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April 2018

GREENSVILLE/EMPORIA DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES

LOCAL BOARD MEETING

The Greensville/Emporia Department of Social Services Administrative Board will hold its regular meeting Thursday, July 18, 2019, at 3:30 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Greensville/Emporia Department of Social Services located at 1748 East Atlantic Street.

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  1. Keeping Athletes in the Game is A Cool Job for this SVCC Alum

    Lannie Hales’ job is cool because she gets paid to attend sporting events.  As the athletic trainer for East Carolina University’s Cross Country/Track and Field team, she attends events in the fall, winter and spring to keep her athletes healthy throughout their seasons.  Athletic trainers are highly qualified, multi-skilled health care professionals who collaborate with physicians to provide preventative services, emergency care, clinical diagnosis, therapeutic intervention and rehabilitation of injuries and medical conditions.  Athletic trainers are licensed as health care professionals in about 48 of the 50 states in the USA.

    Not surprisingly, Hales got her higher education start at Southside Virginia Community College.  Since her mom (Christie Hales) has worked full time for the college since before Lannie’s birth, it was just a natural pathway to follow.

    Her first classes at SVCC began as a ninth grader at Brunswick High School through the Dual Enrollment Program.  As a junior, she was accepted into the Governor’s School of Southside Virginia and attended morning classes at the Christanna Campus in Alberta for two years. 

    In May of 2012, Hales received her Associate’s degree from SVCC a month before her high school graduation.

    For the next move in her career path, she registered at James Madison University, a school she chose because she could major in Athletic Training.    With plenty of credits to transfer, she began at JMU as a sophomore and started taking the pre-requisite classes necessary for acceptance into the prestigious program. 

    Hales was overjoyed to learn she had been chosen for the program that only accepts 18 students each year.  For the next two years, Hales studied the necessary classes, observed athletic trainers in the field for over 1000 hours and assisted in the health care and rehabilitation of athletes at Eastern Mennonite University and JMU. 

    One of the greatest opportunities was working with JMU Softball in 2014, highlighted by being in the dugout during the Colonial Athletic Association Championship game and travelling with the team to the University of Kentucky at Lexington for the NCAA regionals.

    While a senior at JMU, Hales researched and applied to programs offering Graduate Assistantships in athletic training.  She landed a full scholarship to North Carolina State University where she practiced clinically as an athletic trainer and went to school for the next two years.  As a member of the Wolfpack’s Sports Medicine team, she was assigned to the Cross Country/Track and Field team consisting of about 80 athletes.    This was an excellent chance to hone her skills, gain valuable knowledge in the field and continue her lifelong passion and involvement with sports and healthcare. 

    She graduated from NC State with a Masters in Adult and Community College Education (with a specialization in Health Professions Education) in May of 2017 and searched for a full-time job as the next step in her journey.  In July, she happily accepted a position as assistant athletic trainer at East Carolina University.

    Hales said, “I am very fortunate to have had the career opportunities I’ve had so far as a young professional in athletic training. When I look back on the reasons why I have been so fortunate, my education always comes to mind first. Being an athletic trainer is the perfect job for me; I get to combine my love for sports with my passion for quality health care for others. Getting my degree at SVCC really served as the kickstart for my athletic training career and I couldn’t be more grateful. “

    Lannie is the daughter of Gil and Christie Hales of Lawrenceville and the granddaughter of Annie Ruth Kirk Clarke of Lawrenceville.

  2. Jails Struggle to Help Mentally Ill Inmates

  3. Pathways to Prevention: Measures to Curb Gun Violence

  4. "G. G. Hunter"

    to all you out there with a pet
    I ask that you listen up
    it matters not if it's a kitten
    or a pup.
     
    They will not live forever
    though at times this may seem
    yes in all reality
    this is but a dream.
     
    Now they are a great companion
    and all will return your love
    yet don't forget what's written
    in the paragraph above.
     
    Well I had a cat named G. G.
    and I thought she would forever be
    now it seems the Lord did need her
    a little more than me.
     
    The Vet told me there was nothing else
    that for her he could do
    so I took her home and held on my lap
    repeating that my love was true.
     
    She look up like she understood
    and snuggled in real tight
    well the one I was counting on forever
    did pass away that night.
     
    Well for all the love I gave her
    I got it back two-fold
    yes and I learned about forever
    before I got to old.
     
    Roy E. Schepp
  5. Greensville County High School SkillsUSA organization attended Virginia State Leadership Conference

     

    The Greensville County High School SkillsUSA organization attended the 54th Virginia State SkillsUSA Leadership Conference April 20-21, 2018 in Virginia Beach, Virginia at the Virginia Beach Convention Center. The conference was attended by the following members:  Nathanial Grizzard, Mae Hammad, Destiny Johnson, Antonio Atchinson, Neal Powell, Samantha Dickens, Taylor Powell, Kamaray Sykes, and Joshua Sutton. The following club advisors were in attendance Jerry Brown, Brittany Wright, Marsha Campbell, and James E. Wright. Students’ competition areas include Presidential Volunteer Service Award, American Degree, promotional bulletin board, and chapter display. The chapter also competed in the Chapter of Excellence program. Nathanial Grizzard, Kamaray Sykes and Mae Hammad represented the chapter as voting delegates. The students placed in the following competitions:

    • Chapter Display: First Place: Neal Powell, Destiny Johnson, Antonio Atchinson

    • Promotional Bulletin Board: Third Place: Samantha Dickens, Taylor Powell, and Joshua Sutton

    • American Degree- Samantha Dickens

    Service usually springs from selflessness. Through the Presidential Volunteer Service Award, the President of the United States recognizes volunteers for sustained service.

    The President’s Volunteer Service Award recognizes individuals, families and groups who have achieved a certain standard — measured by the number of hours served over a 12-month period or cumulative hours earned over the course of a lifetime.

    The following students won the Presidential Volunteer Service Award:

    Gold Level- Samantha Dickens

    Silver Level- Taylor Powell

    Bronze Level- Neal Powell and Maci Powell

    The chapter also received the following awards:

    • Chapter of Excellence- Chapter of Quality Award
    • Chapter of Excellence- Chapter of Distinction Award- Gold Level
    • 100% Membership Award
    • Plus Member Award

    The Chapter Excellence Program relates to the development of personal, workplace and technical skills.  The framework actualizes SkillsUSA’s mission “to empower members to become world-class workers, leaders and responsible American citizens”.  It also serves as the blueprint for career readiness--- our ultimate goal as an organization.  Greensville is one of only two schools to earn Gold out of 125 Virginia schools.

    The first place winners will represent the state of Virginia at the National Leadership Conference June 26-30, 2018 in Louisville, Kentucky.  Students will be sponsoring fundraisers during April- May. Please support the club in their efforts to attend the national conference.

    Members will be selling tickets for the Annual Boston Butt sale starting this month until the day of the sale, Wednesday, May 23, 2018.  Please see any member to purchase a Boston Butt party pack for $50.00 or Boston Butt Only for $35.00.

    If you would like to make a donation to support the club, send to Greensville County High School SkillsUSA Club, 403 Harding Street Emporia, Virginia, 23847. If you need additional information please contact one of the advisors: Jerry Brown, Brittany Wright, Gerald Wozinak, Marsha Campbell, Stephen Wells, or James E. Wright at 434-634-2195.  Greensville County High School SkillsUSA would like to extend a special thanks to the GCHS CTE Department, GCHS faculty, parents, and community for their support and donations to the club.

  6. A New Generation Takes the Forefront in Gun Control Debate

  7. Tuition and Student Debt Increasing in Virginia

  8. Moses Clements VT Scholarship Golf Tournament

    Over the last 20+ years the Emporia/Roanoke Rapids Hokie Club and Alumni Chapter (ERRHC) has supported freshmen entering Virginia Tech with scholarships exceeding $40,000.  These donations have been funded by hole sponsors and teams entering the annual golf tournament as this is the one fund raiser annually.

    This year the tournament has a new name as the Scholarship Committee has been run for years by Moses Clements, our beloved Hokie who passed away this past year.  The Scholarship and the Tournament will now bear his name Moses Clements VT Scholarship Golf Tournament, in remembrance of his dedicated service to the club and especially the Scholarship Program.  It was his annual joy to review and present the scholarships at the summer dinner.

    This year the tournament will be held on Friday May 11th at the Emporia Country Club at noon.  The event will start with a box lunch and open driving range.  There will be a shotgun start at 1:00 PM.  The cost to play is $60 per player which includes golf, golf cart, green fees, goody bag, beverages, 2 mulligans, box lunch and hors d’oeuvres after the event at the awards ceremony.

    The Emporia Country Club is located at 578 Country Club Road, Emporia.

    Hole sponsorships are $100 and should be reserved in the next 10 days as the new signs will need to be produced and placed on the holes.

    To enter the tournament or to be a hole sponsor, please contact Barry Grizzard at barry.grizzard@littleoilco.com or 804.929.3146 or any ERRHC Board Member – Wilson Clary, Meade Horne, Mike Roach, Jeff Robinson, Hall Squire, Kevin Swenson, Brian Thrower or Roly Weaver.

    The registration form may be downloaded here.

  9. KAINE, MANCHIN, CAPITO INTRODUCE BIPARTISAN LEGISLATION TO CARE FOR CHILDREN IMPACTED BY OPIOID ABUSE

    Bristol Virginia Public Schools Superintendent: this bill ‘will equip us to better achieve our vision of enabling all students to thrive’

    Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, U.S. Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA), Joe Manchin (D-WV), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) introduced the Handle with Care Act to connect children who experience traumatic events, including domestic violence situations, drug raids, overdoses, and more, to school resources that are designed to provide the child with trauma-informed care.

    “All too often, traumatic events have a devastating ripple effect across children’s lives. Given the right resources, schools can play a critical support role for kids impacted by trauma and provide them with a safe haven. I’m proud to partner with Senators Manchin and Capito to help ensure students affected by the opioid crisis and other trauma get the resources they need to thrive,” Kaine said.

    “Unfortunately, schools are seeing more and more students dealing with trauma outside of the normal school day,” said Dr. Keith Perrigan, Superintendent of Bristol Virginia Public Schools. “Even though we try to keep that in mind in all of our interactions with students, this bill ensures that lines of communication are open between community agencies as we all try to support our most vulnerable students. The Handle with Care Act will equip us to better achieve our vision of enabling all students to thrive, regardless of the obstacles they may face.”

    “We are happy to support legislation that makes the Handle with Care initiative a national model for replication. Crittenton Services, Inc., in West Virginia has been a key partner in this initiative and can attest to the difference it makes when schools, law enforcement and their partners work together with a sense of urgency to mitigate the impact of childhood trauma and support healing for children and youth, particularly marginalized girls and young women, across this country,” said Jeannette Pai-Espinosa, President of the National Crittenton Foundation.

    The Handle with Care Act of 2018 is important legislation that will boost coordination between law enforcement and school-level personnel to better support students affected by trauma-related events. We must do all we can to ensure these students receive timely interventions to mitigate the impact of trauma so they can focus on learning,” said Dr. L. Earl Franks, Executive Director of the National Association of Elementary School Principals.

    “Nothing offends a principal more than the loss of human potential. Yet every, day, principals see that potential robbed from their students by an opioid epidemic that devastates their schools and their families. With every student who suffers the trauma of opioid abuse, we lose a bit more of our future. I applaud Senators Manchin, Kaine, and Capito for casting a spotlight on this public health crisis and, more important, for championing legislation to battle it,” said Joann Bartoletti, Executive Director of the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

    The Handle with Care program, which originated in West Virginia, is as simple as law enforcement sending a “Handle with Care” alert to the child’s school. While the school does not receive any information other than the child’s name and the alert, it enables the school to exercise the trauma-informed training provided in coordination with the Handle with Care program. The goal of the program is to promote safe schools, and communities, while ensuring that every child is able to thrive in school even when they face trauma at home. 

    The Handle with Care Act would authorize $10 million in federal funding to establish 5-year demonstration grants for states to address the impact of substance use related and other trauma on children and youth in public schools by strengthening or building Handle with Care programs. These programs would:

    1. Develop and share evidence-based or evidence-informed training for trauma informed care and provide that training in schools connected to the program.
    2. Connect students who experience trauma at home to those resources in schools via the “Handle with Care” alert from law enforcement.
    3. Require programs to report on the success of the Handle with Care programs in improving student outcomes.

    Endorsed By:            

    • National Association of Secondary School Principals
    • AASA – School Superintendents Association
    • American School Counselor Association
    • National Association for School Psychologists
    • National Education Association
    • The National Crittenton Association
    • National Association of Elementary School Principals
    • American Psychological Association
    • West Virginia Center for Children’s Justice
  10. Examination of NRA Spending Shows a Tactic of Hidden Influence

  11. DRUG TAKEBACK DAY EVENTS TO BE HELD ACROSS SOUTHSIDE VIRGINIA

    ~Attorney General Herring reminds Virginians to dispose of unused prescriptions, especially opioids, at one of many drop-off sites across the Commonwealth~

    RICHMOND (April 24, 2018) - Attorney General Mark R. Herring is encouraging Virginians to take advantage of Saturday's National Prescription Drug Take Back Day to dispose of unused or expired medications, especially prescription opioids, before they can be misused, abused, or accidentally ingested. Law enforcement agencies, community partners, and members of the Attorney General's team will be stationed at dozens of locations throughout the Commonwealth to accept medications for proper disposal. Takeback locations in the Southwide area, which will be open from 10am - 2pm, are listed below, and you can find a site near you by searching here.

    "One of the simplest things we can all do to fight the opioid epidemic and make our homes and our communities safer is to get rid of unused prescriptions before they are misused, abused, or even accidentally ingested by a child or grandchild," said Attorney General Herring. "We know that opioid abuse often starts with drugs from the medicine cabinet, not the streets. Taking just a few minutes of your weekend to clean out your medicine cabinet and get rid of unneeded medication can be a huge step forward in making your home and you family safer."

    There is a strong link between misuse of prescription opioids, opioid addiction, and even subsequent use of heroin once prescriptions become too expensive or are no longer accessible. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse:

    • Heroin abuse is 19 times more likely among those who abuse prescription opioids.
    • Half of young people who used heroin got started by abusing prescription opioids.
    • One in fifteen individuals who misuse prescription opioid painkillers will try heroin within 10 years.
    • Studies show a link between the availability of prescription and illicit drugs and the likelihood of abuse.

    In Virginia, opioid overdose deaths have risen steadily since 2010:

    • Heroin overdose deaths have risen more than 1,060% between 2010 and 2015, from 48 to 558.
    • Fentanyl deaths have risen by over 1,500% percent from 2007 to 2017, from 48 to 770.
    • Prescription opioid overdose deaths have risen 26% between 2007 and 2017, from 400 deaths to 504.

    Attorney General Herring has made combating the heroin and prescription opioid epidemic a top priority, attacking the problem with a multifaceted approach that includes enforcementeducation, prevention, and legislation to encourage reporting of overdoses in progress, expand the availability of naloxone, and expand access to the Prescription Monitoring Program. He has supported federal efforts to improve the availability of treatment and recovery resources and made prescription drug disposal kits availableacross the Commonwealth. Attorney General Herring recently outlined his recommended next steps for combating the crisis, focusing on law enforcement initiatives, support from the medical community, and recovery, treatment, prevention and education. He is also participating in a multistate investigation into the practices of drug manufacturers and distributors to determine what role they may have played in creating or prolonging the crisis.

    Drug Takeback locations include:

    DANVILLE POLICE DEPARTMENT

    CENTRA MEDICAL GROUP DANVILLE 
    PARKING LOT - WEST END OF THE BUILDING

    414 PARK AVE

    DANVILLE

    VA, 24541

    PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE

    MT. HERMON SHOPPING CENTER 
    FOOD LION PARKING LOT

    4048 FRANKLIN TURNPIKE

    DANVILLE

    VA, 24540

    PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE

    PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE 
    IN FRONT OF SHERIFF'S OFFICE

    21 NORTH MAIN STREET

    CHATHAM

    VA, 24531

    PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE

    FOOD LION 
    PARKING LOT

    100 VADEN STREET

    GRETNA

    VA, 24557

    MARTINSVILLE POLICE DEPARTMENT

    MARTINSVILLE FIRE DEPARTMENT 
    FRONT ENTRANCE

    65 WEST CHURCH ST.

    MARTINSVILLE

    VA, 24112

    LAWRENCEVILLE POLICE DEPARTMENT

    LAWRENCEVILLE MUNICIPAL BUILDING 
    AT THE ENTRANCE TO THE POLICE DEPARTMENT

    400 N. MAIN STREET

    LAWRENCEVILLE

    VA, 23868

    FARMVILLE POLICE DEPARTMENT/LONGWOOD UNIVERSITY PD

    MIDTOWN SQUARE 
    IN FRONT OF CHICK-FIL-A

    156 S. SOUTH STREET

    FARMVILLE

    VA, 23901

    VIRGINIA STATE POLICE

    VIRGINIA STATE POLICE DIVISION III HQS 
    POC: SGT DREW MCCORMICK

    240 THIRD DIVISION LOOP

    APPOMATTOX

    VA, 24522

    APPOMATTOX COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE

    KROGER

    7851 RICHMOND HWY

    APPOMATTOX

    VA, 24522

    AMELIA COUNTY SHERFF'S OFFICE

    AMELIA PHARMACY INC. 
    FRONT SIDEWALK BY STORE ENTRANCE

    15412 PATRICK HENRY HWY.

    AMELIA

    VA, 23002

    AMELIA COUNTY SHERFF'S OFFICE

    RITE AID PHARMACY 
    FRONT SIDEWALK BY STORE ENTRANCE

    15105 PATRICK HENRY HWY

    AMELIA

    VA, 23002

     

  12. From Gun Shows to Capitol Debates, Firearms Are in the Crosshairs

  13. 2018 SVCC Corrections Awards

    Southside Virginia Community College recently hosted the 10th Annual Corrections Awards Banquet  sponsored by Lawrenceville Correctional Center at the Christanna Campus in Alberta.  This night recognizes an officer of the year and employee of the year for Southside Virginia's correctional facilities.  Those recognized are (Front Row, Left to Right) Dora D. Hardy, employee for Baskerville Correctional Center, Officer Kathy Turner for Greensville Correctional Center, Officer Regina Pearson for Lawrenceville Correctional Center, Officer Joyce H. Bruce for Baskerville Correctional, Lt. Cynthia Power for Deerfield Correctional Center, Dinah Kreitz, employee for Lawrenceville  Correctional, Cecilia Presseau, employee for Lunenburg Correctional Center, and Sgt. Elsie Pennington for Lunenburg Correctional and (Back row, L to R) Sylvia Lawrence, employee for Greensville Correctional, guest speaker Warden Eddie L. Pearson of Greensville, Elizabeth Carr, employee for Deerfield Correctional, Sheron Jenkins, employee for Dillwyn Correctional Center, Officer Dolly Scruggs for Dillwyn, Pamela Labriola for Nottoway Correctional Center, Officer Tyrone Craighead for Nottoway Correctional Center, Officer John Towns for Buckingham Correctional Center, and Jennifer Andrews, Employee for Buckingham  Halifax Correctional  #23 was unable to attend but awards went to Officer Jonathan Carey and Rickey Childress, employee. 

  14. USDA Rural Development Innovation Center Launches Interactive Webpage to Share Best Practices for Rural Economic Development

    RICHMOND, April 25, 2018 – Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today unveiled a new interactive webpage to identify best practices for building rural prosperity.

    “Rural communities need forward-thinking strategies to build strong, resilient futures,” Hazlett said. “USDA’s Rural Development Innovation Center is focused on identifying unique opportunities, pioneering new, creative solutions to tough challenges, and making Rural Development’s programs easier to understand, use and access.”

    The webpage highlights effective strategies that have been used to create jobs, build infrastructure, strengthen partnerships and promote economic development in rural America.

    An interactive feature allows webpage visitors to submit comments on ways USDA can improve Rural Development program delivery. Innovation Center staff will review these recommendations and direct customers to resources, services and expertise that will help their communities create transformative solutions to complex rural challenges.

    The webpage also highlights USDA resources that can be used for investments in infrastructure and innovation. These resources include USDA’s Distance Learning & Telemedicine Grant ProgramCommunity Connect Grant Program, and Community Facilities Programs.

    Secretary Perdue established the Rural Development Innovation Center to streamline, modernize and strengthen the delivery of Rural Development programs. To do this, the Innovation Center is focused on improving customer service to rural communities and increasing rural prosperity through strategic partnerships and capacity-building, data analytics and evaluation, and regulatory reform.

    In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump, which included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America.

    To view the report in its entirety, please view the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity (PDF, 5.4 MB). In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic (PDF, 190 KB).

    USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.

  15. Greensville County High School Scores $986 Athletics Grant from California Casualty

    (L to R): Assistant Superintendent - Roland 'Tommy' Coleman, Coach - Charles D. Ross, Greensville County High School Principal - Lameka Harrison, Greensville UniServe Director Evette Wilson, Greensville County Education Association Building Rep Nateesha Maryland, California Casualty’s Scott McKenna
     
    Emporia, VA, April 24, 2018 – Athletes at Greensville County High School (Emporia) will benefit from the 2018 California Casualty Thomas R. Brown Athletics Grant program. It is one of 79 public middle schools and high schools in 32 states awarded a total of $83,000 to aid sports programs affected by tight budgets.
     
    The school will use the $986 to provide new resistance bands, medicine balls and other equipment for the weight room that will benefit all PE classes and student athletes. Coach Charles Ross says the new equipment will help him provide a quality sports program at the school, and the items will have a positive effect on student-athletes for years to come.
     
    Two other Virginia schools, Holston High School (Damascus) and Huguenot High School (Richmond), also received athletics grants from California Casualty this year.
     
    The grant is named for California Casualty Chairman Emeritus Tom Brown, an avid sportsman who believes that teamwork, confidence and sportsmanship help develop high achievers in academics and in life.
     
    Since its inception in 2011, more than $660,000 has been awarded to some 600 schools across the nation.
     
    “All students should have the opportunity to compete,” said Lisa Almeida, Assistant Vice President. “California Casualty’s 67 year commitment to educators and schools also reaches to athletic fields.”
     
    Public middle and high schools in the Old Dominion State with an unmet need for a sports program can try for next year; applications for the 2018/2019 California Casualty Thomas R. Brown Athletics Grants are now being taken at www.calcasathleticsgrant.com. The deadline for consideration is January 15, 2019.
     
    California Casualty has other initiatives that give back to educators for all their hard work including the “Wherever Your Journey Takes you…We’ll be there” sweepstakes for a chance to win a Dodge Journey, www.winajourney.com; $7,500 School Lounge Makeover®, www.schoolloungemakeover.com; and $200 Help Your Classroom grants, www.calcas.com/help-your-classroom.

     
    Founded in 1914, California Casualty provides the NEA® Auto & Home Insurance Program, available to VEA members. Headquartered in San Mateo, California, with Service Centers in Arizona, Colorado and Kansas, California Casualty has been led by four generations of the Brown family. To learn more about California Casualty, or to request an auto insurance quote, please visit www.calcas.com/NEA or call 1.800.800.9410.

  16. VA, WV SENATORS INTRODUCE LEGISLATION TO RENAME DEPT OF AGRICULTURE AS ‘DEPT OF AGRICULTURE AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT’

    ~ Bipartisan legislation would recognize Department’s focus on increasing economic opportunities in rural communities ~

    WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Joe Manchin (D-WV), and Tim Kaine (D-VA) introduced bipartisan legislation that would rename the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. The change would accurately reflect theDepartment’s increasing focus on improving the quality of life of more than 45 million Americans living in rural areas. The Department already provides significant financial resources and technical assistance to rural communities in the form of loans, loan guarantees, and grants that help support economic development in these areas. Renaming the agency would help highlight its mission of providing rural communities with access to critical infrastructure, broadband, telecommunications connectivity, capital, healthcare, and other essential resources.

    “President Lincoln called USDA ‘The People’s Department’ because, dating back to its founding in 1862, it has always been the primary government entity charged with boosting economic development in rural communities. But at the time of USDA’s creation, nearly half of all Americans lived on farms, compared to just 2 percent today,” said Sen. Warner. “This bipartisan bill would highlight the USDA’s ongoing efforts to help rural communities thrive and underscore that part of its mission is increasing economic opportunity in rural America.”

    “USDA plays an instrumental role in improving the lives of millions of Americans living in rural areas—especially in states like West Virginia,” said Sen. Capito. “The department has provided West Virginians access to increased broadband connectivity, improved health services, and critical infrastructure, and remains an important partner in these and other efforts. Renaming USDA will make it possible to recognize the agency’s role in creating more economic opportunity in rural communities, as well as its increasing role in rural development.”

    “Today, the Department of Agriculture does more than provide assistance to farmers, it provides residents in rural areas in West Virginia with financial and technical assistance to confront the challenges many areas currently face,” said Sen. Manchin. “That’s why I believe the Department should be renamed and known for the services it should be focusing on, such as improving access to critical infrastructure, broadband, telecommunications connectivity, capital, healthcare, and other essential resources. Last year, I co-chaired the Appalachia Initiative where I discussed ways to address the challenges the rural communities in West Virginia face. This legislation will help shine a light on the Department of Agriculture’s vital work to ensure rural America does not get left behind.”

    “USDA plays a critical role in promoting infrastructure and economic development in rural America. Too many rural communities lack clean drinking water, reliable broadband internet, and adequate health and transportation resources,” said Sen. Kaine. “The rural development mission of USDA is just as important as its agriculture, food safety, and nutrition missions and should be reflected in its title.”

    President Abraham Lincoln signed into law an act of Congress in 1862 that established the United States Department of Agriculture. Currently, USDA is made up of 29 agencies and offices with nearly 100,000 employees who serve the American people at more than 4,500 locations across the country and abroad. The Department is the federal agency in charge of meeting the needs of farmers and ranchers, promoting agricultural trade and production, working to assure food safety, protecting natural resources, fostering rural communities and ending hunger in the United States and internationally. In 2012, USDA commemorated its 150th anniversary.

    “Rural communities are a key pillar of America, however, they are often challenged by geographic isolation and persistent poverty. For the residents of rural America that continue to feel left behind in today’s economy, The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Act of 2017 offers a renewed focus on the economic matters specific to their community. BPC Action hopes this step by Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and Joe Manchin (D-WV) will better focus federal efforts around conditions in rural America and produce pragmatic solutions such as those recommended by BPC’s Appalachia Initiative,” said Michele Stockwell, Executive Director of BPC Action.

    “The National Cotton Council greatly appreciates the work and support of Sen. Warner to help address economic challenges facing the cotton industry and broader concerns in agriculture and across rural America.  We support the Senator’s efforts to highlight the critically important role of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in providing rural development support and economic opportunities in our rural communities,” said Reece Langley, VP of Washington Operations of the National Cotton Council.

    "America's turkey farmers appreciate Sen. Warner's support for the rural communities that supply our farm inputs and where many of the facilities that process the turkeys we raise are located. This effort to rename the Department of Agriculture "the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development" reinforces the importance of rural development in the mission of the Department and to rural communities. The National Turkey Federation thanks Sen. Warner for working to ensure the communities where our families, friends and neighbors work and go to school have access to the infrastructure and resources needed to thrive and grow" said Joel Brandenberger, President of the National Turkey Federation.  

    “Historically, Rural Development programs have not been a priority within the Agriculture Department, regardless of political party in charge. We believe renaming the Department would elevate the Rural Development mission area and better reflect the importance of these programs for rural communities across the country,” said Robert A. Rapoza, Executive Secretary of the National Rural Housing Coalition.

    Sens. Warner and Manchin, along with Sens. David Perdue (R-GA) and Thom Tillis (R-NC), are co-chairs of the bipartisan Appalachia Initiative, a task force convened with the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) to find pragmatic, bipartisan solutions to Appalachia’s challenges. Last year, they released a report with a set of bipartisan recommendations to boost economic growth in Appalachia. Sens. Warner, Capito, and Manchin, along with Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS), have also introduced bipartisan legislation to expand economic opportunity in Appalachia.

    The text of the bill can be found here.

  17. Own a Business or Live in Brunswick County? Take the Broadband Survey

    Dear Editor,

    Greetings from the Brunswick County Board of Supervisors!

    The Board of Supervisors adopted its Vision for 2035 in February 2017 to provide a guide, or road map if you will, for our County. Among those priorities in the Vision for 2035 included the following:

    Premier Location for Economic Growth and Development

    In response to this goal the Board of Supervisors voted to partner with the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) - at no cost to the County — to conduct a comprehensive Broadband Needs Assessment Survey for the County to:

    • Identify gaps in broadband service,
    • Identify key vertical assets that could address the un-»“under-served areas,
    • Provide funding options for new infrastructure,
    • Define strategies for partnering with incumbent providers, and
    • Document methods for addressing broadband awareness and adoption to improve utilization for all citizens.

    As you may be aware, better broadband access can enhance the quality of life for many through increased access to health services, improved communication with friends and family, and faster home entertainment streaming, as well as opportunities for working, shopping, and education from home.

    I am certain that by now everyone has either seen in our local newspaper or on social media a request to go online to complete the Brunswick County Broadband Needs Assessment Survey. If you have filled out the survey we GREATLY appreciate your participation. The deadline to respond to this survey has been extended to Monday, April 30, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. The deadline to participate has been extended to permit more households and businesses an opportunity to be heard — as we stand today we are at an average of 9 % participation whereas we need to be in the 12 to 15 percent participation level to attract and be competitive with various broadband providers. The higher level of participation clearly signals that our citizens are serious about their interest in as well as showing concern for our education systems (public/private/higher ed/job retraining) and dire interest in attracting Economic Development opportunities to the County! Again, we need EVERY HOUSEHOLD OR BUSINESS to either complete a paper copy that is located at the public library, the County Government Building — Administration or Planning Offices or the Chamber of Commerce. You may still go online and complete the Broadband Needs Assesment Survey.

    We look forward to your responses to the County’s Broadband Needs Assessment Survey.

    Sincerely,

    Barbara Jarrett Harris

    Chair Brunswick County Board of Supervisors

  18. Benchmark Bankshares, Inc. Reports First Quarter Earnings

    KENBRIDGE, VA, April 23, 2018 - Benchmark Bankshares, Inc. (BMBN), the Kenbridge-based hold­ing company for Benchmark Community Bank, announced unaudited results for the first quarter of 2018.  Net income of $2,127,433, or $0.41 per share, for the first quarter of 2018 was up $459 thousand, or 27.5% over net income of $1,667,506, or $0.32 per share, for the first quarter of 2017.  Return on average assets increased from 1.20% to 1.45% and return on average equity increased from 10.43% to 12.52% when comparing the first quarter of 2018 the same period one year ago.

    Loan demand remains strong.  Total loans, up by $5.9 million year-to-date, have increased by $39.8 million over the past twelve months.  Loan demand in the Henderson, NC and Wake Forest, NC markets have been the primary driver of this growth.  Total loans have increased by $7.5 million and $3.3 million, respectively, in these markets for the quarter and by $13.9 million and $21.6 million, respectively, over the past twelve months.  Yield on loans increased from 5.28% to 5.42% as the Federal Reserve continues to increase interest rates.  The result was an increase of $658 thousand, or 11.21%, in interest and fees on loans when comparing the first quarter of 2018 to the first quarter of 2017.

    Total deposits at quarter-end amounted to $536.1 million, an increase of $12.2 million during the quarter and an increase of $29.2 million over the past twelve months.  During this time noninterest-bearing checking deposits are up $8.2 million, interest-bearing checking accounts are up $10.7 million, savings accounts are up $5.3 million, money market accounts are up $17.1 million, and time deposits are down $12.1 million.  The bank’s cost of funds has remained steady at 0.40%, resulting in a small $28 thousand increase in interest expense for the quarter.  The bank’s net interest margin increased from 4.47% to 4.71% when compared to one year ago. 

    Net interest income, before the provision for loan losses, amounted to $6.35 million in the first quarter of 2018, up 11.3% from $5.70 million in the first quarter of 2017. 

    Total noninterest income declined by $44 thousand, or 2.93%, as the gain on the sale of loans decreased from $292 thousand to $223 thousand for the quarter.  During the first quarter of 2017 the bank incurred a gain on the sale of securities of $52 thousand while no securities were sold during the first quarter of 2018.

    Net charge-offs for the quarter amounted to $32 thousand, down from $139 thousand charged off during the first quarter of 2017.  Although charge-offs remain low and past-due loans are declining, management provisioned $156 thousand to the loan loss reserve during the first quarter of 2018, primarily as a result of loan growth.  Management provisioned $181 thousand to the reserve during the first quarter of 2017.  The current loan loss reserve stands at $4.8 million, or 0.98% of total loans. 

    Foreclosed assets, at $3.2 million, are down from $3.8 million one year ago.  The bank incurred expenses, including valuation write-downs, related to foreclosed assets of $227 thousand in the first quarter.  This compares to $42 thousand expensed during the first quarter last year. 

    The common stock of Benchmark Bankshares, Inc. trades on the OTC Pink marketplace under the symbol BMBN. Any stockbroker can assist with purchases of the company's stock, as well as with sales of holdings.

    Benchmark Community Bank, founded in 1971, is head­quartered in Kenbridge, VA, and is the company's sole subsidiary which oper­ates twelve banking offices through­out central Southside Vir­ginia and loan production offices in Wake Forest, NC and Henderson, NC.  Additional information is available at the company’s website, www.BCBonline.com.

      Three Months Ended March 31,
      (Dollars in thousands, except per share data)
      2018   2017   2016
    Assets $608,800   $576,196   $535,440
    Loans (gross) $492,684   $452,823   $427,689
    Deposits $536,165   $506,992   $469,501
    Equity $69,399   $65,672   $61,801
    Equity to Assets 11.40%   11.40%   11.54%
    Loans to Deposits 91.89%   89.32%   91.09%
               
    Net Income $2,127   $1,668   $1,600
    Effective Tax Rate* 19.09%   30.51%   30.61%
               
    Return on Avg. Equity 12.52%   10.43%   10.48%
    Return on Avg. Assets 1.45%   1.20%   1.21%
    Earnings per Share $0.41   $0.32   $0.31
    Book Value per Share $13.49   $12.71   $11.97
    *Corporate tax rate reduced from 34% to 21% as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.
  19. Erma F. Vincent

    Erma F. Vincent, 85, of Emporia, passed away Monday, April 23, 2018. She was the daughter of the late Joseph W. and Annie Harrell Ferguson and was also preceded in death by three brothers, Kennon Ferguson, Wade Ferguson and Clayton Ferguson and sisters, Mamie Driver and Avis Frazier.

    Mrs.Vincent is survived by her husband, Arnold S. Vincent; two daughters, Vicki V. Story and husband, Robert “Bobby” and Cindy V. Holloman and husband, Ricky; two grandchildren, Brandon R. Story and wife, Kristin and Eric L. Holloman; two great-granddaughters, Allison Grace Story and Anna Morgan Story; two sisters, Ruby Pearson and Bettie Veliky; a brother, Melvin Ferguson and a number of nieces and nephews.

    The funeral service will be held 11 a.m. Wednesday, April 25 at Forest Hill Baptist Church where the family will receive friends one hour prior to the service. Interment will follow in the church cemetery.

    In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions be made to Forest Hill Baptist Church Cemetery Fund, 2103 Pine Log Rd, Skippers, VA 23879.

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

  20. VCU Health CMH Saved My Life

    Karen Kurz, a native of Ohio, whom currently resides in Bracey, VA.

    SOUTH HILL -- You might not think it’s possible to mistake an appendicitis attack for the flu, but if you ask Karen Kurz from Bracey, Virginia, she will assure you it was actually pretty easy.

    Karen was scheduled for a colonoscopy on a Wednesday at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital and began her prep on Tuesday. But prior to starting the prep, she began experiencing stomach cramps, which she attributed to being hungry since you can’t eat prior to a colonoscopy.

    Being a compliant patient, Karen started her prep, but quickly realized it wasn’t going to work as she got sick to her stomach. Stomach cramps, nausea and what inevitably happens when you begin prep for a colonoscopy certainly check off a lot of boxes that would lead a lay person to believe she had the flu. She also started running a slight fever that first day.

    Move to day two and now the fever is rising and all the other symptoms continue unabated. She even had her husband text their son to let him know they wouldn’t be traveling to visit the grandkids that weekend because she ‘had the flu.’

    Day two saw her fever spike to 102.2 with no let-up of her other symptoms. Unable to keep things down, Karen was quickly becoming dehydrated. Fast forward to day three and she finally experienced right lower quadrant abdominal pain  - severe enough abdominal pain to prompt a visit to VCU Health CMH’s Family Care.

    There she was seen by Teresa Parham, nurse practitioner, and Dr. Paul Weidman.  A blood draw showed an extremely high white blood cell count, coupled with severe dehydration, nausea and pain and the Family Care providers moved her quickly to the Emergency Department.

    That move, according to Karen’s husband, Ken, most likely saved her life.

    “You have to know my wife to understand how tough she is,” he said. “I knew she was truly ill because she didn’t fight going to the doctor. For two days she thought she had the flu. But Teresa (Parham) took one look at her and sprang into action ordering a stat complete blood count to go along with a urinalysis and the physical exam. I firmly believe they, along with the ED staff and Dr. Michael Tozzi, saved her life. I can’t say enough good about the care provided by them and everyone at CMH.”

    As Karen was wheeled from the CARE Building to the emergency department, things were already in motion. A CT confirmed a ruptured appendix which meant emergency surgery on a Thursday night.

    Ken explained, “Dr. Tozzi came in and told us he would be performing the emergency appendectomy and he feared that she was going to face a serious ordeal. He explained that he would most likely have to open Karen up completely to take care of the problem.”

    Normally the appendix can be removed through laparoscopic surgery, but because of the rupture, Karen would be looking at a full-blown 3-4 hour surgery.

    “Karen was really, really sick,” her husband said. “When we got to the doctor’s office her blood pressure was 80 over 50 and everyone was afraid she was going into septic shock. Dr. Tozzi told me after surgery that she was in shock. This is the kind of stuff that people die from.”

    According to Ken they worked in the emergency department infusing fluids into Karen prior to the surgery to get her BP up, but they also began an extensive regimen of antibiotics to battle the poison that was flooding her system from the ruptured appendix.

    A three-hour surgery that saw Dr. Tozzi use about 10 liters of saline to flush Karen’s abdominal cavity saved her life.

    “I can’t say enough about how everyone worked so well together, from Teresa and Dr. Weidman through the Emergency Department, Dr. Tozzi and all the nurses,” Ken said. “When someone you love experiences a life-threatening emergency, you don’t want to worry about the people taking care of that person.  I will tell you that I never once worried that she wasn’t receiving outstanding care. They kept me informed throughout the surgery, they all answered questions about what was going on, what could happen, what should happen.  It was exactly how I feel things should have been handled. They showed confidence in their abilities and I felt they were certainly capable of taking care of my wife.”

    The good news is, Karen is home now after a six-day hospital stay.  She has an eight-inch incision to show for her “flu.” She does face a prolonged recovery period because of the seriousness of the surgery, cutting of her stomach muscles, and the infection because of the ruptured appendix, but the prognosis is very good.

    “I believe we owe an incredible debt to VCU Health CMH, Teresa Parham, Paul Weidman, Michael Tozzi and all the other staff,” Ken said. “I know they saved Karen’s life.”

  21. VSU Receives $249,800 Grant to Expand Urban Agriculture Education Through Distance Learning

    Virginia State University has been awarded $249,800 by the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA) to expand its urban agriculture education through distance learning.

    “On behalf of the Sustainable Urban Agriculture Program, I am very excited about the new grant award, which will to enable us to expand the program and to reach a wider audience through distance education,” said Dr. Leonard Githinji, Extension specialist, sustainable & urban agriculture. “The distance-learning format will give many more people access to course content developed by experts from Virginia State and Virginia Tech Universities, and will appeal to participants who cannot physically attend the classes due to distance or time conflicts.”

    Githinji plans to adapt his Sustainable Urban Agriculture Certificate Program from its current face-to-face format to a self-paced, online option that will increase the number of participants. The grant money will help cover the costs of acquiring the technology to deliver the program and supporting the personnel needed to implement the distance learning modules. The online learning format will offer participants some flexibility to complete the course’s 16 modules according to their schedules. Upon completing the program, participants will receive a certificate in Sustainable Urban Agriculture.

    The program’s target audience includes Extension educators, Master Gardeners, teachers, home gardeners and commercial growers. At least 17 percent of Virginia’s population is affected by limited food access or food deserts. Urban agriculture, defined as the growing of plants and the raising of animals for food and other uses within and around cities and towns, has a huge potential in mitigating food deserts and situations of limited food access. Urban agriculture can help to remedy food desert situations, create economic opportunities in urban neighborhoods and help to nourish the health and social fabric of communities.

    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.

  22. SVCC Offers Apprenticeship Opportunties

    Global Safety Textile (GST) of South Hill, developers and manufactures of airbags, airbag textiles and technical textiles, has partnered with Southside Virginia Community College to help develop and train twelve employees to become industrial maintenance technicians.

    “In today’s current economy, hiring qualified maintenance mechanics is a challenge”, said Rob Deutsch, Director of Human Resources for the company.

    For years, colleges saw enrollments declining in technical degrees such as Electrical and Mechanical. Unfortunately, for manufacturing this decline presents a real crisis. In fact, the hardest segment of the workforce to staff has been in the skilled trades: welders, electricians and mechanics.

    GST, collaborated with SVCC’s Dr. Chad Patton, Dean of Career and Technical Training, and Kelly Arnold, Apprenticeship Coordinator, to formulate a strategy to train current employees. Apprenticeship is a tried and true method for training, remarks, Arnold.

    “By combining educational classes with on-the-job training, apprentices learn exponentially,” she said.

    Each class the employees are taking was selected with the intention of transforming the twelve into maintenance technicians for GST.

     The group began in January taking classes at Lake Country Advanced Knowledge Center in South Hill.  The instructor applies hands-on training to the AC/DC Electrical class. 

    Dr. Patton said, “All of our teachers in the program have real world experience.  We have former department lead instructor for Mechatronics and a host of teachers who are currently working in the Industrial Maintenance field to ensure the instruction is relevant.”

    The college has also run apprenticeship training for Beach Mold, Georgia Pacific and Toll Brothers located in Emporia/Greensville.  

    Each week the employees build on the previous class. While some are coming after work and others before work; both groups arrive ready to learn. Long days or nights at work, coupled with educational classes, homework, and tests all prove the group is willing and able to invest in themselves but also into preparing GST to beat the skills gap challenge.

    While maintenance technician may not be the new career buzz, it is certainly a profession where both men and women can find employment in Southside Virginia. In fact, recent statistics indicate that job seekers are realizing that skilled trades are in hot demand. For the twelve at GST, the future is bright. The industrial maintenance program involves taking one class per week, for about 18 months, but provides an easily attainable goal. For more information about industrial maintenance or apprenticeship training, visit LCAKC or www. southside.edu   SVCC also offers an Associate in Applied Science degree in Industrial Maintenance Technician.

  23. Virginia Schools Participate in National School Walk-out - a CNS Social Media Story

  24. VIRGINIA STATE POLICE DEDICATE HELIPAD TO HONOR TROOPER-PILOT KILLED IN THE LINE OF DUTY IN 2017

    RICHMOND – Two Virginia governors joined more than 200 family and friends Wednesday (April 18, 2018) to formally dedicate and name the helipad at the Virginia State Police administrative headquarters in Chesterfield County. Governor Ralph Northam and former Governor Terry McAuliffe, along with Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran and the family of Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates unveiled the new sign that designates the helipad in Bates’ memory.

    (Pictured L-R) Virginia Deputy Secretary of Public Safety & Homeland Security Ryant Washington, Governor Ralph Northam, Fmr. Governor Terry McAuliffe, Virginia Secretary of Public Safety & Homeland Security Brian Moran and Colonel Gary Settle with Trooper-Pilot Bates’ wife, Amanda, and their children.

    “The Trooper-Pilot Berke Bates Helipad will serve as a lasting tribute to Berke’s incredible spirit and legacy as a public safety professional, aviator, father, son, brother, and friend,” said Col. Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “This memorial will be seen by those visiting our administrative headquarters and Academy. It is also rightly located just across the way from the very Academy doors Berke proudly walked through in January 2004 to begin his career as a Virginia State Police trooper. We hope this simple, but meaningful, tribute brings added and lasting comfort to his family, friends, and colleagues.”

    Bates, 40, and the State Police Aviation Unit Commander, Lt. H. Jay Cullen III, became the Department’s 64th and 65th Virginia State Police line of duty deaths when their helicopter crashed Aug. 12, 2017, in Albemarle County. The Department dedicated its Chesterfield Aviation Base and Headquarters in Lt. Cullen’s memory in February 2018.

    Trooper-Pilot Bates was born in Manassas, Va. and graduated from Brentsville District Middle-Senior High School in Nokesville, Va. in 1994. He served as a Trooper with the Florida Highway Patrol from 1998 until he joined the Virginia State Police in 2004. He graduated from the Virginia State Police Academy on August 27, 2004 as a member of the 107th Basic Session. His first assignment was in Virginia State Police Richmond Division’s Area 8 Office, which encompasses the City of Richmond and Henrico County. Less than a year later he became a member of the office’s Motors Unit, serving as a motorcycle trooper until 2013. He joined the Governor’s protection detail, known as the State Police Executive Protective Unit, in October 2013 and served with the unit for three years before accepting promotion to Special Agent with the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Richmond Field Office General Investigations Section. In July 2017, he became a Trooper-Pilot with the Virginia State Police Aviation Unit. Bates is survived by his wife, twin 12-year-old son and daughter, parents, and siblings.

    The Virginia State Police initiated an aviation program in 1946 with four trooper-pilots who voluntarily worked on as an-needed basis and the acquisition of three Aeronca Chief 11AC airplanes. Helicopters were added to the fleet in 1970. The Department established an official Aviation Unit in 1984, which was the same year the Virginia General Assembly authorized funding for the creation of the Med-Flight program. Today the Virginia State Police Aviation Unit has 16 trooper-pilots, 13 flight nurses, 12 flight paramedics and four full and part-time mechanics assigned to its bases in Chesterfield, Lynchburg and Abingdon. The unit is equipped with three Bell 407 helicopters, two Airbus EC-145 helicopters, two Cessna 182 Skylanes and one Cessna 206 Stationair.

    The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation into the fatal helicopter crash remains ongoing at this time.

  25. Marvin Dallas Caish

    Marvin Dallas Caish, 91, died Wednesday, April 18, 2018.

    A native of Greensville County, he was the son of the late William Henry Caish and Mary Pearson Allen Caish. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wives; Adrinne Lynch Caish and Annie Kidd Caish, his brother; Lewis Caish, and sisters; Rebecca Weaver Caish and Lillian Carpenter.  A World War II Navy veteran, Mr. Caish retired from Georgia Pacific in Jarratt, and was a longtime member of Calvary Baptist Church. An avid gardener, he also enjoyed fishing and swimming with his family.

    Mr. Caish is survived by his son; Marvin D. Caish Jr. of Ruckersville, Virginia, grandsons; Christopher D. Caish of Barboursville, Virginia, and Timothy J. Caish of Fredericksburg, Virginia, Great-grand-daughter; Charlianna Caish of Barboursville, Virginia.

    Graveside Services , with military honors, will be held Sunday, April 22, 2018 at 2:00 P.M. at Greensville Memorial Cemetery with Rev. Andy Cain officiating.

    Online condolences may be left at echolsfuneralhome.com.

  26. BETTY CLARKE HARRIS

    Betty Clarke Harris, 60, of Bath, NC, died Saturday, April 14, 2018 at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, NC.

    Betty was born Richmond, VA., the daughter of the late W. Lawrence Clarke and Evelyn Weaver Clarke.

    She graduated from Furrman College in Rocky Mount, Va., then graduated from the Nursing Program at Wilson Community College.

    She obtained her Bachelors of Science Degree in Nursing, and her Master of Science in Nursing from East Carolina University.

    Her Nursing career included serving as a Flight Nurse for East Care; working in different departments at Vidant and was currently a Nurse Education Specialist in the East Carolina Heart Institute.

    Betty loved the ocean, sand, and fishing. Most of her spare time was spent at the coast casting her fishing rod and taking in God’s beautiful creation.

    Surviving are: a brother, Edward Lawrence Clarke and his wife, Janet Tindall Clarke, of Roanoke Rapids, NC; a niece, Nicole Clarke Luck and her husband, John Michael Luck of Houston, TX. Also, two great nephews; Colin Clarke Luck and Noah Graeme Luck of Houston, TX. and all of her nursing family at Vidant.

    A memorial service will be held on Saturday, April 28at 4:00 pm in the Inter-Faith Chapel at Vidant Medical Center, Greenville, NC. with Rev. Jane Rose officiating.

    In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to:  College of Nursing Scholarships at East Carolina University. Make checks to: ECU MHSG and make notion on check in memory of Betty C. Harris. Mail to:  Elizabeth Maxwell, 525 Moye Blvd., Mail stop 659, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC, 27834-4354 or you can go online to make a donation at: http://www.ecu.edu/csdhs/nursing/support_us.cfm

    Online condolences may be left at wrennclarkehagan.com

  27. VCU Health CMH to Offer Babysitting Training Course

    SOUTH HILL --The Health & Wellness Department of VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital in South Hill will offer the Smartkids 101 Babysitting Training Course this summer.

    The Smartkids 101 Babysitting Training Course is especially designed for student’s age 11 to 14.  It teaches essential child care skills needed for responsible babysitters caring for infants, toddlers and older children.

    The class will include child and infant safety, poison control, CPR, first aid and basic child care skills.  At the end of the class students will receive a babysitting certificate, and be certified in American Heart-Heart Savers CPR and First aid.  Students will also be taught to react in an emergency situation and know who to call.  Students will learn about the babysitting business, build self-esteem and learn skills that will last a lifetime.

    This one day, 8-hour course will be taught in the VCU Health CMH Education Center (inside the C.A.R.E. Building) at 1755 N. Mecklenburg Avenue in South Hill from 8:00AM to 4:15PM on the following dates- June 15th, June 29th, July13th and July27th.  The class is free but limited to 10 participants. To register for one of these courses, please contact the Health & Wellness department at 434-774-2541. These classes fill up quickly, so call today!

  28. Monument Reflects ‘Abiding Admiration’ for Native People

  29. After Rally, House OKs Budget Expanding Medicaid

  30. Waverly United Methodists Spruce Up Jackson-Feild

    On a bright and beautiful – but windy – recent Saturday, nine volunteers from Waverly United Methodist Church performed a task of epic proportions.  They repainted 1,100 feet of fencing at Jackson-Feild Behavioral Health Services.

    When one turns onto Walnut Grove Drive in Jarratt, two columns and a white fence can be seen at the end of the long, straight country road.  Up close, it was evident that the fence was no longer as white and pristine as it once had been.

    Waverly Church provided not only the volunteers, but 25 gallons of fence paint and spray equipment as well!  Mother Nature, though, provided the stiff breeze that resulted in a number of painters sporting a light coating of paint by the end of the day’s work.

    The children and staff at Jackson-Feild wishes to thank these wonderful volunteers from Waverly United Methodist Church for all they’ve done to benefit the organization.

    If you would like to offer a helping hand on a future project, please call Vice-President of Advancement Tod Balsbaugh at 804-354-6929 to see what the current needs may be.

  31. VSU Celebrates Fourth 'Tree Campus USA' Award for its Dedication to Campus Forestry

    Dignitaries show Tree Campus USA plaque updated with year 2017 for Virginia State University campus.

    Petersburg, Va. – A crowd gathered on the campus of Virginia State University (VSU) on Tuesday for the 2017 Tree Campus USA Award Celebration. It is the fourth consecutive year that VSU has been recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation for its commitment to campus forestry management and environmental stewardship.

    “I’d like to recognize the great leadership that has made this possible. It really does take all of us working together, the commitment that you have to this campus, to your green spaces, and to trees,” said Bettina Ring, Virginia’s secretary of agriculture and forestry.

    Secretary Ring attended the recertification event along with Senator Rosalyn Dance, a VSU alumna, and administrators from the university.

    “I’m proud of all the great stuff that’s happening here,” Dance said. “Tree Campus USA, VSU, all the way!”

    “On this day, being honored and recertified is very special to us,” said VSU Provost Dr. Donald E. Palm. “Not only does it bring the community together, it brings the campus together, especially for our students to learn, our faculty to do research. It’s an awesome day.”

    Events were held during the morning, including the creation of a living wall of flowers and strawberries. There were also presentations on water quality, sustainable foodand goatscaping, an environmentally friendly alternative to property clearing and weed removal. 

    VSU was first named a “Tree Campus USA University” in 2015 and has been recertified annually. The university is only one of four post-secondary institutions in Virginia—along with Old Dominion University, the University of Mary Washington and Virginia Tech—to be recognized. The initiative was led by Joel Koci, associate Extension specialist in urban forestry with the College of Agriculture, who works each year with a committee comprising faculty, students and campus staff. To receive the designation, a university must meet five core standards: establish an advisory committee, develop a campus tree-care plan, allocate annual dedicated expenses of $3 per full-time student; hold a service-learning project; and host an Arbor Day celebration.

    “Keep up the great work and thank you for all that you continue to do to support students and learning in agriculture and forestry,” Ring said.

    The recertification ceremony was held beside a sycamore tree planted in 2015. The sycamore was selected because it grows large and has a long lifespan. The ceremony ended with the dedication of a plaque to recognize the march in Selma, Alabama, during the Civil Rights movement.

    The Arbor Day Foundation is a million-member nonprofit conservation and education organization dedicated to inspiring people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees. J. Sterling Morton, a Nebraska newspaper editor who served as secretary of agriculture under President Grover Cleveland, initiated the Arbor Day holiday in Nebraska in 1872. He is considered the father of Arbor Day nationally. Virginia celebrates Arbor Day is celebrated on the last Friday in April.

    Founded in 1882, Virginia State University is one of Virginia’s two land-grant institutions and is located 20 minutes south of Richmond in the village of Ettrick.

  32. Congressman McEachin Introduced Disabled Access Credit Expansion Act

    WASHINGTON – Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04), a co-chair of the Reinvesting in our Returning Heroes task force, introduced the Disabled Access Credit Expansion (DACE) Act to assist small business owners comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), aiming to expand access and job opportunities for disabled Americans.

    Currently, small businesses can receive a tax credit worth 50 percent of costs incurred to meet accessibility requirements under the ADA, up to a limit of $10,250. The DACE Act incentivizes proactive ADA compliance for small business owners by doubling the maximum allowable credit, which will reduce their liability and increase their ability to employ individuals with disabilities, including veterans.

    “I introduced the DACE Act to help veterans and others with disabilities, while also helping small business owners make necessary structural improvements under the ADA—changes that will enable them to employ, and serve, more individuals with disabilities,” said Congressman Donald McEachin. “Unfortunately, far too many of our dedicated servicemembers come home with permanent injuries. As our returning veterans transition to civilian life, we need to do more to help them find well-paying jobs and continue to support themselves and their families. Enabling businesses to more easily hire these veterans, and any American who wants to work, is one of the best steps we can take.”

    “Our veterans bring unique skills and experiences to the workforce and it is our duty to ensure that they have every opportunity while transitioning back to civilian life and finding meaningful employment,” said House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx). “Congressman McEachin’s Disabled Access Credit Expansion Act will give veterans with disabilities the opportunity to secure well-paying jobs while providing incentives to our nation’s small businesses. I am proud to join him and my colleagues in this effort to help our veteran communities transition to the civilian workforce.” 

    “The Disabled Access Credit Expansion Act led by Congressman Donald McEachin reinforces House Democrats’ commitment to improve access for Americans with disabilities,” said House Democratic Caucus Vice Chair Linda Sánchez (CA-38). “I am proud to join with members of the Democratic Caucus Jobs for America Task Force to introduce legislation that helps America’s small businesses comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and increases access for people with disabilities and veterans.”

    The Disabled Access Credit Expansion (DACE) Act would:

    • Increase the maximum eligible expenses to $20,500;
    • Double the maximum possible credit for small business owners from $5,000 to $10,125;
    • Make the credit more widely available by expanding the definition of “small business” to include companies with income of $2.5 million or less; and
    • Index the updated maximum eligible expenses to keep pace with inflation.

    “In light of legislative efforts like H.R. 620, it is more important than ever that we champion basic fairness and equal access,”said Congressman McEachin. “My bill takes a better path, helping not just people with disabilities, but our hardworking small business owners.”

    This bill is endorsed by Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA). Full bill text is available here.

  33. More Greyhounds May Need Homes if Florida Bans Racing

  34. Legislators, Advocates Show Support for Medicaid Expansion

  35. Panel Discusses Solutions to ‘Bipartisan Problem’ of Gerrymandering

  36. Nonprofit Helps Virginia Maintain Lowest Recidivism Rate

  37. Customized, Job-Driven Training

    Businesses across the Commonwealth of Virginia, including right here in the Southside region, continue to report a skills mismatch between job seekers and open positions. Skilled workers, especially in information technology and advanced manufacturing, seem to be in short supply. Entrepreneurs often testify to the fact that nurturing a business is a challenging proposition, but when companies cannot find workers with the skills necessary to fill critical positions, business success can be even harder to achieve.

    At the same time, escalating college costs sometimes put higher education out of reach. Many young people and transitioning workers are looking for ways to prepare for well-paying careers without amassing heavy burdens of debt.

    The solution for growing businesses and the answer for the potential future workforce may be the same: apprenticeship programs. Apprenticeship is more than just assisting in a workplace, more than just on-the-job training. Registered apprenticeship programs provide a formal plan that combines at-work elements with rigorous classroom preparation and mentoring. They culminate in a certification that the graduate is fully prepared, experienced, and job-ready.

    Traditionally, U.S. apprenticeships have focused on skilled trades, but recent innovations and policy changes are bringing the model to other industries. Penny Pritzker, former U.S. Secretary of Commerce explains that “by building regional partnerships with education, workforce, and social service institutions, businesses and government can create training programs that connect workers with middle class careers.” For diverse companies, she notes that “developing talent through apprenticeships results in a more dedicated, flexible, loyal workforce that is poised to rise into leadership positions and make the companies more competitive.”

    Southside Virginia Community College is proud to be able to bring these benefits to the communities of south-central Virginia. Through ApprenticeVA, a collaborative effort among four community college partners, we can help businesses leverage the resources needed to create registered apprenticeship programs and customize them to meet specific training requirements.

    Rob Deutsch, Director of Human Resources at Global Safety Textile acknowledges, “In today’s current economy, hiring qualified maintenance mechanics is a challenge.” His company is one among several with whom SVCC has worked to establish registered apprenticeship programs. Others include Beach Mold and Tool, Toll Brothers, Huber Woodproducts, Presto Products, and Microsoft.

    At SVCC, more than 40 apprentices are currently registered and working on the job and in the classroom. They will graduate with industry-recognized credentials in fields such as industrial maintenance and network technician.

    Apprenticeship programs have a proven track record and are well situated to meet 21st century needs. If your business would like more information about how it can benefit from a registered apprenticeship program, contact SVCC’s Apprenticeship Coordinator, Kelly Arnold at Kelly.arnold@southside.edu or call 434-579-7260.

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

  38. Virginia Governor Declares April as Women and Girls’ Wellness Month

  39. Richmond’s New Art Gallery Raises ‘Important but Difficult Topics’

  40. 200 Rally for Gun Rights at State Capitol

  41. Ethel Mae Prince Allen

    Ethel Mae Prince Allen, 80, widow of Nathan Allen, passed away Friday, April 13. She was also preceded in death by brothers, James Prince and Billy “Buck” Prince; and sisters, Mag Banner, Shirley Allen and Jean Veliky.

    Mrs. Allen is survived by two sons, Babe Allen and wife, Cindy, David Allen and wife, Sherri; three grandchildren, Brian Allen, Brett Allen and fiancée, Lacey, and Logan Whitley; two sisters, Louise Phillips and Bernice Phillips; a brother, “Preacher” Prince and wife, Nellie and a number of nieces and nephews.

    The funeral service will be held 2 p.m. Monday, April 16 at Faith Baptist Church where the family will receive friends one hour prior to the service. Interment will follow at Mt. Vernon Baptist Church.

    Floral tributes are welcomed or memorial contributions may be made to Faith Baptist Church, 951 W. Atlantic St, Emporia, Virginia 23847.

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

  42. WARNER, KAINE CALL FOR FEDERAL INVESTMENT IN LOCAL PUBLIC SAFETY AND COMMUNITY POLICING

    ~ Senators ask appropriators to fund federal program that helps local law enforcement bolster community policing ~

    WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) joined a group of Senators in a letter to congressional appropriators requesting a minimum of $225.5 million in federal funding for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Hiring Program to help local law enforcement bolster community policing efforts. While February’s bipartisan budget agreement established how much money should be provided for local law enforcement efforts, leaders of congressional appropriation committees are ultimately in charge of deciding how that funding is allocated. The Senators requested at least the same level of federal funding as was appropriated for COPS in the last fiscal year.

    “The COPS Hiring program represents a fiscally responsible solution to ensure that our communities remain safe….When officers establish a presence on their patrols using community policing principles, they can develop positive relationships with the communities they serve.  In turn, these relationships increase law enforcement’s ability to solve local crimes and resolve public safety problems,” the Senators wrote.  “This program plays an essential role in our federal government’s support for local law enforcement and should therefore receive the highest possible level of funding.”

    The COPS program was designed to advance public safety by addressing the full-time officer needs of state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies.  COPS provides funds directly to law enforcement agencies to hire new and/or rehire career law officers, and to increase crime prevention efforts.

    Since its inception, the COPS program has been responsible for putting 129,000 additional police officers on the job in 13,000 local communities across the country, including 48 police officers in Virginia in the last five years alone.  

    The program has deep support among major law enforcement organizations, including the National Association of Police Organizations, Fraternal Order of Police, Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and the Major Cities Chiefs Association.  

    Other Senators joining Sens. Warner and Kaine in signing the letter include Sens. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Tom Carper (D-DE), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Tom Udall (D-NM), Angus King (I-ME), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Gary Peters (D-MI), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Chris Coons (D-DE), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Tina Smith (D-MN), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Bob Casey (D-PA), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Jon Tester (D-MT), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Doug Jones (D-AL), Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

    Full text of the letter is available here and below:

    Dear Senator Moran and Senator Shaheen:

    As you consider funding levels for Fiscal Year 2019, we urge you to fund the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Hiring Program at a minimum of $225.5 million, the amount appropriated for the program in FY 2018.  This program plays an essential role in our federal government’s support for local law enforcement and should therefore receive the highest possible level of funding.

    The COPS Hiring program represents a fiscally responsible solution to ensure that our communities remain safe; the Brookings Institution found it to be “one of the most cost-effective options available for fighting crime.” When officers establish a presence on their patrols using community policing principles, they can develop positive relationships with the communities they serve.  In turn, these relationships increase law enforcement’s ability to solve local crimes and resolve public safety problems.  This proactive approach to policing prevents crime from occurring, saving taxpayers the high societal costs associated with crime, incarceration, and services for victims.

    Since its creation, the COPS Office has assisted over 13,000 of the nation’s 16,000 jurisdictions with over $14 billion in funding to hire approximately 129,000 additional officers. In FY 2017, the COPS Hiring Program granted over $98 million to 179 law enforcement agencies to hire, preserve, or rehire 802 full-time law enforcement officers.  There were heightened restrictions for funding requests in FY 2017, leading many communities to forego applications, but still over 3,000 officers were requested, representing close to $410 million in funding. The $225.5 million requested is a small fraction of the $1 billion appropriated by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and less than the $298 million previously appropriated in FY 2010.

    We are supported in this request by law enforcement organizations including the National Association of Police Organizations, Fraternal Order of Police, Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and the Major Cities Chiefs Association.  We appreciate the hard work and leadership that you have shown on these issues. Ongoing crime and violence in our cities continue to demonstrate the vital need for increased police protection in our communities.  Therefore, as you determine the funding levels for this program, we ask that you support funding for the COPS Hiring Program at the highest possible level.

    Thank you for your consideration of this request.

    Sincerely,

  43. Celebrate SVCC During Community College Month

    Once again, Virginia’s Community Colleges are marking national Community College Awareness Month (CCAM) in April designed to raise awareness of the benefits of attending one of our 23 community colleges.  Southside Virginia Community College has been part of the community since 1970 and is still the best deal around. 

    In honor of the Community College celebration, here are a few tips to remember. 

    Top 5 Ways to Save Money on Your Bachelor’s Degree
    Student debt has reached crisis levels in this country. The typical bachelor’s degree graduate in Virginia leaves college nearly $30,000 in debt. That burden is forcing people to wait longer to get married, buy a home, and even retire. So why would anyone take on more debt than necessary?

    Below are five guaranteed ways to save money while pursuing your bachelor’s degree in Virginia.

    1. Know what you really want to do: There’s nothing wrong with changing majors while in college. Lots of people do it. But it means you’re going to pay for classes that you won’t serve you in the long run. Take the free assessment tests on the Virginia Education Wizard. They can help you decide before ever spending the first tuition dollar.
    2. Start college while you’re still in high school: Sign up for Dual Enrollmentclasses which allow you to take college-level classes while still in high school, often at a reduced price. Ask your school counselor or Career Coach about it. Use these credits to jump-start your pursuit of an associate degree at a community college.
    3. Earn your associate degree first: Thanks to an amazing collection of Guaranteed Transfer Agreements, you can earn an associate degree at a community college first, which guarantees placement as a junior at one of more than 30 Virginia universities. Community college tuition and fees are only about one-third of what you'll pay at a public university.
    4. Get free money from the state to attend a university: Virginia’s Two-Year College Transfer Grant Programwill give you up to $3,000 a year, for two years, at a university to finish your bachelor’s degree. That’s FREE money! But, you should graduate from a community college first.
    5. Always take 15 credits every semester: No matter where you go to college, go full-time, which means 15 credit hours every semester. Time is money.

    If you follow all five of these steps, you will save at least $52,000 on the cost of that shiny new bachelor’s degree. That's about one-and-a-half times the average student debt load of a graduate in Virginia, and one more way to show that you’re smarter already.

    For information, www.southside.edu

  44. STUDENT OF THE MONTH KARLY HALL BLACKWELL MARCH 2018

    Brunswick Academy is pleased to announce that Karly Hall Blackwell has been chosen the March 2018 Student of the Month.  Karly, a senior, is the daughter of Kevin (Class of 1975) and Terri Blackwell of Dolphin.  She has two sisters, MacKenzie (BA Class of 2011) and Kelly (BA Class of 2013). 

    Karly is in the Brunswick Academy Honors Program, which is the most rigourous and challenging program of studies.  This year she has been taking dual-enrollment classes at Southside Virginia Community College, as well as her upper-school classes at Brunswick Academy. 

    Regarding academics, she is a member of National Honor Society (Treasurer) and is the Class of 2018 Treasurer.  She has also been a member of the Student Council Organization, Brunswick Academy Honor Council and Spanish Club. 

    Throughout her years of attending Brunswick Academy, Karly has participated in athletics, both at the JJV, Junior Varsity and Varsity levels.  She has been a member of the Volleyball team and the JV and Varsity Cheerleading Squad.  She has been a Captain of the Cheerleading Squad and has earned the Most Valuable player award and The Coach’s Award.  Karly has also been a member of the JV and Varsity Softball teams and was awarded All Academic. 

    Karly currently works at Trinity Custom Apparel in South Hill and has been of member of the Appalachian Service Project at her local church.  She enjoys spending time with her family and friends at the Rappahannock River in her spare time. 

    She has been accepted to James Madison University, Virginia Tech, Radford University and Coastal Carolina University.  She plans to major in Hospitality and Tourism Management.

    CONGRATULATIONS,WAY TO GO KARLY!

  45. Making Prom Special at Jackson-Feild

    At high schools across the country, May means “Prom,” and Jackson Feild’s Gwaltney School is no exception.

    Each year well in advance of prom, Tod Balsbaugh and Jackson-Feild’s Office of Advancement reaches out to donors and community partners to literally outfit the boys and girls on campus for this special event.

    The Short Pump Rotary Club recently conducted a Blue Blazer Drive and collected enough very-gently-used blazers for every high school boy on campus. Balsbaugh was honored to attend the club’s April meeting and receive this generous donation.

    Since 2006, the Fairy Godmother Program at The Collegiate School in Richmond has been providing prom dresses, shoes, accessories and an on-campus personal shopping event for the girls at Jackson-Feild. Over the years, more than 400 girls have experienced the fun and excitement of choosing a dress and accessories for prom.

    This year’s prom at Jackson-Feild will be held on May 18 and will feature a new special event. Members of Jackson-Feild’s Young Professionals Organization will host a special pre-prom dinner to help make the evening a night the boys and girls will remember for life.

    Jackson-Feild Behavioral Health Services treats children with severe mental health and/or substance use disorders. If your child needs help, don’t hesitate to call 434-634-3217.

  46. Job Fair Thursday!

  47. KAINE, YOUNG, JONES INTRODUCE BIPARTISAN BILL TO ENSURE ADDICTION RECOVERY PROGRAMS INCLUDE JOB TRAINING

    WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, U.S. Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA), Todd Young (R-IN), and Doug Jones (D-AL), members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, introduced the Jobs Plus Recovery Act to incorporate job training into drug addiction recovery programs. The bipartisan legislation would establish a pilot program that gives individuals impacted by opioid addiction or substance use disorders access to job training and support services to aid in their recovery and lower their likelihood of relapse. Research has shown that having consistent work improves the likelihood that addiction treatment will be successful. The pilot program allows local communities to create partnerships between substance use disorder treatment and recovery providers, as well as job services and training providers. The legislation will help communities in Virginia and across the country where the opioid crisis has had severe consequences on the economy and local workforce.

    “The substance abuse epidemic has had a devastating effect on communities across the country, and a lack of job opportunity has exacerbated this crisis,” Kaine said. “We must find a way to address this crisis and to help those who are trying to get back on their feet, stay there. By ensuring that job training is a part of the recovery process, we are investing in better outcomes, which will have a positive impact on the economy, employers, and entire communities.”

    “During one of my recent Fair Shot Agenda roundtables, I heard from an Indiana plastics manufacturing firm that took a chance by hiring a Hoosier who had struggled with addiction issues. This week, that same Hoosier is graduating from drug treatment court and serves as a valuable employee. With the Jobs Plus Recovery Act, we can replicate this success story across Indiana and the entire country. This legislation would create pilot programs that help individuals struggling with opioid addition access employment opportunities. Our goal is to give businesses the tools needed to positively impact addiction treatment outcomes, and to change how the nation treats individuals with addiction issues so that they can turn their lives around and meaningfully contribute to the economy,” said Young.

    “Across the country and in Alabama, the opioid epidemic has devastated so many families, communities, and local economies. When folks are working hard to recover from opioid addiction, we should make sure they have the support they need to be successful and re-enter their communities fully. Through this job-training initiative, we are taking steps to help them thrive in recovery and break the dangerous cycle of addiction,” Jones said.

    In 2014, Congress passed Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which provides job training assistance to individuals with a barrier to employment. The Jobs Plus Recovery Act would allow programs funded through WIOA to provide targeted support services to individuals with substance use disorders and consider their needs as part of state and local strategic planning processes to tackle the opioid epidemic.  It would also allow community workforce entities to educate employers about how to hire and retain employees with a history of substance use disorders. This pilot program would be the first to integrate job skills training with addiction treatment and recovery. The program would provide supportive services to ensure participant success in work-based learning that would be divided between three stages: pre-employment, early employment, and continuing employment, which may include peer recovery support services, networking and mentorship opportunities, and other wraparound services.

    “This legislation, which NAWB is proud to endorse, will play an important role in combatting America’s opioid epidemic. It builds on the well-established link between recovery and job security. Those suffering from addiction are often in need of opportunities and purpose. This aligns with NAWB’s forty-year history of delivering on economic opportunity for Americans through skills training and job placement. We are partners in the effort to help those affected by this opioid crisis find their purpose through the workforce,” CEO of the National Association of Workforce Boards Richard Painter said.

    "Virginia Career Works of the Blue Ridge Region is proud to support the Jobs Plus Recovery Act of 2018. While our region can proclaim strong economic growth and historically low unemployment, opioid abuse is a significant barrier for people still seeking employment or those that have given up hope.  This legislation will make it easier for citizens to access needed addiction treatment, while also helping them create a path towards economic prosperity. It will also grow our workforce to meet the expanding employment needs or our businesses.  Local Workforce Development Boards will be a critical partner in providing hope and opportunity to those most affected by this crisis," Executive Director of Virginia Blue Ridge Works in Roanoke, VA Jake Gilmer said.

    Kaine has been a leader in the Senate both on efforts to address the opioid epidemic and to support workforce development programs that prepare Virginians for good-paying, in-demand jobs. In December, Kaine co-sponsored The International Narcotics Trafficking Emergency Response by Detecting Incoming Contraband with Technology (INTERDICT) Act to provide U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) tools including hi-tech chemical screening devices to help detect and interdict fentanyl and other illicit synthetic opioids. Kaine haspushed for funding to support health education initiatives to combat the opioid epidemic in vulnerable communities in Virginia. In October, Kaine introduced the Combating the Opioid Epidemic Act, which would invest $45 billion for prevention, detection, surveillance and treatment of opioids and opioid addiction. 

    The Jobs Plus Recovery Act is endorsed by the Association of Career and Technical Education (ACTE), Jobs for the Future (JFF), the National Skills Coalition (NSC), and the National Association of Workforce Boards (NAWB).

    Text of the Jobs Plus Recovery Act is available here.

  48. From Doughnuts to Dancing, ‘The Bachelorette’ Films in RVA Hot Spots

  49. Gov. Northam Signs Rear-Facing Car Seat Requirements into Law

  50. Shirley Harrell Sledge Williams

    Shirley Harrell Sledge Williams, 83, passed away on Sunday, April 8, 2018. The daughter of Rufus and Sally Harrell, she was preceded in death by her husbands, Louis Sledge and Raymond Williams; her son, David Sledge and wife, Patsy; two sisters, Paige Gay and Lucy Wilson and two brothers, Rufus and Melvin Harrell.

    Shirley was born in Jarratt, Virginia. She spent most of her adult life in Emporia, where she was a faithful and beloved bus driver for the Greensville County School System for 25 years. Her Christian faith was central to her life and she was a member of the Emporia Assembly of God Church for many years.

    Mrs. Williams is survived by three sons, Jerry Sledge, Steve Sledge and wife, Betty Jo and Michael Sledge and wife, Ginny; a sister, Joyce Nowell; eight grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; two step-grandchildren; three step great-grandchildren; three step-great-great grandchildren and a number of nieces and nephews.

    The family will receive friends 5-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 12 at Owen Funeral Home, 303 S. Halifax Rd, Jarratt, Virginia. The funeral service will be held graveside 2 p.m. Thursday, April 13 at Greensville Memorial Cemetery.

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

  51. Why Be An Organ Donor?

    Community Out-Reach Education

    South Hill – Transplantation gives hope to thousands of people with organ failure.  Today, there are 115,000 men, women and children awaiting lifesaving organ transplants. What is organ donation and transplantation?  What organs and tissues can be transplanted? How can I become an organ donor?

    If you are seeking answers to questions like these you should attend April’s C.O.R.E. (Community Out-Reach Education) Program at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital to learn about the life-saving benefits of organ and tissue donation.

    This FREE program will be on Tuesday, April 17th at 4:00 p.m. in the VCU Health CMH Education Center inside the new C.A.R.E. Building located at 1755 N. Mecklenburg Avenue in South Hill.

        

    Hannah Lee, MD and Dhiren Kumar, MD

    The speakers for the program with be Dr. Hannah Lee and Dr. Dhiren Kumar.  Dr. Lee is a practicing transplant hepatologist with VCU Health Hume-Lee Transplant Center in Richmond, VA. Dr. Lee graduated from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine. She completed a residency at New England Medical Center. Dr. Lee also specializes in Gastroenterology and Internal Medicine.  Dr. Kumar is a transplant nephrologist with VCU Health Hume-Lee Transplant Center. Dr. Kumar graduated from University of Virginia School of Medicine. He completed a residency and a fellowship at VCU Medical Center. Dr. Kumar also specializes in Internal Medicine.

    Reservations are not required for this program; however, they are recommended.  For more information or to register to attend, please call (434) 774-2550 or visit www.vcu-cmh.org.

  52. VSU Researchers Will Use $475,000 AFRI Grant To Study How to Make Crops More Resilient Under Climate Change

    Many crops are experiencing heat stress caused by rising global temperatures, which can result in lower crop yields. With the first 17 years of this century being the hottest on record since 1880 when modern recordkeeping began, staple crops are under increasing threat. Researchers at Virginia State University (VSU) are researching ways to help crops better tolerate extreme temperatures.

    Dr. Shuxin Ren and Dr. Guo-liang Jiang, researchers at VSU’s Agricultural Research Station (ARS), have been awarded a three-year, $475,000 grant from the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) program. AFRI is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the nation’s leading competitive grants program for agricultural sciences. The focus of this study is a potential heat stress tolerance gene derived from purslane, a unique plant species that tolerates heat stress and drought extremely well. 

    “A newly identified gene from purslane has the potential of improving crop production, especially under the stress of elevated temperatures,” said Dr. Ren, associate professor of plant biotechnology. “High-temperature stress will significantly affect agriculture production and warrants quick action by scientists to develop heat-tolerant crops that can thrive in circumstances of heat stress.”

    The awarded project will enable the ARS researchers to test the novel gene PoBAG6, isolated from purslane, for its potential to improve crops’ heat tolerance ability. The PoBAG6 gene will be transferred to corn and soybean and researchers will evaluate the ability of the transgenic corn and soybean to tolerate heat.

    Laboratory research will also be conducted to evaluate molecular mechanisms used by PoBAG6. Drs. Ren and Jiang aim to identify partner proteins that interact directly with the PoBAG6 protein. It is hoped these newly identified partner proteins can provide new strategies to improve crop heat tolerance, and also enhance existing knowledge about how PoBAG6-mediated gene networks can help plants withstand heat stress.

    “This research money will help us to continue to focus on wild species and identify more novel genes that can be used for crops’ abiotic stress tolerance,” Dr. Ren said. “We hope that, upon completion of this three-year project, the PoBAG6 gene can be used to engineer crop species, not only corn and soybeans but others, and enhance their ability to fight against heat stress during their growing seasons.

    Founded in 1882, Virginia State University is one of Virginia’s two land-grant institutions and is located 20 minutes south of Richmond in the village of Ettrick.

  53. WARNER & KAINE ANNOUNCE FEDERAL FUNDING TO HELP REDUCE VETERAN HOMELESSNESS IN VIRGINIA

    ~ More than a half million dollars awarded to help reduce veteran homelessness ~

    WASHINGTON— U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-Va.) announced today that the U.S. Departments of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Veterans Affairs (VA) are awarding $693,962 in federal funding to Virginia housing authorities to help homeless veterans and their families find affordable and stable housing.

    “Those who have worn our nation’s uniform deserve to know that their country will take care of them when they return home,” said the Senators. “These federal dollars will help ensure that these heroes have the support they need to find safe and affordable housing.”

    The selected Virginia housing authorities and funding amounts are listed below:

    • Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority—$35,369
    • Chesapeake Redevelopment & Housing Authority—$34,821
    • City of Virginia Beach—$39,161
    • James City Council Office of Housing & Community Development—$29,164
    • Newport News Redevelopment & Housing Authority—$35,663
    • Norfolk Redevelopment & Housing Authority—$39,661
    • Richmond Redevelopment & Housing Authority—$6,858
    • Roanoke Redevelopment and Housing Authority—$24,043
    • Virginia Housing Development Authority—$53,293
    • Arlington County Department of Human Services—$161,556
    • Fairfax County Redevelopment & Housing Authority—$121,507
    • Loudoun County Department of Family Services—$56,249
    • Office of Housing Development of Prince William County—$56,617

    This funding was granted through the HUD-VASH voucher program, which is a collaborative effort between HUD and the VA that uses targeted vouchers to offer permanent supportive housing opportunities to veterans experiencing homelessness. On March 23, 2018, the Senators voted in favor of the omnibus bill that fully funds homeless prevention programs at the Department of Veterans Affairs, including HUD-VASH

  54. Students Get a Close-up View of the General Assembly

  55. Northam Vetoes 8 Bills; 1 Would Block Higher Wages

  56. First Citizens Bank Presents Check to VCU Health CMH Foundation

    South Hill – First Citizens Bank representatives Dean Marion, Cindy Thomas and Tammy Manning present Ken Kurz, Director of Marketing & Development for VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital, a check that benefits the Health Care for Life Capital Campaign.  The check that was presented is part of a $25,000 pledge First Citizens Bank made during the Health Care For Life Capital Campaign last year.  Donations for the Capital Campaign are still being accepted, for more information call (434) 774-2575.

  57. Virginia Governor OKs Paying ‘Norfolk Four’ $3.5 Million

  58. New Law Puts Focus on Suicide Prevention Efforts in Virginia

  59. WARNER, KAINE ANNOUNCE $1 MILLION IN SCHOLARSHIPS FOR CYBERSECURITY STUDENTS AT ODU

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine announced $1,000,000 in federal funding from the National Science Foundation to support high-achieving students with demonstrated financial need as they pursue the cybersecurity program at Old Dominion University (ODU).
     
    “Ensuring students have the support they need to pursue careers in cybersecurity is critical to building our federal workforce and defending the nation’s economic and national security,” the Senators said. “We are thrilled that ODU and the National Science Foundation are partnering to help make that a reality for more students.”  
     
    The funding will provide up to 18 scholarships for students in the cybersecurity program as well as additional mentoring and program activities.
     
    As Vice Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Warner has been a strong voice for protecting the integrity of our election systems, introducing bipartisan legislation to bring accountability to online political adsand secure our elections. He is also the author of bipartisan, bicameral legislation that would provide states and local government funding to counter cyberattacks. As cofounder of the Senate Cybersecurity Caucus, Warner has been a leader in calling for the protection of consumers’ personal information and timely disclosure of data breaches, authoring legislation to hold credit reporting agencies accountable for such breaches.
     
    Kaine, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, also co-chairs the Senate Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus and has become a leader in the Senate on policies to prepare students for careers in cybersecurity.  Last year, key provisions of Kaine’s DoD Cyber Scholarship Program Act of 2017, which would improve and expand an existing DoD scholarship program for students pursuing degrees in cybersecurity fields, were included in the committee-passed Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act. The DoD Cyber Scholarship Act creates a jobs pipeline from Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE) to the Department of Defense.
  60. JOHN A. ST. SING

    John A. St. Sing, 74, of Emporia, VA, died Thursday, April 5, 2018. He was born in Halifax County ,NC, son of the late Thomas J. and Katie Carter St. Sing. Mr. St. Sing  retired as Sergeant with the Emporia Police Department with more than 33 years of service. He loved his family and  community.

    Preceding John in death were his wives, Carolyn Taylor St. Sing and Doris Willis St. Sing.

    Surviving are his son, David St. Sing (Pheobee); step daughter, Kaye Jackson; grandchildren, David N. St. Sing, Dustan Jarratt (Emily), Sarah Jackson (Daniel),Lynsey Overstreet (Keith); six great grandchildren, among them, Hudson Jarratt, Reed and Audrey Overstreet.

    Funeral services will be held at 1:00pm Monday, April 9,2018, at Echols Funeral Home Chapel. Burial will follow in Greensville Memorial Cemetery.The family will receive friends at the Funeral Home Monday from 11:00 am until 1:00pm

  61. MIT Bound SVCC Governor's School Student Feels, Deals With Pressure

    The pressure to succeed has always been ‘off the charts’ for Ahmad Negm as the third in a family of educationally gifted siblings.  A senior at Nottoway High School and candidate to graduate from Southside Virginia Community College(SVCC) through the Governor’s School of Southside Virginia(GSSV), there were many pre-conceived expectations to reach during his educational journey.

    His sister, Maggie, and brother, Mostafa, were both valedictorians for Nottoway, both attended Governor’s School and Mostafa is a senior at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).  Guess what, Ahmad just received his acceptance to MIT recently (sigh of relief) and plans to attend and study Electrical Engineering.   He was accepted at California Institute of Technology located in Pasadena, CA, also.  Oh, and his sister is a graduate of the University of Virginia.

    On the day of the interview, Ahmad was in class with Brent Richey studying advanced math courses such as Abstract Algebra and Discrete Math.  Abstract Algebra studies algebraic structures such as rings, vector spaces, fields, lattices, modules and algebra and Discrete Math is the study of mathematical structures that are fundamentally discrete rather than continuous. (Just FYI).

    Richey advocates strongly for Dual Enrollment courses at the college. 

    He said, “GSSV STEM students have the opportunity to attend classes on the campus of Southside Virginia Community College with other top students from multiple area high schools. I have the privilege of teaching these students Calculus and as part of the class for the last five years we have been building and launching big high-powered rockets. Our students graduate from high school with an Associate’s Degree and then go on to some great universities. Currently,  I have students at Virginia Tech, UVa, NC State, VCU, JMU and MIT. Many of them go into engineering programs but they also pursue other STEM fields like computer science, mathematics, biology and chemistry.” 

    “I like to remind people that though these students are academically gifted, they are not necessarily economically privileged. They come from every kind of home situation imaginable. And like other students, some are economically disadvantaged. It is extremely rewarding for me to see these students succeed here at SVCC then again at their university of choice,” he concluded.

    Since Negm can independently maintain his studies in a class entitled Computer Programming for Engineers, he is able to spend 2.5 hours a week studying these special advanced math courses.  The math whiz took Algebra I in seventh grade and has been ahead of the game ever since.  He scored a perfect 800 on the Math SAT, just to mention another accomplishment.

    His parents, Hussein Negm and Samira Elshebaily, were born in Egypt and came to America for a better life and opportunities for their children.  They settled in New Jersey first and later, came to Virginia.  All the children in the family felt the pressure to succeed and exceed academically.  Although, Ahmad also exceeds in sports running cross country and playing soccer for his school.    

    The STEM curricula of the GSSV offers a chance for students to take classes that often cannot be made available at their local high school.  These include Physics and of course, the advanced math Negm is taking. 

    Negm is excited to attend MIT.  He has visited Cambridge three times and likes the proximity to Boston.  He will travel with the GSSV STEM Seniors to Sumter, South Carolina in April as part of the launching of a rocket the students designed and built.

    As the pressure wains for the third sibling, one can assume the heat is turning up for Abdullah, the last of the family who is currently in ninth grade at Nottoway.  Stay tuned. 

  62. Northam Signs ‘Stop Gun Violence’ License Plate Bill

  63. VCU Student-Athletes Lead Campaign To Stop Sexual Assault On Campus

  64. Environmentalists Urge Governor to Oust DEQ Director

  65. IT’S national social security month!

    By Jacqueline Weisgarber

    Social Security Public Affairs Specialist in Richmond, Virginia

    National Social Security Month is celebrated in April and is dedicated to educating you about Social Security programs and services.  From programs that help support you through life’s journey, to services that help put you in control, to systems that help protect what’s important to you, Social Security is committed to helping secure today and tomorrow for you and your family.

    During National Social Security Month, we encourage people to take control of their future with my Social Security at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount. Create a my Social Security account to check your earnings history, confirm you have enough credits to retire, see an estimate of future benefits while still working, or manage your monthly benefits once you begin receiving them. You can also check the status of your claim or appeal, request a replacement Social Security card, and get an instant benefit verification letter.

    Our Retirement Estimator is another great tool that provides you with immediate and personalized benefit estimates based on your own earnings record. This allows you to receive the most accurate estimate of your future retirement benefits. Estimate your benefits now atwww.socialsecurity.gov/estimator.

    After you have viewed your earnings history for accuracy, confirmed you have enough work credits to retire, and determined the best age to retire, you can get started on the next phase of your life right away by retiring online! It’s fast and easy at www.socialsecurity.gov/retireonline.

    For more than 80 years, Social Security has changed to meet the needs of our customers. During National Social Security Month, and throughout the year, Social Security puts you in control with secure access to your information anytime, anywhere. From estimating or managing your benefits, requesting a replacement Social Security card, to retiring online, visit SocialSecurity.gov today, and see what you can do online at www.socialsecurity.gov/onlineservices.

  66. Virginia Department of Health to Receive $2+ Million for HIV Programs

    Richmond, Va. – Today, Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) announced that the Virginia Department of Health will receive $2,070,445.00 in grant funding to support their Integrated HIV Surveillance and Prevention programs.

    “In the midst of STD Awareness Month, I am so pleased to see this grant funding awarded to the health department so that we may increase awareness and stress the importance of prevention,”said Congressman Donald McEachin. “Prevention is a key element in the successful fight against a disease. With this funding, Virginians will be able to better protect themselves and their family, which will save lives and money in the future.”

    The Virginia Department of Health will receive this grant from the National Center for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STDs and TB Prevention, housed under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  67. ATTORNEY GENERAL HERRING FILES SUIT TO BLOCK TRUMP ADMINISTRATION FROM UNDERMINING 2020 CENSUS

    ~ Census Bureau itself has said that proposed citizenship inquiry is likely to depress response, threatening billions in critical federal funds and states' fair representation in Congress and Electoral College  ~

    RICHMOND (April 3, 2018) - Today, Attorney General Mark R. Herring-as part of a coalition of 18 Attorneys General, six cities, and the bipartisan U.S. Conference of Mayors-filed a lawsuit to block the Trump administration from undermining the 2020 decennial census with a "poison pill" citizenship inquiry that the U.S. Census Bureau has said is likely to depress response and compromise the accuracy of the census. Demanding citizenship information would particularly depress Census turnout in states with large immigrant populations, directly threatening those states' fair representation in Congress and the Electoral College, as well as billions of dollars in critical federal funds for education, infrastructure, Medicaid, and more.

    "This poison pill from the Trump administration is about ideology, not accuracy," said Attorney General Herring. "The Census is one of the most important things our government does. It determines how many congressional representatives and electoral votes Virginia gets, and how much federal money comes to the Commonwealth for things like healthcare, education, and transportation. There is overwhelming evidence that including this provision will cause underreporting and produce an inaccurate census, violating the Enumeration Clause in the Constitution, which calls for an actual count of all persons in the Country. In the current climate, many immigrants are already wary of the government, and there is no question that this is just another attempt to intimidate and instill fear in immigrant communities." 

    The lawsuit is brought under the Enumeration Clause of the U.S. Constitution, as this action by the Trump administration will impede an "actual Enumeration" of "the whole number of persons in each state," as required by the Constitution. It is also brought under the Administrative Procedure Act, which permits courts to set aside unlawful or arbitrary and capricious agency decisions.

    In their suit, the bipartisan coalition describes the reasons that the administration's decision is inconsistent with the Census Bureau's constitutional and statutory obligations, is unsupported by the stated justification, departs from decades of settled practice without reasoned explanation, and fails to consider the availability of alternative data that can effectively serve the federal government's needs.

    The lawsuit also emphasizes the irreparable harm that will result from inaccuracies in the 2020 Census caused by demanding citizenship information. Hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funds are directly tied to demographic information obtained through the census, including the Highway Trust Fund and other Department of Transportation grants, Child Care Development Grants, and Medicaid. Consequently, inaccurate counts can potentially deprive states of much-needed funds designed to protect low-income and vulnerable communities.

    A total of $700 billion is distributed annually to nearly 300 different census-guided federal grant and funding programs. In FY2015, Virginia received over $953 million in Highway Trust Fund grants, over $131 million in Urbanized Area Formula Grants, and nearly $64 million in Child Care Development grants, all based on census data.

    In addition to the significant financial implications of an inaccurate census, the decennial census is also used to apportion seats in the House of Representatives, and each plaintiff state relies on population information from the Census Bureau to draw statewide redistricting plans for their Congressional and state legislative districts. Demanding citizenship information would cause disproportionate undercounts in communities with immigrant populations and therefore prevent plaintiff states from fulfilling the one-person, one-vote constitutional requirement, as well as create inaccuracies in the data states use to draw district lines. Currently, immigrants account for 12.3 percent of Virginia's population.

    As the Census Bureau's own research shows, the decision to demand citizenship information will "inevitably jeopardize the overall accuracy of the population count" by significantly deterring participation, particularly in immigrant communities, because of concerns about how the federal government will use citizenship information. These concerns are amplified by President Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric and pattern of actions that target immigrant communities.

    In 1980, the Census Bureau rejected the addition of a citizenship question, saying, "Any effort to ascertain citizenship will inevitably jeopardize the overall accuracy of the population count. Obtaining the cooperation of a suspicious and fearful population would be impossible if the group being counted perceived any possibility of the information being used against them. Questions as to citizenship are particularly sensitive in minority communities and would inevitably trigger hostility, resentment, and refusal to cooperate."

    In 2009, all eight former Directors of the Census Bureau dating back to 1979 - who served under both Democratic and Republican presidents - affirmed that a citizenship question would depress participation and lead to a significant undercount, undermining the purpose of the Census itself.

    The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York by the attorneys general of New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia; the cities of New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, Providence, San Francisco, and Seattle; and the bipartisan U.S. Conference of Mayors.

  68. Richard T. Harrell

    Richard T. Harrell, 83, passed away Monday, April 2, 2018. He was preceded in death by a brother, Eugene Harrell. Mr. Harrell is survived by his wife, Shelvia E. Harrell; two daughters, Donna Cluesman and husband, Jerry “Goose” and Debbie Gilliam and husband, Paul; five grandchildren, Chelsea Cluesman, Makenzie Cluesman, Andy Gilliam, Chase Cluesman and Wesley Gilliam; two brothers, Jett Harrell and wife, Ruth and Albert Harrell and wife, Kathy; a sister-in-law, Joyce Harrell and a number of nieces and nephews. The funeral service will be held 2 p.m. Friday, April 6 at Joyner United Methodist Church with interment to follow at Capron Cemetery. The family will receive friends at Mr. Harrell’s home 4-7 p.m. on Thursday, April 5 and at church one hour prior to the service. Memorial contributions may be made to Joyner United Methodist Church, c/o Jeannette Everett, 17413 Everett Rd, Capron, 23829. Online condolences may be shared with the family at www.owenfh.com.

  69. Flu season’s not over but headed in the right direction Southside Regional Medical Center and Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center lift visitor restrictions

    Petersburg, VA – According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this year’s flu season has hit its peak, and is in a steady decline – finally. After one of the worst flu seasons of the past decade, Southside Regional Medical Center (SRMC) and Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center (SVRMC) have resumed normal visiting hours and guidance.

    "We are confident that the worst of a tough flu season is over and we are encouraging patients who may have put off care to make sure they get back on track,” says Clifton A. Hawkes, MD, an Infectious Disease physician.

    According to the Virginia Department of Health, the flu is still considered widespread in Central Virginia. But at SRMC, microbiologist Thomas Harkins reports a decline in positive flu tests over the past few weeks. Compared to peak flu season in mid to late February, they are seeing less than half as many positives. Lab Tech Martha Tranka confirms similar findings at SVRMC in Emporia.

    Flu season can also cause some people – especially the elderly – to postpone care for chronic or elective health issues, either due to cases of the flu itself, or out of a fear of contact with flu in public spaces. 

    "Taking precautions is the best possible way to avoid catching any virus,” adds Dr. Hawkes. “You can still get your flu shot, take proactive hand-washing and hygiene steps, and eat more fruits and vegetables. But don’t put off important care of chronic conditions, or allow an emerging condition to get worse by waiting out the season. Southside Regional Medical Center and Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center take aggressive measures to prevent the spread of viruses – likely more so than any other public space.”

    This year’s flu season was a good reminder of the importance of getting vaccinated, building immunity early and over time. According to the CDC, it’s not too late to get your flu shot this year. If you need a flu shot, or assistance with a plan for building your general health and immune system, call your primary care physician and develop a personal and comprehensive wellness plan that will support you throughout the year. If you need a primary care physician, visit www.southsidephysicians.com

    For more information on the flu, visit the special flu section at http://bit.ly/2FFb1EM. For further flu inquires contact Dr. Hawkes at (804) 998-0470.

  70. Test of Faith - A Local Transplant Success Story

    A man of God, Dr. Wayne Guynn ministers to his congregation at Olive Branch Baptist Church in Blackridge, and he travels abroad to fulfill his mission. Yet, his faith was severely tested when at the age of only 49 his heart suddenly failed. Only one thing could save his life and return him to his family, his work and life as he knew it — a heart transplant.

    In April 2016, Wayne returned home from a two-week mission trip to Ghana. Over the weekend he felt tired, short of breath and mildly ill. Thinking that his symptoms were due merely to the long flight and being a bit out of shape, he went about his business and worked Monday and Tuesday. But, by the end of the week and two trips to the emergency room at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital, it became apparent that this was more than a mere case of jet lag. Wayne’s kidneys were shutting down and he was immediately transported to VCU Health in Richmond.

    The doctors at VCU Health Pauley Heart Center quickly realized that Wayne was suffering from heart failure. The medical team could not find a direct cause, and determined that a virus might have attacked and damaged Wayne’s heart. The specialists initially hoped the problem could be treated with medication, but in a matter of days they realized more aggressive measures were needed. Several options were considered, from a pacemaker to an artificial heart called a “Freedom Driver” that would serve as a bridge until a heart for transplant could be located.

    Ultimately, the treatment team determined that the best solution would be a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) — a mechanical device that is surgically attached to the heart and helps pump blood from the left side of the heart to the rest of the body. The LVAD was a temporary measure and a heart transplant would still be needed, so Wayne and his family settled in for what they thought would be a two- to four-year wait for a new heart. “The LVAD worked well and was nothing more than a minor inconvenience,” comments Wayne. “My life pretty much went back to normal.”

    Unfortunately, that state of normalcy was short-lived. The Monday before Thanksgiving, Wayne suffered a mild stroke and was transported by medical helicopter to VCU Health in Richmond. “It’s hard to believe, but my stroke was actually a blessing in disguise,” he reflects. “I immediately moved up the list for a heart transplant from a priority B to an A.”

    On May 14, 2017, Wayne and his wife, Sarah, were celebrating Mother’s Day in Richmond with their children, Ashleigh, Christian and Jonathan. During dinner, the family received the phone call they had been waiting for. Wayne was told to come straight to VCU Medical Center. A heart that was a perfect match was waiting.

    The very next day, Wayne had his heart transplant, performed jointly by VCU Health’s Hume-Lee Transplant Center and Pauley Heart Center. His recovery was miraculous. He was discharged from the hospital after only 12 days, and subsequent heart biopsies performed periodically after surgery show no signs of rejection. “I’m feeling better and stronger every day,” he says. “I’m even back at work about three quarters of the time. We’re very fortunate to have access to this level of healthcare — starting here in South Hill and then up in Richmond.”

    Wayne is now a real advocate for organ transplants, saying, “It’s amazing that one person as an organ donor can help many other people — and it makes perfect sense in the context of Christian faith.”

    “I feel very fortunate to know another heart transplant patient right here in our community,” says Wayne. “Jimmy Murray, a friend and member of our congregation, received his heart 12 years ago. It’s encouraging to see how well he is doing and reassuring to think that I might have such a positive outcome.”

    “This experience has had a profound effect — extending far beyond the scars on his chest and the 20+ pills that Wayne takes every day. “Now, when I hear my own heart beating, I am reminded that this heart once lived in someone else’s body and that a family lost a loved one. I was given a second chance at life. Now, I have to be a good steward of this amazing gift.”

    To learn more about being an organ donor, please call the VCU Health Hume-Lee Transplant Center at (804) 628-0711 and speak with one of our living donor coordinators.

    If you or a loved one needs an organ, contact the VCU Health Hume-Lee Transplant Center at (804) 828-4104 or vcuhealth.org/transplant.

  71. ‘Safe Virginia’ Task Force Will Address Gun Violence

  72. Virginia Schools Will Teach How to Prevent Child Abuse

  73. Embrace leadership at your library: celebrate National Library Week April 8-14

    (LAWRENCEVILLE, VA) – The week of April 8-14, the Meherrin Regional Library System will join libraries nationwide in celebrating National Library Week and the many ways libraries lead their communities through the transformative services, programs and expertise they offer.

    National Library Week, sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA), is an annual celebration of the life-changing work of libraries, librarians and library workers. Libraries aren’t just places to borrow books or study—they’re also creative and engaging community centers where people can collaborate using new technologies and develop their skills and passions.

    Libraries of all types have long been evolving to meet the needs of the communities they serve. Diverse groups including elected officials, small business owners, and students depend upon libraries and the resources they offer. Resources like e-books and technology classes, materials for English-language learners, and programs for job seekers are just a few ways libraries and librarians are transforming to lead their communities. Community members can also develop their own leadership skills at the library, with endless opportunities to build skills and confidence through resources and programming.

    The Meherrin Regional Library System serves Brunswick County, Greensville County, and the City of Emporia with branches in Lawrenceville and Emporia, Virginia. The Library helps lead the community by providing access to print and e-resources, reference services, assisting with genealogical research, and encouraging early and lifelong learning through a variety of programming.

    Visit the Library during National Library Week to learn more about how your Library can serve you, and participate in our community art project, “Stick Together: Let’s Read!”

    For more information, visit the Brunswick County Library at 133 West Hicks Street, Lawrenceville, or the Richardson Memorial Library at 100 Spring Street, Emporia, or visit the Library’s website at www.meherrinlib.org.

  74. Expanding Medicaid Will Aid Schools, Governor Says

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