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March 2018

  1. Joyce E. Whitehead

    Joyce E. Whitehead, 76, of Emporia, passed away Saturday, March 31, 2018. She was preceded in death by a brother, Johnny Grizzard and a sister, Frances Dixon. Mrs. Whitehead is survived by her devoted companion, Raleigh Jones; two daughters, Tammy Jarratt and husband, Bill and Lori Poole and husband, William; son, Doug Whitehead; seven grandchildren, Casey Jarratt, Billy Jarratt, Christel Gordon, Elizabeth Justice, Angel Poole, Wayne Whitehead and Angela Whitehead; seven great-grandchildren; and two sisters, Mary Grizzard “Baby” and Sally Velvin and husband, Jimmy. She also leaves behind her cherished pets: dogs, Lacy and Tiny and cat, Bear Kitty. The funeral service will be held 3 p.m. Tuesday, April 3 at Adams Grove Baptist Church. Interment will follow in the church cemetery. The family will receive friends at church one hour prior to the service. Online condolences may be shared with the family atwww.owenfh.com.
     
     
  2. Nell Mattox Whitlock Mitchell

    Nell Mattox Whitlock Mitchell, age 93, passed away peacefully in her home on March 31, 2018. She was predeceased by her parents Percy and Lucy Mattox, 2 brothers, P.J. Mattox and Gilbert “Sprout” Mattox, 2 sisters, Leola Fisher and Margaret Duckworth, and 2 husbands, Robert K. Whitlock and William T. Mitchell.

    She is survived by daughter, Carolyn Whitlock Myrick; son, Robert K. “Kenny” Whitlock (Carolyn), and daughter Ginger Mitchell Smith. She is also survived by 7 grandchildren, John Myrick (Jennifer), Robert Myrick, Wendy Whitlock Gilbert, Brian Whitlock (Kelly), Jason, Jeremy, and Amanda Smith; 16 great grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.

    Mrs. Mitchell retired from the City of Emporia after serving 33 years as a City Clerk. She was a member of Calvary Baptist Church for 66 years.

    Special thank you to Gloria Meyers, Gail Spence, Glenda Rawlings, Francis Drummond, and Hospice of Virginia (Joyce Lynch and Queen Washington).

    Funeral Services will be held Tuesday, April 3, 2018 at 12:00 P.M. at Echols Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. Andy Cain officiating. Interment will follow at Greensville Memorial Cemetery. A visitation will be held at the chapel from 11:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M.

    In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Calvary Baptist Church, 310 North Main Street, Emporia, VA.

    Online condolences may be left at echolsfuneralhome.com

  3. Amelia K. Harris

    Amelia K. Harris, of Emporia, VA, went to be with her Lord and Savior on March 30, 2018, at the age of 80, after a courageous battle with ALS. She was preceded in death by her parents, Marvin G. King and Betty L. King, and brother Ed King.

    Amelia is survived by three sisters, Ada Newsome, Sallie Allgood, and Lucille Taylor; and several nieces and nephews. She also leaves to cherish her memory; three children, Robert Harris (Cristy), Denise Harris, and Amy Clary (Andy); four grandchildren, Cassie Modlin, Christopher Moseley, Lee Harris, and James Harris; great grandchildren, Natalie Harris, Liam Harris, Carter Modlin, Kensleigh Rae Moseley, and her namesake Caroline Amelia Modlin.

    Funeral Services will be held Monday, April 2, 2018 at 1:00 P.M. at Monumental United Methodist Church with Rev. Rachel G. Plemmons officiating. Interment will follow at Oakwood Cemetery in Lawrenceville, VA. A reception and visitation will be held at the church from 11:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M.

    In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Amelia’s name to: Monumental United Methodist Church, 300 Southampton St. Emporia, VA 23847.

  4. Peggy Harrison Allen

    Peggy Harrison Allen, of Emporia, died Friday March 30, 2018, at the age of 85. A native of Greensville County, she was the daughter of the late Fredrick and Ethel Mae Brantley Harrison, and the widow of the late Frank Richard Allen Jr. Peggy was a longtime member of Calvary Baptist Church and a retired secretary with the Federal Government.

    She is survived by her sons; Darrell Allen and his wife Monica of Richmond, and Mark Allen and his wife Darlene of Elk Park, N.C.; a sister, Polly Wray of Lebanon Virginia; grandchildren, Madison, Harrison, Winfield and his wife Ansley, Eric and his wife Kathryn, Michael, and Stephen Allen; great-grandchild, Luke Allen; Goddaughter, Cindy Caldwell and her husband Frankie; daughter she never had, Dana Snow and her husband Steve; and numerous nieces and nephews.

    Funeral services will be held Tuesday, April 3, 2018 at 2:00 P.M. at Echols Funeral and Cremation Chapel with Pastor Andy Cain officiating. Interment will follow in Greensville Memorial Cemetery. The family will receive friends Monday, April 2, 2018 from 7:00 P.M. until 8:30 P.M. at Echols Funeral and Cremation Service.

    Online condolences may be left at echolsfuneralhome.com.

  5. Getting a Second Chance in Southside Virginia

    Ja' Kei Woods (Left) and Jamarcus Reid (Right) with Alonzo Seward (Center) recognizing the two young men who recently completed the Diversion Program at Southside Virginia Community College.
     

    Second chances are always good.  In Southside Virginia, a Diversion Program for young offenders is offering another chance at a successful life without incarceration.

    Alonzo Seward, Coordinator of the Diversion Program at Southside Virginia Community College(SVCC) is pleased to announce initial successes from its first class.  Designed to provide alternative sentencing, the first class began in October 2016. SVCC worked in partnership with local Commonwealth’s Attorneys' offices to include Brunswick, Greensville, Mecklenburg and Lunenburg counties. The youthful offenders that enter the program face incarceration in either jail or prison due to a crime that they have committed and to which they have subsequently pled guilty. The program serves as an alternative to incarceration and/or a felony conviction and includes a requirement of participation in group and/or individual community service projects.  Additionally, the program requires participants to be drug free (verified through drug screenings) and of good behavior.

    While serving as an advisor to SVCC’s Administration of Justice Program, Lezlie Green, the Commonwealth’s Attorney for Brunswick County, presented the idea to Seward, who heads the Administration of Justice program at the college.  Both Green and Seward throughout their years in law enforcement recognized an unmet need for alternative sentencing programs in Southside Virginia.  They joined forces with Monica McMillan, caseworker with Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act Out of School Youth Program (WIOA) and Linda Macklin, caseworker for Southside Community Corrections to develop a program that was approved by the college’s administration and has been accepted as a sentencing alternative by both the local judiciary and defense bar.

    The program is designed to follow a paramilitary format during the initial semester. The semester begins with a cohort of offenders meeting three nights a week in two different courses. These courses are designed to improve life skills, academic skills and overall behavior. The concept of the program is to provide individuals who fit the criteria with opportunity to gain the necessary skills to attain employment and deal with the stressors of life, so that they can become successful citizens.

    Recently Seward recognized two success stories: Jamarcus Reid andJa' Kei Woods,both members of the initial group. Although they were in the same cohort, their challenges were different due to differing educational backgrounds. Both men met the criteria of being drug free during the program

    Reid completed the initial cohort semester, and transitioned into college courses where he successfully completed hiswelding certification through SVCC’s program. Reid also participated in 24 hours of community service projects while in the program. He participated in projects benefitting SVCC, Alberta Fire Department and the Town of Lawrenceville.

    During the course of the program, and in addition to the welding certificate Reid completed a work experience and earned a Career Readiness Certificate. Reid recently secured a fulltime job in the welding industry.

    Woods was awarded his GED on February 23, 2018. For a period of almost a year and a half he attended GED classes during the day and diversion courses at night. He successfully completed the “Dream It Do It Welding Academy” and was awarded a $100.00 gift card for his presentations.  Other accomplishments for Woods throughout the program included successfully completing two work experiences, earning a National Career Readiness Certificate, and participating in 32 hours of community service projects. He plans to remain at SVCC to earn his welding certificate.

    The program operates through grant funded assistance and donations to the SVCC Foundation, Inc. For more information or to make a contribution, call 434 949 1051.

  6. Panelists Discuss Future of Transgender and Nonbinary People

  7. Lady Vikings defeat Amelia Academy 12-0

    Emily Roberts threw her second no-hitter of the year against Amelia on Monday, March 26.  Emily allowed one baserunner when she walked a batter in the third inning.  She struck out 13 of the 16 batters she faced. 

    Amelia has not had softball in several years and it showed. They just did not have pitching that could throw strikes.  The score would have been a lot worse if we had not backed off after we scored 10 runs in the first inning. 

    Leading hitters

    Jamie Saunders 2 for 2    RBI

    Peyton Coleman  2 for 3  triple   3 RBI

    Kelsey Holloway 1 for 3     RBI

    Karly Blackwell  1 for 2   RBI

    Skylar Capps   1 for 1     RBI

  8. McEachin Announces Beginning of 2018 Congressional Art Competition

    Richmond, Va. – Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) calls on high school students to begin submitting their best works of art for consideration in the 4th Congressional District’s 2018 Congressional Art Competition.

    “I am incredibly proud of Jada Epps each time I walk past her 2017 first place drawingon display in the U.S. Capitol. I look forward to seeing the art that will represent our district next,”said Congressman Donald McEachin.

    All students who live in Virginia’s 4th Congressional District attending school in grades 9 - 12 are invited to submit original artwork in concept, design and execution in the 2018 Congressional Art Competition. Artwork must be two-dimensional, weigh no more than 15 pounds, but may be in any medium (paintings, drawings, collages, prints, photography, graphic design, etc.). Students, parents and teachers can find complete rules for entry here. All submissions must be received before 4:30 p.m. on Friday, April 27, 2018.

    For questions or more information about the competition, please contact Elizabeth Hardin at (804) 486-1840.

  9. FIVE FACTS YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT SOCIAL SECURITY

    By Jacqueline Weisgarber, Social Security Public Affairs Specialist in Richmond, Virginia

    Most people know at least something about Social Security. For decades, Social Security has been providing valuable information and tools to help you build financial security. Here’s your opportunity to find out a little more, with some lesser-known facts about Social Security.

    1. Social Security pays benefits to children.

    Social Security pays benefits to unmarried children whose parents are deceased, disabled, or retired. See Benefits for Children at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10085.pdf for the specific requirements. 

    2. Social Security can pay benefits to parents.

    Most people know that when a worker dies, we can pay benefits to surviving spouses and children. What you may not know is that under certain circumstances, we can pay benefits to a surviving parent. Read our Fact Sheet Parent’s Benefits, available at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10036.pdf, for the details.

    3. Widows’ and widowers’ payments can continue if remarriage occurs after age 60.

    Remarriage ends survivor’s benefits when it occurs before age 60, but benefits can continue for marriages after age 60.

    4. If a spouse draws reduced retirement benefits before starting spouse’s benefits (his or her spouse is younger), the spouse will not receive 50 percent of the worker’s benefit amount.

    Your full spouse’s benefit could be up to 50 percent of your spouse’s full retirement age amount if you are full retirement age when you take it. If you qualify for your own retirement benefit and a spouse’s benefit, we always pay your own benefit first. (For example, you are eligible for $400 from your own retirement and $150 as a spouse for a total of $550.) The reduction rates for retirement and spouses benefits are different. If your spouse is younger, you cannot receive benefits unless he or she is receiving benefits (except for divorced spouses). If you took your reduced retirement first while waiting for your spouse to reach retirement age, when you add spouse’s benefits later, your own retirement portion remains reduced which causes the total retirement and spouses benefit together to total less than 50 percent of the worker’s amount. You can find out more at www.socialsecurity.gov/OACT/quickcalc/spouse.html.

    5. If your spouse’s retirement benefit is higher than your retirement benefit, and he or she chooses to take reduced benefits and dies first, your survivor benefit will be reduced, but may be higher than what your spouse received.

    If the deceased worker started receiving reduced retirement benefits before their full retirement age, a special rule called the retirement insurance benefit limit may apply to the surviving spouse. The retirement insurance benefit limit is the maximum survivor benefit you may receive. Generally, the limit is the higher of:

    • The reduced monthly retirement benefit to which the deceased spouse would have been entitled if they had lived, or
    • 82.5 percent of the unreduced deceased spouse’s monthly benefit if they had started receiving benefits at their full retirement age (rather than choosing to receive a reduced retirement benefit early).

    Social Security helps secure your financial future by providing the facts you need to make life’s important decisions.

  10. Local Youth Organize "March for our Lives"

    On Saturday Afternoon about 50 people showed solidarity with the March for our Lives in Washington, DC, by marching from the Post Office to the Courthouse on South Main Street in Emporia.

    The March was arranged by the Youth Council of the NAACP.

  11. EPD Earns Advanced Accreditation from CALEA

    The Emporia Police Department earned it first advanced international accreditation certification from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) following a panel interview by CALEA commissioners at CALEA’s conference in Frisco, Texas on March 24, 2018.

    On Saturday, March 24, 2018 Emporia Police Chief Ricky Pinksaw and Lieutenant David Shidell appeared before a three-member panel of CALEA commissioners to answer questions about the Emporia Police Department’s recent January On-Site Assessment.  The commissioners reviewed the assessment report prepared in January by a two-member assessment team of law enforcement professionals from outside of Virginia, who reviewed department compliance with applicable standards, conducted ride-alongs with officers, interviewed citizens and conducted a public hearing.

    The panel consisted of D. Ray Johnson, who is the Chief of Police for the City of Chesterfield, Missouri.  Mr. Douglas Middleton, Deputy County Manager of Public Safety for Henrico County Virginia an Ms. Julie Righter-Dove, Communications Coordinator for the Lincoln, Nebraska Emergency Communications Center. 

    The 27-page assessment report, written by retired Chief Randy Nichols from North Carolina following his team’s visit concluded that the Emporia Police Department is a very professional law enforcement agency committed to providing a high level of law enforcement services to the community.

    CALEA is a voluntary international program that demonstrates a department’s commitment to excellence, while serving its citizens and showing that the agency is meeting internationally established best practices for law enforcement agencies.

    In a March 2018 letter congratulating the Emporia Police Department on its initial accreditation CALEA chairman Craig Webre and CALEA Executive Director W. Craig Hartley, Jr. stated that CALEA Accreditation is the mark of professional excellence and the gold standard in public safety.

    In the agency’s quest for Advanced Accreditation, the Emporia Police Department is required to comply with the 484 standards as set forth by CALEA.  The agency is required o establish written directives for those standards, as well as providing proofs of compliance that the agency is in fact in compliance with standards.

    In Virginia there are 340 law enforcement agencies.  Only 31 of these agencies are accredited with CALEA.  The Emporia Police Department is the 4th smallest law enforcement agency in Virginia with CALEA Advanced Accreditation status.  The Emporia Police Department entered into contract with CALEA in October 2015 and received CALEA Advanced Accreditation within 27 months.  I am extremely proud of the men and women of the Emporia Police Department for completing this monumental task within such a short period of time,” stated Chief Ricky Pinksaw.  Achieving CALEA Advanced Accreditation was a major goal of mine once I was appointed Chief of Police in January 2015.  “We had to re-write the entire General Orders Manual for the Department, as well as create and implement a new property and evidence room,” stated Chief Pinksaw.  Chief Pinksaw further stated that, “CALEA Advanced Accreditation is truly the gold standard in public safety and the Emporia Police Department will continue to strive to provide the highest quality service to the citizens and visitors of the City of Emporia.  It is important to remember that this is not the Emporia Police Department’s Accreditation, but this is the entire City of Emporia’s Advanced Accreditation.”  “It was truly an honor to represent the City of Emporia and accepting the Police Department’s Initial Advanced Accreditation Award Saturday night at the CALEA conference,” stated Chief Pinksaw

  12. Over 70,000 Sign Petitions Protesting Pipelines Across Virginia

  13. Huge Crowd Fills D.C. in ‘March For Our Lives’

  14. VCU Health CMH Team Member of the Month for February 2018

    When Scott Burnette, CEO, VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital, told Mildred Waye, LPN and Care Partner, that she was the team member of the month for February, she couldn’t believe it. Her co-workers were excited for her and as a group said she deserved it.

    Mildred was nominated by a co-worker and a patient, high praise indeed.  The nomination form from a patient and visiting guest stated, “Mildred did excellent work. She was friendly, courteous and knowledgeable while doing her job. She also worked well with her co-workers.”

    Her co-worker said, “Mildred is always a STAR Service Performer.  Her patients notice and compliment her on her skill, professionalism and caring.  She consistently demonstrates excellence in patient care.”

    Mildred’s words of wisdom are, “Work hard, put forth your best effort and stay positive.” Two minutes with Mildred will convince you she lives by those words.

    Mildred has been with CMH for 38 years and works in the Acute Care area.

    Mildred and husband, Larry, have one son, Dennis, and one grandson, Nikolas. They live in Lunenburg County and Mildred graduated from Brunswick High School.

    In her off hours, Mildred enjoys her two dogs, reading and doing puzzles.

  15. VSU Announces Interim Assistant Administrator for Programs for Cooperative Extension

    Doris Heath has been appointed interim assistant administrator for programs with Cooperative Extension at Virginia State University (VSU).

    “We are so delighted to have Doris Heath serving in this position. Her extensive leadership skills, thorough knowledge of Extension programs and her passion for VSU make her a true asset to Cooperative Extension and to the College of Agriculture,” said Dr. Jewel Bronaugh, executive director for VSU’s Center for Agriculture, Research, Engagement and Outreach.

    As interim assistant administrator of programs, Heath will provide oversight to Extension specialists at VSU; help specialists develop their plan of work; serve as a liaison between Cooperative Extension at VSU and Virginia Tech (VT) and create opportunities for collaborations; assist in developing strategies and processes for Extension; and improve operational effectiveness and efficiencies.

    “Mrs. Heath will draw on her vast Extension experience to enhance the collaboration between Extension specialists and agents and ensure our programs are aligned with Cooperative Extension’s mission. We welcome Mrs. Heath to VSU and look forward to her making significant contributions,” said Dr. M. Ray McKinnie, dean/1890 Extension program administrator of the College of Agriculture.

    Heath brings a wealth of leadership and program-building experience to her new position, including 29 years working as an Extension agent with Cooperative Extension at VT, and serving as VCE Southeast district director. She has created needs-based programs and has many years’ experience serving on committees and boards of directors, including terms as president-elect, president and past-president of the Virginia Association of Family and Consumer Sciences. She has also worked locally with citizens and municipal governments.

    In accepting the position, Heath said, “I’m excited to have the opportunity to serve the university, to engage with Extension specialists and agents to learn about their accomplishments and how we can build on the work they’re already doing.” A VSU alumna, Heath she said she has a “great appreciation” for the university where she earned her bachelor’s degree in home economics business and her master’s degree in home economics education.

    Extension is a joint program of Virginia Tech, Virginia State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and state and local governments. Virginia Cooperative Extension programs and employment are open to all, regardless of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, veteran status, or any other basis protected by law. An equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.

  16. SBA Helps Level the Playing Field for Women Owned Small Business

    BY: SBA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Michelle Christian

    Each March, SBA joins the rest of the nation in celebrating National Women’s History Month by commemorating the historic contributions of women to our country and to our economy. This is also a great time to point out the Administration’s commitment to help women compete as equals in the small business world.

    Women entrepreneurs have overcome historic inequities in a brief period of time, and as a woman business owner, I can tell you that we don’t want special treatment – we want equal treatment. SBA Administrator Linda McMahon has made it clear that women need better access to mentors, advisers and networking. And everybody needs capital. You can’t run a business without it. It was only thirty years ago that the Women’s Business Ownership Act eliminated laws requiring male co-signers on women’s business loans. The Women’s Business Center Program and the National Women’s Business Council were created to encourage women to overcome barriers and achieve success.

    This Administration’s commitment to supporting women entrepreneurs is clear. In his first 100 days, the President signed two executive orders supporting women in business: the Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act, which encourages entrepreneurial programs that recruit and support women, and the Inspiring the Next Space Pioneers and Innovators and Explorers Act, which directs NASA to encourage women and girls to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and to pursue careers in aerospace.

    We’re making progress, but we’re not there yet. Female entrepreneurs make up a growing share of U.S. small business owners; they own 9.9M companies in the US, employ more than 8M people, and provide $264 billion in wages. Yet, despite these numbers and while women make up over 50% of the US population, only 29% are business owners. 

    We’re doing our part here at SBA with the funding of more than 100 Women’s Business Centers across the nation; programs such as federal contracting set-asides for women-owned businesses; initiatives such as the InnovateHER Women’s Business Challenge, and business loans for female entrepreneurs. 

    SBA’s Mid-Atlantic Region, which includes Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Virginia and West Virginia, does a little better than the national average with the largest concentrations of women-owned enterprises. The work we do on a local level in our district offices for women entrepreneurs cannot be overlooked or understated.

    I am proud to be part of all that SBA does to promote women entrepreneurs. With SBA’s help, women-owned firms contributed more than $1.7 trillion in sales to the U.S. economy in 2017. It is my goal to ensure women remain a vital part of our nation’s economic success. Start or grow your Woman-Owned small business with a visit to your nearest Women’s Business Center (https://www.sba.gov/tools/local-assistance/wbc )

  17. Lady Vikings Overtake KIPP 15-0

    On Friday, March 23, 2018, the Lady Vikings hosted Kipp Tech from Gaston, NC.  We had heard they had a new softball program. We did not know what to expect.  Three of our varsity players were attending the Model General Assembly (MGA) in Richmond. The decision was made to pull 2 of our best JV players to play this Varsity game rather than reschedule.  One of my varsity pitchers, Jamie Saunders was attending MGA and the other, Emily Roberts, had been sick and did not attend school on Thursday.   Starting the game was Sydney Paul, a left-handed JV pitcher, and Alyssa Rivas, JV catcher.

    Sydney pitched a great game only allowing 3 hits while striking out 5.  Alyssa blocked all the balls doing a great job behind the plate.   Kipps’ pitching was not very good and I was proud of how our girls adjusted.   The highlight of the game was Senior Kelsey Holloway’s hitting a inside the park grand slam homerun.

    Leading hitters

    Kelsey Holloway 2 for 3    Grand slam   4 RBI

    Alyssa Revis     3 for 3

    Peyton Coleman 2 for 3      2 RBI

    Paige Jennings   2 for 3      2 RBI

    Bailey Edwards   2 for 2        RBI      SAC bunt

    Sydney Paul          2 for 3     2 RBI     double

    Allie Pope            2 for 2       RBI        Double

    Karly Blackwell   1 for 3       2 RBI

    Naomi Sadler      RBI      

  18. KAINE-WHITEHOUSE BILL TO HELP FORGIVE STUDENT LOANS FOR PUBLIC SERVICE WORKERS PASSES CONGRESS

    Senators’ provisions will assist teachers, social workers, military personnel, and other public servants cancel their student loan debt

    WASHINGTON, D.C.  – Included in the omnibus federal spending bill that cleared Congress last night was a version of a bill offered by Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) to fix a glitch in a federal loan forgiveness program that is leaving teachers, soldiers, social workers, and other public servants with massive loan balances they thought would be forgiven.  The provision will help to relieve the financial burden for eligible middle-class families who sought to use the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, which allows those pursuing public service careers to discharge student loan debt. 

    “Americans who honorably serve our communities have earned much-deserved relief from crushing student loan debt in return for their time and commitment.  But unfortunately because of confusion around a provision in the program, we were at risk of breaking that promise to Virginia teachers, social workers, nurses, and military servicemembers.  I’m glad the Senate heard our call and joined Senator Whitehouse and I in moving closer to righting that wrong today,” Kaine said.

    “Congress created this program so bright, talented people could use their college education for public service.  But a growing number of them are finding, to their shock, that a glitch is keeping them from getting the relief they were promised.  We need to fix that,” said Whitehouse.  “There’s more to do, but I’m proud that a version of our legislation will help public servants continue their important work.”

    Congress established the bipartisan loan forgiveness program in 2007 to help teachers, social workers, military personnel, and other critical public service workers pursue sometimes lower-paying careers serving their communities without facing decades of crippling loan payments.  The program allows borrowers to erase the balance of their student debt if they spend 10 years working for a nonprofit or government employer while making qualifying payments.  Due to a lack of consistent and clear guidance from loan servicers and complicated program requirements, some borrowers believe they are making qualifying payments under the program when they are not. 

    Kaine and Whitehouse’s bill would allow loan forgiveness for public service borrowers who ended up in the wrong repayment plan.  If borrowers had been making payments that were as much as they would have paid on a qualifying repayment plan, they would receive full credit for those payments toward loan forgiveness.

    The version of the legislation in the spending bill includes $350 million to help borrowers in this situation on a first-come, first-serve basis.  It would also require the Education Department to develop and make available a simple method for borrowers to apply for loan cancellation, and conduct outreach to help borrowers make use of the program.

    Kaine and Whitehouse’s bill was endorsed by the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers.

  19. Richmond Students, Community Rally in the Thousands for Gun Control

  20. Paige Matthews Mento

    Paige Matthews Mento of Henrico, Virginia, died on March 19, 2018 at the age of 75. She was predeceased by her father, Albert L Matthews and is survived by her mother, Eleanor "Rivers" Johnson Gill and her three children, Maria L DeShazo, Niki Loupassi and G. Manoli Loupassi, all of Richmond. Memorial Services will be Private.

  21. Virginia Cities to Join Saturday’s March Against Gun Violence

  22. Bessie Ann Wright

    Mrs. Bessie Ann Wright, 67, of Emporia, Virginia, died on Thursday, March 22, 2018.

    A Visitation for Mrs. Wright will be held from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm, on Friday, March 30, 2018, in the Roanoke Rapids Chapel of H.D. Pope Funeral Home.  Funeral Services will be held at 12:00 Noon, on Saturday, March 31, 2018, at Royal Baptist Church, 106 W. Atlantic Street in Emporia, VA.  The Interment will take place immediately after the Service in the Greensville Memorial Cemetery in Emporia, VA.

    Condolences may be sent via:  www.hdpopefuneralhome.com

  23. Governor Visits SVCC Power Line Worker Training Program

    Governor Ralph Northam spent time at the Southside Virginia Community College Power Line Worker Training Program at the Occupational/Technical Center at Pickett Park.  Among those attending are (Left to Right) Andrew Vehorn, Director of Governmental Affairs for Virginia, Maryland, Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives(VMDAEC), Dr. Al Roberts, SVCC President, John Lee, CEO of Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative, Governor Northam, Jeffrey Edwards, CEO of Southside Electric Cooperative, and Brian Mosier, Vice President of Member and Governmental Relations for VMDAEC.

    Virginia’s new Governor, Ralph Northam, spent part of a cold, snowy and blustery day touring the field where power line worker students train for jobs in the Commonwealth.  His visit to the Southside Virginia Community College Occupational Technical Center at Pickett Park wasarranged by Virginia Maryland and Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives and Andrew Vehorn, Director of Governmental Affairs for VMDAE. 

    The Governor spent time watching power line students climb, saw truck driving activity on the range and met the head of the diesel tech program. He also sat down with the CEOs of Mecklenburg and Southside Electric Cooperatives, John Lee and Jeffrey Edwards respectively, and SVCC President Dr. Al Roberts and VP of Workforce Dr. Keith Harkins to learn more about the impact these programs have on the economy of Virginia. Dr. Megan Healy, Chief Workforce Development Advisor to the Governor was also in attendance.       

    Governor Northam was at the Blackstone facility to see firsthand the benefits of the Workforce Credentialing Grant Programand discuss issues facing rural Virginia; including broadband deployment and workforce development. Leepresented Governor Northam with a letter, signed by CEOs from all 12 electric cooperatives headquartered in Virginia pledging unified commitment to collaboratively work on a comprehensive solution to rural Virginia’s lack of broadband availability.         

    Now in its third year of operation, this 11-week line worker pre-apprentice program provides Level 1 certification from NCCER (the National Center for Construction Education & Research), as well as commercial driver’s licenses, CPR/First Aid certification and OSHA safety training. At the recommendation of its advisory committee, the PLW program recently expanded to include chainsawsafety, with training provided by Penn Line.         

    “We’re proud to help launch these young people into a vital career that will enable them to stay in their rural communities,” said Harkins.

    For more information about the Power Line Worker Training School, visit https://southside.edu/events/power-line-worker-training-schoolor call SVCC’s Susan Early at (434) 292-3101.  Next Class begins June 4, 2018.

  24. ‘We Value Work’: Richmond Employers Recognized for Backing Living Wage

  25. WOMEN’S HISTORY and SOCIAL SECURITY

    By Jacqueline Weisgarber, Social Security Public Affairs Specialist in Richmond, Virginia

    March is Women’s History Month. This is a time to focus not just on women’s achievements, but on the challenges women continue to face. In the 21st century, more women work, pay Social Security taxes, and earn credit toward monthly retirement income than at any other time in our nation’s history. Knowing this, you can take control of your own rich and independent history, with knowledge you can get from Social Security.

    Social Security has served a vital role in the lives of women for over 80 years. With longer life expectancies than men, women tend to live more years in retirement and have a greater chance of exhausting other sources of income. With the national average life expectancy for women in the United States rising, many women may have decades to enjoy retirement. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, a female born today can expect to live more than 80 years. As a result, experts generally agree that if women want to ensure that their retirement years are comfortable, they need to plan early and wisely.

    A great place to start is with Social Security’s Retirement Estimator. It gives you a personalized estimate of your retirement benefits. Plug in different retirement ages and projected earnings to get an idea of how such things might change your future benefit amounts. You can use this valuable tool at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator.

    You should also visit Social Security’s financial planning website at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/planners. It provides detailed information about how marriage, widowhood, divorce, self-employment, government service, and other life or career events can affect your Social Security. 

    Your benefits are based on your earnings, so you should create your personal my Social Security account to verify that your earnings were reported correctly. Your account also can provide estimates of your future retirement, disability, and survivors benefits. You can access my Social Security at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

    If you want more information about how Social Security supports women through life’s journey, Social Security has a booklet that you may find useful. It’s called Social Security: What Every Woman Should Know. You can find it online at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10127.html.

  26. Census Data Shows Growth in Northern Virginia, Decline in the South

  27. New Law Would Lower GED Age Requirement

  28. Ex-Gov. Wilder Sues VCU Over Assistant’s Harassment Claims

  29. Lady Vikings Win Opening Games

    The Lady Vikings opened their 2018 Varsity Softball season at the Dinwiddie Sports Complex on Saturday, March 17, 2018.

    The Lady Vikings first game was against Norfolk Academy.  Eighth grader, Emily Roberts was handed the ball to pitch not only our first game of the season, but also her first varsity game.  Emily did great pitching a 6 inning No-hitter.  She struck out 9 batters and only threw 61 pitches. 

    Emily got plenty of help from her infield with their great fielding of the ground balls.  Outfielder and Senior Karly Blackwell saved Emily’s no-hitter in the 5th inning with a diving catch in left field.  That catch should have been on the ESPN highlights.  The Lady Vikings bats were full of opening day hits to win the game 10 to 0.

    Hitting leaders were:

    Peyton Coleman:  2 for 3, 2 triples, 2 RBI

    Naomi Sadler:  2 for 2, 1 triple, 2 RBI

    Kelsey Holloway:  2 for 3, 1 triple

    Paige Jennings:  1 for 3

    Skylar Capps:  1 for 2

    Kyleigh Capps:  1 for 1, 1 RBI

    Jamie Saunders:  4 RBI

    Emily Roberts:  1 RBI

    Lady Vikings Beat Collegiate School   15 – 4

    Junior Jamie Saunders took the mound against Collegiate for our second game of the day.  Collegiate School is a stronger team than the Norfolk Academy team even though both are Division 1 schools.  Brunswick Academy is a Division 3 school.

    Jamie pitched well allowing 6 hits while striking out 7. The top 4 hitters in our lineup made things a lot easier for Jamie.  Of course, Jamie is one of those hitters.

    Leading hitters:

    Jamie Saunders:  5 for 5, 2 doubles, triple, 3 RBI

    Emily Roberts:  4 for 5, triple, Homerun, 6 RBI

    Naomi Sadler:  4 for 5, double 2 Stolen bases, RBI

    Peyton Coleman:  2 for 4, triple, homerun, 4 RBI

    Kelsey Holloway:  1 for 5, RBI

    2018 Lady Vikings Softball team:

    Kelsey Holloway – Senior- Captain, Karly Blackwell – Senior, Jamie Sanders – Junior, Allie Pope – Junior, Skylar Capps – Junior, Bailey Edwards – Sophomore, Kyleigh Capps – Sophomore, Peyton Coleman – Sophomore – Captain, Paige Jennings – Sophomore, Naomi Sadler – Freshman, Emily Roberts – Eighth Grader

  30. "Bless Your Art"

    The Downtown Enfield Restoration & Preservation Association (DERP) is sponsoring the third annual Bless Your Art Show and Sale – featuring artists and artisans on Saturday, April 14, beginning at 11 a.m. and ending at 4 p.m. – rain or shine.  Visitors can meet and talk with exhibiting artists and artisans at Southern Secrets at Mears, a retail gift shop that sells wine, local coffee, honey and specialty foods – with a local-as-possible, made-in-the USA focus – promoting rural North Carolina.  In addition, artwork from local private collections can be viewed at a recently renovated storefront next to Southern Secrets at Mears.

    Bless Your Art will feature original works in every medium and price range. For the artists, the show is an opportunity to make connections with other local artists, get to know existing customers and create a new audience for their work. For visitors, the art show is a chance to support local artists, develop a personal connection to the art and to purchase art from new and emerging artists. Bless Your Art will also feature three Early American Antiques dealers, so there’s something for everyone. 

    Jennifer Locke McCann, who is a co-chair along with Julia Andrus of the Bless Your Art show, believes it’s important to foster an art community of seasoned artists and new talent, saying “Art is good for the local economy and it enriches the community. At Southern Secrets we are featuring talented artists and artisans who are eager to sell their work locally.” That’s one of the reasons why she opened Southern Secrets at Mears in December 2017. Along with her mother, Gayle Locke, they wanted a venue where local artists and artisans could feature their work – and display their strong ties to rural Eastern North Carolina. While some of the artists participating in the  Annual Bless Your Art Show and Sale have exhibited their work in renowned galleries, alternative venues – like Southern Secrets at Mears – are great outlets for new and emerging artists and artisans. Southern Secrets will have its grand opening this Saturday, March 24.

    Eric McRay, a renowned artist from Raleigh, will be giving an art class on Saturday morning, from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. The workshop costs $100. In addition to the art show on Saturday, there’s a Bless Your Art Gala on Friday night, April 13. To buy tickets online go to https://www.freshtix.com/events/bless-your-art-gala or you can also purchase your tickets at Southern Secrets at Mears via check to DERP. Presales are $40 per ticket or two for $75. The Rhythm Express Band will be performing and food will be served.

    On Sunday, Ira David Wood will be speaking at the 11 a.m. service at the Enfield Baptist Church and Steve Owen (of the Steve Owens Band) will perform. A covered dish follows the service.

    To find out more about the show’s sponsor, the Downtown Enfield Restoration and Preservation Association (DERP) – a nonprofit membership organization of business owners and citizens dedicated to supporting downtown revitalization – visit  www.derpserves.org.  Or contact Jennifer Locke McCann at Southern Secrets at Mears at  919-412-4225.

  31. Virginia Health Rankings Reveal Disparities Among Regions

  32. WARNER & KAINE COSPONSOR BILL TO HELP PREVENT BULLYING IN SCHOOLS

    ~Safe Schools Legislation Would Require School Districts Across the Country to Develop, Implement Locally Driven Anti-Bullying Policies~

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine co-sponsored the Safe Schools Improvement Act, legislation requiring schools to take greater measures to prevent bullying and harassment. This follows a Department of Education study which found that 1 in 5 children between the ages of 12 and 18 will be impacted by bullying. There is currently no federal law in place to comprehensively and expressly address issues of bullying or harassment.

    “Every child deserves to learn free from fear of bullying and harassment," said the Senators. “We’re proud to introduce legislation that will help protect Virginia students from harm, and work toward ensuring that our schools make children feel safe and welcome.” 

    Research shows that bullying and harassment have adverse long-term consequences, including decreased concentration at school, increased school absenteeism, damage to the victim’s self-esteem, and increased social anxiety. According to a 2011 poll, 85 percent of Americans strongly support or somewhat support a federal law to require schools to enforce specific rules to prevent bullying. As of 2018, 16 states and the District of Columbia have enacted enumerated anti-bulling laws. This legislation was originally sponsored by U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA).

    Specifically, the Safe Schools Improvement Act:

    • Requires schools and districts receiving federal funding to specifically prohibit bullying and harassment, including conduct based on a student’s actual or perceived race, color, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or religion.
    • Ensures that schools and school districts focus on effective prevention programs in order to better prevent and respond to incidents of bullying and harassment both in school and online.
    • Requires that states report data on incidents of bullying and harassment to the Department of Education.

    This legislation is supported by the American Federation of Teachers, American School Health Association, Learning Disabilities Association of America, National Association of School Psychologists, National Down Syndrome Society, National Education Association, National Parent Teacher Association, American Association of University Women, Asian American Justice Center, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, Human Rights Campaign and the Trevor Project.

  33. Final Hearing on Carbon Bill; Northam to Veto GOP Measure

  34. 61 SUSPECTED FIGHTING DOGS SEIZED IN EMPORIA

    ~ AG Herring's Animal Law Unit assisted in the forfeiture hearing as investigation continues ~

    EMPORIA (March 19, 2018)-Attorney General Mark R. Herring's Animal Law Unit and Greensville/Emporia Commonwealth's Attorney Patricia T. Watson successfully won an order for the forfeiture of 61 dogs after evidence was presented in court showing that the dogs owned by Jeffrey Shanel Scott had been systematically fought as part of a dogfighting operation. The forfeiture was ordered on March 6 by Judge Stephen D. Bloom and the time for an appeal has now expired. The animals were seized on February 22, 2018 by federal and state authorities at a property on Low Ground Road in Emporia as part joint investigation by local, state, and federal authorities into suspected dogfighting and other illegal activities. While the investigation remains ongoing, the dogs are being assessed and cared for by the ASPCA in hopes of responsibly placing them with animal shelters and rescue groups to be made available for adoption.

    Senior Assistant Attorney General Michelle Welch and Assistant Attorney General Kelci Block prosecuted the case for the Office of the Attorney General alongside Commonwealth's Attorney Watson. The case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Office of the Attorney General Animal Law Unit.  In addition, the Virginia Animal Fighting Task Force, Virginia State Police Narcotics Task Force, Spotsylvania Sheriff's Office, Emporia Police Department, Greenville County Sheriff's Office, and the ASPCA assisted in the seizure and related proceedings.

  35. Celebrate the Faces of Agriculture During Virginia Agriculture Week

    By: M. Ray McKinnie, Dean/1890 administrator, College of Agriculture at Virginia State University.

    With the arrival of spring comes a perfect time to celebrate the industry and all the people working on the frontlines and behind the scenes. First thoughts may be the farmer on his tractor already at work at dawn, the sun rising over fallow fields, rows of freshly plowed soil. Virginia Agriculture Week is March 18-24, and Tuesday, March 20 is National Agriculture Day. I ask you to think about the people who are the heart and soul of American agriculture and those who support agricultural industries.

    For more than 100 years, Virginia State University’s (VSU) College of Agriculture has supported farmers and provided a rigorous curriculum for its students who have gone on to successful careers in agriculture. Our alumnae have made and continue to make notable contributions to the industry, and our current students the next generation of rising stars. Students with Ag degrees pursue careers in state and federal government agencies, in agribusiness, teaching and research, veterinary medicine, and traditional farming and ranching.

    These are some of the many and diverse faces of agriculture.

    They’re the people who plan and administer 4-H programs, like Dr. Maurice Smith, a 2009 VSU graduate, who recently returned to oversee the university’s 4-H programming with Virginia Cooperative Extension. Smith will develop innovative programs to meet the needs of urban and hard-to-reach youth that are not aware of 4-H. 

    They work in state and federal government agencies to advance and implement agricultural policy. Ronald Howell Jr., a 2009 VSU graduate, has had an impressive career with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and most recently served as a special assistant in the Office of the Secretariat for Agriculture and Forestry in Virginia. Dr. Robert Holland, a 1978 VSU graduate, serves as the associate director for operations at USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) after an outstanding career in veterinary medicine.

    They have dedicated their entire careers to agriculture. People like Dr. Clint Turner, who is the first Virginian and first VSU alumnus to be inducted into the George Washington Carver Public Service. Turner started as an Extension specialist, then served as associate vice president for agriculture and Extension with the College of Agriculture. He is also a former Virginia commissioner of agriculture and consumer services.

    On the frontlines, it’s people like Cliff Somerville, who has spent 30 years working alongside farmers in the field as part of our Small Farm Outreach Program. Dozens of Virginia Cooperative Extension specialists and agents are at work every day at VSU to support farmers across the commonwealth.

    And they’re the future of the industry. As one of three universities in the commonwealth that offers a four-year degree in agriculture, VSU prepares the next generation agricultural workforce. VSU students and USDA/1890 Scholars like Ivi Mitchell and Keia Jones will be well equipped to pursue post-graduate studies and careers in agriculture and to contribute in a global economy.

    Agriculture is a growth industry. Each year it contributes $70 billion to Virginia’s economy. A study conducted by the UDSA-NIFA and Purdue University, suggests each year there are 57,900 job openings in agriculture and related fields. Annually 35,400 students graduate with a bachelor’s degree or higher in Ag, which means there are 22,500 vacancies. Annual starting salaries in agriculture are more than $51,000.

    I strongly encourage urban and rural youth to consider a career in food and agriculture. There are almost limitless opportunities and the future is very bright. Design your preferred future—become an agriculture major!

  36. Virginia Schools and Youth Groups Kick Off Statewide Campaign Today to Encourage Safe Teen Driving During Upcoming High-Risk Months

    ~Virginia’s Teen Drivers Most At Risk from May through August~

    Salem, VA – More teen drivers in Virginia will be involved in traffic crashes between the months of May and August than any other time of the year, statistics show. To help save lives and prevent such crashes during the high-risk warm weather months, Virginia schools are kicking off a statewide teen safety campaign this week to establish safe driving and passenger safety behaviors among youth and teens. The campaign, called "Arrive Alive," focuses on the increased risk of teen driver crashes during the spring and summer months and during prom and graduation.

    Close to 50 high schools, middle schools, and youth groups are participating in Arrive Alive which kicks off March 19 and runs throughMay 4. During the campaign, students will work in peer-to-peer groups to develop programs and social media messages that influence their peers to be safer on Virginia roadways.  Middle school students will focus their campaign on how to be a safe passenger, pedestrian, and cyclist. High school students will focus on preventing such risky driver and passenger behaviors as texting and driving, speeding, driving with too many passengers, not wearing a seat belt, underage drinking and driving, and joy riding or “cruising.”

    “Arrive Alive provides a unique opportunity for teens to take the lead in making sure their friends and peers always arrive home safely,” said Casey Taylor, YOVASO Program Development Coordinator.  “Students across the state will be actively promoting safe driving and passenger safety through innovative programs and exciting activities! Our goal is to reduce crash risks during this dangerous season for teens by keeping them informed and reminding them that it only takes one mistake to turn a good time bad.”

    Statistics from the Virginia DMV Highway Safety Office show that over the past five years, teen drivers in Virginia were involved in 42,033 crashes during the months from May through August, with 152 of those crashes resulting in a fatality to themselves or other motorists and passengers. During the same five-year period, 117 teens aged 15-20 were killed, 14,103 were injured, and 1,944 were seriously injured in crashes between the months of May and August.  

    Throughout Arrive Alive, students at participating schools will develop a creative project for the student body designed to influence change in risky driving behaviors and attitudes. In addition, schools will hold pre and post distracted driving checks as students arrive at school to determine the campaign’s impact on reducing distracted driving.  Other activities will include wrecked car displays, mock crashes, pledge signing events, attaching “TXT LATER. BUCKLE UP NOW. ARRIVE ALIVE.” cards to prom and graduation corsages and invitations, organizing safety rallies, and other creative messaging and programming.

    Middle schools will focus their creative project around good passenger and pedestrian safety habits including seat belt use, bicycle helmet use, and how to be safe when walking and biking in neighborhoods. Middle schools will also complete a variety of safety programs, including pledge banner signings with students promising to be safe passengers, pedestrians, and cyclists.

    Arrive Alive is sponsored by Youth of Virginia Speak Out About Traffic Safety (YOVASO) and the Virginia State Police, and is funded by a grant from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Highway Safety Office. In addition, grants from Allstate and State Farm will support prizes and educational incentives and materials. UNITE will donate the Arrive Alive Tour program to a non-competing school for their outstanding efforts during the campaign. The Arrive Alive Tour uses a high-tech simulator, and impact video to educate teenagers about the dangers of texting and driving and impaired driving. WFXR Television in Roanoke is the media sponsor for both the middle and high school campaigns.

    For more information or to register your school or youth group for the Arrive Alive campaign, contact Casey Taylor, Program Development Coordinator at 540-375-3596 or visit yovaso.org. YOVASO is Virginia's Peer-to-Peer Education and Prevention Program for Teen Driver and Passenger Safety and is a program of the Virginia State Police. Membership in YOVASO is free and open to all Virginia high schools, middle schools, and youth groups. YOVASO currently has 100 active member schools.

    Here are tips to help keep teen drivers safe during the high-risk warm weather months:

    • Buckle up every time and in every seating position.
    • Slow down and obey posted speed limits.
    • Limit the number of teen passengers in the vehicle and obey Virginia's passenger limitation law for teens. Remember, teens under 18 are only allowed to carry one passenger under age 21 for the first year of licensure unless accompanied by a licensed adult.
    • Drive distraction-free. It’s illegal for teens under 18 to use a cell phone while driving.
    • Drive alcohol and drug-free. Virginia’s Zero Tolerance law makes consuming alcohol or driving under the influence of any amount of alcohol a serious criminal offense for teens under the age of 21. (Va. Code 18.2-266.1)
    • Avoid "cruising" and joy riding with friends. This leads to an increased risk for teen crashes.
    • Obey Virginia’s midnight curfew which restricts teens under 18 from driving between midnight and 4 a.m.
    • Never Drive Drowsy. Never drive if you are sleepy or on medication that causes drowsiness.
    • Celebrate responsibly during prom, graduation, and summer celebrations.  Make a commitment to being safe and arriving alive.
  37. International rugby to make history in Washington in June

  38. Virginians Rally Statewide Against Pipeline Construction

  39. Cancer Center Would Honor ‘Immortal’ Henrietta Lacks

  40. Virginia Will Offer New Specialty License Plates

  41. VCU Gun Violence Panel Gets ‘Beyond the Politics’

  42. Charlene Tempa Owen McDonald

    Charlene Tempa Owen McDonald, 83, passed away Monday, March 12, 2018. She was preceded in death by her parents, Charles Lewis Owen and Roella Hines Owen. Born in Buffalo, NY in 1934, she returned with her family to Greensville County, Virginia in 1937.

    She was involved with 4-H for many years and received several awards. She graduated from Greensville County High School in 1953 and then attended VPI (Virginia Tech) and Richmond Professional Institute. She worked for the Virginia Department of Health for 24 years and in 1995 took early retirement.

    Mrs. McDonald is survived by her four children, Virginia E. McDonald; John “Chipper” McDonald; Sarah E. Berryman and husband, Steve; and Nettie R. McDonald; two grandchildren, Jessica Owen Day and husband, Ercell and Farren M. Burchett; a sister, Geneva Owen Woodard; three nieces; a nephew and several cousins. She also leaves behind her six beloved cats.

    The family will receive friends 12-2 p.m. Wednesday, March 21 at Owen Funeral Home, 303 S. Halifax Rd., Jarratt, Virginia where a memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Interment will follow at Emporia Cemetery.

    A reception will be held at Monumental United Methodist Church after the interment service.

    Online condolences may be shared with the family at www.owenfh.com.

  43. Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center Announces February 2018 Employee of the Month

    Emporia, VA – Kim Lyons has been named the Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center (SVRMC) Employee of the Month for February 2018. Ms. Lyons, who works in SVRMC’s Quality & Medical Staff Services Department, has been employed at SVRMC since July 2015.

    Each month employees are nominated for demonstrating excellence in one of ten Standards of Behavior; the highlighted Standard of the Month for February was Communication.  Ms. Lyons’ nomination included the following statement: “Kim has proven to be a very valuable employee for our organization.  She greets all staff and guests that enter her work environment with a smile.  She delivers excellent interpersonal and communication skills and has developed a rapport with those she serves to include physicians, staff, and visitors. Although she works in a very busy environment, with lots of distractions, she is able to multi-task, complete work assignments accurately, and maintain effective levels of communication with others. We are lucky to have Kim on our team.” 

    As SVRMC’s February Employee of the Month, Ms. Lyons received a certificate of recognition, balloons, cookies to share with her co-workers, a cash award, and a chance to be selected as SVRMC’s 2018 Employee of the Year.

  44. A Special 2018 Ag Day Message from: Nivin A. Elgohary, State Executive Director, Virginia Farm Service Agency

    National Agriculture Day Celebrates American Food and Fiber Production

    March 20 is National Agriculture Day – a day designated each year by the Agriculture Council of America (ACA) to celebrate the accomplishments of agriculture. The Farm Service Agency (FSA) joins the council in thanking American agricultural producers, especially in Virginia, for their contributions to the nation’s outstanding quality of life.

    This year’s theme, Agriculture: Food for Life,spotlights the hard work of American farmers, ranchers and foresters who diligently work to provide food, fiber and more to the United States and countries around the world. To ensure a prosperous future for American agriculture, FSA provides continuous support to agriculturalists across the country. 

    FSA is rural America’s engine for economic growth, job creation and development, offering local service to millions of rural producers. In fiscal year 2017, USDA Farm Loan programs provided $6 billion in support to producers across America, the second highest total in FSA history. FSA also distributed $1.6 billion in Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) payments to over 375,000 Americans to improve water quality, reduce soil erosion and increase wildlife habitat.

    For agricultural producers who suffered market downturns in 2016, USDA is issuing approximately $8 billion in payments under the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs. USDA also continues to provide extensive assistance in response to natural disasters throughout the country, including last year’s hurricanes in Florida, Texas, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, drought in the northern high plains, wildfires in the west and central plains, floods, tornados, freezes and other catastrophic weather events.

    To support beginning farmers and ranchers, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue signed a Memorandum of Understanding with officials from SCORE, the nation’s largest volunteer network of expert business mentors, to support new and beginning farmers. The agreement provides new help and resources for beginning ranchers, veterans, women, socially disadvantaged Americans and others, providing new tools to help them both grow and thrive in agribusiness.

    I am honored to administer programs that enable our producers to manage their risks when the agriculture industry faces hardship. On behalf of the Farm Service Agency here in Virginia, I would like to thank our agricultural producers for continuing to feed our nation and the world.

    For more information about FSA programs and services, visit https://www.fsa.usda.gov/.

  45. SVCC Nursing Program Ranked Fourth By Registerednursing.org

    Maggie Kendrick attended the SVCC Associate Degree Nursing Program, recently ranked fourth in the state of Virginia by registerednursing.org

    According to the website, registerednursing.org, “selecting the best nursing school in Virginia can be difficult.”  Southside Virginia Community College ranked fourth in Virginia behind Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing, Radford University and Stratford University in a recent report on this Nursing website. 

    The site also states “To make the process easier first look for a school that supports students towards licensure and beyond. A great way to measure this is through NCLEX-RN "pass rates." We have ranked the top 20 nursing schools in Virginia by analyzing current and historical NCLEX-RN "pass rates", meaning the percentage of graduates who pass the exam, out of the 48 RN programs in the state.

    Programs reviewed included graduates from Southside Virginia Community College.  At SVCC students are given five core values throughout the education process including 'patient-centered care, professional identity, nursing judgement, collaboration, and safe and effective care'. These values are what make the graduates an exceptional addition to the nursing field.

    So, what makes SVCC Nursing one of the best?  Dr. Michelle Edmonds, Dean of Nursing, Allied Health, and Natural Sciences says this:  "We have world-class faculty and support services to help our students succeed.  Our progressive model of interactive student learning pushes students to excel, and our students have a passion for nursing and excellence that we support.  We know we make a difference in the lives of our students and in the communities that we serve."

  46. In Walkout Over Guns, Richmond-area Students Say ‘Enough’

  47. Time to Go Green – St. Patrick's Day Is Saturday

  48. Richmond Council Approves Funding for Apartment Targeting Artists

  49. Virginia Governor Calls Special Session to Tackle Budget

  50. 2018 General Assembly Scorecard

  51. WHEN IS A GOOD TIME TO START receiving SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS?

    After a lifetime of working, you deserve a comfortable retirement. For over 80 years, Social Security has been helping people shape their future, assisting them with a variety of benefits. It’s up to you as to when you can start retirement benefits. You could start them a little earlier or wait until your “full retirement age,” or delay retirement to get extra money each month. There are benefits to either decision.

    Full retirement age refers to the age when a person can receive their Social Security benefits without any reduction, even if they are still working part or full time. In other words, you don’t actually need to stop working to get your full benefits.

    For people who reach age 62 in 2018 (i.e., those born between January 2, 1956 and January 1, 1957), full retirement age is 66 and four months. Full retirement age was age 65 for many years. However, due to a law passed by Congress in 1983, it has been gradually increasing, beginning with people born in 1938 or later, until it reaches 67 for everybody born after 1959.

    You can learn more about the full retirement age and find out how to look up your own at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/planners/retire/retirechart.html.

    You can start receiving Social Security benefits as early as age 62 or any time after that. The longer you wait, the higher your monthly benefit will be, although it stops increasing at age 70. Your monthly benefits will be reduced permanently if you start them any time before your full retirement age. For example, if you start receiving benefits in 2018 at age 62, your monthly benefit amount will be reduced permanently by nearly 27 percent.

    On the other hand, if you wait to start receiving your benefits until after your full retirement age, then your monthly benefit will be higher. The amount of this increase is two-thirds of one percent for each month –– or eight percent for each year –– that you delay receiving them until you reach age 70. The choices you make may affect any benefit your spouse or children can receive on your record, too. If you receive benefits early, it may reduce their potential benefit, as well as yours.

    You need to be as informed as possible when making any decision about receiving Social Security benefits. Read the publication When to Start Receiving Retirement Benefits at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10147.pdf.

    When to start receiving retirement benefits is a personal decision based on your own situation. Check out our Retirement Checklist at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10377.pdf to learn about additional factors to consider as you think about when to start receiving your retirement benefits.

    If you decide to receive benefits before you reach full retirement age, you should also understand how continuing to work can affect your benefits. Social Security may withhold or reduce your benefits if your annual earnings exceed a certain amount. However, for every month benefits are withheld, it may increase your future benefits. That’s because at your full retirement age Social Security will recalculate your benefit amount to give you credit for the months in which benefits were reduced or withheld due to your excess earnings. You can learn more at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/planners/retire/whileworking.html.

    Social Security’s mission is to secure your today and tomorrow. You can learn more by visiting our Retirement Planner at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/planners/retire.

  52. Caring, Compassionate Nature Leads To This Cool Job For SVCC Alumnus

    If a teenager thinks your job is cool; then, it is acool job.  Roslin V. Davis, says her 17-year-old son, Jaleal, thinks his mom’s job is cool.  Davis never saw herself in the job she now holds:  she is Licensed Assisted Living Administrator for Mecklenburg House in South Hill. 

    Mecklenburg House is an assisted living community that offers seniors and the mentally-challenged, the opportunity to live in comfort surrounded by a caring staff that are well trained in a variety of resident needs. 

    As administrator, Davis is a great example of how Southside Virginia Community College offers career pathways for the students.  She graduated from Park View High School in 1992.  She did not return to school until 2008 when she entered the Certified Nurse Aide program.    Besides the CNA course, she also received Medication Aide Technician certification and Phlebotomy and took other classes at the college with a medical concentration. 

    Her career road led her to work as a CNA at Meadowview Terrace, a nursing home facility in the area and later, she arrived at Mecklebnrg House as a Medication Technician. 

    Due to her work ethic and love of the people she cares for, Davis was soon asked to participate in the Administrator in Training Program offered through the American Retirement Homes, Inc.  This is a family-owned management company that has been enhancing the lives of seniors in Virginia since 1968.

    “I was eligible to participate in this program because of the classes and credits I received at Southside.  If not for my work at SVCC the gateway would never have been opened,” Davis said.

    She completed the coursework and licensure and became Administrator in August of 2014.

    Now, it is her pleasure and joy to manage the care of 32 residents at the home, some who have mental issues or have no other home.  The residents range in age from 40 to 93, Davis knows each one and notes, “I learn a lot from each one of them.”

    Her positive outlook and obvious love for her wards is evident in her smile and calm demeanor. 

    “Making this work is a team effort.  The staff and I work together, I ask them what their opinion is and what is best for each individual,” she said 

    She oversees the dietary staff who provide three home cooked meals and snacks daily.  She manages the maintenance department, CNAs and Medication Aids as well.  Davis is on-call for the facility 24/7, however there is staff at the Mecklenburg House caring for the residents at all time. 

    She loves interaction with the residents.  They play bingo, cards, invite outside groups to visit, bands and churches and sometimes, take short road trips. Davis shops weekly for home and resident needs and takes residents to appointments.

    Part of the reason her youngest son thinks her job is cool is because she is an award- winning administrator.    Davis was named the 2017 Diamond Award Virginia Assisted Living Association’s Administrator of the Year recently.  This award is given for those who demonstrate outstanding leadership on behalf of the assisted living industry.

    Catherine Birley, President of American Retirement Homes, notes in a video about the award Davis’ extreme friendliness and compassion.  She said, “She exhibits every single trait one wants in an administrator.  She is a superstar administrator.”

    Davis is a single mother with two sons.   Jaleal is a junior at Park View High School, where he is an outstanding student. The oldest, Javon,  received his associates at SVCC and continued on to complete his bachelors and masters at Virginia Commonwealth University.

                Davis caring, friendly and calm nature has taken her far in her career choice.   

    Visiting at Mecklenburg House, it becomes evident that Davis possess the greatest trait of all; to love and be loved in return.

    Tags: 

  53. Brunswick Academy Upper School Honor Roll for Fourth 8 Weeks 2018

    Fourth Six Weeks 2017-2018 Head of School’s List – All A’s

    Grade 9

    Tyler Creedle, Hunter Greene, Kyle Powell, and Brady Talbert;

    Grade 10

    Katie-Lynn Chandler, Jacob Farmer, Sadler Lundy, and Emily Robertson;

    Grade 11

    Taylor Capps, Savannah Greene, Daein (Dan) Kim, Jonathan Paul, Hannah Waller, and Courtney Walton;

    Grade 12*

    Halie Sadler

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

    A” & “B” Honor Roll

    Grade 9

    Aaryn Babb, Tanner Campbell, Madison Coker, Brysen Diefert, Seong-Hun (Peter) Jung, Meredith Lucy, Andrew Myrick, Jun-Young (Jun) Park, Naomi Sadler, Reagan Saunders, Kaitlyn Waller, Nelia Washburn, and Christian Williams;

    Grade 10

    William Bryant, Jr., Parker Burke, Hart Creedle, Reid Harrell, Logan Hyde, Morgan Jamison, Paige Jennings, Sutton Montgomery, Davis Roberts, Kyle Tanner, and Katie Wright;

    Grade 11

    Hunter Hastings, Guanxi (Will) He, Jinheng (Jacob) Hu, Morgan Moore, and Lucy Smith;

    Grade 12*

    Claire Gregory, Jeb Redman, Yuwei (Tiffany) Wang, Slayten Farmer, Matthew Harrison, Benjamin Lewis, and John Myrick;

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

  54. Foster Care Teens Soon Can Ask to Reunite With Birth Parents

  55. Panther Prep Day Returns April 3, 2018

     
    Panther Prep Advising Day is coming to all locations of Southside Virginia Community College on Tuesday, April 3, 2018.  This is a great time to meet advisors, learn about SVCC programs register for Summer and Fall Classes and just have some fun and food and fellowship.  The event will be held at the Alberta and Keysville Campuses from 10 until 6 p.m.  Other locations include Southern Virginia Higher Ed. Center in South Boston, the Center in Emporia, The Estes Community Center in Chase City, and Lake Country Advanced Knowledge Center in South Hill.  Also, plan to attend this event at the Occupational/Technical Center at Pickett Park in Blackstone from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  Don't miss this chance to get the scoop on all you need to know about Southside Virginia Community College.  More information about the college can be seen at www.southside.edu
  56. Gov. Northam Signs 300 Bills on Issues From Taxes to Child Abuse

  57. As Gun Bills Fail, Virginia Legislators Look Ahead to 2019

  58. Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center Announces January 2018 Employee of the Month

    Emporia, VA – Erin Johnson, RNhas been named the Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center (SVRMC) Employee of the Month for January 2018. Ms. Johnson, who works in SVRMC’s Emergency Room, has been employed at SVRMC since August 2014.

    Each month employees are nominated for demonstrating excellence in one of ten Standards of Behavior; the highlighted Standard of the Month for January was Commitment to Co-Workers.  Ms. Johnson’s nomination included the following statement: “Erin is always kind and considerate, she treats everyone with respect.  She is committed to helping her other co-workers, never complaining and always looking for ways to help others.  She is thoughtful, kind, and hardworking. She always displays a positive attitude when interacting with her co-workers and her patients. She is a wonderful asset to our team.”

    As SVRMC’s January Employee of the Month, Ms. Johnson received a certificate of recognition, balloons, cookies to share with her co-workers, a cash award, and a chance to be selected as SVRMC’s 2018 Employee of the Year.

  59. VCU HEALTH CMH CUTS RIBBON ON NEW C.A.R.E. BUILDING

    CARE Ribbon Cutting – On Tuesday, March 6th, VCU Health CMH introduced the public to its new C.A.R.E. Building by holding a ribbon cutting ceremony followed by an open house.

    South Hill, VA – Another milestone took place on Tuesday, March 6, 2018 as officials cut the ribbon for VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital’s new C.A.R.E. Building. Brenda Palmore, Vice President of Practice Management & Business Development and Wayne Parrish, Chairman of the VCU Health CMH Board of Directors, cut the ribbon together at the entrance to the new facility.

    The name C.A.R.E. reflects the services offered in the new building:  CMH Physician Services Clinics, Administration, Rehabilitation and Education.

    The $15.5 million, 67,000 square foot, C.A.R.E Building is located adjacent to the new hospital on the 74 acre campus and houses the following physician practices and hospital services:  CMH Cardiology Services; CMH Ear, Nose & Throat & Pulmonology; CMH Family Care Center; CMH Orthopedic Service; CMH Pain Management Services; CMH Surgical Services; CMH Urological Services; CMH Women’s Health Services; Administration; Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehab; Education Center; Human Resources; and Health Information Management; (CMH Family Dental Clinic coming soon).

    VCU Health CMH’s commitment to making comprehensive health care as accessible as possible is why, with the community’s help, the new C.A.R.E. Building was constructed adjacent to the new hospital.  Together, these facilities create an impressive campus; a true medical destination for all residents of Southside Virginia and Northern North Carolina.

    Also in attendance for the ribbon cutting and open house was members of the VCU Health CMH Board of Directors, representatives from the South Hill Chamber of Commerce, CMH Foundation Board members, CMH Staff and Physicians, local officials and more than 250 members of the community.  After the ribbon cutting, an open house ceremony was held from 4:00-6:00PM where attendees toured the facility, met the providers and staff, and enjoyed refreshments. 

    Two door prizes were also available for attendees who registered at the event and the winners were:  Greg Thrift of Boydton who won a photo session with Robert Harris Photography including a 16x20 Gallery Canvas Portrait and Diane Nichols of South Hill who won an Apple IPad 32GB.

  60. Co-Developers Of Meherrin Solar Project Continue Public Engagement Efforts

    Public Meeting Held, Memorandum Outlining Details Of Project Released

    (Greensville County, Va.)- Co-Developers of the Meherrin Solar Project, Brookfield Renewable and SolUnesco, have continued their public engagement efforts with a detailed overview that addresses several questions and concerns raised publicly in recent months. This comes after a public meeting was held last week to meet with local residents and businesses to discuss the project and answer any questions. The memo was directed to the planning commission.

    This document outlines the scope of the project along with the economic benefits to the community, details on the technology and facts on health, safety and the environmental impacts of the project. The Memo was sent to the Planning Commission and made available for public viewing on the project’s website, Meherrinsolarproject.com.

    Brookfield Renewable Manager of Stakeholder Relations Brian Noonan said, “We view ourselves as partners to the communities where we operate. This public engagement effort is the first step in building trust and developing a positive relationship with the community and making this project a success and beneficial for all of Greensville County.”

    SolUnesco CEO, Francis Hodsoll said, “We are deeply appreciative to those who came out to our public meeting to learn more about the project and ask questions. Throughout this process, we’ve always looked to the public for their input on the project in order to make it a success, and we will continue to make ourselves readily available to answer any questions or address any concerns that may arise.”

    Among the information found in the Memo includes the economic benefits, which include:

    • An estimated one-time pulse of economic activity during its construction phase of up to:
      • 96 full-time-equivalent jobs in Greensville County & $5 million in associated labor income
      • $16.6 million in additional economic output to Greensville County.
    • An ongoing estimated annual economic impact during its operational phase of up to:
      • 7full-time-equivalent jobs in Greensville County& $292,702 in associated labor income
      • $539,806 in additional economic output to Greensville County                                                                

    The developers are encouraging residents with questions or concerns to reach out to Francis Hodsoll of SolUnesco at info@solunesco.com or (703) 672-5097.

  61. Agribusiness Delivers Dinner

    By Dr. Al Roberts

    If you could choose anything at all, what would you want for dinner? I would take a bone-in ribeye steak, a baked potato with butter and sour cream, and a fresh Caesar salad. Dessert would feature apple pie with vanilla ice cream. But I’m flexible.  I could also be quite content with Chesapeake Bay blue crabs or barbecued spare ribs or shrimp and sausage gumbo.

    All of the items on my list of favorite foods are readily available to me because of agribusinesses, the collection of industries involved in providing agricultural products in desired forms for consumer purchase or consumption. Farming is at the heart of agribusiness, but many additional enterprises support our nation’s farmers, ranchers, and harvesters. Agribusinesses include processors, manufacturers, distributors, packaging companies, advertisers, wholesalers, retailers, and many more. They provide seed, fertilizer, feed, fencing, equipment, and a host of services that range from veterinary care to financing, and they offer career opportunities in fields such as communication, construction, research, resource management, forestry, and the management of fisheries and wildlife stocks.

    This wide spectrum of occupations is necessary because agribusiness is responsible for feeding (food), clothing (fiber), and sheltering (wood products) people around the globe. Agricultural products are our nation’s top export category. In Virginia, agribusiness is our largest private industry. In fact, there are 44,000 farms in Virginia with an average size of 181 acres (totaling 8.1 million acres), and the Commonwealth ranks in the nation’s top 15 producers of fresh market tomatoes, apples, grapes, peanuts, cotton, turkeys, and chickens for meat.

    Products and services provided by agribusinesses are so ubiquitous people often take them for granted. To help raise awareness, the Agriculture Council of America annually promotes National Ag Week, which will be observed this year March 18–24 with the focus “Agriculture: Food for Life.” Events tied to the observation will help tell the story of agriculture in America, recognize the role agriculture plays in our daily lives, and celebrate the abundance of safe products available in the American marketplace.

    During National Ag Week, SVCC’s Dean of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Business and program chair for the College’s agribusiness offerings, Dr. Dixie Dalton, and her colleagues will be visiting area elementary schools to interact with students and talk about the origins of their food. Dr. Dalton will also present a session titled “Agribusiness Is Everybody’s Business: How Is It Yours?” at an Open House for High School Seniors at SVCC’s Daniel Campus on March 23. She will discuss the wide range of agribusiness careers and education options available to students at SVCC and through transfer to senior institutions. For more information about SVCC’s agribusiness degree and certificate offerings, contact Dr. Dalton dixie.dalton@southside.edu or call 434-949-1053.

  62. General Assembly concludes session, but work remains

  63. Governor Signs Bill Reshaping How Energy Giants Operate

  64. Virginia Makes Play Time a Priority in Elementary Schools

  65. Bay Advocate, Omega Proteins Differ Over Menhaden Cap

  66. First Lady of Virginia To Deliver SVCC Commencement Address

    Pamela Northam, First Lady of Virginia, will be the Commencement Speaker for the 2018 graduation event at Southside Virginia Community College on May 12 at 9:30 a.m. at the John H. Daniel Campus, Keysville, Virginia. Her husband, Governor Ralph Northam, was sworn in as governor on January 13, 2018. 

    An educator, environmentalist and longtime advocate, Mrs. Northam has taken a leading role in Hampton Roads and Virginia to protect water quality and improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay. Most recently, the first lady has served as community outreach coordinator for Lynnhaven River NOW (LRN), a nonprofit environmental group. In this role, she oversaw advocacy and outreach programs for homeowners, congregations and businesses to help them to become more sustainable. 

    Prior to joining LRN, Mrs. Northam taught high school biology. Recognizing a need for STEM in elementary education, she became a national award-winning science specialist and worked to develop an inquiry-based, hands-on curriculum for students in grades K through 5. The first lady was appointed to the board of trustees of the Science Museum of Virginia, and she also is a board member of the innovative E3 School in Norfolk. 

    After studying at Baylor University and the University of Texas, the first lady specialized in pediatric occupational therapy, where her work included rehabilitation hospitals, teaching hospitals, and special education 

    The Northam’s have two adult children: Wes, a neurosurgery resident; and Aubrey, a web developer.

  67. Virginia Offers Salute to Women Veterans

  68. International Women’s Day Ralliers Say ‘Women’s Time Has Come’

  69. New law tightens bail restrictions for human trafficking defendants

  70. Page Not Found

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  72. Lena M. Short

    Lena M. Short, 91, of Emporia went home to be with the Lord on Tuesday, March 6, 2018. A wonderful wife, mother and grandmother, she was a longtime member of Monumental United Methodist Church.

    She is survived by her husband of 72 years, Elton A. Short; son David Short and wife, Kathy; grandson, Taylor Short and fiancée, Natalie, ; granddaughter, Mallory McCall and husband, Uriah and great-grandson, Hassan McCall.

    The family will receive friends 3-6 p.m. Friday, March 9 at the home of Mr. & Mrs. Short The funeral service will be held 11 a.m. Saturday, March 10 at Monumental United Methodist Church with interment to follow at Emporia Cemetery.

    In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions be made to Monumental United Methodist Church, 300 Southampton St., Emporia, Virginia 23847.

    Online condolences may be shared with the family at www.owenfh.com.

  73. Bernard Spates Lee

    Bernard Spates Lee, loving husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather, died Tuesday, March 6, 2018, at his home. He was 89.

    A native of Northampton County, he was the son of the late James Millard Lee and Gracie Ferguson Lee. Bernard retired from the Virginia Department of Transportation after many years of service.

    Mr. Lee is survived by his wife; Doris High Lee, a daughter; Brenda L. Daughtrey and her husband Doug, of Emporia Va., a son; Larry M. Lee and his wife Cindy D. Lee of Petersburg, Va., a sister; Shelby Jean Clements of Roanoke Rapids, four grandchildren; Lori Beth Hargrave of Roanoke Rapids, Stacey L. Clements, Danielle Reeves and Christian Lee, all of Emporia, Va., five great grandchildren; Grayson Hargrave and Ellasyn Letters of Roanoke Rapids, Holden Lee, Dakota Lee and Layla Clements of Emporia, Va. and Jody Allen of Washington, D.C.

    Funeral Services will be held Friday, March 9, 2018, at 2:00 P.M. at Forest Hill Baptist Church with Pastor Rick Ragan officiating. Burial will follow in the Church Cemetery. The family will receive friends at the Church one hour prior to the Service.

    The family would like to give special thanks to Community Hospice for their thoughtful and caring service.

    In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Forest Hill Baptist Church Cemetery Fund, 2103 Pine Log Rd., Skippers, VA 23879.

    Online condolences may be left at wrennclarkehagan.com

  74. Coal Ash Pond Closure Moratorium Bill Heads to Governor

  75. Bill Would Let Energy Giant Regulate Itself, Senator Warns

  76. Bill to Restrict Tethering Pets Is Killed for 3rd Time

  77. YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS HELP MILLIONS

    By Jacqueline Weisgarber, Social Security Public Affairs Specialist in Richmond, Virginia

    Seeing taxes taken out of your paycheck can be confusing when you get your first paycheck. But understanding how important your contribution is can help. Your taxes are helping millions of Americans — wounded warriors, the chronically ill, and people with disabilities — as well asprotecting you and your family for life. You can take pride in knowing you’re making an important impact with each paycheck.

    By law, employers must withhold Social Security taxes from a worker’s paycheck. While often referred to as “Social Security taxes” on an employee’s pay statement, sometimes the deduction is labeled as “FICA” which stands for Federal Insurance Contributions Act, a reference to the original Social Security Act. In some cases, you will see “OASDI” which stands for Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance.

    The taxes you pay now translate to a lifetime of protection — for retirement in old age or in the event of disability. And if you die, your family (or future family) may be able to receive survivors benefits based on your work as well.

    Because you may be a long way from retirement, you might have a tough time seeing the value of benefit payments that could be many decades in the future. But keep in mind that the Social Security taxes you’re paying can provide valuable disability or survivors benefits now in the event the unexpected happens. Studies show that of today’s 20-year-olds, about one in four will become disabled, and about one in eight will die before reaching retirement.

    If you’d like to learn a little more about Social Security and exactly what you’re building up for yourself by paying Social Security taxes, take a look at our online booklet, How You Earn Credits, at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10072.html.

    If you have a friend who lost a parent when they were a child, they probably got Social Security survivors benefits. Social Security helps by providing income for the families of workers who die. In fact, 98 of every 100 children could get benefits if a working parent dies. And Social Security pays more benefits to children than any other federal program. You can learn more at www.ssa.gov/benefits/survivors/.

    Do you prefer videos to reading? Check out the webinar, "Social Security 101: What's in it for me?" The webinar explains what you need to know about Social Security. You can find it at www.socialsecurity.gov/multimedia/webinars/social_security_101.html as well as on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hkLaBiavqQ.

    Social Security is with you through life’s journey. You can learn more at http://www.socialsecurity.gov.

  78. Alice Blake Eason

    Alice Blake Eason, 92, wife of the late Perry Edward Eason, passed away Sunday March 4, 2018, at Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center.

    Alice was born on July 11, 1925 in Richmond and moved to Emporia at the age of fifteen. She graduated from Greensville County High School in 1943 and attended Pan American Business College in Richmond. After raising her daughters, she went to work at Central Fidelity Bank, retiring in 1990 as Assistant Branch Manager and Customer Service Representative. Following retirement Alice was an active member of Main Street Baptist Church, member of the Order of Eastern Star and Honorary member of Meherrin Quilting Peace Makers Guild.Alice played the violin beginning at the age of six and sang in the church choir for fifty-plus years. She enjoyed sewing, cross-stitching, crocheting, quilting and spending time with her family.

    In addition to her husband she was preceded in death by her parents, Henry T. and Ruby Dickerson Blake and a brother Henry T. Blake Jr.

    Alice is survived by her loving daughters; Carolyn E. Roach (David), and Martha E. Jones (Woody). Brother; Bernard Hooker Blake, Grandchildren; Lori R. Jarratt (Timmy) and Jeffrey C. Roach (Jackie). Great grand-daughter Carleigh Jarratt, all of Emporia. Step grandchildren; Terry Brown (Kelly) of Colleyville, Texas, Dustan T. Jarratt (Emily) of Emporia, and Lynsey Overstreet (Keith) of Farmville, step great grandchildren; Hudson Jarratt of Emporia, Katherine and Abigail Brown of Colleyville, Texas and Aubrie and Reed Overstreet of Farmville, Alice will also be forever remembered by her six nieces and numerous great nieces, great nephews, extended family and dear friends.

    Funeral Services will be held Thursday, March 8, 2018 at 11:00 A.M. at Main Street Baptist Church with Rev. Dr. Ricky R. Hurst and Rev. Rick Regan officiating. Burial will follow in Emporia Cemetery. The family will receive friends Thursday from 9:30 A.M. until the time of the service.

    Donations can be made to Main Street Baptist Church or Greensville Volunteer Rescue Squad.

    Online condolences may be left at echolsfuneralhome.com.

  79. COMCAST INCREASES INTERNET SPEEDS FOR MOST CUSTOMERS FROM MAINE THROUGH VIRGINIA

    Company’s Northeast Division Increases Speeds of Most Popular Tiers By at Least 25% at No Additional Cost

    80% of Internet Customers to Have Speeds of 150 Mbps or More

    MANCHESTER, NH – March 6, 2018 -- Comcast today announced it is increasing the speeds of some of its most popular Xfinity Internet service tiers – including Blast and Performance Pro – for new and existing customers in the Northeast Division, which includes 14 northeastern states from Maine through Virginia and the District of Columbia. The increases are at no additional cost and underscore the company's leadership in delivering some of the fastest broadband Internet speeds, including Gigabit-speed services for both residential and business customers.

    Speed increases will vary based on a customers’ current speed subscription, but the vast majority will see an increase of 50 Mbps. The changes include:

    • Blast tier download speeds increasing from 200 Mbps to 250 Mbps

    • Performance Protier download speeds increasing from 100 Mbps to 150 Mbps

    • Performancetier download speeds increasing from 25 Mbps to 60 Mbps

    • Performance Startertier download speeds increasing from 10 Mbps to 15 Mbps

    “With new devices coming online for consumers every day, we’re committed to offering the fastest speeds and the best features and overall experience so our customers can take advantage of the technology available,” said Kevin Casey, President of Comcast’s Northeast Division. “We’ve increased speeds 17 times in the last 17 years, and continue to invest to deliver a fast, innovative and reliable experience in and out of the home.”

    New and existing customers can expect to see enhanced speeds this month. Most customers will automatically be upgraded to the new speeds, and will simply need to re-start their modems. Comcast will notify customers who may need to upgrade their modems to receive the new speeds. Those who lease modems from Comcast and require an upgrade can do so for no additional charge by requesting a self-install kit or visiting an Xfinity Store or service center. Those owning modems requiring an upgrade can purchase a new one or lease an Xfinity modem, which includes Xfinity xFi, which is a digital dashboard that lets customers personalize, manage and control their home Wi-Fi experience.

    For instance, customers can access xFi features via the mobile app, website, or TV with the X1 voice remote to set up their home Wi-Fi network, find their password, see what devices are connected, troubleshoot issues, set parental controls and even pause Wi-Fi access on their home network during dinner or bedtime. Comcast also recently introduced xFi Pods– small, wireless Wi-Fi extenders that help blanket virtually any home with Wi-Fi coverage even in hard-to-reach areas. These are available in Boston and will continue to roll out across the Northeast Division.

    Today’s announcement follows a number of moves, like the introduction of xFi and xFi Pods, that the company has made to enhance its high-speed internet offerings. Comcast has invested billions of dollars in its network, locally and nationally, and delivers in most of the Northeast Division speeds ranging from up to 15 Mbps to up to 2 Gbps for residential customers and up to 10 Gbps for business customers. Comcast’s 1 Gigabit-per-secondspeeds, which began launching to local residential and business customers last summer, are among the fastest and most widely available in the area. The service uses DOCSIS 3.1 technology to make it possible for Xfinity and Comcast Business internet customers to receive gigabit speeds over the communications lines that most customers already have in place. It is currently available across 80% of the division and set to reach almost all areas by the end of the year.

    So that customers can take advantage of increased internet speeds at home, Comcast also introduced the fastest in-home WiFi gateway. And on the go, Comcast provides Xfinity Internet customers with complimentary access to more than 18 million Xfinity WiFi hotspots nationwide. Customers can select "xfinitywifi" from the list of available networks on their laptops or mobile devices and enter their Xfinity ID or email and password.  

    In addition to these enhancements, Comcast also offers the nation’s largest and most comprehensive broadband adoption program, Internet Essentials. This program provides low-cost broadband service for $9.95 a month, digital literacy training and discounted computers for low-income Americans.

  80. Dr. King’s Speech ‘Changed My Life,’ Retired Sen. Marsh Says

  81. USDA Helps Cotton Producers Maintain, Expand Domestic Market

    (MEMPHIS, TN, March 3, 2018) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced at the 66th Annual Mid-South Farm and Gin Show the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is taking action to assist cotton producers through a Cotton Ginning Cost Share (CGCS) program in order to expand and maintain the domestic marketing of cotton.

    “America’s cotton producers have now faced four years of financial stress, just like the rest of our major commodities, but with a weaker safety net,” Perdue said. “In particular, cotton producers confront high input and infrastructure costs, which leaves them more financially leveraged than most of their colleagues. That economic burden has been felt by the entire cotton market, including the gins, cooperatives, marketers, cottonseed crushers, and the rural communities that depend upon their success.”

    The sign-up period for the CGCS program runs from March 12, 2018, to May 11, 2018.

    Under the program, which is administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA), cotton producers may receive a cost share payment, which is based on a producer’s 2016 cotton acres reported to FSA multiplied by 20 percent of the average ginning cost for each production region.

    Perdue added, “I hope this will be a needed help as the rural cotton-growing communities stretching from the Southeastern U.S. to the San Joaquin Valley of California prepare to plant. This infusion gives them one last opportunity for assistance until their Farm Bill safety net becomes effective.”

    The CGCS payment rates for each region of the country are:

    Region

    States

    Costs of Ginning per Acre

    CGCS Payment Rate

    Southeast................................................

    Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia.............

    $116.05

    $23.21

    Mid-South...............................................

    Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, Tennessee.......

    $151.97

    $30.39

    Southwest...............................................

    Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas

    $98.26

    $19.65

    West.......................................................

    Arizona, California, New Mexico.............................

    $240.10

    $48.02

    CGCS payments are capped at $40,000 per producer.To qualify for the program, cotton producers mustmeet conservation compliance provisions, be actively engaged in farming and have adjusted gross incomes not exceeding $900,000. FSA will mail letters and pre-filled applications to all eligible cotton producers.

    The program was established under the statutory authority of the Commodity Credit Corporation Charter Act.

    To learn more about the CGCS program, visit www.fsa.usda.gov/cgcsor contact a local FSA county office. To find your local FSA county office, visit the USDA’s new website: https://www.farmers.gov/.

  82. Free Community Event Brings Basketball Extravaganza

    The Law Enforcement and Community Basketball Extravaganza is set for Saturday, April 7, 2018 from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m.  The event is FREE to the community and features a Basketball Tournament with local greats from the past and present to be held at Brunswick High School Gymnasium, Lawrenceville, Virginia.
     
    A day full of basketball will also feature great music, vendors, a job fair and lots of fun for the entire family.  Teams and Tournament Schedule will be announced soon.
     
    Anyone interested in being a community resource or job fair vendor contact Alfonzo Seward at Alfonzo.Seward@southside. edu or call 434-949-1092. 
     
    This event is brought to you by Southside Virginia Community College, Lawrenceville Police, Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office, Brunswick County Commonwealth’s Attorney Office, Brunswick High School and McDonald's of Emporia.
  83. Virginia Schools and Youth Groups Encouraged to Participate in Statewide Campaign to Promote Safe Teen Driving During Upcoming High-Risk Months

    Virginia’s Teen Drivers Most At Risk from May through August

    Salem, VA – More teen drivers in Virginia will be involved in traffic crashes between the months of May and August than any other time of the year, statistics show. To help save lives and prevent such crashes during the high-risk warm weather months, Youth of Virginia Speak Out About Traffic Safety (YOVASO) is offering a statewide safety campaign to Virginia schools and youth groups to help teens and youth develop safe driving and passenger safety behaviors. The campaign, called "Arrive Alive," focuses on the increased risk of teen driver crashes during the spring and summer months and during prom and graduation.

    Arrive Alive kicks off March 19 and runs through May 4. During the campaign, students will work in peer-to-peer groups to develop programs and social media messages that influence their peers to be safer on Virginia roadways.  Middle schools will focus their campaign on how to be a safe passenger, pedestrian, and cyclist. High schools will focus on preventing such risky driver and passenger behaviors as texting and driving, speeding, driving with too many passengers, not wearing a seat belt, underage drinking and driving, and joy riding or “cruising.”

    Interested schools should register for free campaign materials to promote safe driving and passenger safety behaviors at www.yovaso.org by March 16.  Registration is free and includes one of the two boxes listed below.

     

    High School Campaign Box:

    • Survive the Drive Bookmarks
    • Prom/Floral Arrive Alive Card
    • What to do After a Crash Card
    • Arrive Alive Posters
    • Pledge Banner
    • Phone Wallets with a Safety Message

    Middle School Campaign Box:

    • Passenger/Bike/Pedestrian Bookmarks
    • Arrive Alive Posters
    • Pledge Banner
    • “Make Safety a Point” Pencils
    • Phone Wallets with a Safety Message

     

    Arrive Alive is sponsored by YOVASO and the Virginia State Police, and is funded by a grant from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Highway Safety Office. In addition, grants from Allstate and State Farm will support educational incentives and materials.

    For more information or to register your school or youth group for this exciting campaign, contact Casey Taylor, Program Development Coordinator at 540-375-3596 or visit yovaso.org. YOVASO is Virginia's Peer-to-Peer Education and Prevention Program for Teen Driver Safety and is a program of the Virginia State Police. Membership in YOVASO is free and open to all Virginia high schools, middle schools, and youth groups. YOVASO currently has 100 active member schools.

  84. Bill Could Lower Some Prescription Costs

  85. Monument Honoring Virginia Native Tribes Awaits Ceremony

  86. Foundation Commemorates Civil Rights Lawyer

  87. "Squirrel Hunting 101"

    I think it was last Tuesday
    or somewhere there avout
    my feelings toward my squirrel guide
    were giving me some doubt.
     
    Now they run across the highway
    and will leap from tree to teree
    yet where my guides been taking me
    none of this I see.
     
    Once in a while he'll get one
    and his bounty he will share
    still it always makes me wonder
    how long that it was there.
     
    I will admit his rate is low
    compared to others I have tried
    yet why is it where e're we go
    from me they seem to hide.
     
    Now my guides a better shooter
    Than I will ever be
    still when he gets my age on
    how much we all shall see.
     
    I do not want to loose him
    for he is a long time friend
    yet if he wants to get his fee
    this drought had better end.
     
    Roy E. Schepp
  88. Gov. Northam Gives a ‘Whoot’ about Reading

  89. Democrats and Republicans Spar as Another Shooting Unfolds

  90. Panel Kills Bill Allowing Drunken Driving on Private Property

  91. Virginia May Issue ‘Ashanti Alerts’ for Missing Adults

  92. Jackson-Feild Residents Celebrate Black History

    In recognition and celebration of Black History Month, Residential Services Supervisor Katrinka Phillips planned an entire day filled with a number of fun and educational activities. Residents created posters depicting African-Americans who were instrumental in the Civil Rights Movement. They held a poetry reading and read aloud black history information that resonated with them.  They even enjoyed a rousing game of “Black History Jeopardy” featuring questions written by staff about important people, places, days, and definitions.

    Working to ensure that every holiday throughout the year is recognized with a special meal, Jackson-Feild’s Director of Food Services Cynthia Easter pulled out all the stops for this Black History Month celebration.  Easter and her staff prepared a dinner of fried chicken, homemade macaroni and cheese, strings beans, rolls and apple cobbler that was thoroughly enjoyed by residents and staff alike.

    Days like this are just one of the many things that set Jackson-Feild apart from other treatment facilities. In addition to receiving the treatment they need, the boys and girls are provided opportunities to explore topics of interest as a group, share their talents, and celebrate holidays that are important to them.

  93. SVCC to Offer ServSafe Classes in March, 2018

    ServSafe Training will be offered on the Christanna Campus of Southside Virginia Community College beginning March 13, 2018.  The class will meet March 13, 15, 20, 22 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Workforce Development Center in Alberta.  Only ServSafe offers food and alcohol safety training and certification exams created by foodservice professionals. Cost is $79.00.
     
    To register go to https://southside.augusoft.net or email/ fax applications to Angela McClintock at 434 949 0107 or angela.mcclintock@southside.edu

  94. Construction May Start Soon on Monument Honoring Women

  95. Advocates Fight to End Gerrymandering in Virginia Supreme Court

  96. Hundreds of Virginians Rally for Medicaid Expansion

  97. High Court Rules Against Displaying Noose on Private Property

  98. Bill Would Compensate ‘Norfolk Four’ Nearly $3.5 Million

  99. Democrats Urge Republicans to Reconsider Gun Control Bills

  100. Law Will Provide Free Tampons to Female Prisoners

  101. Hearing-Impaired Teen Inspires Bill Boosting American Sign Language

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