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September 2018

GREENSVILLE/EMPORIA DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES

LOCAL BOARD MEETING

The Greensville/Emporia Department of Social Services Administrative Board will meet on Thursday, October 18, 2017, at 3:30 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Greensville/Emporia Department of Social Services located at 1748 East Atlantic Street.  The public is welcome to attend.

  1. October is National Domestic Violence Awarness Month

    The Family Violence/Sexual Assault Unit program strives to empower and support survivors of domestic and sexual assault. The goal is to help them make choices that will enable them to live productive lives without fear and violence. The Family Violence/Sexual Assault Unit Child Advocacy Center provides support and services to children who frequently are exposed to the same abusive behavior giving them a voice because often abused children are left feeling they have no voice and that no one is listening when they do speak.

    The Unit’s values include Safety, Prevention, Accountability, Diversity/Equality, Collaboration, Education, Empowerment/Autonomy and Leadership. The Family Violence and Sexual Assault Unit has combated the effects of domestic violence and sexual assault; ultimately empowering victims in becoming survivors.

    WE INVITE YOU TO JOIN US AS WE RECOGNIZE

    DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH!

    PLEASE ATTEND/PARTICIPATE IN THE EVENTS LISTED BELOW!

    October 5, 2018, 10AM, The Domestic Violence Awareness Walk

    Meet at the Veteran’s Park, behind Emporia Post Office at 9:45 am, walk will begin at 10 am

     

    October 18, 2018, 7 PM     The Candle Light Vigil

    Main Street United Methodist Church

    500 S Main Street

    Emporia, VA 23847

     

    October 31, 2018, 6 PM – 8 PM      Trunk or Treat       

    ***Goodwill Parking Lot***

    Please Note the Change of Location 

    Emporia, VA 23847

    Please call 434 -348 - 0100 for additional information

  2. FANNY BYRD ADAMS

    Fanny Byrd Adams, 70, of Emporia, VA, died Thursday, September 27, 2018, in Midlothian, VA.

    Mrs. Adams was born in Bertie County, NC  daughter of the late George E. and Mary Mills Byrd. She was a graduate of East Carolina University and a retired teacher with the Greenville County School System. Her brother George Eley Byrd, Jr. also preceded her in death.

    She is survived by: her husband, Larry S. Adams; two sons, Eric R. Adams and his wife Alissa, of Apex, NC and L. Scott Adams and his wife Beth, of Midlothian, VA; a sister,  Nancy B. Doughtie of Rocky Mount, NC; and four grandchildren, Benjamin Adams, Isabel Adams, Landon Adams and Courtney Adams.

    The family will receive at Echols Funeral Home, 806 Brunswick Ave., Emporia, VA, Saturday .September 29, 2018, from 6:00 to 8:00 PM.

    Funeral services will be held Sunday September 30, 2018, at 3:00 PM, at Main  Street Baptist Church, with Dr. Rev. Rick Hurst officiating. Interment will follow in Greensville Memorial Cemetery.

    In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made to: Main Street Baptist Church, 440 South Main Street, Emporia, VA 23847

    Online condolences may be sent to the family at: www.echolsfuneralhome.com

  3. Benchmark Community Bank: bringing customer-focused banking to Emporia-Greensville County

    Benchmark Community Bank has come to Emporia. The Kenbridge-based institution opened its doors in the Goodwill shopping center on September 4th and is celebrating its Grand Opening from September 28th – October 5th.

    Celebrating its 47th year in business, Benchmark got its start in 1971 when a group of Lunenburg County residents and business people joined forces to introduce a new community banking model in their home county. President/CEO Jay Stafford recalls the local dynamic that drove Benchmark’s business model.

    “Lunenburg County was, and still is, populated by farms and small businesses,” Stafford recalled. “They’re all trying to balance growing seasons and the ebbs and flows of business with the financial needs of both their businesses and families. Many of them felt they were having to sell their souls to get a loan that would help them meet their obligations when things were tight.

    “That’s why Benchmark was started – to help local people find solutions for the issues facing them every day. Benchmark’s founders listened to people they knew and trusted and created a banking model built to meet the needs. That philosophy is at the heart of who we are and what we do today.”

    For Benchmark’s Emporia banking professionals, the institution’s banking philosophy is what brought them on board.

     VP/Senior Business Banker Jim Saunders works with business customers to assist them with solutions for their business needs.

    “Community banks are founded to give back to the communities they serve. Benchmark is totally committed to the local community bank approach,” said Emporia native Jim Saunders, Vice President/Senior Business Banker. “In a community bank, the financial decision making is done on a local level by people who are dedicated to helping local people and their hometown economy thrive. Our roots were in finding ways to support area farmers trying to finance their agricultural businesses. We still operate that way today. I like that type of banking.”

    VP/Branch Manager Gloria Robinson welcomes a new customer to Benchmark Community Bank’s new branch at 316 W. Atlantic Avenue in Emporia.

    Vice President/Branch Manager Gloria Robinson agreed with Saunders. “Benchmark’s bankers are not just civic-minded, but are determined to support the communities they love, live in, and spend so much of their time serving. They approach banking with the same level of commitment.”

    A longtime Emporia resident, Robinson is involved with the community as a member of Main Street United Methodist Church where she serves as Church Council Chair; the Board of Directors and member of the Annual Campaign Committee of the Family YMCA of Emporia-Greensville; and the Emporia Rotary Club.

    According to both Saunders and Robinson, Benchmark’s customer-focused approach to banking was the key element that encouraged them to join the organization.

    "People’s finances are personal,” said Saunders. “They want to work with a bank that appreciates their individual situations and works to help them find solutions to fit their needs. Benchmark was founded on that principle and it is a bedrock philosophy for Benchmark today.

    “Our slogan is ‘With you for Life!’ We do our best to help our customers and the community we serve through the ups and downs life brings,” he continued. “I’ve never worked for a bank quite like this one.”

    A member of the Emporia City Council for a total of ten years and longtime member of the Main Street United Methodist Church, Saunders was in banking early in his career before assuming the helm of Saunders Gas & Oil, Inc. until 2001. He rejoined banking as Market President for Gateway Bank & Trust and graduated in 2015 from the Virginia Bankers Association School of Bank Management at the University of Virginia. He joined Benchmark in September 2017 as Vice President/Senior Business Banker based out of the bank’s Lawrenceville branch.

    Saunders is a member of Main Street United Methodist Church where he sings in the choir. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Family YMCA of Emporia-Greensville where he is also a member of the Annual Campaign committee. Additionally, he coaches youth basketball and is a member of the Emporia Rotary Club.

    “When people are facing a financial crisis or trying to build their financial future, they need someone to listen to what they need and do their best to find a way to help them. Our customers are the reason we exist as a bank.”

    Emporia resident and banking veteran Annie Poythress will be joining Robinson and Saunders in October. Serving as Customer Service Representative (CSR), Poythress looks forward to bringing a new style of banking to her hometown.

    Emporia’s Benchmark branch will celebrate their Grand Opening weekdays September 28-October 5 with a remote radio broadcast on Friday morning, September 28th, from 11:30-1:30, and prize drawings throughout each day. The public is invited to visit the new location at 316 W. Atlantic Avenue in the Goodwill shopping center. The bank is open Monday-Thursday from 9 am to 5 pm with extended afternoon hours on Fridays until 5:30.

    Including Emporia, Benchmark Community Bank has branch locations in 12 Southside Virginia communities, as well as Henderson and Wake Forest, NC. A new Youngsville, NC location is slated for opening later this year. To learn more about Benchmark, Member FDIC and Equal Housing Lender, its products and services, please visit the Emporia branch at 316 W. Atlantic Street or visit the bank’s website at www.bcbonline.com.

  4. Shay Wrenn is the BA 2018 Homecoming Queen

    2018 Homecoming Queen, Shay Wrenn.

    2018 Homecoming Queen, Shay Wrenn, daughter of Lane and Erica Wrenn of Gasburg. Therunner up, Hannah Waller. 2017 Homecoming Queen, Halie Dru Sadler, was present to crown the new Queen.

    Our 2018 Crown bearer was First Grader, Jonas Earl Doyle, son of Jock Doyle (‘99) and Jessie Raney Doyle ('01). He is the grandson of Beverly Temple Raney ('74), Terri Speight Doyle ('72), and Joey Doyle ('73).Our 2018 Flower Girl was First Grader, Kacy Grey Powell, daughter of Katie Griffin Powell ('02) and Scott Powell. Kacy is the granddaughter of Sandra Wright Griffin ('76) and Samuel Grey Griffin ('74).

    Brunswick Academy 2018 Homecoming Court; from left to right: Alyssa Rivas (Freshman), Naomi Sadler (Sophomore), Olivia Combs (Junior), Allie Pope (Senior), Hannah Waller (Senior), Shay Wrenn (Senior), Lucy Smith (Senior), Sarah Olivia Temple (Junior), Logan Hyde (Junior), Kaitlyn Waller (Sophomore), and Madelyn Williams (Freshman). 

    Left to Right (Back Row)- Director of Upper School, Brittney Weidman, 2017 Homecoming Queen, Halie Dru Sadler (‘18), 2018 Homecoming Queen, Shay Wrenn, and father of Shay Wrenn, Lane Wrenn. Left to Right (Front Row) Crown Bearer, Jonas Doyle, & Flower Girl, Kacy Powell.

  5. SBA Announces FY 2018 State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) Awards

    SBA Awards $18 Million to Expand Small Business Exporting

    WASHINGTON – The U.S. Small Business Administration announced that $18 million in funding has been awarded to 47 State international trade agencies through SBA’s competitive State Trade Expansion Program (STEP), to support export growth among U.S. small businesses.

    STEP is designed to meet three distinctive goals: to increase the number of small businesses that export, to increase the value of exports for small businesses, and to increase the number of small businesses that explore significant new trade opportunities. Expanding the base of small business exporters and making the process as easy as possible is a key component of the Administration’s small business strategy.

    “The SBA is committed to ensuring equal access for small businesses to international markets and expanding export opportunities, and ensuring small businesses have the resources they need to drive their businesses and local communities forward,” said SBA Administrator Linda McMahon. “The STEP awards are an important resource that provide small businesses with the confidence and funding they need to thrive in this competitive international market.”

    Since the beginning of the STEP program seven years ago, approximately $138 million in grants have been awarded to fund export opportunities and increase the footprint of small businesses in countries all over the world.

    “The 2018 STEP awards is a great opportunity for states to help small businesses with the information and tools they need to succeed in exporting,” said SBA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Michelle Christian who oversees SBA programs in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, D.C. and Pennsylvania. “Assistance includes participation in foreign trade missions, foreign-market sales trips, and services provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce, as well as design of international marketing campaigns, export trade show exhibits, training workshops and more.”

    STEP awards are managed and provided at the local level by state government organizations. The program is managed at the national level by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of International Trade.

  6. Walter Glenn Rainey

    Walter Glenn Rainey, Sr., 78, passed away on Thursday, September 13, 2018 after a brief illness at Wayne Memorial Hospital in Goldsboro, NC. He was preceded in death by his parents, Almeda and Leonard Rainey, brothers, Bart and James and a niece, Beth Allen.

    Walter is survived by his wife, Brenda; son, Glenn Rainey and wife, Tina; brother, Marion; step-daughter, Kellie Kirby and step-son, Wayne Smith and a number of beloved nieces, nephews and great-nieces and great-nephews.

    Walter was a veteran of the Virginia Army National Guard and worked in auto sales until his retirement. He loved the outdoors and greatly enjoyed hunting and fishing.

    Services and interment will be private.

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

  7. How Social Security Defines Disability

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

    Disability affects millions of Americans, in one form or another. Social Security is here to help you and your family, but there are strict criteria for meeting the definition of disability. The definition of disability under Social Security is also different than it is for other programs. We do not pay benefits for partial or short-term disability.

    We consider you disabled under Social Security rules if:

    • You can’t do work that you did before;
    • We decide that you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s); and
    • Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.

    This is a strict definition of disability.

    Social Security is also required by law to review the current medical condition of all people receiving disability benefits to make sure they continue to have a qualifying disability. Generally, if someone’s health hasn’t improved, or if their disability still keeps them from working, they will continue to receive benefits.

    To help us make our decision, we’ll first gather new information about a benefit recipient’s medical condition. We’ll ask their doctors, hospitals, and other medical sources for their medical records. We’ll ask them how their medical condition limits their activities, what their medical tests show, and what medical treatments they have been given. If we need more information, we’ll ask them to go for an examination or test for which we’ll pay.

    Social Security is a support system for people who cannot work because of a disability. You can learn more about Social Security disability at www.socialsecurity.gov/disabilityand also by accessing our starter kits and checklists at www.socialsecurity.gov/planners/disability.

  8. IALR NAMED AS PROGRAM MANAGER OF VINEYARD GRANT PROGRAM, ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS

    ~Cost-share program addresses grape shortage, encourages growth of Virginia wine industry~

    Amy Turner of IALR, Program Manager of TRRC’s SOVA Vineyard Development and Expansion Program(DANVILLE, Va.) – The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) has been named by Virginia’s Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission (TRRC) as the new program manager of the SOVA Vineyard Development and Expansion Program, first launched in 2016, and is currently accepting new applications for grant awards. Through the cost-share program, IALR will work with the Virginia Cooperative Extension, TRRC and the Virginia Vineyards Association to increase vineyard acreage and address the shortage of Virginia-grown grapes.

    “We are excited to step into this new role with the Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission, and look forward to supporting vineyard acreage expansion efforts as well as growth of the Virginia wine industry,” said Mark Gignac, Executive Director of IALR. “As we strive to be a regional catalyst for economic transformation, agritourism and business development are important components of the process. IALR is excited to offer leadership throughout 34 counties in Southern and Southwest Virginia.”

    This grant program, in place through Jan. 12, 2020, is designed to support Virginia’s wine industry and agritourism by providing growers incentive to expand vineyard acreage. A cost-share award of up to $3,000 per acre is available for qualified vineyard growers—reimbursing 33 percent of eligible expenditures. Vineyards with up to nine acres may receive a maximum award of up to $15,000, and those with ten or more acres may receive a maximum award of up to $20,000. Funding is awarded through a competitive process and may be sought by qualified existing growers who wish to expand their current acreage and by new growers developing their first vineyard. To be considered for the program, new growers must establish at least three acres of new vines, and existing growers must be willing to plant a minimum of one new acre. Eligible cost-share items include, but are not limited to, grapevines, hardware for trellis systems, fencing and irrigation systems.

    To learn more about eligibility requirements, including a detailed map of eligible counties, growers may visit TRRCgrape.com or contact Program Manager Amy Turner at amy.turner@ialr.org or (434) 766-6788. Turner also will assist growers with the application process, which is currently open. Vineyard grower workshops and grant program interest meetings are being planned and will be announced on TRRCgrape.com.

    The SOVA Vineyard Development and Expansion Program was developed with an overall goal of increasing production of wine grapes in Southern and Southwest Virginia. In order for wines to be marketed as Virginia wines, they must contain at least 75 percent of Virginia-grown grapes. While the number of wineries in Virginia has been increasing, the pace of vineyard expansion has lagged, resulting in acute grape shortages and the slowing of Virginia wine production. In 2015, the Virginia Wineries Association, Virginia Wine, Virginia Vineyards Association and Virginia Wine Council partnered on a strategic plan to address the issue.

    The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research serves Virginia as a regional catalyst for economic transformation with applied research, advanced learning, conference center services and economic development efforts. The Institute’s major footprint focuses within Southern Virginia, including the counties of Patrick, Henry, Franklin, Pittsylvania, Halifax and Mecklenburg along with the cities of Martinsville and Danville.

    Pictured above is Amy Turner of IALR, Program Manager of TRRC’s SOVA Vineyard Development and Expansion Program

  9. Shirley Pearson

    Shirley Pearson, surrounded by family and friends, died September 17, 2018 at Beason Place in Greensboro, N.C.   Shirley was born in 1932 in Emporia, Va.  She lived there all of her life except the last three years when she moved to Greensboro to be near her daughter.

    Shirley graduated from Greensville County High School.  Much of her adult life, over 30 years, she and her husband owned and operated a family style restaurant.

    Shirley is survived by her daughter, Bonnie Pearson of Greensboro. She was preceded in death by her parents, Gertrude and Billy Bowen, brother William and her husband T.J. Pearson.

    Shirley loved to play bingo and acquired the nickname of BINGO by her fellow residents at Heritage Greens Assisted Living.

    Funeral Services will be held Friday, September 21, 2018 at Echols Funeral Home Chapel and followed by interment at Greensville Memorial Cemetery. The family will receive friends at the funeral home from 10:00 A. M. until time of the service.

    Online condolences may be left at echolsfuneralhome.com.

  10. "Good Ole Grandma"

    Has anyone asked Grandma
    well you all know that you should
    yes if anyone will help you
    you know that Grandma would.
     
    Yes Grandmas they are everywhere
    to guide us through each day
    if they are ever needed
    they are only a step away.
     
    You sometimes wonder who’s in charge
    of the house that you live in
    well if you bet on Grandma
    you most likely will win.
     
    Now Grandmas give out lots of love
    but they like some in return
    yes if you don’t do your part
    in a short time you will learn.
     
    They say Grandmas don’t have favorites
    so they will treat all just the same
    yet Grandma will work around this
    and give each one her special time.
     
    Now hos come Grandmas still awake
    when we have all gone to bed
    it proves the fact she in is charge
    just like before I said!
     
                        Roy E. Schepp
  11. Panther Prep Advising Day Coming to SVCC Campuses and Other Locations

    Panther Prep Advising Day, a semi-annual event sponsored by Southside Virignia Community College, is happening again on Tuesday, October 2, 1018 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.  The event offers students and prospective college students a chance to sign up for Spring classes,  meet with advisors and other college staff, learn about offerings at the college and relax with some food and entertainment. 

    Panther Prep Day will be held on the Christanna Campus in Alberta, John H. Daniel Campus in Keysville, Southern Virginia Higher Education Center in South Boston, Southside Virginia Education Center in Emporia, The Estes Community Center in Chase City and Lake Country Advanced Knowledge Center in South Hill. 

    If you have question, email them to student.services@southside.edu

  12. AG HERRING URGES CONSUMERS TO BEWARE OF FRAUD AND SCAMS FOLLOWING HURRICANE FLORENCE

    ~ Urges awareness of common post-disaster frauds and scams involving door to door sales of services, home repair or debris removal following significant flooding and tornadoes ~

    RICHMOND (September 18, 2018) – As Virginia begins to recover from significant flooding, storms and tornadoes caused by Hurricane Florence, Attorney General Mark R. Herring today encouraged Virginians to know their rights as consumers and to be on the lookout for common frauds and schemes that take advantage of people affected by natural disasters. Specifically, the Office of the Attorney General alerted Virginians to scams involving door to door canvassing, charitable contribution solicitations, home repair proposals, and tree cleanup and removal. Attorney General Herring previously warned Virginians to be cautious when donating money to assist hurricane victims in their recovery efforts. 
     
    “This hurricane has had a significant impact on families across Virginia and we want to make sure that folks do not also become victims of scams during this time,” said Attorney General Herring. “Unfortunately, those affected by natural disasters are often the target of frauds, scams, and other illegal practices as they try to clean up and move forward. I urge all Virginians to familiarize themselves with fraudulent behavior that follows storms like Hurricane Florence. Be wary of any red flags that you may notice, resist pressures to make any quick decisions, and do not hesitate to call my office if you think you may have been a victim of fraudulent or illegal business practices.”
     
    Consumers can contact Attorney General Herring's Consumer Protection Section at 1(800) 552-9963 and can file a complaint online. Consumers are encouraged to keep and provide copies of as much documentation as possible.
     
    HOME REPAIRS, DEBRIS REMOVAL, OR CLEANUP
    Home repair companies will arrive at disaster sites in response to the high demand for their services resulting from widespread property damage. Often disreputable companies hoping to make easy money are among them. They may require you to pay them before doing the work, do a shoddy job, or add extra costs throughout the job. To avoid being taken advantage of in this way, follow these tips:
    • Work with contractors you know or local firms with roots in the community. 
    • Ask people you trust for contractor referrals.
    • Ask the contractor for references and check them.
    • Verify the contractor’s license status and check on any complaints with the Board for Contractors at http://www.dpor.virginia.gov/LicenseLookup/ or call (804) 367-8511.
    • Get written estimates from several firms.
    • Do not do business without a written contract. Be sure that all guarantees, promises, and details are in writing. 
    • Do not pay large sums in advance and never make final payment until all work is completed to your satisfaction. 
    • Be extra cautious when a contractor comes to your door soliciting your business, offers you discounts for finding other customers, or "just happens to have" materials left over from a previous job.

     
    DOOR TO DOOR SOLICITATIONS
    In addition to home repair services, door-to-door solicitors may offer a variety of products for use after the disaster, as well as services like tree or debris cleanup. Some door-to-door solicitors are not legitimate. Remember these tips when someone comes to your door to sell you something:
    • High pressure sales tactics are often a part of fraudulent activity. Do not be hurried or intimidated. The salesperson is at your door uninvited and remains there only at your courtesy.
    • Be extra cautious about letting someone into your home. Never let anyone into your home without first asking for identification.
    • Under Virginia law, you have three days to cancel sales made at your home if the product or service costs $25 or more.
    • Your right of cancellation may be waived by you in an emergency. Be very cautious about signing a document that waives your right to cancel the sale. Read anything you are asked to sign very carefully.
    • If you decide to purchase from or use the services of a door-to-door solicitor, get all information and promises in writing; but remember, without a bricks and mortar business location, it is easy for these individuals to relocate and make it impossible for you to find them should legal recourse become necessary.



     

  13. Virginia’s Community Colleges expand FastForward workforce training in rapidly growing solar energy, heavy construction sectors

    RICHMOND—Virginia’s Community Colleges today announced a $4 million economic investment over the next two years to support curriculum development and FastForward workforce training in the rapidly growing fields of utility-scale solar energy and heavy construction. Select community colleges will develop programs that can be expanded across the commonwealth as the demand grows for skilled workers in these fields.
     
    VIRGINIA SOLAR WORKFORCE INITIATIVE
     
    Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC) will receive funds to work with businesses in the energy industry to develop and deploy the Virginia Solar Workforce Initiative, a first-in-the-state curriculum and training program for the utility-scale solar industry. The need for utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) installers, who earn an average starting salary of $42,000-50,000, is emerging in Virginia, and the U.S. Department of Energy reports the solar energy sector is poised for robust growth.
     
    “The Virginia Solar Workforce Initiative is an exceptional example of a public-private partnership,” said Dr. Al Roberts, president of Southside Virginia Community College. “These jobs represent an excellent opportunity for Virginians to be a part of this dynamic, high-growth industry, and we’re excited to partner with industry leaders in the utility-scale solar field, the Maryland-DC-Delaware-Virginia Solar Energy Industries Association, to create this program.”
     
    VCCS HEAVY CONSTRUCTION PROGRAMS
     
    The new grants also will increase access to FastForward training for workers in the heavy construction industry.  Lord Fairfax Community College (LFCC), Piedmont Virginia Community College (PVCC), and Germanna Community College (GCC) will team up to develop a curriculum and statewide training capabilities for courses that support Virginia’s development sector.
    In partnership with the Heavy Construction Contractors Association (HCCA) and the Virginia Asphalt Association (VAA), the colleges will establish online access to training programs in the principles and practices of road building and other major infrastructure projects. 
     
    “The expanded initiative provides an opportunity to truly create a pipeline of current and future employees who will reap the rewards of a well-paid and rewarding career pathway,” said Ken Garrison, Executive Director of the Heavy Construction Contractors Association. “We have worked collaboratively with LFCC to build the pilot program and our firms benefited from hiring the graduates.”
     
    “We look forward to working in partnership with our sister colleges to scale and expand the program in order to serve more employers and give access to more job seekers to obtain these high demand industry credentials,” said Kimberly Blosser, president of LFCC.
     
    The average starting salary in Virginia for heavy equipment operators is $43,000 a year. 
     
    Since July of 2016, Virginians who trained in FastForward programs at community colleges have earned more than 11,000 valuable industry recognized workforce credentials. FastForward training programs are specifically geared toward the needs of local businesses and offer students affordable access to new careers in weeks or months instead of semesters and years.
     
    “FastForward is benefitting both the individuals who earn credentials in high demand fields and the businesses that are eager to hire skilled employees,” said Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges. “These strategic investments will bolster those talent pipelines feeding these emerging industries and prepare even more people for these good-paying careers.”
     
    Find out more about FastForward at www.fastforwardva.org.
  14. AG HERRING WARNS VIRGINIANS TO BE CAUTIOUS WHEN DONATING TO ASSIST VICTIMS OF HURRICANE FLORENCE

    ~ Solicitations from fake charities are more common following natural disasters ~

    RICHMOND (September 17, 2018) - As the East Coast begins to recover from Hurricane Florence, Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring is encouraging Virginians to exercise caution as they consider donating money to assist victims in their recovery. Sadly, scammers often use natural disasters such as hurricanes to set up fake charities where the money collected is pocketed by the scammer. As crowdfunding becomes more popular, it is especially important to research a crowdfunding page to make sure it is legitimate before donating.
     
    “The images we are seeing out of the areas hit by Hurricane Florence are heartbreaking, and it is the first instinct of Virginians to help victims during this time of need,” said Attorney General Herring. “Folks must be smart and cautious when donating to hurricane focused charities because the sad truth is there are immoral people out there who will take advantage of a natural disaster to line their own pockets. I would encourage everyone to do their research before donating money to any charity that claims to help victims of this storm.”
     
    Prior to making any contributions, Attorney General Herring encourages potential donors to take some common-sense precautions. While there are many legitimate organizations that provide relief to disaster victims, there are also many con artists that will use the phone, e-mail, U.S. Mail, the internet, or personal contact to try to separate you from your money. Always follow these tips when considering a charitable donation:
     
    • On crowdfunding sites:
    • Check the creator or page owner's credentials and try to confirm its authenticity and seriousness.
    • Look for indicators of endorsement or legitimacy that the page is actually collecting donations for a particular victim or organization. Some sites offer verification and transparency measures for campaigns. Look for those markers of authenticity, and check out the site's fraud protection measures.
    • Be cautious, and if you feel uneasy, contribute to a more established charity in the community.
    • Be wary of charities that spring up overnight in connection with a current event or natural disaster. They may make a compelling case for you to make a donation but even if they are legitimate, they may not have the infrastructure or experience to get your donation to the affected area or people.
    • Only give to charities and fundraisers you can confirm are reliable and legitimate. Scrutinize charities with consumer advocates or friends and find out how much of your donation will go to the charity's programs and services.
    • Beware of "copy-cat" names that sound like reputable charities. Some scammers use names that closely resemble those of respected, legitimate organizations.
    • Be especially cautious if you do not initiate the contact with the charity.
    • Do not be pressured into giving. Legitimate organizations will not expect you to contribute immediately.
    • Ask for written information about the charity, including name, address, and telephone number. Legitimate organizations will give you materials about the charity's mission, how your donation will be used, and proof that your contribution is tax-deductible. Just because a "charity" has a tax identification number does not mean your contribution is tax-deductible.
    • Avoid cash donations. Make checks payable to the charitable organization and not to an individual collecting a donation. For security and tax record purposes, you may wish to pay by credit card.
    • If contributing over the Internet, be sure the web site you are visiting belongs to the charity to which you want to donate. See if other legitimate web sites will link to that web site. Make sure the web site is secure and offers protection of your credit card number
    • If a charity is soliciting contributions in Virginia, verify its registration with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Office of Charitable and Regulatory Programs ("OCRP") at (804) 786-1343, or by searching OCRP's Charitable Organization Database online: http://cos.va-vdacs.com/cgi-bin/char_search.cgi
    • While a legitimate charity should be registered with OCRP to solicit contributions in Virginia, registration alone does not mean that the organization will be effective in aiding victims of a particular natural disaster.

     

    Who to Contact

    You can report charitable solicitation fraud to the Office of Charitable and Regulatory Programs and the Office of the Attorney General at the following addresses and telephone numbers:
     
    OFFICE OF CHARITABLE AND REGULATORY PROGRAMS
    P.O. Box 1163
    Richmond, Virginia 23218
    (804) 786-1343
    (804) 225-2666 (fax)

     
    OCRP administers the provisions of the Virginia Solicitation of Contributions ("VSOC") law, Virginia Code §§ 57-48 through 57-69, and registers charitable organizations soliciting in Virginia. OCRP investigates complaints where there is an alleged violation of the VSOC law by a charitable organization or its professional fundraiser while soliciting contributions in Virginia. If it has reason to believe violations have occurred, OCRP can make an investigative referral to the Attorney General's Office and/or other agencies for a possible law enforcement action.
     
    Here is a link to OCRP's Charitable Solicitation Complaint Form: http://www.vdacs.virginia.gov/pdf/cscomplaint.pdf

      
    OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
    Consumer Protection Section
    202 North Ninth Street
    Richmond, Virginia 23219
    (800) 552-9963 (if calling from Virginia)
    (804) 786-2042 (phone) (if calling from Richmond area)
    (804) 225-4378 (fax)
     
    The Virginia Attorney General has authority under state and federal consumer protection statutes to investigate and prosecute charitable solicitation and other consumer fraud and misrepresentation. If an action is brought, the Attorney General can seek injunctive relief to halt fraudulent or deceptive conduct in Virginia and obtain restitution for injured consumers. 
     
    Here is a link to the Attorney General's Consumer Complaint Form: http://www.ag.virginia.gov/consumercomplaintform/form/start

     

  15. COLLEGE DAY AND FOUR YEAR COLLEGE TOUR SET FOR OCTOBER 3

    Area eleventh and twelfth-grade high school students and their parents are invited to attend “College Day” at Southside Virginia Community College’s Christanna Campus in Alberta on Wednesday, October 3, 2018, from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.  This is the Regional College Day program for Brunswick, Mecklenburg, and parts of Lunenburg and Nottoway counties.  Second-year students and graduates of two-year college degree programs are also urged to attend.  Over 40 colleges, universities and special schools will be represented.

    Institutions that should be represented include Averett University, Barton College, Bluefield College, Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing, Bryant and Stratton-Richmond, Campbell University, Chowan University, Christopher Newport University, College of William and Mary, Concord University, Eastern Mennonite University, Emory and Henry College, Ferrum College, George Mason University,  Hampden-Sydney College, Hampton University, James Madison University, Jefferson College of Health Sciences, Johnson & Wales University, Liberty University,   Mary Baldwin College, Mid-Atlantic Christian University, Norfolk State University, North Carolina Wesleyan College,  Old Dominion University, Old Dominion University On Line, Pfeiffer University, Radford University,  Regent University, Shenandoah University, Southside College of Health Sciences, Southside Virginia Community College, The Apprentice School, University of Mary Washington, Sweet Briar College, University of Lynchburg, University of Virginia, University of Virginia at Wise, Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia Military Institute, Virginia State University, Virginia Tech, Virginia Wesleyan College and Winson-Salem State University.  Also attending will be a representative for the Virginia Tobacco Region Scholarship.  For more information about “College Day” contact the Admissions Office at SVCC’s Christanna Campus at 434-949-1014.

  16. Back to School

    By Dr. Al Roberts

    Fall is in the air, and students are back to work. The hallways at Southside Virginia Community College teem with a mix of new and familiar faces as faculty members guide students who are taking the next steps along their education pathways.

    Some familiar faces are absent, however. Last year’s graduates have moved on. Some entered the workforce and some are walking different halls, continuing their academic pursuits at other institutions. Follow-up surveys of graduates indicate that more than half of SVCC students use their time at the community college to prepare for transfer to a four-year, baccalaureate-awarding institution.

    One former student, for example, continued his studies through the Art Institute’s Game Design program. He is now working full time as a game developer for a company in Florida. A recent graduate from the Governor’s School of Southside Virginia is currently enrolled in Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. SVCC graduates, including former dually enrolled students and traditional college students, are attending Virginia Tech, Harvard, Yale, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Radford, George Mason, VCU, VSU, Norfolk State, Old Dominion, Mary Baldwin, Hampden-Sydney, Ferrum, Lynchburg College, Liberty, Longwood, Clemson, University of North Carolina, Spelman …. The list goes on and on.

    Matt Dunn, a transfer counselor, explains some of the benefits of beginning a postsecondary education path at a community college, “When it comes to successfully completing a bachelor’s degree, transfer students have a higher graduation rate.” He also notes, “All of the community colleges in Virginia have agreements with most of the state’s public and private four-year colleges and universities. In addition to these, SVCC maintains agreements with others. With sufficient GPA, in-state acceptance is virtually guaranteed at public and private colleges in the state.” This is because graduates who earn an Associate of Arts and Sciences degree and meet minimum grade point averages, which are set individually by the receiving institution, are guaranteed to be accepted as long as they meet application deadlines. Furthermore, they receive junior-class status, which satisfies all lower level general education requirements.

    During their time at SVCC, Dunn says students learn about a variety of topics and discover the niches they find most satisfying. “They use their time here to cultivate and grow their interests. Students investigate college and career pathway options aligned with their strengths and personalities. Some discover aptitudes in areas they never previously explored.”

    For students interested in transferring to four-year institutions, SVCC offers one-on-one or group transfer counseling, four-year college campus fairs and visits, and membership in the Transfer Club.  For more information on how to effectively streamline your educational journey and maximize your potential future opportunities, contact Matt Dunn, Transfer Counselor, at 434-736-2020 or matt.dunn@southside.edu.

    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.

     

  17. AG HERRING WARNS OF SCAMMERS POSING AS DISASTER OFFICIALS DURING HURRICANE FLORENCE

    ~ Scammers in Hampton Roads are seeking personal information under the guise of reimbursement for evacuation expenses ~

    RICHMOND (September 14, 2018) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring today is warning Virginians, particularly those who live in the Hampton Roads region, of scammers who are posing as disaster relief officials calling for personal information under the guise of reimbursement for evacuation expenses. Now that Governor Northam has lifted the mandatory evacuation order, Virginians are returning to their homes and could be more susceptible to scams like this one. If you receive a call from someone claiming to be a disaster official and they ask for your personal information, it is a scam and you should hang up the phone.
     
    “It is a shame that there are people out there who take advantage of a natural disaster and try to scam victims,” said Attorney General Herring. “Folks have begun to return home now that the Governor has lifted the evacuation order, making them potential targets for scammers offering to reimburse them for evacuation expenses. This is why it is so important that all Virginians know the signs of a scam and never give their personal information to someone they do not know. If something seems fishy that means it probably is.”
     
    Phishing scams typically involve scammers posing as legitimate organizations, in this case either the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) or FEMA, demanding that victims turn over their personal information so it can be used to commit fraud and identity theft. Never let a “disaster official” or “disaster worker” into your home without first asking for the person’s identification and checking it out. Some con artists pose as government officials and claim that a “processing fee” must be paid to secure disaster relief payments or loans. Other con artists pretend to be safety inspectors and require that expensive or unnecessary repairs be done immediately. Attorney General Herring would like you to keep the following scam guidelines in mind:
     
    • Phishing emails typically contain misspellings and poor grammar, and demand that you “act immediately.”
    • Most legitimate companies do not ask for personal information over email or by unsolicited phone call. Should you have a question about your status or account with an institution, call the company directly from a number off their real website. 
    • Do not click on links in suspected emails or use numbers contained in them.   
    • Never reply to a suspicious email or provide personal information to an unsolicited phone call.
    • Report the email to the purported institution or appropriate law enforcement agency.
    • Use strong passwords for your email, computer, and financial accounts, including variations of capital and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols of at least 8 characters.
    • Install anti-virus programs on your computer and scan files and emails regularly.
    • Check for regular updates to your operating system.
    • Install and activate a software and hardware firewall on your computer.
    • Backup all of your data regularly using an external hard drive.
     
    If you feel you have been a victim of one of these phishing scams, please contact Attorney General Herring's Consumer Protection Section: www.ag.virginia.gov or call 1-800-552-9963 in Virginia or (804) 786-2042 if calling from the Richmond area. You can also contact VDEM atwww.vaemergency.gov, (804) 897-6500, or pio@vdem.virginia.gov.

     

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  18. 56th Annual Virginia Peanut Festival is Next Weekend

    This 56th annual event presented by the Emporia-Greensville Chamber of Commerce features various festival activities Thursday - Saturday in Veterans Memorial Park and a carnival with rides, games and favorite fair food Thursday - Sunday at the Old Elementary School site.

    The peanut harvest celebration starts with the annual Kick-Off Kook-Off Food Tasting Competition on Thursday. Festival highlights include live music, arts and crafts, the annual Car & Truck Show, a peanut farm tour, farm animal petting zoo, Civil War re-enactors, educational exhibits, antique tractor displays and a variety of festival food. The annual parade will roll at 11 am on Saturday, with a fireworks display at night.

    Festival and carnival admission and parking are free. Call 866-666-3247 for ride prices and specials, or visit DreamlandAmusements.com.

    Midway hours are 5-10 pm Thursday, 5-11 pm Friday, noon - 11 pm Saturday, and noon - 5 pm Sunday. Festival hours are 4:30-9:30 pm Thursday, 4:30-11 pm Friday, and 9:30 am - 11 pm Saturday. Visit EmporiaGreensvilleChamber.com for event updates.

  19. IT’S RAINING DOGS AT THIS YEAR'S PEANUT FESTIVAL

    This adorable doggie quilt is one of the many quilts that will be on display at the free Quilt Show at the Richardson Memorial Library during the Peanut Festival.

    There will be dogs on display at the Meherrin Piecemakers’ Quilt Show during the Virginia Peanut Festival.  This is one of the many whimsical quilts that will be displayed at the Richardson Memorial Library on Saturday, September 22, from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.  While at the Peanut Festival, take a break to cool off and see the many creations the quilters have crafted.  Quilters will be on hand to answer questions about they many styles and techniques on display at the free event.

    The Quilt Guild meets monthly on the fourth Tuesday of each month at Main Street Baptist Church in Emporia at 7:00 p.m.   The guild welcomes individuals of all skill levels to join.  Beginners and experienced quilters alike will learn new techniques and ways of expressing their love of this craft. The guild also supports the community by making quilts for oncology patients, donating to a local Food Bank, and donating to victims of domestic violence.  For more information, contact guild president, Marcia Headley at (434) 658-1555.

  20. BA STUDENT OF THE MONTH FOR SEPTEMBER 2018 JONATHAN DAVIS PAUL

    Brunswick Academy is pleased to announce that Jonathan Davis Paul has been selected September 2018 Student of the month.  Jonathan, a senior, is the son of John and Tonya Paul (Class of 1991) of Emporia.  His sister, Sydney, is a freshman at Brunswick Academy. He is the grandson of Wanda Proctor of Emporia and Ronald and Virginia Paul of Henrico, NC.

    Jonathan is in the Brunswick Academy Honors Program, which is the most rigorous and challenging program of study. This year he has been taking dual-enrollment classes at Southside Virginia Community College, as well as his upper-school classes at Brunswick Academy. He has consistently made the Honor Roll throughout his years at the academy.

    Regarding academics, he is a member of the National Honor Society and has been a member of Brunswick Academy’s Honor Council, Student Council Organization, the Junior Classical League (Latin Club) and has attended Model General Assembly in Richmond. He has also competed against other schools in our conference as a member of Brunswick Academy’s Scholastic Bowl team (quiz bowl competition).  Jonathan was Chief Marshall at the graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2018.

    This past summer, Jonathan was selected to attend Boys’ State held at Radford University. The week long program, which is hosted by the American Legion, helps to cultivate leadership skills and develop pride in American citizenships to all of its participants. Over 600 boys attended this session where they were able to learn more about Virginia government.  Jonathan ran for a seat in the House of Delegates and won and was able to write and present a couple of bills.

    He is a member of Main Street United Methodist Church in Emporia, where he serves as a scripture reader. Since the 7th grade, he has been a member of Main Street’s Youth Group.  Jonathan has participated in 6 week long mission trips where they travel to different states and perform a variety of tasks including much need home repairs, serving meals to the homeless, as well as completing the renovation of a camp cabin on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.

    From the time Jonathan was 7 years old, scouting has been an important part of his life. He became a boy scout in Troop 232 of Purdy in 2012 where he logged more than 70 nights camping, has been on numerous hikes including a portion of the Appalachian Trail and a 5 day 35 mile hike through the mountains of New Mexico. Jonathan completed his Eagle Service project in 2016 by planning, organizing and installing a 30’ flagpole with an American Flag at the Greensville Manor Nursing Home. He became an Eagle Scout on November 16, 2016.

    Throughout his years of attending Brunswick Academy, Jonathan has participated in athletics at the Junior Varsity and Varsity levels. He has played football for 6 years, earning the sportsmanship award his Junior year and is currently serving as one of the team captains. He has been on the baseball team for 4 years, earning the Most Improved Award his Freshman year and receiving the Coach’s award his Sophomore year. He has also played Soccer and ran with the Cross Country team.

    Jonathan’s hobbies include hunting, fishing, kayaking and beekeeping.

    He is in the process of applying to the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, Washington and Lee University and North Carolina State University. He plans to study either chemical or electrical engineering.

  21. Lisa Schaffner of UNOS, Visits Crater Community Hospice as Their September Coffee Chat Speaker

    PETERSBURG - Lisa Schaffner of UNOS, Visits Crater Community Hospice as Their September Coffee Chat Speaker. Special Thanks to Lisa Schaffner of UNOS, The United Network of Organ Sharing, for her heartfelt and passionate presentation at our September Coffee Chat. We had a large group of community members present for Lisa's presentation; she had us laughing one minute and in tears the next with her amazing stories of hope, life and giving. UNOS is truly making a difference in our community and throughout the nation, Matching Organs. Saving Lives. For more information please visit their website www.unos.org The Crater Community Hospice Coffee Chat Educational Series is held the first Thursday of each month from 9:00-10:00 am in our Petersburg office at 3916 S. Crater Road Petersburg, VA 23805. Please join us! Our programs are always free of charge and open to the community. For more information visit the Events page on our website at www.cratercommunityhospice.org.

  22. Virginia Delegation Calls on President Trump to Issue Federal Emergency Declaration Ahead of Hurricane Florence

    WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine, along with U.S. Reps. Rob Wittman (VA-01), Scott Taylor (VA-02), Bobby Scott (VA-03), A. Donald McEachin (VA-04), Tom Garrett (VA-05), Bob Goodlatte (VA-06), Dave Brat (VA-07), Don Beyer (VA-08), Morgan Griffith (VA-09), Barbara Comstock (VA-10), and Gerry Connolly (VA-11), called on President Donald Trump to issue a federal emergency declaration ahead of Hurricane Florence, a tropical storm which was recently upgraded to a Category 4 hurricane and is expected to make landfall somewhere on the southeast or Mid-Atlantic coast Thursday night. Virginia’s congressional delegation wrote to the President in support of a request from Gov. Ralph Northam in advance of the storm’s potentially devastating effects on the Commonwealth of Virginia.

    “The health and well-being of my constituents is my top concern, which is why I joined the entire congressional delegation of Virginia to call on President Trump to give full consideration to Governor Northam’s request to issue a federal emergency,” said Congressman Donald McEachin. “If this storm continues as predicted, making federal resources available will help us achieve a speedy recovery.”

    “A federal emergency declaration would ensure the full availability of federal resources to support the Commonwealth’s efforts to guarantee public safety and rapid recovery from the direct and indirect effects of Hurricane Florence. Thank you for your consideration of Governor Northam’s request. We look forward to working with you, FEMA, and other relevant federal agencies to ensure that the Commonwealth of Virginia has the resources available to ensure the safety of our constituents,” wrote the Virginia Congressional Delegation.

    On September 8, 2018, Gov. Northam declared a state of emergency in Virginia in preparation for Hurricane Florence, which is projected to have a significant impact on the Commonwealth in the coming days. It is increasingly likely that Virginia will face damaging winds, heavy rainfall, and potentially life-threating storm surge flooding. Many localities have already ordered mandatory evacuations to prevent potential physical harm or loss of life.

    The full text of the letter can be found below.

    Dear Mr. President:

    We write today to express our support for Governor Ralph S. Northam’s request for a federal emergency declaration in advance of Hurricane Florence’s potentially devastating effects on the Commonwealth of Virginia.

    As you may know, on September 8, 2018 Governor Northam declared a state of emergency in Virginia in preparation for Hurricane Florence, which is projected to have a significant impact on the Commonwealth in the coming days. It is increasingly likely that Virginia will face damaging winds, heavy rainfall, and potentially life-threating storm surge flooding due to Hurricane Florence. Many localities have already ordered mandatory evacuations to prevent potential physical harm or loss of life.

    Governor Northam’s emergency declaration ensures a fully coordinated state response to support local recovery efforts. The Commonwealth has activated the Virginia Evacuation Coordination Team for Operational Response to assess the storm’s potential effects and the Virginia Emergency Operations Center is already coordinating the state’s response with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

    A federal emergency declaration would ensure the full availability of federal resources to support the Commonwealth’s efforts to guarantee public safety and rapid recovery from the direct and indirect effects of Hurricane Florence.

    Thank you for your consideration of Governor Northam’s request. We look forward to working with you, FEMA, and other relevant federal agencies to ensure that the Commonwealth of Virginia has the resources available to ensure the safety of our constituents.

     

     

  23. Edith Ferguson Harrell

    Edith Ferguson Harrell 91 “and a half” passed away peacefully at home on Friday morning September 7th surrounded by family.  Survived by her two daughters Rita Robinson Rowell (husband James Rongers) and Kathy Robinson Drummond, grandchildren; Betsy Rowell Mathews, Kimberly Rowell Borkat, Christopher Harris, Derick Fisch, Brad Drummond, great grandchildren; Nick and Emily Mathews, Michael, Brandon, and Bailey Borkat, Autumn and Reagon Fisch, several nephews, her faithful furbaby Andy, and special friend and caregiver Tim Hobbs. She was preceded in death by her husband of 50 years, Milton “Lightening” Harrell.  As a long time Emporia resident and member of Forrest Hill Baptist Church, Edith lived in Brink for the last 50+ years and retired from Emporia Garment factory.  Better known as “Billie” to friends and family, she travelled frequently to visit her five grandchildren, seven great grandchildren and her large extended family.

    One of four daughters to Winfrey Wayland and Lacy Wyche Thompson Ferguson of Emporia, Billie was a vital member of her community, a devoted daughter, loving mother and proud grandmother. On September 22nd, her family would be honored if you would join them to celebrate a life well lived at Echols Funeral Home in Emporia, VA.  Visitation will be from 1:30-2:30 and memorial service at 3:00.  A processional to Forest Hill Baptist Church, Skippers VA for a brief graveside remembrance before refreshments in the fellowship hall.  

  24. David Meade Fuller Jr.

    David Meade Fuller Jr., 71, died Saturday, September 8, 2018.

    David was the son of the late David Meade Fuller and Eddie Viola Householder Fuller.  After earning a degree in criminal justice, he worked as a police officer for the City of Emporia and as a Greensville County deputy sheriff.  As a graduate of the sniper school at Quantico, he taught marksmanship in the Department of Corrections where he retired as a Captain and was a member of the PERT team. Also an avid hunter, he taught marksmanship for many years as a volunteer with 4-H. David was a loyal member and Deacon of Victory Fellowship.

    David is survived by his loving wife of 40 years Bonnie Fuller, children; David Fuller III and his wife Jackie, Julia Caish and her husband Brian, Victor Fuller and his wife Jennifer, grandchildren; Dakota Lawson and wife Briana, Megan Fuller, Haley Hitt, Trevor and Joshua Caish, and Riley, Meade, and Morgan Fuller.

    Funeral Services will be held Wednesday, September 12, 2018 at 11:00 A.M. at Victory Fellowship with Rev. Bradley Barbour officiating. Burial will follow in the Field Family Cemetery. The family will receive friends at Echols Funeral Home Tuesday, September 11, 2018 from 6:30 until 8:30 P.M.

    Online condolences may be left at echolsfuneralhome.com.

  25. Virginians Should Prepare Now for Hurricane Florence Impacts

    Please note that while the projected path of Hurricane Florence has changed, the path is still probable. Our area could still be impacted with several inches of rain and wind gusts in the 40 mph range.

  26. Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center Donates School Supplies to Brunswick County Public Schools

     

    Dr. Jerry Congleton, BCPS Assistant Superintendent; Rebecca Parrish, SVRMC HR Director; Dr. Kristy Somerville-Midgette, BCPS Division Superintendent (From left to right)

    Emporia, VA – Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center (SVRMC) staff turned denim into donations during the Back-to-School Supply Drive. Over the summer months, SVRMC employees donated money and school supplies in order to wear jeans on Fridays. “It was an easy and fun way for our team to be able to help students in our community,” explained Rebecca Parrish, SVRMC HR Director.

    Earlier this week, more than $400 in supplies were delivered to Brunswick County Public Schools (BCPS). “Thank you to Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center for the generous donation of school supplies,” said Kristy N. Somerville-Midgette, BCPS Division Superintendent, “Our faculty, staff, and students are appreciative of your generosity!”

    This is the second year SVRMC employees have donated to the school supply drive. In 2017, donations were given to Greensville County Public Schools. In 2018, team members have generously given more than $2,000 to local charities and organizations including the Food Pantry at Main Street Baptist Church, the YMCA’s Healthy Kids Program and the Emporia/Greensville Relay for Life.

     

  27. Stephanie Rook Williams

    Stephanie Rook Williams, 28 of Emporia Va. was a loving mother, daughter, sister, friend, and a beautiful amazing wife. She passed away due to unfortunate circumstances on September 3, 2018. She was born on July 24, 1990 to Walter B. Rook and Deborah Whiting. Stephanie was the sweetest, kindest , most generous woman that God could have graced upon this family. She loved her children with all her heart and they brought so much joy to her. Stephanie is survived by her husband of two years Kurt T. Williams, her 8 year old son Grant Michael Simmons, daughters, 2 year old Adalyn Michelle Williams and 1 year old Emmalyn Leigh Williams. Numerous family members including but not limited to, her father and mother Walter Rook , and Deborah Whiting, step-mother Kristi Rook, mother and father-in-law Jenny Renner Williams and Kenneth Lee Williams, brothers; Dylan Whiting (Jamie Whiting), Kyle Rook (Hannah Lovell), Justin Rook (Jessica Robinson) and CJ Pridgen (Madison Millwee), sisters; Heather Phillips, Kelsey Rook, Amber Thompson and Katie Pridgen. Grandparents ; Janice and Daryll Moss, Charlie Rook Sr., Deloris and Wayne Harriss and Roger and Judy Jacquelin. Close cousins Taylor, Joey (Alexis), and Christian Dickens as well as numerous other cousins, aunts, uncles, friends, and co-workers.

    Funeral Services will be held Saturday, September 8, 2018 at 12:00 Noon at Mt. Vernon Baptist Church with Pastor Earnie Taylor officiating . Burial will follow in the Church Cemetery.  The family will receive friends from 11:00 A.M. until time of the service.

    In lieu of flowers, Memorial donations may be made to Stephanie’s Memorial Fund, 4034 Brandy Creek Rd., Emporia VA, 23847.

    Online condolences may be left at echolsfuneralhome.com.

  28. AUTHORS’ NIGHT AT BRUNSWICK COUNTY LIBRARY - Part Three

    The Brunswick County Library will host Authors' Night, Monday, September 17, 5:30-7:30 PM. Seven Virginia authors will be on hand to talk about their work and to autograph copies of their books. Authors attending this year’s event will include: Valerie Burke, Lisa Clary, Catina Macklin, Joey and Vicky Powell, Teresa Stith, and Ronald Thornhill.

    Joey and Vicky Powell are the authors of Wilber’s Story, a picture book that teaches children valuable life lessons. Vicky, a native of New York, and Joey, a native of Freeman, Virginia, married in 2001. The characters of the Crabapple Tree series are inspired by the short stories, plays, and puppet shows developed for church programs that the couple writes and performs together.

    Teresa Stith, a Lawrenceville resident, is the author of A Faith That Works: Moving from Seeing to Believing. At an early age, Teresa was met with grave challenges beyond her control. Her book is the story of how she moved forward through failed relationships, loneliness, depression, rejection, and suicidal thoughts, towards freedom in Christ.

    Dr. Ronald Thornhill, a native of Richmond, Virginia, is the author of Menspiration: Motivating & Inspiring Men to Conquer Life’s Mountains. Dr. Thornhill is the senior pastor at the Tabernacle of Zion Church in Lawrenceville, and the Dean of Students and Athletic Director at Brunswick High School. In his book, he seeks to provide workable solutions for how men can regain their inspiration and motivation in life.

    For profiles of Valerie Burke, Lisa Clary, and Catina Macklin, please search Author's Night at Brunswick County Library in the box below.

    Please join us for Authors’ Night 2018 at the Brunswick County Library on Monday, September 17th.  During this special event, table space and seating for the public may be limited. Refreshments will be served. The Brunswick County Library is part of the Meherrin Regional Library System. For more information please call the library at 434-848-2418 or visit www.meherrinlib.org.

  29. SBA Announces Decrease in Surety Bond Guarantee Fees

    WASHINGTON –The U.S. Small Business Administration announces the first fee decrease in Surety Bond Guarantees in 12 years. The fee decrease will be in effect for guaranteed bonds approved during fiscal year 2019, taking effect October 1, 2018 and ending September 30, 2019.

    The Surety Bond Guarantee (SBG) program is reducing the Surety fee from 26 percent to 20 percent of the bond premium charged to the small businesses and reducing its contractor fee from $7.29 per thousand dollars of the contract amount to $6.00 per thousand dollars of the contract amount.

    “Reducing the SBG program fees will not only directly help small businesses, but also will incentivize surety companies and their agents to increase support for small businesses in the marketplace,” said Peter C. Gibbs, Acting Director of the Office of Surety Guarantees.

    Under its SBG program, the SBA guarantees bid, payment and performance bonds for small and emerging contractors who cannot obtain surety bonds through regular commercial channels.  SBA guarantees contracts up to $10 million, including the streamlined QuickApp application for those up to $400,000.

    “This is great news for America’s entrepreneurs,” said SBA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Michelle Christian. “Incentivizing sureties to provide bonding for small contractors improves access to contracts, which are often make-or-break opportunities in the life of a business.”

    Currently, there are 34 participating sureties and over 350 active agents in the SBG program.  On average, completed surety bond applications are reviewed and processed in less than two days.
    The program is currently outperforming its previous year results yielding 27,000 jobs supported, 3,000 final bonds, and $1.7 billion in final bond contract amounts in fiscal year 2018.

    For more information about this decrease or further assistance, contact Jermanne Perry, Senior Management Analyst, Office of Surety Guarantees, (202) 401-8275; jermanne.perry@sba.gov, or your local SBA District Office.

  30. Dr. Ramesh Seeras Joins VCU Health CMH

     

    South Hill – VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital in South Hill would like to welcome Dr. Ramesh Seeras to our family of health care providers.  Dr. Seeras specializes in Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB/GYN).

    Dr. Seeras is a Board-Certified OB/GYN who has devoted his career to providing the best and most complete OB/GYN care for his patients for more than 23 years. He earned a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree from the University of Saskatchewan in Canada and completed his residency training  in obstetrics and gynecology also at the University of Saskatchewan. 

    Dr. Seeras comes to South Hill from Illinois, where he has been in private practice since 1998 and served as Chief of the Department of OB/GYN at MacNeal Hospital in Berwyn, Illinois.  He has served as a Clinical Assistant Professor of OB/GYN at the University of Illinois in Chicago since 1995.  He is skilled in minimally invasive surgery including outpatient hysterectomy, pelvic prolapse and abnormal bleeding problems.  He also provides complete care for pregnant women including high risk prenatal care and delivery.

    Dr. Seeras is currently working at CMH Women’s Health Services located inside the new C.A.R.E. Building, 1755 N. Mecklenburg Avenue in South Hill.  He is accepting new patients; to schedule an appointment call (434) 584-2273 (CARE).

    Dr. Seeras joins Dr. Cynthia Austin, OB/GYN, Dr. Reinertson OB/GYN  and Terry Wooten, Certified Nurse-Midwife, to provide a complete range of personalized and preventive gynecologic care to women at every stage of life.  To view a full list of services visit:  VCU-CMH.org

  31. During U.S. Open, McEachin, Kaine, Capito, Warner, Scott Commemorate Arthur Ashe on 50th Anniversary of Historic Win

    WASHINGTON – Congressmen A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) and Bobby Scott (VA-03) and U.S. Senators Tim Kaine, Shelley Moore Capito, and Mark Warner announced their plans introduce bicameral resolutions to commemorate Arthur Ashe, a Richmond, VA native, on the 50th anniversary of his historic win at the 1968 U.S. Open Tennis Championship. The resolution honors Ashe’s humanitarian contributions to civil rights, education, the movement against apartheid in South Africa, and HIV/AIDS awareness. The 2018 U.S. Open Tennis Championship is currently underway.

    “I am so proud to introduce a House Resolution honoring the life, legacy, and leadership of the great Arthur Ashe,” said Congressman Donald McEachin. “Ashe’s contributions to American history continue to make his fellow Richmonders proud – just as we were on the historic day 50 years ago.”

    “Virginians will always be proud of what Arthur Ashe accomplished on and off the court,” Kaine said. “He set an example of how to be a leader, and 50 years after his historic win, he deserves this recognition.”

    “As an avid tennis player, I’ve always been a fan of Arthur Ashe. Not only was he an incredible athlete, but he was also a great humanitarian and an advocate for many important causes. He built his legacy both on the court and through the many other efforts he championed around the world, and I’m excited to sponsor this resolution honoring that legacy,” Capito said.

    “Although most remember Arthur Ashe as a fierce competitor on the tennis court, he was also an activist and an incredible force for racial and social justice,” said Warner. “This much deserved tribute honors him for using his platform to be a champion for all.”

    “This bicameral resolution will further solidify the legacy of Arthur Ashe by honoring his legacy both on and off the court. As Virginians and Americans, we are inspired by his achievements,” said Scott.

    Arthur Ashe was the first African-American man to win the singles title at the U.S. Open and to be ranked number one in the world. Click here for full text of the resolution.

  32. Rev. James Carey Retires from Jackson-Feild

     

    Rev. James Carey retired from the Gwaltney School and Jackson-Feild Behavioral Health Service after teaching history and government for thirteen years. His passion for history was infectious and helped countless students achieve their educational goals.

    Rev. Carey served as a mentor and strong role model for his students. He demonstrated why history is important and is a key component in becoming an informed citizen.

    He served in the United States Army and in Vietnam for a year.

    He and his wife are active in the community. Rev. Carey pastors a local church and served as our unofficial school chaplain pronouncing the benediction for countless school activities and ceremonies.

    Rev. Carey was honored at a special ceremony to thank him for his service and to recognize him for efforts to educate children with mental health disorders which requires inordinate patience and understanding. He was given a gift and a clock to commemorate his service to Jackson-Feild.

  33. Virginia Department of Agriculture Joins Over 60 Groups to Support Farm Bill Cuba Provision

    ~ The amendment would allow U.S. farmers to expand agricultural exports to Cuba by removing restrictions on private financing ~

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services joined a bipartisan group of over 60 agriculture associations, businesses, and elected officials across 17 states in urging House and Senate Agriculture Committees to include a provision in the 2018 farm bill that the Congressional Budget Office determined would save $690 million over 10 years. The suggested amendment, adapted from the Cuba Agricultural Exports Act (H.R. 525), would expand agricultural trade with Cuba by removing restrictions on private financing for U.S. food exports. The letter also urges lawmakers to preserve a Senate provision that allows farmers to use federal market promotion funds in Cuba. 

    "We urge you to support American agriculture by advancing legislation that will make Cuba a viable market for our products,” the groups said. “Net farm income in 2018 has hit a 12-year low, falling further than during the Great Recession of last decade. This economic strain is felt by everyone in the industry, particularly the thousands of small, family-owned farms in the American heartland. Given this year’s 6.7 percent market decline, we cannot overstate the importance of trade and opening new international markets.” 

    According to Cuba Trade Magazine, Virginia's exports to Cuba could reach $63 million per year if trade restrictions were lifted. Many of Virginia’s top agricultural products, such as soybeans, corn, and poultry, are staple imports for Cuba. Currently, U.S. sales of agricultural products to Cuba are limited to cash transactions, causing Cuba to primarily turn to Europe, Latin America, and Asia for nearly $2 billion per year in agricultural imports. Cuba imports roughly 80% of its food and has a population of 11 million, plus an influx of 3-5 million tourists annually. U.S. agriculture groups want to reclaim some of that market share.

    “Our current Cuba trade financing laws deny our farmers access to a market valued at over $1 billion per year. I appreciate Senator Boozman and Senator Heitkamp’s work to include Cuba Agricultural trade language in the Senate version of the Farm Bill and I look forward to working to replace the current cash-for-crop requirements,” said Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR-1), the lead sponsor of the Cuba Agricultural Exports Act and a participant in the farm bill conference committee.

    “Today farm country is filled with uncertainty. Passing a Farm Bill is paramount, but in doing so we must look ahead and support mutually beneficial economic opportunities, like those in Cuba,” said Rep. Roger Marshall (R-KS-1), a cosponsor of H.R. 525. “While we are renegotiating our trade deals, we have a $2 billion market untouched right under our nose.”

    “Our farmers don't want handouts. They know if they can compete with the rest of the world they can win,” said James Williams, President of Engage Cuba. “There is no reason why the Cuban people shouldn’t be eating American rice and dairy instead of importing it from Vietnam and New Zealand."

    The Senate’s version of the farm bill already includes an amendment by Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) which would allow U.S. agricultural producers to spend U.S. Department of Agriculture market promotion funds on marketing to Cuba. 

    “The United States has just five percent of the world’s population, which means 95 percent of consumers live outside our borders. If we aren’t constantly working to open markets and reach new customers, American farmers and workers won’t be competitive on the global stage. That’s why it’s so important for U.S. farmers and ranchers to gain access to markets like Cuba, where there is demand for American agricultural products,” said Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND).

    “My bipartisan amendment would give USDA the ability to build reliable trade partnerships between U.S. producers and Cuban buyers, strengthening our ag economy and finally removing outdated barriers to selling our products to consumers in a nation that sits just off our coastline. It would also help boost North Dakota’s farmers during a time of serious uncertainty from the administration’s trade policies,” she said. 

    To become law, both provisions must be approved by the bicameral conference committee, which convened officially for the first time on Wednesday.

    More information on Cuba's agriculture import market and federal legislation is available here. Find the full text of the letter here and below.

    Dear Chairmen Roberts and Conaway and Ranking Members Stabenow and Peterson,

    Thank you for the progress you have made toward passing the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018.

    On behalf of the undersigned businesses and associations, we applaud the Senate’s inclusion of Senator Heitkamp’s amendment to allow farmers the ability to use USDA market promotion dollars in Cuba. We urge you to support American agriculture by advancing legislation that will make Cuba a viable market for our products.

    Net farm income in 2018 has hit a 12-year low, falling further than during the Great Recession of last decade. This economic strain is felt by everyone in the industry, particularly the thousands of small, family-owned farms in the American heartland. Given this year’s 6.7 percent market decline, we cannot overstate the importance of trade and opening new international markets.

    Your support in removing outdated financing barriers on agricultural sales to our island neighbor could significantly strengthen an industry that supports 17 million jobs across the United States, while providing the Cuban people with high-quality, American-grown food. Cuba imports nearly 80 percent of its food to feed a population of 11 million people and upwards of 3 million tourists annually. This requires about $1.8 billion in annual agriculture imports, the majority of which come from the European Union, Latin America, and Vietnam. Hardworking U.S. farmers can and should be Cuba’s number one supplier of commodities like rice, poultry, dairy, soy, wheat, and corn.

    Senator Heitkamp’s amendment is part of the Agricultural Export Expansion Act/Cuba Agricultural Exports Act (S.275/HR.525) which would allow U.S. farmers to expand agricultural exports to Cuba by removing restrictions on private financing on food exports to the island. We also support this larger legislative effort, which the Congressional Budget Office estimates would save $690 million over 10 years.

    It is imperative that U.S. agribusiness find ways to offset recent losses caused by falling domestic demand, higher prices, and uncertainty in formerly reliable trade relationships. As a broad cross-section of rural America, we urge you to help American farmers and our associated industries by preserving Senator Heitkamp’s amendment in the Agricultural Improvement Act.

    We thank you for your hard work and for the progress that both chambers have made in this legislative session, and we look forward to working with Congress and the Administration to sign this legislation into law.

    Sincerely the undersigned organizations,

     
    Hon. Gerald Dial, Alabama Senate (AL)
    Grey Redditt, President, Society Mobile-La Habana (AL)
    Agricultural Council of Arkansas (AR)
    Independent Professional Seed Association (AR)
    Bradley Mannis, Mannco Fertilizer (AR)
    Producers Rice Mill, Inc (AR)
    Mark Isbell, Rice Farmer (AR)
    Winrock International (AR)
    Maria Garcia Berry, CRL Associates (CO)
    Elaine Berman, Metro State University of Denver (CO)
    Oswald Family Ranch on Rush Creek (CO)
    Stephen Berman, University of Colorado School of Medicine and Colorado School of Public Health (CO)
    Center for Democracy in the Americas (DC)
    Engage Cuba (DC)
    Latin America Working Group (LAWG) (DC)
    Washington Office on Latin America (DC)
    Cuba Educational Travel (FL)
    Jorge Pedraza, LSB Industries (FL)
    Iowa Corn Growers Association (IA)
    Dimy Doresca, University of Iowa (IA)
    Hon. Matt Erpelding, Assistant Minority Leader, Idaho House of Representatives (ID)
    Brian Linin, Former Chairman, Kansas Wheat Commission (KS)
    KC SmartPort (KS)
    Kansas Soybean Association (KS)
    Jonathan Blue, Blue Equity (KY)
    Catholic Charities of Louisville, Inc. (KY)
    Kentucky Poultry Association (KY)
    At the Threshold, LTD (LA)
    Kevin Berken, Chairman, Louisiana Rice Promotion Council (LA)
    Cuba Trade and Travel (LA)
    Haynie & Associates (LA)
    International Cuba Society (LA)
    Kennedy Rice (LA)
    CHS Inc. (MN)
    Minnesota Grain and Feed Association (MN)
    Mississippi Poultry Association (MS)
    Rio Grande Foundation (NM)
    Vicki Huddleston, U.S. Ambassador, Retired (NM)
    Hon. Scott Schertzer, Mayor, City of Marion (OH)
    Ohio Corn & Wheat (OH)
    Toledo Sister Cities International (OH)
    Judy Wojanis, Chippy LLC (PA)
    Hon. Michael Diven, Former Member, Pennsylvania House of Representatives (PA)
    Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry (PA)
    Pennsylvania Farm Bureau (PA)
    Donna Oberlander, Pennsylvania House of Representatives (PA)
    Pamela A. DeLissio, Pennsylvania House of Representatives (PA)
    Pittsburgh Airport Area Chamber of Commerce (PA)
    Deno De Ciantis, Pittsburgh-Matanzas Sister Cities Partnership (PA)
    Hon. Jim Ferlo, Pittsburgh-Matanzas Sister Cities Partnership (PA)
    Lisa Valenti, Pittsburgh-Matanzas Sister Cities Partnership (PA)
    Ronald Jardini, Pittsburgh-Matanzas Sister Cities Partnership (PA)
    Hon. Joe Scarnati, President Pro Tempore, Pennsylvania Senate (PA)
    Hon. Stacy Widelitz, Vice-Mayor, City of Oak Hill (TN)
    City of Houston (TX)
    Texas Poultry Association (TX)
    Texas Rice Producers Legislative Group (TX)
    The Chevalier Law Firm (TX)
    Glaize Apples (VA)
    Van Wood, Virginia Commonwealth University (VA)
    Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VA)
  34. Southside Virginia Community College Donates Bikes to Lawrenceville

    Southside Virginia Community College(SVCC) recently donated some bicycles to the Lawrenceville Police Department(LPD) for use in their patrols.  The college used the bikes for awhile but saw a need at a local department and decided to donate them.  LPD Chief Everett Gibson said his department has three officers, plus himself,  certified through the International Police Mountain Bike Association to patrol with bikes and others will train as well.  The bikes will be used to patrol events and throughout the town.  The college also donated a Firearms Training Simulator to the Emporia Police Department.  Shown at the donation are(Left to Right) LPD Assistant Chief J.T. Stith, Chief Everette Gibson and Dr. Alfonzo Seward, SVCC Administration of Justice Associate Professor. 

  35. Welding Class Beginning Oct. 8

    Welders are in demand and Southside Virginia Community College is offering training through its Welding Skills Certification Program.  The class begins Monday,  October 8, 2018 at Southside Virginia Education Center in Emporia, Virginia. The class will run through January 16, 2019 and meet four days a week from 8:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. 

    The class utilizes the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER).  Financial Aid may be available through FastForward and those completing the course receive credentials. 

    Don’t miss this great opportunity to better your future job skills.  Call 434 634 9358 or email Erica.andrews@southside.edu

  36. Free Quilt Show During Peanut Festival

    Emporia quilters prepare to display their quilts at a free Quilt Show at the Richardson Memorial Library during the Peanut Festival.

    The Meherrin Piecemakers' Quilt Guild is preparing to display quilts in a free Quilt Show at the Richardson Memorial Library on Saturday, September 22, from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. in conjunction with the Virginia Peanut Festival.  There will be variety of quilting techniques on display including, pieced and appliquéd bed quilts, wall hangings and other interesting and colorful handmade items.

    The Quilt Guild meets monthly on the fourth Tuesday of each month at Main Street Baptist Church in Emporia at 7:00 p.m.   The guild welcomes individuals of all skill levels to join.  Beginners and experienced quilters alike will learn new techniques and ways of expressing their love of this craft. The guild also supports the community by making quilts for oncology patients, donating to a local Food Bank, and donating to victims of domestic violence.  For more information, contact guild president, Marcia Headley at (434) 658-1555.

  37. TRAFFIC FATALITIES ON VIRGINIA HIGHWAYS MORE THAN DOUBLE DURING LABOR DAY WEEKEND COMPARED TO 2017

    Every hour approximately 11 motorists cited for seat belt violations

    RICHMOND – Traffic deaths in Virginia reached a three-year high during the 2018 Labor Day weekend. According to preliminary reports, a dozen individuals were killed in 11 fatal crashes during the four-day statistical counting period (12:01 a.m. Aug. 31, 2018 – 12 a.m. Sept. 3, 2018), which marks the highest number of crashes recorded since 2015 when 16 fatalities occurred over the holiday weekend. In 2017, there were five traffic crashes on Virginia’s highways.

    This year’s 11 holiday fatal crashes took place in the counties of Carroll, Culpeper, Fairfax, Page, Prince William, Smyth, Tazewell and York and the cities of Lawrenceville, Newport News and Norfolk. These crashes claimed the lives of three motorcyclists, a motorcycle passenger and three pedestrians. Of the remaining five crashes, two involved individuals who were not wearing a seat belt.

    “For most, Labor Day marks the close of summer, the last neighborhood cookout and the start of a new school year, but for 12 families – the families of those who experienced the loss of a loved one this weekend – this holiday is forever changed, ” said Col. Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “It’s nothing short of alarming to have a 140 percent increase in fatalities compared to last year. What’s more surprising is that many of the crashes we see on Virginia’s highways could be prevented if we all do our part toward safety. That means buckling up, never driving impaired and always keeping our focus on the road.”

    Once again this year, Virginia State Police participated in Operation C.A.R.E. (Crash Awareness and Reduction Effort), which is a state-sponsored, national traffic safety initiative intended to reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries due to impaired driving, speed and failing to wear a seat belt through increased law enforcement visibility and traffic enforcement during major holidays.

    During the 2018 Labor Day weekend, Virginia State Police troopers cited 8,427 speeders and 2,050 reckless drivers. They also issued citations for 1,024 occupant restraint violations, including 227 to adult motorists who failed to secure a juvenile passenger in a child safety seat, booster seat or seat belt. In addition, 72 drunk drivers were arrested and charged with DUI.

    Funds generated from summonses issued by Virginia State Police go directly to court fees and the state’s Literary Fund, which benefits public school construction, technology funding and teacher retirement.

  38. Small Businesses and Workers Benefiting from Tax Cuts

    BY: SBA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Michelle Christian

    President Donald J. Trump had taxpayers and small business owners in mind when he signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into law December 22, 2017. The new law cut corporate tax rates from 35% to 21% for 2018 and lowered income tax at nearly all levels. Tax cuts for working families allow them to keep more of their hard-earned money and provide more opportunity for everyone to achieve the American dream.

    Cutting back taxes for American business owners allows our nation of entrepreneurs to grow the economy from within while competing globally with international businesses interests. A lower tax rate opens the door to new and better opportunities. It also enables employers to reward their employees with higher wages, bonuses and better benefits, which frees up hard-earned capital for growth-minded businesspeople to reinvest in their companies by hiring more workers, buying better equipment, and building new facilities.

    The new tax cuts are applied nearly across the board, but with emphasis on businesses that are key to stimulating economic growth as a benefit to the whole country. Lower taxes mean more of our own money is free for us to grow and create jobs ourselves. When we pocket more of our salaries and more of our business profits, we are more likely to spend that “newfound” money, which continues to bolster the economy so we all benefit from this increase in our “bottom line.” As I travel across SBA’s Mid-Atlantic Region to speak with business owners, they tell me they are using these tax savings to reinvest in themselves, and their communities.

    As a direct result of the new tax law, Dollar Bank in Pittsburgh earlier this year announced $2,000 permanent raises for their employees making $60,000 or less per year – about 60% of their 1,300-person workforce. NexTier Bank in Butler, Pennsylvania paid out $1,000 bonuses for all employees and is using their tax cuts to fund tuition reimbursement, on-the-job training and wage raises for hourly employees.

    Please be sure to think ahead about how this tax relief law affects you and your community. Look over the new tax rules with your accountant if you use one, or speak to one of the thousands of SBA-sponsored SCORE mentors or with your local Small Business Development Center for advice on the next steps for your small business. Take advantage of the extra money in your pocket and reinvest in yourselves, your business, and your country. We have a great opportunity to once again prove what small businesses can do for the economy when we remove barriers to their success.

  39. BEAT Procrastination by Changing your Direct Deposit Early

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

    September 6 is National Fight Procrastination Day. With our busy lives, it is easy to fall into that cycle of constantly postponing some tasks because of other things we need to address right now. This may be true for you when it comes to changing your payment method for Social Security benefits. Unfortunately, procrastinating on reporting changes can lead to delayed payments, resulting in undue hardship with bills and living expenses. Ultimately, it’s less hassle — and less stressful — if you report a direct deposit change as soon as it occurs. 

    How can you change your direct deposit information with Social Security? The most convenient way is by creating a my Social Securityaccount online at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount. Once you create your account, you can update your bank information without leaving the comfort of your home. Another way to change your direct deposit is by calling Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) to make the change over the phone. If you prefer to speak to someone in-person, you can visit your local Social Security office with the necessary information.

    What exactly will Social Security need to make the direct deposit change? Because we are committed to protecting your personal information, we need some form of identification to verify who you are. If you are online, we verified your identity when you initially created your my Social Securityaccount. All you need to do is log in at www.socialsecurity.gov/signin with your secure username and password to gain instant access to your information.

    If you call Social Security, we will ask identifying questions to ensure we are speaking to the right person. If you visit the office, you will need to bring a driver’s license or some form of ID with you. Once we have identified you are the correct person and are authorized to make changes on the Social Security record, all we need is the routing number, account number, and type of account established. We don’t ask for a voided check, nor do we obtain verification from the bank. Therefore, you should be sure you are providing accurate information to us.

    The day of the month you report the direct deposit change makes all the difference. Though the exact date varies each month, generally, you will need to report changes by the 15th to see the effect on the next check. When the 15th falls on the weekend or a holiday, the cutoff is usually the previous business day. For example, if you switched banks or have a new account in September, you will need to provide the new information to Social Security by September 14 to receive your next payment in the new account. If you don’t report this change to us until September 28, your next payment will go into the old account.

    Because you may be unsure if your direct deposit change will affect your next payment, we highly recommend that you do not close the old bank account until you have seen your first Social Security deposit in the new bank account. That way, you can feel secure you will receive your benefits on time, regardless of when the change was reported to Social Security. Waiting until you see the deposit in your new account also gives you the extra peace of mind that we processed the change correctly.

    The first step in fighting procrastination is increased awareness. Knowing how easy it is to report a direct deposit change, what information to report, and when, can encourage you to get in touch with Social Security at the earliest possible moment. In addition, making sure we know about a change early ensures we help make the transition as smooth as possible.

    When you have to report changes, be sure to contact us or visit us online at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount. Social Security always strives to put you in control by providing the best experience and service no matter where, when, or how you decide to do business with us.

  40. "Just Two More Miles'

    Yes if just two more miles
    of flowers we would plant
    I'm sure the city could apply
    for an agriculture grant.
     
    We then could have open conventions
    to be held here every year
    just by supplying Pretzels and Peanuts
    along with cold Virginia beer.
     
    The schools could have; Name the Flower Field Trips
    and see who gets the most right
    Award them with a passing grade maybe
    or no homework for that night.
     
    Yes you can not stop to enjoy them
    for a lot of traffic is in the way
    still if they put them all around the bowling alley
    they could have a huge display.
     
    Well they certainly do have ample help
    and have lowered the unemployment I've found
    yet since they borrowed some from the trash detail
    our waste is blowing all around.
     
                        Roy E. Schepp
  41. REMEMBERING REEKES BY PLAYING HIS GAME

    Members of the Freddie Reekes Memorial Golf team are shown at the Southside Virginia Community College Foundation's Annual Golf Tournament at Lake Gaston Golf Club.  They are (Left to Right) Ken Peace, David Talbert, Ryan Henry and Shep Moss

    Freddie Reekes was memorable.  The definition of the word memorable is ‘worth remembering or easily remembered, especially because of being special.’

    Freddie was a coach, a mentor, a friend, a teacher, a golfer, a dad, a husband, a grandpa, an all-around good guy. Four men who share memories of Reekes renewed their bond at a 30th high school reunion.  They have continued their reconnected friendship and recently decided to honor Reekes by playing golf in the Southside Virginia Community College Foundation Golf tournament named for him.

    In 2008, Bobby Wrenn of Emporia and Reekes of Lawrenceville coordinated the 1st Annual Foundation Scholarship Golf Classic.  Funds raised through the event support student scholarships.    The SVCC Foundation Board voted to rename the annual golf tournament the Fred "Freddie" Reekes Memorial Scholarship Golf Classic, after he passed away on May 7, 2017.  Freddie spent 40 plus years in education.  He taught in the Brunswick County Public Schools and later recruited students to SVCC. He was also a legendary basketball coach for both girls and boys at Brunswick.  In addition to being an educator, Freddie was an avid golfer and his team, "Old Coach", was a consistent participant in the Golf Classic.

    Reekes was an integral part of making the tournament successful for many years, even helping after he retired from SVCC.

    Shep Moss, Ken Peace, David Talbert and Ryan Henry were students of Reekes in driver’s education and played on the golf team at Brunswick Senior High School that he coached.  Interestingly, the high school golf team at the time played at the same course that now hosts the SVCC Tournament, the Lake Gaston Golf Club in Gasburg.

    Moss remembers traveling to play and practice in the old, beat-up station wagon that served as the activity bus for the golf team.  He remembered that the late Donnie Bane Clary also coached the team. 

    About their decision to play in this year’s tournament, “We wanted to do something to honor Freddie, he was our mentor and even after we got out of school, we kept the relationship with Freddie through the years,” Moss said. 

    The team played in the 2018 tournament and, did not win but came close, Moss said.  The team played wearing baseball caps that honored Reekes by sporting a bulldog emblem (mascot of Brunswick High) and the name of the tournament; all in bulldog blue and gray, of course.

    Another player, Henry noted, “I played in the tournament because I felt it was the least I could do to support the cause.  Freddie was a father figure and mentor to many of us growing up in Brunswick County.  His constant encouragement pushed us to want to be the very best at whatever we did in sports and more importantly…in life.”

    The four men all celebrate or have celebrated their 50th birthdays this year.  They have tried to get together for those celebrations.  Moss now lives in South Hill, Talbert and Peace in Richmond and Henry in Virginia Beach.   They plan for this event to become an annual get together for them and a way to remember a man who made a difference in their lives.   

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