools in Richland County, S.C. and furthered her education at Mansfield Business and Columbia College. She received her Master’s Degree from Midwest Seminary College.

    She and her husband moved to Emporia, Virginia in 2006 where she was a contractor with the U.S. Postal Service until 2014.

    She was the devoted wife of George Nock and a wonderful role model for her children and all who knew her.

    Mrs. Nock leaves to cherish her memories her sons; Travis [Karen] Gaines, Arthur [Anita] Stevens, Fredrick Stevens and Derrick [Carolina] Evans, all of Columbia, South Carolina; a daughter, Sharon [Ronald] Francis of Springfield, Massachusetts, a brother, James [Francis] Gaines; two sisters, Jean Alice Hope and Vivian Hope, all of Columbia, S.C., twenty grandchildren; a host of nieces, nephews, friends, co-workers and her Church family whom will miss her dearly.

    Doiam was a devoted Christian and loved her Savior dearly. She wrote several songs and poems expressing her great faith. She was a faithful member of Emmanuel Worship Center Emporia, 4910 E. Atlantic St. where a Memorial Service celebrating her life will be held Sunday, January 25 at 4:00 PM

  27. Panel OKs Law to Protect Bicyclists

    By Margo Maier and Stefani Zenteno Rivadineira, Capital News Service


    RICHMOND – The House Transportation Committee approved a bill Tuesday to make it illegal for the operator of a motor vehicle to follow a bicycle or moped too closely.

    The committee voted 20-2 in favor of House Bill 1342, sponsored by Del. Bill DeSteph, R-Virginia Beach. The bill now goes to the full House for consideration.

    Under current law, motorists are forbidden to tailgate other motorized vehicles. HB 1342 would prohibit motorists from following non-motorized vehicles – such as bicycles, scooters and electric-powered mobility devices – “more closely than is reasonable and prudent.”

    “When you’re comparing the damage of a car rear-ending another car versus a car rear-ending a bicycle or motorized scooter, there simply is no comparison,” DeSteph said in a statement.

    “What is an inconvenience for the driver of a car getting bumped from behind can be a life-altering catastrophe for a bicyclist or person on an electric scooter. Everyone on the roadway deserves an equal share of protection from the unsafe actions of others. How we get there is to apply the same standards to everyone.”

    The Virginia Bicycling Federation supports the measure.

    “This bill gives bicyclists in Virginia the same legal protection from tailgating as given to drivers. If passed by both houses, I’m confident it will reduce crashes and ultimately save lives,” said Champe Burnley, a Richmond bicyclist and president of the federation.

    “I think the overwhelming support we saw by the House Transportation Committee this morning shows how serious they are about making Virginia’s roads safer for all users and reduce needless injuries.”

    Sen. Bryce Reeves, R-Fredericksburg, is sponsoring an identical proposal – SB 1220 – in the Senate. It is scheduled to come before the Senate Transportation Committee on Wednesday afternoon.

    More on the Web

    To see more bike-related proposed legislation, visit the Virginia Bicycling Federation’s website, To track or comments on the bills’ movement through the Virginia General Assembly, visit


    (EMPORIA, VA) – Dana Moore has been named the Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center (SVRMC) Employee of the Month for December 2014.  Ms. Moore, who has been employed at SVRMC since March 2010, is a Registered Nurse (RN) and also holds the position of Clinical Coordinator in the Behavioral Health Unit (BHU). 

    Employees are nominated for demonstrating excellence in one of ten Standards of Behavior highlighted during that month.  The highlighted Standard of the Month for December was Appearance.  Ms. Moore was nominated by SVRMC’s BHU Director who wrote, “Dana takes much pride in her attire being professional, clean and appropriate, it always looks new and never worn, and she always wears her name badge.  Dana is a neat/clean freak who does not like the nurses’ station or unit to have any clutter.  She also immediately reports any safety concerns and hazards.”

    As SVRMC’s December Employee of the Month, Ms. Moore received a certificate, balloons, cookies to share with her co-workers in the BHU, a cash prize and a chance to be selected as SVRMC’s 2015 Employee of the Year.


  29. Committee Rejects Minimum Wage Hike

    By Cameron Vigliano, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND – Voting along party lines, the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee on Monday killed a bill to raise Virginia’s minimum wage to $8 an hour and then gradually to $10.10 an hour.

    The committee voted 11-3 to “pass by indefinitely” Senate Bill 681, meaning it probably is dead for this legislative session. The Republicans on the panel voted to kill the measure; the Democrats voted to keep it alive.

    Sen. David Marsden, D-Fairfax, sponsored the bill and argued for it.

    “Today’s minimum wage workers are adults who are working multiple minimum-wage jobs and struggling to raise a family,” he said.

    The federal minimum wage, which is in effect in Virginia, is $7.25 per hour. It hasn’t been increased since 2009.

    Supporters of SB 681 say that the minimum wage has not kept up with inflation and that too many people must rely on minimum-wage jobs to make ends meet. They say raising the minimum wage would be good for the economy by providing more Americans money to spend.

    “If Virginia’s minimum wage was raised to $10.10 an hour by 2017, almost 700,000 Virginia workers would get a raise. Out of these workers, close to 90 percent would be age 20 or older, and close to half would have at least some college education,” said Michael Cassidy, president of the Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis, a watchdog group.

    “So most are not teenagers working after school, but workers who rely on their earnings to pay their bills.”

    Several business groups showed up in opposition to SB 681. They included the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, the Virginia Hospitality and Travel Association and the National Federation of Independent Businesses.

    “This legislation disproportionately hits small business owners,” said Nicole Riley of the NFIB. “Many have told us that it would lead to them hiring older and more experienced workers and would not help those who the minimum wage was for -- the young, those with less skills and experiences.”

    Riley said workers who start at the minimum wage quickly advance to higher pay.

    “Two-thirds of them within the first year have seen an increase in their wage,” she said. “So our members feel as time progresses with experience and skill, they do raise the wages when they can for their employees.”

    Sen. Dick Saslaw, D-Springfield, was one of the three members of the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee who supported SB 681. Before the vote occurred, he urged his colleagues to think about the people who would benefit.

    “Let’s take the hotel industry,” Saslaw said. “I can’t remember the last time I went into a hotel anywhere in the United States, at least where I’ve been, where I’ve seen an employee who cleans rooms and jobs like that, who look like my wife or I.”

    SB 681 would have raised the minimum hourly wage in Virginia to $8 this July, $9 in July 2016 and $10.10 the following year.

    Similar bills passed the Senate last year before dying in the House of Delegates.

    Three bills to boost the minimum wage currently are pending in the House.

    How They Voted

    Here is how the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee voted Monday on SB 681, which sought to raise the minimum wage in Virginia.

    01/19/15 Senate: Passed by indefinitely in Commerce and Labor (11-Y 3-N)

    YEAS – Watkins, Norment, Stosch, Wagner, Newman, Obenshain, Stuart, McWaters, Stanley, Cosgrove, Chafin – 11.

    NAYS – Colgan, Saslaw, Alexander – 3.

    (Editor's Note: While the Minimum Wage for most employees is $7.25 per hour, the Minimum Wage for Tipped Employees is only $2.13 per hour.)

  30. Coalition Seeks More Open Government

    By Ali Mislowsky, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND – Seventeen organizations that support open government in Virginia have formed a coalition to increase transparency in the General Assembly and foster greater citizen participation.

    The coalition, called Transparency Virginia, wants legislators to give more advance notice of committee and subcommittee meetings and to record the votes when panels quietly kill bills.

    “Citizens who want to testify on bills need lead time so they can plan child care or days off from work to travel to Richmond,” said Megan Rhyne, director of the Virginia Coalition for Open Government. When committees and subcommittees call or cancel meetings quickly and with little notice, she said, it’s hard for citizens to participate.

    Rhyne also said recorded votes are important.

    “It is impossible for citizens back home to monitor their representatives when a bill’s history, as entered into the Legislative Information System, simply states that it was tabled or ‘passed by’ without any indication of who supported that decision and who did not,” Rhyne said.

    She spoke last week at a press conference at which leaders of Transparency Virginia discussed the coalition and its goals.

    Anne Sterling, president of the League of Women Voters of Virginia, said Transparency Virginia is made up of 17 organizations, including the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, the Virginia Center for Public Safety, AARP Virginia and the Richmond First Club.

    “We are non-partisan, non-ideological, and we intend to be non-confrontational. We expect to work with legislators to make things better,” said Sterling, who thanked Delegates Sam Rasoul, D-Roanoke, and Jim LeMunyon, R-Chantilly, for their support and attendance at the press conference.

    The Virginia General Assembly convened Wednesday for a six-week session. Sterling noted that this is a short session and that lawmakers will consider a lot of bills: Almost 2,000 have been introduced so far. But that’s no excuse for legislative panels to avoid the coalition’s suggestions, Sterling said.

    “We think that nothing less than 100 percent compliance with fair procedure is what we should be aiming for,” she said. “Our plan is to work with the leadership of both houses. We want people to know we’re here. We’re not there to find villains or to point an accusing finger; we’re here to help point out problems that we think together we can solve.”

    Another concern of coalition leaders is overlapping committee meetings – when two panels meet at the same time. This is a problem not only for citizens but also for lawmakers, said Ben Greenberg, legislative coordinator of Virginia Organizing, an advocacy group for low-income people and a member of Transparency Virginia.

    “I’ve personally had to actually inform legislators that a bill that they are concerned about is about to be heard in another committee, and I’ve seen those legislators rush from the first floor to the ninth floor to have an opportunity to speak on those committees and vote on those bills,” Greenberg said.

    “This is a concern because it makes it almost impossible for a citizen to cover all the meetings they want to cover and participate in.”

  31. Obituary-Emma Powell Wrenn

    Emma Powell Wrenn, 99, of Emporia passed away on January 16, 2015.  She was preceded in death by her husband, Rueben Wrenn and her stepchildren.  She is survived by her son, James Wrenn and wife Ann of Emporia; sisters, Anne Clarke of Roanoke, Va., Jessie Axselle of Montpelier, Va., Nannie Woodruff of Jarratt, Va., and Shirley Suits of Drewryville, Va.; brothers, Linwood Powell and wife Sherviy of Fayetteville, NC., and Allen Powell of Emporia; grandson, Jimmy Wrenn and wife Ginger of Emporia, Va., granddaughter, Karen Thompson and husband Tommy of Emporia; numerous step-grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  A visitation will be held Sunday, 2-3:30pm, in Echols Funeral Home Chapel.  A funeral service will be held Monday, 2pm, in Echols Funeral Home Chapel with interment to follow in Greensville Memorial Cemetery.  Condolences may be sent to 

  32. 2 Bills Target Human Trafficking

    By Sarah Drury, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND – Two bills before the General Assembly would impose harsher penalties on people convicted of human trafficking and fund services to help victims of the crime.

    Senate Bill 710, introduced by Sen. John Edwards, D-Roanoke, would designate new felonies for trafficking people for forced labor or sexual servitude. It also would establish the Virginia Prevention of Human Trafficking Victim Fund.

    House Bill 1964, introduced by Del. Tim Hugo, R-Centreville, would make the trafficking of a minor for commercial sexual activity a Class 2 felony. The mandatory minimum punishment would be 10-20 years in prison, based on the age of the minor.

    Hugo was unavailable for comment about HB 1964, but he has stated in the past that he is “dedicated to ensuring child sex traffickers remain behind bars for such horrific behavior, so that no child in Virginia falls prey to predators who seek to do them harm.”

    SB 710 would establish an anti-trafficking committee under Virginia’s secretary of public safety and homeland security. The committee would include representatives from such agencies as the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, the Virginia State Police and the attorney general’s office.

    The committee would seek to improve the way the commonwealth responds to human trafficking. For example, it might help agencies share and analyze information about the crime. And agencies might identify and remove barriers keeping victims of human trafficking from receiving assistance such as emergency and transitional housing or mental health and substance abuse counseling.

    Under the legislation, the committee would gather each December to discuss its activities, accomplishments and possible recommendations.

    The bill also seeks to establish the Virginia Prevention of Human Trafficking Fund. It would help commonwealth’s attorneys hire more prosecutors to work on human trafficking cases. Law enforcement agencies also could access the fund to provide services for victims.

    Moreover, SB 710 would force people convicted of trafficking to pay restitution to their victims for each day they were held.

    “We must send traffickers, buyers and facilitators the message that they are not welcome in our state,” Hugo says on his website. “I look forward to working with my colleagues in the General Assembly to continue the fight against human trafficking.”

    HB 1964 focuses specifically on the trafficking of people for commercial sexual activity. It states that anybody “who recruits, transports, harbors, receives, provides, obtains, isolates, maintains, patronizes, solicits, or entices another person to engage in commercial sexual activity” is guilty of a Class 2 felony.

    Moreover, it would be a Class 3 felony to receive money knowing it came from such a crime.

    HB 1964 was filed Tuesday and is awaiting assignment to a committee. SB 710 has been referred to the Senate Courts of Justice Committee.

  33. Flu Season is in Full Swing

    It’s not too late to get a flu Vaccine

    by:  R. Hall Squire, MD

    As in much of the country, local doctor’s offices and our hospital have experienced a recent surge in the number of patients being seen with flu and/or flu-like symptoms, as well as the number of those patients who require hospital admission for treatment.  Influenza, also known as “the flu,” is cause by the influenza virus, which effects the nose, throat and lungs.  Flu is transmitted through tiny aerosol droplets that spread through the air when an infected person talks, sneezes or coughs. 

    With roughly 24,000 deaths attributed to flu and its complications annually, flu is one of the nation's leading causes of death.  While timing of flu is unpredictable and can vary in different part of the country and from season to season, the most recent information released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that flu is currently widespread in all but seven states.  Flu activity typically peaks in the U.S. between December and February, but can begin as early as September and continue as late as May.

    The good news: the flu vaccine is the simplest and most effective way to protect against flu, and it’s not too late to get it. 

    Here are three main things you can do to be safe this flu season:

    • Vaccinate. Get the flu vaccine for yourself and everyone in your family. It’s available at your doctor’s office and many area pharmacies.  The CDC recommends everyone older than six months, except people with severe egg allergies, get immunized. Both shot and nasal spray vaccine forms are safe and effective and rarely have side effects.
    • Get Treatment. If you do get the flu, your doctor can prescribe antiviral medication to treat flu illness and prevent serious flu complications. Children, the elderly, pregnant women and people with chronic illnesses are particularly vulnerable to catching the flu and experiencing complications. It’s important to treat high-risk individuals promptly to avoid hospitalization. Treatment with antiviral medication works best when begun within 48 hours of getting sick, but can still be beneficial when given later in the course of illness. These drugs can also lessen serious flu complications.
    • Prevention. Stay away from sick people and wash your hands frequently to reduce the spread of germs. Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze, and resist touching your eyes, mouth and nose. Avoid close contact with people who have flu or symptoms and if you’re sick with flu, stay home from work or school to prevent spreading it to others.

    Though you may have heard reports indicating that that this year’s flu vaccination is not a perfect match for the prevalent virus strain, it’s still the best way to protect against flu, and may minimize symptoms should the patient become infected with flu. 

    For more information on flu or flu vaccine, speak with your primary care provider or visit the special flu section at

    This information was provided by R. Hall Squire, MD, a Board Certified Family Physician with Southern Virginia Medical Group (SVMG) located at 511 Belfield Drive in Emporia.  For more information on Dr. Squire or to schedule an appointment, contact SVMG at 434-348-4860.


  34. McAuliffe Sets the Stage for General Assembly

    By Cort Olsen and Michael Melkonian, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND – Gov. Terry McAuliffe called on Virginia legislators Wednesday to address the problem of sexual assaults on college campuses and to make it easier for some undocumented immigrants to attend public colleges and universities.

    McAuliffe laid out those goals in his State of the Commonwealth speech to a joint session of the General Assembly, which kicked off its 2015 session earlier in the day.

    McAuliffe, who is beginning his second year as Virginia’s chief executive, wants the assembly over the next six weeks to pass several measures concerning education. One would address how institutions of higher education handle sexual violence.

    “I am proposing that the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia develop a unified sexual misconduct policy for all of Virginia’s public colleges and universities by July 31 of this year,” McAuliffe said.

    “I am also proposing that Virginia public colleges and universities place a notation on academic transcripts where a student is dismissed from that institution for violation of the school’s sexual misconduct policy, student code of conduct or the university’s honor code.”

    In addition, McAuliffe asked the assembly to pass a Virginia version of the so-called DREAM Act, which would help young adults who are illegal immigrants and were brought to the United States as children. The proposed law would allow such individuals to pay in-state tuition to attend college in Virginia.

    “Let Virginia lead the way and pass the Virginia DREAM Act, and I will sign it into law,” McAuliffe said.

    Moreover, McAuliffe wants to expand free breakfast and lunch programs for low-income students in kindergarten through high school. “I am proud to say that already 89 Virginia public schools have already enrolled in a brand new school nutrition initiative which enables qualified schools to serve every student breakfast and lunch at no cost to the school.”

    Education wasn’t the only topic on McAuliffe’s agenda. In his hourlong speech, he also discussed ethical standards for government officials. The governor proposed capping the amount of money public officials can receive as gifts.

    “I am confident by the time we adjourn, we will have made a $100 cap on all gifts the standard for all Virginia public officials,” said McAuliffe, whose predecessor, Bob McDonnell, was sentenced to two years in prison last week for corruption committed while in office.

    McAuliffe also said public officials should not vote on issues if they have a conflict of interest. “This session is our opportunity to adopt a common-sense position – that people who are on boards and commissions should be prohibited from voting on matters that benefit their family members, themselves or their business partners.”

    Also during his speech, McAuliffe called for a 2 percent pay raise for state employees, provided that it does not require cuts in education, health care or other essential services.

    And he listed what he sees as his administration’s accomplishments, such as sealing 267 economic development deals, negotiating with 20 foreign ambassadors, including Cuba’s, regarding trade with Virginia and boosting exports of the state’s agricultural and forestry products.

    Following the address by the Democratic governor, two Republican legislators – Del. Del. Margaret Ransone of Westmoreland County and Sen Jeff McWaters of Virginia Beach – gave their party’s response.

    Ransone said that McAuliffe’s first year as governor was “characterized by partisanship and stalemate” and that the tone in the Virginia Capitol was “indistinguishable from the tone in Washington.”

    She said McAuliffe continues to promote “divisive issues,” including the expansion of the Affordable Care Act in Virginia. Ransone said Republicans would use the legislative session to promote issues they believe enjoy “broad agreement,” including improving schools, providing affordable higher education and ensuring support for veterans.

    McWaters promised that Republicans, who make up a majority of both the House and the Senate, would approve a state budget on time and without increasing taxes.

  35. Neighborhood Watch Meeting January 21st

    Neighborhood Watch Organization will be having a meeting at the Jarratt Fire Department in the meeting room on Wednesday, January 21, 2015, at 7:00 P.M.

    A short program will be presented by the Greensville County Sheriff’s Office on active shooters. This will be a great program and don’t be fooled because we live in a rural area that it cannot happen here. Plan on attending this meeting and learn what steps you can take to protect yourself should be in a situation like this. Please plan on attending this very informative meeting and bring a family member, friend and/or neighbor.
    We all need to be aware of our surroundings and what is going on in our neighborhoods and community.
    All residents in Jarratt, Greensville, Sussex Counties and Emporia are invited to attend this program. Please come and voice your ideas to help our area to prevent crime and make our area a safer place to live and enjoy.
    If you have any ideas for programs you would like to have presented at the meeting, please contact Dana Kinsley or Roderic Tuell.
    For additional information call: Dana Kinsley 434-637-7553 or Roderic Tuell 434-535-9191.  Please tell your neighbors about this meeting and encourage them to attend.

  36. 2015 General Assembly Session Begins

    ‘Public Service Is a Privilege,’ House Speaker Says

    By Morgan White, Capital News Service

    Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates, William Howell (R-Stafford) opens the 2015 Session of the Virginia General Assembly.  The General Assembly is the oldest continually meeting legislative body in the United States.  Photo Credit Michael Melkonian, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND – As the Virginia House of Delegates convened Wednesday for the General Assembly’s 2015 session, House Speaker William Howell welcomed newly elected delegates, set out the chamber’s goals and reminded legislators of their position as public servants.

    “It is said quite often – public service is a privilege. None of us are entitled to the seats we hold in this body,” said Howell, a Republican from Fredericksburg.

    He told lawmakers to live up to the standards expected by their constituents.

    “Perhaps now more than any time in recent memory, we must be mindful of the trust that our fellow citizens have placed in us – and the expectations, duties and obligations inherent to the positions we hold,” said Howell, who has been a member of the House since 1988 and its presiding officer since 2003.

    “Our fellow citizens demand honor, integrity and civility. I would encourage all of us – Republicans and Democrats alike – to renew our commitment to meet those standards.”

    Howell’s address came eight days after former Gov. Bob McDonnell’s sentencing for corruption. McDonnell was sentenced to two years in federal prison after being convicted of exchanging the prestige of the governor’s office for $177,000 in loans, vacations and luxury goods from businessman Jonnie Williams Sr.

    The House opened with a handful of newly elected members, including Democratic Dels. Joseph Preston of Petersburg and Kathleen Murphy of Fairfax and Republican Del. Todd Pillion of Abingdon.

    Also in attendance was Del. Joseph D. Morrissey, who had served seven years in the House as a Democrat, resigned in December after a sex scandal and then won re-election Tuesday as an independent.

    Morrissey, 57, was charged with a misdemeanor of contributing to the delinquency of a minor after investigators said he had sex with a 17-year-old receptionist at his law firm, had nude pictures of her on his cellphone and shared them with a friend.

    The young woman is now pregnant. She said she did not have sex with Morrissey. Morrissey, who says his phone was hacked, entered an Alford plea. That meant he did not admit wrongdoing but acknowledged there was enough evidence for a conviction.

    He was sentenced to 12 months in jail with six months suspended. A work-release arrangement has allowed Morrissey to practice law and campaign for re-election by day and serve his time at night.

    On Tuesday, voters in the 74th House District, which includes Charles City County and parts of Henrico County and the city of Richmond, returned Morrissey to the House. Running as an independent, he won 42 percent of the votes in defeating Democrat Kevin Sullivan and Republican Matt Walton.

    At the Capitol on Wednesday, Morrissey told reporters he was in it for the long haul as a member of the General Assembly.

    “I’m confident in Joe Morrissey and that things will work out exactly the way they’re supposed to, just like the election,” Morrissey said.

    (Editor's Note: With the beginning of this year's General Assembly session, Emporia News will bring you coverage of of the Legislature that has an effect on the Emproia-Greensville community.  These articles are provided by Virginia Commonwealth University's Capital News Service.  These stories are written by students in the Journalism Program at VCU.)

  37. Weather Related Traffic Accidents Claim Virginia Lives

    Travel Safety:

    Temperatures will drop later today and into the evening causing wet roads to ice back over. Motorists are advised to avoid traveling tonight if possible.

    If you must drive, then give yourself extra time to reach your destination; slow your speed; buckle up; avoid distractions; use your headlights; keep your windshield and other windows clean of ice and grime in order to enhance your visibility; stay alert to other drivers and for icy patches on the roads.

    Traffic crashes are starting to calm down as we move into the afternoon hours of Wednesday. The majority of traffic crashes have involved only damaged vehicles and no injuries. From 3:30 a.m. Wednesday through 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Virginia State Police troopers have responded to approximately 344 reported traffic crashes.

    VSP Richmond Division: The majority of crashes have occurred today within the Metro-Richmond region. From 12:01 a.m. Wednesday through 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, troopers assigned to the Richmond Division have responded to  approximately 166 reported traffic crashes.

    The four-vehicle crash in the southbound lanes of I-95 at the 92 mile marker in Hanover County that occurred shortly after 4 a.m. Wednesday has been cleared. All southbound lanes of I-95 were re-opened to through traffic shortly after 10 a.m. No serious injuries were reported in this crash that involved three tractor-trailers and a passenger vehicle. The crash began when a southbound tractor-trailer jackknifed across the travel lanes, thus sparking a chain-reaction crash.

    VSP Appomattox Division: (Includes Charlottesville/Augusta County/Lynchburg/South Boston/South Hill) From 5 a.m. through 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, troopers assigned to the Appomattox Division have responded to 77 traffic crashes.

    VSP Chesapeake Division: From 4 a.m. through 11:30 a.m., troopers assigned to the state police Chesapeake Division have responded to approximately 42 reported traffic crashes.

    The four-vehicle crash in the southbound lanes of I-95 at the 92 mile marker in Hanover County that occurred shortly after 4 a.m. Wednesday has been cleared. All southbound lanes of I-95 were re-opened to through traffic shortly after 10 a.m. No serious injuries were reported in this crash that involved three tractor-trailers and a passenger vehicle. The crash began when a southbound tractor-trailer jackknifed across the travel lanes, thus sparking a chain-reaction crash.

    VSP Salem Division: From 4:30 a.m. through 11:30 a.m., troopers assigned to the state police Salem Division have responded to approximately 40 traffic crashes.

    The VSP Culpeper, Fairfax and Wytheville Divisions have not experienced a significant increase in traffic crashes today.

    Traffic Fatalities:

    State police are still in the process of investigating the cause of a fatal crash that occurred around 2 a.m. Wednesday on Interstate 85 in Dinwiddie County.  (Details to be released shortly)

    At 10:11 a.m. Wednesday, state police responded to the scene of a fatal crash in the southbound lanes of Interstate 95 near the interchange for Interstate 295 in Hanover County. The cause of this single-vehicle crash is still under investigation as troopers are still on scene.

  38. Free Seminar on Cervical Cancer

    Petersburg, VA – Join Dr. Shannon Gilham, OB/GYN, as she explains screenings and prevention for cervical cancer at a free seminar on Thursday, January 22 at 12:00 PM. Dr. Gilham is a board-certified physician at Tri-Cities OB/GYN Associates located in Petersburg and Chester, VA.

    This event will be held at the Petersburg Family YMCA at 120 North Madison Street in Petersburg, VA in the multipurpose room. Light refreshments will be served. There is no cost to attend and RSVP is not required.

    This seminar is provided by the Petersburg Family YMCA and Southside Regional Medical Center.


  39. Transparency Efforts Would Help Citizens (and Legislators)

    By Ali Mislowsky, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND – Delegate Dickie Bell faces a quandary every Monday. As a member of the House Education committee, he has a weekly meeting at 8:30 a.m. He’s also a member of the House Finance committee, which meets at the same time.

    “I’m often forced to miss one committee meeting, depending on whose agenda is more important,” said Bell, R-Staunton.

    Sometimes he’ll try to catch some of each hearing, climbing the stairs between the first and ninth floors of the General Assembly building, where the meetings are held.

    “I’ve tried to get some adjustment, but I enjoy being on both,” Bell said.

    He isn’t the only delegate with a sticky scheduling situation. Republican Delegates Mark Cole of Spotsylvania, Peter Farrell of Henrico and Brenda Pogge of James City County, as well as Democratic Delegate Mark Keam of Fairfax, also serve on both the House Education and House Finance committees.

    Many citizens are put in the same position when they want to attend or speak at their legislative committee meetings.

    This is one issue that a coalition of organizations for open government aims to address during the upcoming General Assembly session. The collaboration, called Transparency Virginia, outlined its goals at a press conferenceTuesday.

    Ben Greenberg, legislative coordinator of Virginia Organizing, a non-partisan grassroots group and member of Transparency Virginia, was concerned about overlapping committee meetings for legislators and citizens.

    “I’ve personally had to actually inform legislators that a bill that they are concerned about is about to be heard in another committee, and I’ve seen those legislators rush from the first floor to the ninth floor to have an opportunity to speak on those committees and vote on those bills,” Greenberg said.

    “This is a concern because it makes it almost impossible for a citizen to cover all the meetings they want to cover and participate in.”

    Transparency Virginia aims to improve citizen participation and understanding of the General Assembly. Megan Rhyne, executive director of the Virginia Coalition for Open Government, said the group’s goals include the fair consideration of all legislation and advance notice of committee and subcommittee meetings.

    “Citizens who want to testify on bills need lead time so they can plan child care or days off from work to travel to Richmond to do so,” Rhyne said. When committees and subcommittees call or cancel meetings quickly and with little notice, citizens are disadvantaged. 

    Rhyne also noted the importance of recorded votes.

    “It is impossible for citizens back home to monitor their representatives, when a bill’s history, as entered onto the Legislative Information System, simply states that it was tabled or passed by without any indication of who supported that decision and who did not,” Rhyne said.

    Anne Sterling, president of the League of Women Voters of Virginia, said Transparency Virginia is made up of 17 organizations, including the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, the Virginia Center for Public Safety, AARP Virginia and the Richmond First Club.

    “We are non-partisan, non-ideological, and we intend to be non-confrontational. We expect to work with legislators to make things better,” said Sterling, who thanked Delegates Sam Rasoul, D-Roanoke, and Jim LeMunyon, R-Chantilly, for their support and attendance at the press conference.

    Sterling said the pressures of a short session and the abundance of legislation that committees must hear shouldn’t be an excuse to avoid the group’s suggestions.

    “We think that nothing less than 100 percent compliance with fair procedure is what we should be aiming for,” Sterling said. “Our plan is to work with the leadership of both houses, we want people to know we’re here, we’re not there to find villains, or to point an accusing finger; we’re here to help point out problems that we think together we can solve.”

    Delegate Bell is supportive of the group’s goals.

    “We’ve got some work to do, but it needs to be done. Too much business is conducted out of the sunlight,” he said, adding that “a bipartisan effort has much better chance of success.”

  40. Canned Food Drive at GES

    Students at Greensville Elementary School held their annual canned food drive.  The food drive is in conjunction with the Emporia Jaycees.  Through the students efforts, five large trashcans were filled with items that were donated to several families in our community. 
    (Standing Left to Right) Aaron Dakota Lee, Brinkley Hobbs, Cadence Elliott, Sara Grace Lynch, (Kneeling left to right)Chase Gillam, Jayden Watson (kneeling)

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Armed Services and Budget Committees, released the following statement after meeting with Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald to discuss challenges facing Virginia veterans, including issues with disability benefits and health care wait times:

    “I had a very positive meeting with Secretary McDonald this morning to talk about a number of concerns I’ve heard from veterans across Virginia and ask how I can be helpful to the VA’s mission through my service on the Senate Armed Services and Budget Committees. I voiced my concerns over long wait times at the Hampton VA and at VA hospitals across the country, the backlog in disability benefits claim adjudications, and a culture at VA hospitals that many veterans see as unwelcoming. Secretary McDonald was very forthcoming about these challenges and what he is doing to tackle them. To reduce wait times at the Hampton VA, which currently holds the unacceptable nationwide record for longest primary care wait times, the VA is bringing on additional primary care physicians and health care providers as well as adding more examination and treatment rooms.

    “Since Secretary McDonald took office, the agency has been moving in the right direction, and I’m hopeful the steps he outlined today will drive the wait times further down and reduce the backlog of disability claims. I’m optimistic we will continue to see improvements at the VA under his leadership as the veterans bill Congress passed last year is implemented. I will remain in close contact to ensure our veterans are receiving the prompt, high-quality care they have earned.”



    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine announced the two Virginia students selected to represent Virginia in the 53rd Annual United States Senate Youth Program. David Patterson Cohn of Charlottesville High School in Charlottesville and Caleb Alexander Visser of Jamestown High School in Williamsburg will each receive a $5,000 scholarship, as well as spend a week in March participating in many enriching activities in Washington. These activities will include major policy addresses by Senators and cabinet members, as well as a meeting with a Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

    To be chosen for the program, David and Caleb were nominated by their respective high schools, completed a qualifying exam and were selected by the Virginia Department of Education based on their community service, academic performance and involvement in extracurricular activities.

    “David and Caleb have demonstrated an impressive commitment to scholarship and community service, and we are excited to welcome them to Washington in March as they pursue their interests in public policy and government,” said the Senators. “We are proud the Senate Youth Program allows us to offer a unique opportunity to outstanding high school students across Virginia who are interested in public service careers.”

    Warner and Kaine also announced that Devin MacGoy of Potomac Falls and Jacob Nelson of Fairfax Station have been selected as Virginia’s alternate delegates to the Senate Youth Program.

    Students interested in next year’s Senate Youth Program can find more information on the program’s website.


  43. SVCC Great Place To Start Timber Harvesting Career

    Matthew Vassar’s family has been bringing in the wood since the 1940’s when his grandfather and great uncle harvested timber for Chesapeake Corporation (now Rock Tenn.).   The family tradition will continue as he becomes the fifth generation to be involved in the timber/forestry/logging industry. 

    In today’s economy and setting, Vassar determined that more education would benefit him in the family business and he is enrolled in the Forest Management Technology program at Dabney S. Lancaster Community College.  This program is designed for persons who seek employment in forestry occupations. Students use industry-standard equipment and gain practical experience through summer internships regionally and across the country with organizations such as the U.S. Forest Service, Virginia Department of Forestry and private forestry employers. The program supports forestry and forest-related industries that are vital to the economy of Virginia, where 60 percent of the total land area is forested.

    Vassar began his community college experience locally through Southside Virginia Community College as a dual enrollment student from Randolph-Henry High School in the Automotive  program.  He is the third generation in his family to attend SVCC.  He earned a Career Studies Certificate and a Certificate from SVCC

    Upon graduation from high school in 2012, he continued to attend SVCC to take classes specifically to transfer to DSLCC at Clifton Forge for their FMT program.  SVCC and DSLCC counselors and advisors worked together to make sure all of the classes he took would transfer seamlessly and he will graduate from DSLCC this May with his Associate's Degree in FMT.

    While he has already been working in his family's business for quite a few years,  he recognized that the courses offered at DSLCC would be a great benefit to him in his career and running his own business one day.  The rural atmosphere of DSLCC suited him perfectly.  However, he wanted to take some of this general education courses in math, English, business, social sciences, and humanities at SVCC before he transferred, so that his academic load would be more manageable after her got to Clifton Forge.

    While equipment, prices, planting and other aspects of the business have changed over the years, something that has not changed is the commitment of the Vassar family to the industry.  According to the book “Bringing in the Wood: The Way it was  at Chesapeake Corporation” written by Mary Wakefield Buxton and published in 1999, “There was probably no other wood dealer who served longer and worked harder for the Chesapeake Corporation than the John Vassar family in the Charlotte County, Virginia area in the central part of the state.”

    Asked to compare his experiences at the two community colleges, Vassar noted that both were similar saying that both had faculty that cared about a student’s successful progress.  

    Attending SVCC during and right after high school “helped prepare me for my future and taught me how to study,” he said.

    “Our college does a great job of helping students find their niche whether we offer the specific program they want or the general education courses required for transfer.  Southside students receive all the essentials here to be successful on the job or at another institution.   Also, our counselors are so knowledgeable about the transfer process and are great at guiding students in the direction they want to go”, said SVCC President Dr. Al Roberts.

    Vassar’s story is like others who find a way to make progress at their local community college and then transfer credits to complete a degree at another two-year or four-year school.  For more information, visit the SVCC website at


  44. Georgia Pacific Makes Donation

    Greensville Elementary School received a generous donation from Georgia-Pacific to aide in providing resources for students to ensure success in the classroom and in their future.  Georgia-Pacific's statement: "Georgia-Pacific sees education as the key that unlocks every person’s potential. Our support of Greensville-Emporia School system helps in this effort. As a community, we need to work together to provide students and workers with the skills needed to succeed and move forward in today’s workplace."


    Martha Reed, Southside Virginia Community College Assistant Professor of Biology, was recognized by the Virginia Community College System as the recipient of the 2014 Chancellor’s Award in the Community Services category.  The Award was presented during the 2014 Hire Education Conference held at the Homestead during December.  The Innovator’s Award event is designed to recognize the outstanding contributions of workforce and economic development practitioners at community colleges and other partner organizations. 

    Reed was nominated due to her involvement in many outreach programs in the Southdie Virginia area and also, because she is a champion for SVCC students.  She encourages students to participate in community programs such as blood donation and Stop Hunger Now.  In a year’s time, she has worked with her church to glean over 200,000 pounds of vegetables that were distributed in a ten county region.  She has also worked with a medical mission organization to establish health clinics in remote areas of Guatemala, organized a local Alzheimer’s Memory Walk and much more.

    She began teaching at SVCC in 1993 and is a native of Nottoway County.  She and her husband, David, have two daughters.


  46. Obituary-Horace R. Mitchell

    Horace R. Mitchell, 81, passed away on January 9, 2015.  He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Nancy Chambliss Mitchell and three children- Vicky Conwell (David), Kenneth Mitchell (Maureen), and Robin Richardson (David).  Survivors also include three grandchildren Danny Joe Conwell (Melissa), Jenny Phillips (Craig), Sarah Mitchell, three great grandchildren Chelsea Conwell, Cassidy Conwell, and Dennis Phillips.  Surviving siblings include Jane Rodgester, Emma Powell, and Thomas Ben Mitchell.
    Horace was a quiet man with few words.  However;  once spoken they were quite profound and thought provoking.  Graveside services will be held Monday, January 12 at 2 PM at Philadelphia United Methodist Church in Triplet, Virginia.   In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Philadelphia United Methodist Church, Attn: Gay Taylor, 14179 Dry Bread Road, Emporia, VA 23847. Owen Funeral Home, Jarratt, Virginia is assisting the family with arrangements and online condolences may be posted at
  47. Women’s Equality Coalition Announces Agenda

    By Ali Mislowsky and Craig Zirpolo, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND – ProgressVA, the Virginia Latina Advocacy Network and other women’s rights and health advocacy groups launched the Women’s Equality Coalition on Thursday, announcing their legislative agenda for the 2015 General Assembly session.

    With support from the Virginia chapters of the ACLU, Planned Parenthood and the National Organization for Women, the coalition faces an uphill battle in the Republican-led General Assembly on women’s health care issues as well as bills promoting equality in economic and civic opportunities.

    “Our vision is to create an environment in Virginia for all women to have the economic means, social capital and political power to make and exercise decisions about their own health, family and future,” said Margie Del Castillo, field coordinator for the Virginia Latina Advocacy Network.

    The coalition is founded around a shared belief in supporting women’s right to:

    • Decide when and if to have a family and access the full range of health services necessary to support that decision without interference from government, organizations, or individuals;
    • Secure the education and resources necessary to support and better themselves and their families without sacrificing economic security;
    • Live, work, and attend school free from intimidation, abuse, discrimination, harassment, and violence;
    • Understand how the political process affects them personally and be empowered and motivated to participate and make their voices heard.

    The centerpiece of the legislative agenda seeks ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. The amendment was first introduced in 1923 and passed Congress in 1972. But it has not been ratified by Virginia and 14 other states, leaving it three states short of approval as an amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

    Another of the coalition’s goals is to repeal a Virginia law requiring women to get an ultrasound before having an abortion. The groups also support House Bill 1430, which would provide domestic violence victims with unemployment benefits. That measure is being sponsored by Delegate Charniele Herring, D-Alexandria.

    “Women need protection from their abusers and support from their communities to have the courage and resources to safely leave their abusers,” Tarina Keene, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, said during the press conference.

    The coalition also backs Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s budget amendments pushing for Medicaid expansion in Virginia.

    “For millions of women, Medicaid makes the difference between access to cancer screenings and birth control or going without,” Keene said.

    A bill to be filed in the coming days, nicknamed the Bad Bosses Bill, would prevent employers from taking action against female employees who use contraception. The proposal is a direct response to the Hobby Lobby ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court last year.

    The coalition also called for legislation seeking equal pay for men and women, guaranteed access to paid sick days and a raise of the minimum wage.

    “Women who work hard and play by the rules should be able to afford to live with dignity and raise a family,” said Anna Scholl, executive director of ProgressVA.

    The agenda also seeks to promote women’s participation in the democratic process with a bill allowing absentee voting before Election Day for any reason.

    “Women play a central role in our society and must have real democratic participation,” said Quan Williams, a policy associate with the New Virginia Majority, a liberal political advocacy group.

    “Expanding absentee voting will ensure every eligible Virginia voter, including working people and including single parents, has the opportunity to go to the polls, participate in democracy and make their voices heard.”

    The coalition shared quotes of support from state Democrats including Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, Attorney General Mark Herring and Sen. Donald McEachin, who chairs the Senate Democratic Caucus.

    “Some of these measures are new responses to recent abridgements of women’s rights, and some of them are decades-old,” Herring said. “All reflect common values Virginians share.”

  48. USDA Provides Greater Protection for Fruit, Vegetable and Other Specialty Crop Growers

    Free Basic Coverage Plans and Premium Discounts Available for New, Underserved and Limited Income Farmers

    WASHINGTON, Dec. 12, 2014 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that greater protection is now available from the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program for crops that traditionally have been ineligible for federal crop insurance. The new options, created by the 2014 Farm Bill, provide greater coverage for losses when natural disasters affect specialty crops such as vegetables, fruits, mushrooms, floriculture, ornamental nursery, aquaculture, turf grass, ginseng, honey, syrup, and energy crops.

    “These new protections will help ensure that farm families growing crops for food, fiber or livestock consumption will be better able to withstand losses due to natural disasters,” said Vilsack. “For years, commodity crop farmers have had the ability to purchase insurance to keep their crops protected, and it only makes sense that fruit and vegetable, and other specialty crop growers, should be able to purchase similar levels of protection. Ensuring these farmers can adequately protect themselves from factors beyond their control is also critical for consumers who enjoy these products and for communities whose economies depend on them.”

    Previously, the program offered coverage at 55 percent of the average market price for crop losses that exceed 50 percent of expected production. Producers can now choose higher levels of coverage, up to 65 percent of their expected production at 100 percent of the average market price.

    The expanded protection will be especially helpful to beginning and traditionally underserved producers, as well as farmers with limited resources, who will receive fee waivers and premium reductions for expanded coverage. More crops are now eligible for the program, including expanded aquaculture production practices, and sweet and biomass sorghum. For the first time, a range of crops used to produce bioenergy will be eligible as well. 

    “If America is to remain food secure and continue exporting food to the world, we need to do everything we can to help new farmers get started and succeed in agriculture,” Vilsack said. “This program will help new and socially disadvantaged farmers affordably manage risk, making farming a much more attractive business proposition.”

    To help producers learn more about the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program and how it can help them, USDA, in partnership with Michigan State University and the University of Illinois, created an online resource. The Web tool, available at, allows producers to determine whether their crops are eligible for coverage. It also gives them an opportunity to explore a variety of options and levels to determine the best protection level for their operation.

    If the application deadline for an eligible crop has already passed, producers will have until Jan. 14, 2015, to choose expanded coverage through the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program. To learn more, visit the Farm Service Agency (FSA) website at or contact your local FSA office.  The Farm Service Agency (FSA), which administers the program, also wants to hear from producers and other interested stakeholders who may have suggestions or recommendations on the program. Written comments will be accepted until Feb. 13, 2015 and can be submitted through

    These new provisions under the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program were made possible through the 2014 Farm Bill, which builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for the taxpayer. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America.  For more information, visit

  49. A New Year, a New You: Healthy Weight Loss Resolutions

    By: Sonya Bullock, PA-C

    Every year as the ball drops and a new year begins, millions of Americans promise themselves they are going to lead healthy lives and

    lose weight. It is a resolution that often lasts only a few weeks or possibly a couple of months, but it won’t be destined for failure if you follow a few pointers.

    Exercise:Performing regular physical activity helps control your weight by using excess calories that would otherwise be stored as fat. Doing a combined number of physical activities, like the ones below, for just thirty minutes a day can greatly improve your physical condition as well as the general state of your health. Consider the health benefits of making a minor adjustment in your everyday habits when you:

    • walk the dog or enjoy conversation with a friend over a long stroll;
    • do simple yard work;
    • park your car farther away and walk further to work or the store;
    • take the stairs instead of the elevator.

    After steadily increasing your daily activity, you may start to notice a moderate increase in your overall stamina. You may consider joining a gym and taking part in some planned physical, aerobic activity. A physical trainer and physician can help put together an exercise plan that is right for your body. The key is finding an activity you enjoy so you are more likely to do it several times a week.

    Dieting: Instead of thinking about how you should cut back, focus on what you can add to your diet. Make sure you are getting the recommended five to nine servings of fruit and vegetables every day. Plan your meals and snacks in advance, and you will be less likely to let your stomach make poor decisions for you.

    Don’t Skip Meals: Research shows that on average those who eat breakfast weigh less than those who skip out on the meal. Ironically, eating fewer than three meals a day usually leads to the intake ofmore calories throughout the day.

    Avoid Liquid Calories: A recent study shows that more than 20 percent of Americans’ caloric intake comes from beverages. You may forget to consider your caloric intake from drinking when planning your diet. To avoid excess weight gain, only drink alcohol, sugary coffee drinks and regular soda in moderation, and consider substituting water, light alcoholic drinks and diet sodas to eliminate excess calories.

    Re-think Your Goals: This year make your goal more specific than just trying to lose weight. For example, plan to:

    • go to the gym three days a week;
    • only eat out twice a week;
    • walk thirty minutes a day;
    • or only consume one glass of alcohol a week.

    With specific guidelines to follow you’ll find your resolution easier to stick with on a daily basis. More importantly, pick a weight goal that is healthy for your body type and don’t expect to see results immediately. Instead, celebrate small milestones along the way as you work towards a healthier you. 

    This information was provided by Sonya Bullock, a Certified Physician Assistant with Southern Virginia Medical Group (SVMG) located at 511 Belfield Drive in Emporia.  For more information on services offered by Ms. Bullock or to schedule an appointment, contact SVMG at 434-348-4680.


  50. Obituary-Bernice Shearin Moseley

    Bernice Shearin Moseley, age 90, of Lawrenceville, Va. passed away January 6, 2015.  She is the daughter of the late John and Mary Shearin.  She is preceded in death by her husband, Clyde Wilson Moseley; a daughter, Erline Moseley; her brothers and sisters, Henry Mitchell, Bob Mitchell, Joe Mitchell, Ellen Powell, Barbara Roberts, Gladys Poarch, and Pete Shearin.  She is survived by her daughter, Betty Cook and husband James; her son, Dale Moseley; her grandchildren, Jamie Cook, Tayna Cook, Crystal Newton and Tammy Lucy; and her great grandchildren, Carli Cook and Amber Lucy.  Funeral services will be conducted 3:00 p.m. Sunday at Williams Funeral Home, Lawrenceville with interment at Oakwood Cemetery, Lawrenceville, Va.  The family will receive friends Sunday from 1:30 to 3:00, before the service, at the funeral home.  Memorial contributions may be made to Brunswick  Rescue Squad, P.O. Box 33, Lawrenceville, Va. 23868 or Central Vol. Rescue Squad, P.O. Box 386 Gasburg, VA  23857.  Online condolences may be made to

  51. Utility Work on West Atlantic



    There will be temporary lane closures on West Atlantic Street from North Main Street to Market Drive due to utility repairs.

    Appropriate traffic control will be established to facilitate vehicular movement.  We are sorry for the inconvenience.

    If you have any questions, please contact the Public Works Department at 634-4500.


  52. Parent Seeks Funding for Mental Health Services

    Steve VanHuss of Hanover County urged legislators to provide more funding to help children with mental and physical disabilities.

    By Cameron Vigliano, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND – Central Virginia residents packed a legislative committee hearing Wednesday to call for more funding for child mental health services, more help for individuals with intellectual disabilities and tighter regulations of private homes providing day care.

    Parents and other citizens voiced those concerns at a joint meeting at Capitol Square of the Senate Finance and House Appropriations committees. It was one of five public hearings held across the state on Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s proposed amendments to the state budget.

    Several citizens called for more funding for child psychiatric services. They said flaws in the state mental health system led to two tragedies in Virginia in recent years: the 2013 attack on Sen. Creigh Deeds by his son, who then committed suicide; and the massacre of 32 people by a deranged student at Virginia Tech in 2007.

    “I am here today to ask that you expand the budget to provide increased availability of child mental health services to all of our children,” said Beth Hilscher, whose daughter was among those murdered at Virginia Tech.

    Another issue was expanding funding for the state’s Medicaid Intellectual and Developmental Disability waiver program. It provides home and community-based services for individuals with mental disabilities.

    Steve VanHuss of Hanover County said that without an ID waiver, he or his wife would have to stay home and care for their 24-year-old daughter, who has Down syndrome and Type 1 diabetes and is autistic. The waiver provides financial relief for intellectually challenged people and their families.

    “She’s had the waiver now for two years, and it’s basically saved our family,” VanHuss told lawmakers. “I’ve got two other boys in college, which we would not be able to afford to do that with the economy the way it is.”

    According to The Arc of Virginia, an advocacy group for people with special needs and their families, about 8,500 Virginians with intellectual and developmental disabilities are on the waiting list to receive an ID waiver. Some states like Michigan and Kentucky, as well as the District of Columbia, provide enough waivers so that they don’t have a waiting list.

    The last issue brought an especially somber mood to the meeting room in the General Assembly Building. The parents of a 1-year-old boy killed in a home day care fire in Chesterfield advocated tighter regulations of such home services.

    Jacquelyn Allen, the mother of the boy killed, called for legislation requiring private day care providers to have an emergency response plan and a list of the children under their care for first responders. Allen also wants more severe penalties for day care providers who break the law.

    The person who ran the at-home day care in Chesterfield, Laurie F. Underwood, has been charged with a class 1 misdemeanor in the death of Allen’s son, Joseph. Authorities say Underwood did not have a license to provide day care for eight or more unrelated children. The state requires providers to have a license when they have five or more unrelated children under their watch.

    The General Assembly will convene next Wednesday to consider amendments to Virginia’s state budget and other legislative matters.

  53. Corrupt Former Governor to Spend Two Years in Federal Prison

    Corrupt former Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, on-time rising star of the Republican Party answers questions after being sentenced to only two years in Federal Prison on 11 counts of Felony Corruption.  Photo courtesy of the VCU Capitol News Service.

    By Benjamin May and Sean CW Korsgaard, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND – Former Gov. Bob McDonnell was sentenced Tuesday to 24 months in prison after being convicted of 11 felony corruption charges in September.

    At a packed hearing at the federal courthouse, U.S. District Judge James R. Spencer sentenced McDonnell, 60, to two years in prison followed by two on probation.

    McDonnell's defense team asked that he be incarcerated at a federal facility in Petersburg. The Federal Bureau of Prisons must determine by Feb. 9 where McDonnell will carry out his sentence.

    McDonnell said he was “blinded by the busy-ness of life,” as he accepted responsibility for his actions as governor. He asked that Spencer be lenient with his wife, Maureen McDonnell, at her sentencing Feb. 20.

    “A lot of blame was assessed in the case of the defendant’s predicament,” Spencer said before reading the sentence. He said the McDonnells received a fair trial and had ample opportunity to present a rigorous defense.

    The defendants filed dozens of motions and were afforded intense examination of witnesses. In short, Spencer said McDonnell was given “all the process that was due him.”

    “The defendants had good advice and good counsel all over the place,” the judge said, “but Mrs. McDonnell brought the serpent Jonnie Williams into the mansion, and Mr. McDonnell let him in and out of his finances.”

    The McDonnells were convicted of accepting gifts and loans from Williams, the CEO of Star Scientific Inc., in exchange for lending the support of the governor’s office for the company’s dietary supplements.

    McDonnell will be under supervised release at the end of his sentence. No fines were imposed because Spencer said “the defendant would be unable to pay them.” However, McDonnell must pay an assessment of $1,100 and may not incur or apply for credit during his probation.

    The sentencing began with arguments from the defense on the assessed value of the bribes the McDonnells received from Williams. McDonnell’s lawyers presented the figure of $69,640.53 as opposed to the indictment’s estimate of $177,000. Spencer ultimately said “the government has the best analysis” on how much the gifts and loans were worth.

    The defense was able to remove an obstruction enhancement from the sentencing guidelines. This dropped the maximum possible prison term from 12 years to eight years. The prosecution recommended that McDonnell be sentenced to 78 months in prison.

    The defense asked that McDonnell be assigned 6,000 hours of community service – about three years of 40-hour work weeks. Operation Blessing International, a nonprofit based in Virginia Beach, said it would welcome McDonnell to work in Haiti or Bristol, Va. The Catholic Diocese of Richmond also said it would welcome McDonnell to work in Southwest Virginia.

    The defense introduced nearly 500 letters of support from sources ranging from Democratic U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine to former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Each of the McDonnells’ children also submitted letters.

    In addition, nearly a dozen character witnesses asked for leniency for the disgraced governor.

    “If Bob McDonnell were to get 50 years (in prison), he wouldn’t be any more punished,” said former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder, a Democrat. Wilder earned applause when he pointed out that Williams, who instigated the corruption charges, will walk away a free man.

    McDonnell once was considered a possible running mate for the 2012 GOP presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, and a possible presidential candidate for 2016. McDonnell delivered the 2010 Republican response to the State of the Union address and was chairman of the Republican Governors Association in 2011.

    “I stand before you as a humbled and heartbroken man,” McDonnell said in a final statement to the court before his sentencing. “I hold myself fully accountable for my actions as governor.”

    The McDonnell trial put Virginia in the national spotlight, and has sparked calls to reform the state’s ethics laws – a campaign promise of the current governor, Terry McAuliffe.

    After the federal court hearing, McAuliffe said that the sentencing “brings an end to one of the most difficult periods in the history of Virginia state government.”

    “Like many Virginians, I am saddened by the effect this trial has had on our commonwealth’s reputation for clean, effective government,” McAuliffe said. “As we put this period behind us, I look forward to working with Virginia leaders on both sides of the aisle to restore public trust in our government.”

    McDonnell was the first Virginia governor in state history to be indicted or convicted of a felony, His defense team already has filed an appeal.

  54. Timeline of the McDonnell Case

    By Janeal Downs, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND – Bob McDonnell was elected in a landslide and took office as the commonwealth’s 71st governor in January 2010. On Tuesday, just five years later, he was sentenced to prisonfor corruption. Here are key dates as McDonnell went from a rising star in the Republican Party to the first Virginia governor convicted of a felony.

    Nov. 3, 2009: With the campaign slogan “Bob’s for Jobs,” McDonnell won 59 percent of the statewide vote in defeating Democrat Creigh Deeds in the gubernatorial race.

    Jan. 16, 2010: McDonnell was inaugurated.

    April 2011: Jonnie R. Williams Sr., CEO of Star Scientific Inc., paid for more than $15,000 of Maureen McDonnell’s items on a shopping trip. Star Scientific, now called Rock Creek Pharmaceuticals, sold products such as a dietary supplement called Anatabloc.

    May 2011: Williams wrote Maureen McDonnell a $50,000 check.

    June 2011: Cailin McDonnell, one of the McDonnells’ daughters, got married at the Executive Mansion. Beforehand, Williams wrote a $15,000 check to cater the wedding. Maureen McDonnell told investigators the $50,000 and $15,000 checks were both loans. The same month, before her daughter’s wedding, Maureen McDonnell spoke at a meeting with doctors and investors in support of Anatabloc.

    August 2011: Bob McDonnell and Williams met to discuss the use of Anatabloc as a possible treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. Williams bought a $6,500 Rolex watch. The Executive Mansion hosted an event for Anatabloc.

    December 2011:With “71st Governor of Virginia” engraved on the back, Maureen McDonnell gave her husband the Rolex watch Williams had purchased.

    March 2012: Williams gave a $50,000 check to MoBo, a company formed by the former governor, his wife and his sister, also named Maureen.

    February 2013: After being questioned by law enforcement officers about accepting gifts, Maureen McDonnell wrote a note to Williams implying that they had an agreement for her to return items he had purchased.

    July 2013: Bob McDonnell apologized to the public and said he repaid $120,000 in loans to Williams. On Twitter, he wrote, “I am deeply sorry for the embarrassment certain members of my family and I brought upon my beloved Virginia and her citizens.” The governor said his daughter Cailin repaid Williams for the $15,000 spent on catering her wedding. He and his sons had also previously charged to Williams’ account while golfing.

    Jan. 11, 2014: Bob McDonnell left office as Democrat Terry McAuliffe was inaugurated as governor.

    Jan. 21, 2014: Bob and Maureen McDonnell were indicted on charges of illegally accepting gifts and loans from Williams.

    July 28-29, 2014: The jury trial began. Bob McDonnell’s attorneys began to use marital problems as a defense. They said Maureen McDonnell had a “crush” on Williams, which resulted in the numerous expensive gifts he gave to the McDonnells.

    Aug. 12, 2014: A cardiologist from Virginia Commonwealth University’s medical school said he went to a reception honoring Steven Spielberg, who directed the movie “Lincoln” in Virginia, at the Executive Mansion. The physician said Williams brought him to the event to try to persuade him to do research on Anatabloc.

    Aug. 13, 2014: Testimony revealed that Bob and Maureen McDonnell had almost $75,000 of credit card debt when he took office and that the debt later grew to $90,000.

    Aug. 20-21, 2014: Bob McDonnell testified that Maureen McDonnell had struggled with her role as first lady. He said the couple had marital issues.

    Aug. 26, 2014: McDonnell said that he regretted accepting gifts from Williams but that he never promised any favors from his office for the gifts.

    Sept. 4, 2014: Bob McDonnell was found guilty on 11 of 13 counts and Maureen McDonnell was found guilty on nine of 11 counts. (One of the counts against Maureen McDonnell was later thrown out.)

    Jan. 6, 2015: U.S. District Judge James Spencer sentenced Bob McDonnell to two years in prison.

    Feb. 20, 2015: Maureen McDonnell is scheduled to be sentenced.

  55. SVCC Earns Communications Award

    The NCMPR District 2 Medallion Awards recognize outstanding achievement in communications at community and technical colleges in District 2. It's the only regional competition of its kind that honors excellence exclusively among marketing and PR professionals at two-year colleges. States in District II are Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi,  North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands and The Bahamas.  Southside Virginia Community College's Public Relations office received three Medallion awards presented at a conference in Nashville, Tennessee recently.  The college team, Christie Hales (Left) and Jamie Jones (Right) received a bronze award for the College Annual Report:  The Legacy:  31 Years of Innovation in Education which honored Dr. John J. Cavan, president, upon his retirement.  Jones received a Silver Medallion award for creation and design of a college Newsletter--The PROUD Panther and Hales received a Gold Medallion in the category of Feature Article/General News Story/OpEd for "A Tradition of Education."


  56. U.Va. President Seeks Leniency for McDonnell

    By Morgan White, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND – University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan is among the more than 400 letter writers urging a federal judge to be lenient Tuesday in sentencing former Gov. Bob McDonnell for corruption.

    Writing as a citizen, not in her official capacity, Sullivan told U.S. District Judge James Spencer that McDonnell was always ethical in his dealings with U.Va. “I hope that you will consider a lenient sentence,” the letter said.

    McDonnell and his wife Maureen were convicted in September of multiple counts of influence peddling while he was governor. Spencer could sentence McDonnell to more than a decade in prison, as prosecutors have requested. McDonnell’s attorneys have asked that he be required to perform 6,000 hours of community service but not be imprisoned.

    The McDonnells were convicted of lending the prestige of the governor’s office to Richmond businessman Jonnie Williams Sr. in exchange for $177,000 in loans, vacations and luxury goods. Williams, then CEO of Star Scientific Inc., wanted the governor’s support for his company’s tobacco-based dietary supplement, Anatabloc.

    In her letter, which was dated Oct. 11 and filed in federal court late last month, Sullivan said McDonnell never prodded U.Va. to conduct research that might have helped promote Anatabloc.

    Sullivan and McDonnell, once a rising star in the Republican Party, worked together during the four years he held office. Sullivan said that McDonnell phoned her several times a year on official business and that they met occasionally in person.

    “If Governor McDonnell had wanted to put pressure on the University of Virginia to conduct research on a particular subject, he had the access and opportunity to do so through me,” Sullivan wrote, noting that U.Va.’s medical school and research officials report to her.

    “Never, at any time, was there any pressure put on me of this sort. To the contrary, I found that the Governor was interested in good higher education policy and sought to learn more about the Commonwealth’s public institutions.” the letter said.

    Besides Sullivan, more than 400 people have written letters supporting McDonnell and asking Spencer for leniency. They have come from his children, other relatives, friends, charitable organizations and public officials, including Democrats such as U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine.

    The former governor, who left office last January, is scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday morning. Maureen McDonnell’s sentencing is set for Feb. 20.

  57. Car Shows Net Donation

    Earl Blick makes donation to Nancy Turner to benefit the Family Violence Prevention program.  The funds were collected when a 50/50 raffle was held at “The Virginia Peanut Festival” and “The Taste of Brunswick” car shows.


  58. Local Surgeon Among 1,640 Initiated Into American College of Surgeons

    Petersburg, VA…Dr. Tejas H. Raval of Southside Regional Ear, Nose & Throat Specialists was among 1,640 Initiates from around the world who became Fellows of the American College of Surgeons (FACS) during the Convocation ceremony at the College’s 2014 annual Clinical Congress in San Francisco in October.  This year’s class of Initiates was among one of the largest ever admitted into the College.

    Dr. Raval received a medical doctorate in 2004 from the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.  In 2010, Dr. Raval attained board certification from the American Board of Otolaryngology.  Dr. Raval has a strong professional interest in ear, nose and throat problems and holds membership in other professional societies, including the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery.                

    By meeting the College’s stringent membership requirements, Fellows of the College have earned the distinguished right to use the designation of “FACS” (Fellow, American College of Surgeons) after their names.  An applicant for Fellowship must be a graduate of an approved medical school; must have completed advanced training in one of the 14 surgical specialties recognized by the College; must possess certification by an American surgical specialty board or appropriate certification by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada; and must have been in practice for at least one year at the time of his or her application.  Before admission into Fellowship, the surgeon must further demonstrate ethical fitness and professional proficiency, and his or her acceptance as a Fellow of the College must be approved by three-fourths of its Board of Regents.

    The Convocation ceremony was the highlight of the five-day Congress at which initiation into ACS Fellowship took place.  The Congress also featured reports on research-in-progress, postgraduate courses, panel discussions, symposia, and scientific and industrial exhibits.  Total estimated attendance at the Congress was 13,082, including 8,924 physicians.  Allied health professionals and members of the scientific and consumer media also attended the meeting.

    The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational organization of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to raise the standards of surgical practice and to improve the quality of care for the surgical patient.  The College is dedicated to the ethical and competent practice of surgery.  Its achievements have established it as an important advocate for all surgical patients.  The College has more than 79,000 members and is the largest organization of surgeons in the world.  For more information, visit:

    Dr. Raval’s practice, Southside Regional Ear, Nose & Throat Specialists, is located at 40 Medical Park Boulevard, Suite D, Petersburg; 13038 Riversbend Road, Chester; and 317 N. Main Street, Emporia. For more information, please call Southside Regional Ear, Nose & Throat Specialists at 804-765-5320.


  59. Obituary-Jerry Sykes Brown

    Jerry Sykes Brown, 65, of Carson, passed away Wednesday, December 30, 2014. He is survived by his wife, Norma Twisdale Brown; two daughters, Kelly Brown Dunne and husband, Sebastian and Jessica Brown Shindler and husband, Philip; one son, Charles Norwood Mingroni; two grandchildren, Emmett Brady Dunne and Ava Jolene Shindler; his mother, Jessie Sykes Brown; two brothers, Clifford M. “Chipper” Brown and wife, Lary Ann and Kenneth Michael Brown; a sister, Sherry Brown Barnes and husband, Curtis; two nieces, Ansley Brown Allen and husband, Winfield and Melanie Barnes Sheldon and husband, Matt and a nephew, Nicholas Grant Barnes and wife, Jenni. Mr. Brown was preceded in death by his father, George Feild Brown and his half-brother, George Feild Brown, Jr. The family will receive friends 6-8 p.m. Friday, January 2 at Owen Funeral Home, 303 S. Halifax Rd, Jarratt, Virginia. The funeral service will be held 2 p.m. Saturday, January 3 at High Hills Baptist Church with interment in the church cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions be made to High Hills Baptist Church Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 296, Jarratt, Virginia 23867 or to the American Cancer Society. Online condolences may be made at


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