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October 2018

Weather Delays and Closings

Schools

All area achools are reported closed on Monday, December 10

Government

City of Emporia - Closed Monday

Greensville/Emporia Courts - Closed Monday

Brunswick County - Closed Monday

State Prisons - Code Yellow Monday

If your destination is not listed here, please call ahead and ensure that they are open.

This list updated from WRIC, WWBT and WTVR at 22:36

 

Career Opportunity

Guidance Counselor

Brunswick Academy is seeking an experienced Guidance Counselor certified in Guidance beginning in the 2018-2019 school year. Brunswick Academy is a PreK-12 independent school located in Lawrenceville, VA.

Requirements: Possession of a Master’s Degree in School Counseling, Guidance Counseling, or School Guidance and Counseling from an accredited college or university; possession of or eligible for a Virginia Department of Education professional teaching certificate with a guidance endorsement and preferred 3 years experience in guidance or related field.

Job duties include but not limited to the following:

  • Provides academic, personal/social, and career counseling • Coordinates comprehensive school counseling program • Communicates with parents and agency representatives • Coordinates teacher and parent conferences as needed • Interprets test data and student records for parents and teachers •  Scheduling of classes • Engaged and on task • Performs other duties as required • Must have a thorough knowledge of the curriculum, instruction and counseling/guidance theory and practice • Communication skills, both oral and written, must be highly developed to meet the diverse needs of the clientele, professional staff and other community agencies • Must be able to organize and carry out student activity programs; or any equivalent combination of experience and training which would provide the required knowledge, skills, and abilities.

Health insurance and 403(b) retirement program available.

Brunswick Academy is an equal opportunity employer and a drug free work place.  Brunswick Academy does not discriminate on the basis of age, color, national origin, race, religion, or sex in employment or education.  Applicants considered for employment must successfully complete the following background investigations/tests: • State Police Criminal History Investigation • Child Protective Services (CPS) Investigation • Tuberculosis Screening/Test.  This position is open until filled.

Please e-mail cover letter and resume to:

Brunswick Academy
Attn:  Kristine Thompson
Guidance Counselor
E-mail:  thompsonk@brunswickacademy.com
  1. HINES FOR CITY COUNCIL – DISTRICT 7

    To the Editor:

    Election season is in full throttle and we are less than 30 days to Election Day and some major decisions are at hand!

    On behalf of the City of Emporia and Greensville County Democratic Committee I write in full support of the candidacy of Mrs. Yolanda Hines for City Council in District 7.  District 7’s representative resigned her seat on Council after many months of living outside the city and ultimately moving to be near her new job.  This resignation left a vacancy and thusly it brings us to an election to be held this November 6, 2018 to fill that vacancy.

    Fortunately for our friends and neighbors in District 7 they will finally have a Council Member that will represent them fairly and one which will unequivocally have their best interest at heart!  Rarely do you see a candidate rise to the top that gets it…and Yolanda Hines GETS IT!  As a member of our committee she sought our endorsement to run for city council under our banner to effectuate positive change.  In Yolanda’s impassioned plea seeking our support she clearly understands that our city is at a crossroads – we either idly watch as our city folds with ever increasing water bills, “shell games” of devaluing property assessments while increasing property taxes, as well as decreasing city service.  OR…the city council and its leaders can “take the bull by the horns” and address the city’s need for stronger and more frequent efforts to spur on Economic Development efforts.  Instead of discourse over disrespecting fellow citizens and calling them belittling names she believes that it is time to try regular and persistent intelligent conversations during each and every city council meeting about recruiting employers with jobs that can pay a living wage and take proactive steps to recruit developers that are willing to invest in our city.  Additionally, we should be encouraging entrepreneurs and small business owners – as we all know a rising tide lifts ALL boats!  When investment is encouraged, new jobs are sought and created, the quality of our schools’ performance increases and in turn the will of future generations to return home and know they are wanted and needed to keep writing the city of Emporia’s future success story!

    Mrs. Hines is an ardent supporter for after school and year round recreational opportunities for our children and youth.  She is a firm believer that governments place emphasis on the things which are of the utmost importance to them and for her that emphasis should be greatly shared with the future and hope of our community – our children.  Yolanda is equally as concerned about her fellow citizens in that she puts her money where her mouth is. She has assisted many citizens not only from her district but across the city and county with job searches through her work with head start and her work at Southside Virginia Community College.

    There is no one better qualified and suited to stand and fight for this community and its citizens than Yolanda Hines!  She has worked in public service for more than 26 years and truly understands the need to attract new Employers, affordable quality housing and year round youth programs.

    Yolanda comes to the table with a wealth of experience and has prepared herself to take on the challenges presented in the city. She has her Bachelors of Science degree in Criminal Justice as well as a Master’s in Business Administration from Averett University. She IS the only candidate that is ready to address the REAL concerns of the city of Emporia’s District 7!!!

    I ask on Tuesday, November 6, 2018 that her fellow citizens of District 7 make your way to the fire department and cast your vote for Yolanda Hines, City Council!  The polls open at 6 o’clock in the morning and close at 7 o’clock in the evening – stop by and vote for a Positive CHANGE in the city of Emporia!

    Respectfully submitted on behalf of the Emporia-Greensville Democrats,

    George E. Morrison, III, Chairman

    (Editor's Note: Your letters may not always reflect the views of Emporia News. Letters to the Editor may be sent to news@emporianews.com and must include your name. Letters that may be considered inflamitory in nature will not be published. Do not include profanity, racial ephitets, lewd, demeaning or disparaging comments. Letters may be edited for space, clarity and/or grammar.)

  2. Regional Job Fair Set for Wednesday, November 14, 2018 in Emporia

    A Regional Job Fair will be held on Wednesday, November 14, 2018 at Southside Virginia Education Center at 1300 Greensville County Circle, Emporia from 9:30 a.m. until 12 Noon.  This is open to all job seekers and admission is free.

    Dress to impress and bring copies of your resume, a photo ID and a copy of your WorkKeys Career Readiness Certificate (CRC).  This event is sponsored by Southside Virginia Community College Workforce Development and Student Development Services along with Crater Business Services Team. 

    Listen to JAMZ 99.5 to hear more and a live remote from the event. 

    For information, contact Angela McClintock at 434 949 1026.

  3. Brunswick Academy Upper School Honor Roll

    1st Six Weeks – 2018-2019

    Headmaster’s List – All A’s

    Grade 9

    Shana Denise Love, Sydney Paige Paul, Bryson Gage Poarch, Lydia Reed Smith, Jacky Zhu

    Grade 10*

    Brysen Alexandra Diefert, William Hunter Greene, Brady Jacob Talbert,

    *Dual Enrollment students at SVCC and Liberty University qualify for Honor Roll at the end of each semester.

    Grade 11*

    Sarah Paige Fajna, Katelyn Marie Ottaway, Emily Christine Robertson, Kyle Donovan Tanner

    *Dual Enrollment students at SVCC and Liberty University qualify for Honor Roll at the end of each semester.

    Grade 12*

    Jinhing Hu (Jacob), Timothy Sage Kallam, Daein Kim (Dan), Chenchen Zhao (Chloe)

    *Dual Enrollment students at SVCC and Liberty University qualify for Honor Roll at the end of each semester.

    “A” & “B” Honor Roll

    Grade 9

    Charles Vincent Edmunds, James Harrison Harper, Kacie Lin Keefe, Faith Elizabeth McLawhorn, Robert Matthew Moseley, Alyssa Reina Rivas, Madelyn Gray Williams, Matthew Lawrence Woyer

    Grade 10*

    Aaryn Moore Babb, Samuel Elliott Capps, Robert Tyler Creedle, Clyde Kenneth Greene III, Meredith Paige Lucy, Jun-Young Park (Jun), Kyle Tyler Powell, Dustin Arthur Roberts, Naomi Rose Sadler, Christian Alexandra Williams

    *Dual Enrollment students at SVCC and Liberty University qualify for Honor Roll at the end of each semester.

    Grade 11*

    William Vernon Bryant, Jr., Leiara Lane Butler, Olivia Graham Clary, Joanna Grace Glenn, Logan Hope Hyde, Paige Kylie Jennings, Catherine Camille Mitchell, Reanna Lane Powers, Christopher Michael Redman, Jr., Hinton Joseph Vick, III., Alexis Grace Yoders

    *Dual Enrollment students at SVCC and Liberty University qualify for Honor Roll at the end of each semester.

    Grade 12*

    Hunter Douglas Hastings, Guanxi He (Will), David Cole Moseley, Kien Wilton Powell, Jamie Lauren Saunders

    *Dual Enrollment students at SVCC and Liberty University qualify for Honor Roll at the end of each semester.

  4. Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center Announces Employee of the Quarter

    Emporia, VA – Jordain Veliky, RN has been named the Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center (SVRMC) Employee of the Quarter. Ms. Veliky, who works in SVRMC’s Acute Care Unit, has been employed at SVRMC since May 2014.

    Each quarter employees are nominated for demonstrating excellence in any or all of ten Standards of Behavior.  Ms. Veliky’s nomination included the following statement: “Through all her interactions, Jordain displays each of the Community Cares Standards of Behavior. She is committed to her co-workers and is a team player, not only for Acute Care but for SVRMC. She wants to see her department grow and is always willing to help her co-workers.  She is a mentor to others and is always honest in her interactions. Jordain has also been recognized by our corporate staff for her commitment to patient and employee safety. Jordain always puts her patients first and ensures that their needs are met. She truly cares about the difference she makes in the lives of our patients. She is an asset to our team.” 

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

  5. SVCC President Announces Retirement for July 2019

    When accepting the position as president of Southside Virginia Community College in 2014, Dr. Alfred Allison Roberts committed to serving in this capacity for five years.  As the end of that period approaches, he has announced his plans to retire on July 1, 2019. 

    “When I arrived at SVCC 23 years ago, I found the place where my professional values and personal values converged.  Since that time, I have aggressively supported the College’s mission of access and opportunity while serving in a variety of roles,” he said.  “I have done my best to add to the legacy of this great institution and position it for a prosperous future.”

    SVCC serves the largest region of any community college in Virginia, a total of 4,200 square miles covering ten counties and the city of Emporia. 

    During his tenure, Dr. Roberts has overseen the development of the extremely popular Power Line Worker Program.  He has opened the Center for Information Technology Excellence at Lake Country Advanced Knowledge Center in South Hill and the state-of-the-art welding lab at the Southside Virginia Education Center in Greensville County.  Dr. Roberts has also worked diligently to secure funds for and guide the construction of the new Learning Resources and Student Services Center on the Christanna Campus.   He also established a far-reaching Strategic Plan for the college on the premise of One College, One Mission, a six-year plan for enhanced provision of services to the students and community. 

    Perhaps one of his more stellar accomplishments is leading the team for re-accreditation of the college by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). 

    Glenn Dubois, Chancellor of the Virginia Community College System said, “Al Roberts began making his mark long before he was a community college president.  A service-minded leader from a family of educators, Al knew that our success is measured one student at a time.  As president, Al made Southside Virginia Community College a leader in workforce development training.  Short-term training opportunities like the colleges’ power line training program—the first in Virginia—are filling critical industry needs while attracting individuals into life-changing careers.  We are grateful for Al’s many contributions and wish him the best in a well-earned retirement.”

    Elizabeth B. Sharrett, SVCC Local Board Chair, noted, “Dr. Roberts has served the college and the constituents’ excellently in an earnest and committed manner.  His pursuit of quality in all aspects of the institution are evident and appreciated.  While the college will miss his leadership and resolve, we wish him the best in this well-deserved chapter of his life.”

    In his announcement to the college, Dr. Roberts said, “I am sincerely thankful to the Local Board and to VCCS Chancellor DuBois for the opportunity to lead SVCC and for providing support and guidance throughout my tenure. I am equally appreciative of the support and friendship shared with the colleagues of my Southside Virginia Community College family.  It has been an honor to work alongside them in making SVCC the best that it can be.  I am also grateful for the many partnerships and relationships built with the communities of southern Virginia that have allowed us to betterserve this region.”

    When he became president, Dr. Roberts was serving as provost of SVCC’s Christanna Campus in Alberta.  He was provost of the John H. Daniel Campus from 2010 to 2012 and prior to that, he was vice president of workforce services at the college.  His career began at SVCC in 1995 when he assumed to role of administrator of student support services.

    A national search to hire the next SVCC president will begin in early 2019 and is expected to take six to eight months to complete.

  6. Fortsville Kicks off Christmas Home Tour

    The Riparian Woman’s Club of Emporia, Virginia is once again delighted in presenting the 16th Christmas Home Tour on Friday, December 7th and Saturday, December 8th. The tour begins with the area’s only Airbnb owned by David and Jessica Yoder.

    Welcome to Fortsville, also known as the home of John Y. Mason, (1799-1859) who was born in Hicksford, Greensville County. The plantation home is located in Sussex County in the Grizzard community. The stately home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmark Register. Once located on a 1000- acre farm, today stands on approximately four acres. Fortsville has the original flooring, doors, hardware and features eight fireplaces. The bricks used during an earlier restoration were made on the farm.

        

    The original owners of Fortsville were John Fort and Olive Coleman whose daughter, Mary Ann, married John Y. Mason. Mason was a prominent politician who served in the Virginia House of Delegate, Virginia State Senate, US Congress, US Judge, twice as US Secretary of Navy, and US Attorney General.

    The overview of the past history of Fortsville leads to what is happening presently at this grand old plantation. Fortsville was acquired in 2017 by Jessica and David Yoder. The Yoder’s are known locally for Pineview Greenhouses. They acquired this home with exciting plans for its future. Today, it is the latest local venue for all kinds of celebrations to include, parties, family and class reunions, meetings and more. It is the areas only Airbnb! The four-bedroom Airbnb is located in a quiet Southern Virginia rural setting where one can relax in the peaceful countryside while enjoying nature.

    The new Fortsville will be decorated for the Christmas Holiday season. A must see on the tour. Fortsville is located at 5088 Fortsville Rd, Emporia, in the Grizzard community.

    Others whose homes on tour are John and Jenny Holtkamp, Ken Newcomb and Steve Smith, Mary Ann Renner and Mark and Wendi Simmons.

    Tickets are $13.00 and may be purchased at the Chamber of Commerce, from any Riparian Club member or by calling 434-594-4369.

  7. VCU Health CMH Team Member of the Month for August 2018

    Photo Caption: (Left to Right) W. Scott Burnette, CEO, VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital presented Laure Gill, Administrative Representative, the VCU Health CMH STAR Service Team Member of the Month Award for August.  There to congratulate Laure was Ursula Butts, Vice President of Patient Care Services and Lillian Gibson, Director of Patient Experience and Administrative Representatives.

    Laure has been employed at VCU Health CMH collectively for more than 22 years.  Laure has spent all but four months of her professional career at VCU Health CMH.  She is a Park View High School graduate and also received a Bachelor’s Degree from Baker College in Health Care Administration. 

    The nomination form submitted on her behalf stated, “When Laure received a request for a Notary Public in the home of a hospice patient, she volunteered her time, without hesitation, to go to the patient’s home to complete this task. The family was very appreciative of her kindness and prompt service.”  “Laure went well above and beyond for the patient.  She always does what is best for each patient and is an awesome example of STAR Service.”

    In addition to the award certificate, Laure received a STAR Service lapel pin, letter of commendation from Administration, a $40 gift certificate, and a parking place of her choice for the month.

    Laure resides in South Hill.

  8. Gov. Northam Emphasizes Importance of Bringing Economic Opportunity to Rural Virginia at Virginia Rural Center Summit

    Staunton, Va. Oct. 22, 2018 – No doubt, it was good to announce last week that Virginia’s unemployment rate dropped to a decade-low 2.9 percent, Governor Ralph Northam told more than 200 attendees gathered today in Staunton, Va. for the annual Governor’s Summit on Rural Prosperity, presented by the Virginia Rural Center.

    But with that success comes challenges. Namely, Gov. Northam, who grew up on the rural Eastern Shore said, that figure represents the entire state and the unemployment rate is nowhere near that low in rural Virginia.

    “Plain and simple, we need more jobs, more high paying jobs, in rural Virginia,” said Gov. Northam.
     
    “It was not that long ago that Virginia was the number one state in this country of ours in which to do business,” Gov. Northam said. “This year we are at fourth. If we all collectively work together we can be back to number one.”

    That collective work, in many ways, starts at the summit, an annual gathering of the Commonwealth’s administration, elected officials, community leaders, educators and businesses to discuss challenges and solutions for growing rural Virginia’s economy.

    “Have we made progress?” Northam asked. “Yes, we’ve made progress.”

    More than 4,500 new jobs have been created and $1.13 billion in new capital invested in rural Virginia since Gov. Northam took office earlier this year.

    But to keep moving forward, Gov. Northam called on summit attendees to ensure rural Virginia continues to look at new, creative ways to make doing business in rural Virginia attractive, to train people to do the very jobs that are available, bring universal broadband access to all Virginians and continue to focus on the importance of access to health care in the Commonwealth’s most rural regions.

    “Step number one as we move forward and we diversify the economy, we have to talk about workforce development,” Gov. Northam said.

    He highlighted specifically the G3 program – which stands for get skilled, get a job, and give back – partnership between the state’s community college system and businesses to help students get the skills they need for the jobs available now in cybersecurity, computer programming, clean energy, health care and other high-need areas.

    “We have to work very hard to train our youth for these 21st century jobs and also retrain individuals that are no longer in industries that used to be present in the Commonwealth of Virginia,” Gov. Northam said.

    High-tech jobs require high-speed internet access, Gov. Northam said, noting that his administration continues to develop a plan to get universal broadband to all Virginians.

    “In 2018, there is no way that a business can grow and there is no way you can attract new business to Virginia if we don’t have universal access to broadband,” Gov. Northam said. “We are working on that very hard. It’s going to have to be a partnership between the business community and the public sector.”

    With the 2019 General Assembly session coming up, Gov. Northam called on legislators attending the summit to consider funding for broadband when they begin budget work.

    You often hear people say they grew up in rural Virginia, but they live, work, and raise their families elsewhere, Gov. Northam said.

    It’s time to change that.

    “Rural Virginia is coming back,” Gov. Northam said. “You can’t keep us down. We are hard working, we’re genuine people, and I just think there is a lot of promise.”

    The Governor’s Summit on Rural Prosperity also included panels on economic development and workforce development, along with in-depth discussions on rural broadband and an update on the Interstate 81 Corridor Improvement Plan.

    Featured speakers included Stephen Moret, President & CEO of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership and many members of the Governor’s cabinet.

    For more information, visit www.cfrv.org.

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  9. SFOP Workshop Will Highlight Benefits of Adding Commercial Rabbit Production to Farm Operations

    The Virginia State University Small Farm Outreach Program (SFOP) will host the educational workshop, Pastured Raised Commercial Rabbit Production, on Thursday, November 15 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at VSU Randolph Farm Pavilion, 4415 River Road, Petersburg, Va.

    “Through our programs we aim to educate small-scale and limited-resource farmers about different revenue-generating opportunities,” said SFOP Director William Crutchfield. “Rabbit production provides a meat product for revenue while simultaneously allowing producers to reduce the cost of fertilizer and other soil amendments.” 

    Attendees will get practical information about Virginia laws for processing and selling rabbit meat. They will learn about barn, cage and processing unit construction, and enhance their knowledge about which rabbit species are best suited for meat. Participants also will learn how rabbit production can become part of a nutrient management plan to efficiently manage waste as a cost-effective, organic soil amendment in the garden and on the farm.

    Rabbits convert feed to meat more efficiently than cattle, and have been called the next big thing in pastured livestock. They may be raised for commercial purposes, including meat consumption, as pets and for laboratory use. According to the 2012 U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), there were 13,420 farms with rabbits with an inventory of 400,049 and 852,837 rabbits sold. 

    This educational workshop is free and open to the public. Space is limited, so register early. To register, visit www.ext.vsu.edu/calendar, click on the event and then click on the registration link. 

    If you need further information or are a person with a disability and desire any assistive devices, services or other accommodations to participate in this activity, please contact the Small Farm Outreach Program office by email at smallfarm@vsu.edu or call (804) 524-3292 / TDD (800) 828-1120 (TDD) during business hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. to discuss accommodations no later than five days prior to the event.

    The Small Farm Outreach Program, which is part of Cooperative Extension at Virginia State University, aims to encourage and assist limited-resource, socially disadvantaged and military veteran farmers and ranchers to own, maintain and operate farms and ranches independently, to participate in agricultural programs and improve their overall farm management skills. The SFOP provides outreach and assistance activities in production management, financial management, marketing, available USDA farm programs and other areas to increase farm profitability and promote sustainability. Currently, the program provides educational programming in approximately 64 Virginia counties, which have the highest concentrations of limited-resource, socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers in the state. For more information, visithttps://www.ext.vsu.edu/small-farm-outreach-program/.

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

  10. NEW GRAPE GROWER WORKSHOP TO BE HELD NOVEMBER 13

    ~Part of cost-share program to address grape shortage, encourage growth of Virginia wine industry~

    (DANVILLE, Va.) – In its ongoing efforts to support economic revitalization efforts, the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) is pleased to announce a New Grower Workshop for agricultural entrepreneurs interested in starting their own vineyard. The workshop will be held 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Nov. 13 at IALR, 150 Slayton Ave., Danville. Virginia Tech experts will present introductory best practices of vineyard operation in Virginia, and information will be shared on how to apply for the cost-share program of the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission (TRRC). New growers across the 34-county footprint of the TRRC are encouraged to attend.

    “Viticulture is a sorely needed agricultural resource to fuel the health and growth of Virginia’s agritourism and wine industry, which is currently suffering from grape shortages,” said Mark Gignac, Executive Director of IALR. “We are excited to continue to partner on a solution with the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission, the Virginia Cooperative Extension and the Virginia Vineyards Association. Anyone interested in becoming a vineyard grower is encouraged to attend our New Grower Workshop, which we hope will provide helpful resources, networking and information, especially in regards to available funding.”

        

    Dr. Tony Wolf, Director of the Alson H. Smith Jr. Agricultural Research and Extension Center and Professor of Viticulture, Virginia Tech and Tremain Hatch, Viticulture Extension/Research Associate, Virginia Tech

    The New Grower Workshop will be led by Dr. Tony Wolf, Director of the Alson H. Smith Jr. Agricultural Research and Extension Center and Professor of Viticulture at Virginia Tech, and Tremain Hatch, Viticulture Extension/Research Associate at Virginia Tech. Amy Turner of IALR and Program Manager of the TRRC Vineyard Development and Expansion Cost-Share Program, will provide details on cost-share funding. Although the workshop is free, advance registration is required by November 11 and can be secured by visiting www.TRRCgrape.com/New-Grower-Workshop.pdf.

    Topics of the workshop will include an introduction to viticulture, market opportunities, business planning and predicted cash flows, site evaluations and environmental challenges, design considerations, fundamentals of vineyard management, an overview of the Vineyard Development and Expansion Cost-Share Program, and a visit to The Homeplace Vineyards in Chatham. A complimentary lunch will be provided by IALR. Due to the outdoor component of the vineyard visit, attendees should dress appropriately.
    Attendance to the New Grower Workshop or a previously offered workshop is required for new growers in order to be eligible for the TRRC’s Vineyard Development and Expansion Cost-Share Program. IALR was recently named by TRRC as the new program manager of this program, first launched in 2016. New applications for grant awards are currently being accepted. Through the cost-share program, IALR works with the Virginia Cooperative Extension, TRRC and the Virginia Vineyards Association to increase vineyard acreage and address the shortage of Virginia-grown grapes.

    The TRRC’s cost-share 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 10 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 the New Grower Workshop or funding eligibility requirements, including a detailed map of the 34 eligible counties across Southern and Southwest Virginia, growers may visit TRRCgrape.com or contact Turner at amy.turner@ialr.org or (434) 766-6788. Turner also will assist growers with the application process.
    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.

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

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

     

    RICHMOND (October 25, 2018) - Attorney General Mark R. Herring is encouraging Virginians to take advantage of Saturday's National Prescription Drug Take Back Day to dispose of unused or expired medications, especially prescription opioids, before they can be misused, abused, or accidentally ingested. Law enforcement agencies, community partners, and members of the Attorney General's team will be stationed at dozens of locations throughout the Commonwealth to accept medications for proper disposal. Takeback locations in the Southside area, which will be open from 10am - 2pm, are listed below, and you can find a site near you by searching here.
     
    "Oftentimes, opioid abuse begins with the medicine cabinet, not the streets, and one of the easiest things we can do to make our homes and communities safer is to clear those medicine cabinets of unused prescriptions before they are misused, abused or even accidentally ingested by a child or grandchild," said Attorney General Mark Herring. "Taking just a few extra minutes this weekend to clean out your unneeded medications and dispose of them at a proper Takeback location is one of the simplest things that we can all do to fight the opioid epidemic."
     
    There is a strong link between misuse of prescription opioids, opioid addiction, and even subsequent use of heroin once prescriptions become too expensive or are no longer accessible. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse:
    • Heroin abuse is 19 times more likely among those who abuse prescription opioids.
    • Half of young people who used heroin got started by abusing prescription opioids.
    • One in fifteen individuals who misuse prescription opioid painkillers will try heroin within 10 years.
    • Studies show a link between the availability of prescription and illicit drugs and the likelihood of abuse. 
    In Virginia, opioid overdose deaths have risen steadily since 2010:
    • Heroin overdose deaths have risen more than 1,060% between 2010 and 2015, from 48 to 558.
    • Fentanyl deaths have risen by over 1,500% percent from 2007 to 2017, from 48 to 770.
    • Prescription opioid overdose deaths have risen 26% between 2007 and 2017, from 400 deaths to 504.
    Attorney General Herring has made combating the heroin and prescription opioid epidemic a top priority, attacking the problem with a multifaceted approach that includes enforcementeducation, prevention, and legislation to encourage reporting of overdoses in progress, expand the availability of naloxone, and expand access to the Prescription Monitoring Program. He has supported federal effortsto improve the availability of treatment and recovery resources and made prescription drug disposal kits available across the Commonwealth. Attorney General Herring recently outlined his recommended next steps for combating the crisis, focusing on law enforcement initiatives, support from the medical community, and recovery, treatment, prevention and education. He is also participating in a multistate investigation into the practices of drug manufacturers and distributors to determine what role they may have played in creating or prolonging the crisis. Most recently, Attorney General Herring announced he was suing Purdue Pharma for their role in helping to create and prolong the opioid epidemic in Virginia.

     
    The nearest drop off location for the Saturday, October 27, event is the Lawrenceville Police Department in the Lawrenceville Municipal Vuilding at 400 N. Main Street, Lawrenceville.

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  12. Why social security retirement is important to women

     

     

     

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

    Social Security plays an especially important role in providing economic security for women. In the 21st century, more women work, pay Social Security taxes, and earn credit toward monthly retirement income than at any other time in our nation’s history. But, women face greater economic challenges in retirement. Women:

    • tend to live longer than men. A woman who is 65 years old today can expect to live, on average, until about 87, while a 65-year-old man can expect to live, on average, until about 84;

    • often have lower lifetime earnings than men; and
    • may reach retirement with smaller pensions and other assets than men.

     

     

    Social Security offers a basic level of protection to all women. When you work, you pay taxes into the Social Security system, providing for your own benefits. In addition, your spouse’s earnings can give you Social Security coverage as well. Women who don’t work are often covered through their spouses’ work. When their spouses retire, become disabled, or die, women can receive benefits.

     

     

    If you’re a worker age 18 or older, you can get a Social Security Statement online. Your Statement is a valuable tool to help you plan a secure financial future, and we recommend that you look at it each year. Your Statement provides a record of your earnings. To create an account online and review your Statement, visit our website at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

     

     

    If your spouse dies, you can get widow’s benefits if you’re age 60 or older. If you have a disability, you can get widow’s benefits as early as age 50. Your benefit amount will depend on your age and on the amount your deceased spouse was entitled to at the time of death. If your spouse was receiving reduced benefits, your survivor benefit will be based on that amount.

     

     

    You may be eligible for widow’s benefits and Medicare before age 65 if you have a disability and are entitled to benefits. You also may be eligible for benefits if you are caring for a child who is younger than 16.

     

     

    Our “People Like Me” website for women has valuable resources for people of all ages. You can access it at www.socialsecurity.gov/people/women.

     

     

    To read more about how we can help you, read and share the publication What Every Woman Should Know at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10127.pdf.

  13. TRUMP SIGNS WARNER & KAINE PROVISIONS TO ADDRESS OPIOID CRISIS INTO LAW

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine celebrated key provisions from their bills to address the opioid crisis becoming law. The comprehensive substance abuse treatment bill, known as the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, was just signed into law by President Trump after it passed the Senate 98-2 and the House 393-8. The legislation includes four proposals from Warner that initially passed out of the Senate Finance Committee as part of the Helping to End Addiction and Lessen (HEAL) Substance Use Disorders Act of 2018 and three proposals from Kaine that passed the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee as part of the Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018.

    “This comprehensive legislation takes significant steps to stem the opioid epidemic that has devastated communities across the Commonwealth. By making necessary improvements to substance abuse treatment and recovery services, we can help save lives. That’s why I’m proud to report that this historic package includes several proposals that I championed to expand telehealth services to ensure more families get the addiction treatment they need,” said Warner.

    “This bill is the product of a strong bipartisan effort to tackle the addiction crisis that is taking lives in Virginia and across the country. I’m proud the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act includes my proposals to help ensure job training is incorporated into recovery programs and that the kids who are hurt by this crisis get the resources they need. This comprehensive effort aiming to address prevention, treatment, and recovery is an important step toward solving the addiction crisis,” Kaine said.

    Warner and Kaine have worked over the years to move legislation forward to combat the substance abuse epidemic, which in 2017 accounted for more than 72,000 deaths nationwide.The final bill included provisions from four Warner bills to:

    • Expand telehealth services for substance abuse treatment.
    • Make clear how Medicaid funds can be used for substance use disorder treatment through telehealth.
    • Help ensure children suffering from substance use disorders receive the assistance they need through telehealth services.
    • Improve data collection on substance use disorders among Medicaid recipients.

    The final bill included proposals from three Kaine addiction treatment bills to:

    • Give states the resources and guidelines to ensure recovery homes are effectively helping residents sustain recovery from opioid and substance use disorders.
    • Incorporate job training into drug addiction recovery programs.
    • Afford schools the opportunity to apply for grants to directly offer trauma support services to students impacted by the opioid epidemic.

    Last month, Warner and Kaine voted for a FY19 funding bill that increased funding to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to support programs related to the opioid crisis, including an additional $3.8 billion for treatment, prevention and research.

  14. Terron Watkins Joins Jackson-Feild

    Terron Watkins joined the development staff at Jackson-Feild. Terron is a native of Richmond graduating from Richmond Public Schools. He is a graduate of Longwood University where he studied communications focusing on public relations.

    After graduation he worked in development for a Grace Place which provided adult day care services until the program closed its doors.

    His primary responsibilities will be online giving, special events, Christmas program, Young Professionals Society and assisting the VP of Development with fund raising and communication projects.

    Terron brings passion, commitment to Jackson-Feild’s mission and a willingness to learn and grow as a development professional. He is looking forward to helping Jackson-Feild fulfill its mission and help our children.

  15. ATTORNEY GENERAL HERRING LAUNCHES VIRGINIA’S FIRST ONLINE RE-ENTRY PORTAL

    ~ The site is the first of its kind to come out of an AG’s office and brings re-entry resources directly to sheriffs, jail practitioners, family members, local citizens, and ex-offenders ~

    VIRGINIA BEACH (October 23, 2018) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring today announced the launch of VirginiaReEntry.org, Virginia’s first ever online re-entry portal, which provides a “one-stop shop” for people involved in every phase of helping Virginians re-enter communities after incarceration. This portal is the first of its kind to come out of an attorney general’s office and offers resources directly to sheriffs, practitioners and citizens who want to help formerly incarcerated individuals return to their communities and lead successful lives. Attorney General Herring made the announcement at his 2018 Statewide Jail Re-entry Conference.
     
    “When folks who are transitioning back into our communities are given the resources they need to be successful, well-adjusted members of society it not only helps them but it also makes our communities safer and saves taxpayer dollars,” said Attorney General Mark Herring. “This first of its kind portal offers something for everyone by providing information and resources for sheriffs, re-entry organizations, potential employers, community and family members, and those who are returning to society. I am proud of the work that my office has done over the past few years to help localities build strong re-entry programs and we will continue to help them make sure that their returning citizens are given every opportunity to be successful following incarceration.”
     
    Ninety-six percent of incarcerated individuals will eventually return to their communities, which is why strong, comprehensive re-entry programs and resources are so important. When people transitioning back to the community are provided individualized case management, treatment services, and support networks both prior to release and immediately following incarceration, they have a better chance at success. If ex-offenders re-enter their community with the same underlying trauma, addiction, or anger it can make communities less safe and perpetuate a cycle of re-incarceration that costs taxpayers money and strains families.
     
    “We know that 96 percent of people in jail will return to our community,” said Norfolk Sheriff Joseph “Joe” Baron. “By utilizing our evidence based Re-entry Programming and innovative programming in partnership with the Virginia Attorney General’s Office Re-entry Program such as the Innovations in Supervision Initiative, we are providing offenders a better path to be successful in the community which will have an major impact on improving our recidivism rates in Virginia.”
     
    “The Re-entry portal will give all parties involved in the process an opportunity to have a central location where information can be exchanged, communicated and maintained,” said Arlington Sheriff Beth Arthur. “Having this portal available with established information and services, will ultimately give participants in any Re-entry program more opportunities to be successful as they transition out into our communities.” 
     
    The re-entry portal provides something for everyone including sheriffs, jail administrators and staff, non-profit organizations, faith-based volunteers, potential employers, treatment service providers, legislators, judges, media, family members and returning citizens.
     
     
    • Information on best practices in the re-entry field
    • Examples of efforts around Virginia
    • Grant information
    • Training schedules and data input options
    • Printable, regional specific materials
    • Training modules and presentations
    • Resources for families and communities to help their loved ones re-enter society in a productive way.
     
    Resources for sheriffs and other jail practitioners
    The portal provides information on the Office of the Attorney General’s suggested re-entry model, the Transition from Jail to Community (TJC), which was developed by the National Institute of Corrections in partnership with the Urban Institute. This model achieves the goals of enhancing public safety and reducing recidivism through a systematic and collaborative approach. You can also find the What Works in Re-entry Clearinghouse, a “one-stop shop” for research on the effectiveness of a wide variety of re-entry programs and practices. Additionally, there is information on DMV Connect, a program that was originally created to provide identification cards to incarcerated individuals pending release, as identification is necessary to secure jobs, open bank accounts, enter public buildings, and apply for benefits
     
    Resources for families and returning citizens
    Re-entry can be a time of both positivity but also stress for both the returning individual and their family. To make the transition as smooth as possible it is important to use every resource available including:
     
     
    Employer Advantages
    Employment is a pillar to successful re-entry and motivated employees are a lynchpin to successful business. Hiring returning citizens has proven beneficial to employers because:
     
    • Ex-offenders whose crimes are long in the past pose no greater risk than people in the general population
    • Returning citizens have a network of support to aid in their success. 
    • Federal programs add additional security by bonding employees.
    • There are tax incentives to hire returning citizens.
     
    When Attorney General Herring began his first term in 2014, he saw that the state had developed a comprehensive plan to address re-entry and recidivism reduction for state inmates who left state prisons, but there was no coordinated programming or assistance for local and regional jails. He made it a priority to provide the first-ever state-level assistance to coordinate, expand, and improve re-entry efforts in local and regional jails, including the hiring of DeVon Simmons as Virginia’s first local jail re-entry coordinator.
  16. Benchmark Bankshares, Inc. Announces Quarterly and Year-to-Date Earnings

    KENBRIDGE, VA, October 23, 2018 - Benchmark Bankshares, Inc. (BMBN), the Kenbridge-based hold­ing company for Benchmark Community Bank, announced earnings of $2,243,140, or $0.44 per share, for the third quarter of 2018.  This compares to $1,979,037, or $0.38 per share, for the third quarter of 2017. Net income through the first nine months of the year amounted to $6,505,576, or $1.27 per share, up from the $5,432,293, or $1.05 per share, reported through the first nine months of 2017.

    Return on average equity of 12.46% and return on average assets of 1.43% year-to-date increased from 10.93% and 1.28%, respectively, reported for the first nine months of last year. Both ratios remain strong and are very competitive within the banking industry.  

    Loan demand remains strong, as evidenced by the $63.6 million growth in loans over the past twelve months. A total of $43.3 million of this increase has occurred since December 31, 2017.  The bank’s yield on loans increased from 5.30% to 5.40% through the first nine months of the year as the Federal Reserve continues to increase the prime interest rate. Higher rates, combined with the increase in loan volume, drove the bank’s interest and fee income up by $2.2 million through the first nine months of the year.   

    Total deposits of $545.3 million have increased by $21.5 million year-to-date and are up $53.3 million from one year ago. As with loans, interest rates are beginning to increase. The current 0.43% cost of deposits is up from 0.38% last September, increasing year-to-date AAQAinterest expense from $1.4 million to $1.7 million through the first nine months of the year. Overall, the bank’s net interest margin has increased from 4.56% to 4.71% when comparing the first nine months of 2018 to the same period last year. 

    The bank currently holds $2.8 million in foreclosed property, having written down $748 thousand year-to-date to adjust the market value of properties the bank has owned for several years. Last year, the bank wrote down $191 thousand during the first nine months of the year. In addition, the bank has incurred a loss of $209 thousand year-to-date from the sale of foreclosed property, down from a gain of $12 thousand through the first nine months last year.

    Net charge-offs for the first nine months of the year amounted to $309 thousand, down slightly from $325 thousand charged off in the first nine months of 2017. Despite the increase in charge offs and an increase in write downs of foreclosed property, overall asset quality remains very strong. During the first nine months of the year, a total of $706 thousand has been provisioned to loan loss reserve, compared to $502 thousand provisioned during the first nine months of 2017.  The current loan loss reserve of $5.2 million represents 0.98% of total loans.   

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

     

    Benchmark Community Bank, founded in 1971, is head­quartered in Kenbridge, VA. It is the company's sole subsidiary which oper­ates fifteen banking offices through­out central Southside Vir­ginia and northern North Carolina. Additional information is available at the company’s website, www.BCBonline.com.

  17. VIRGINIA STATE POLICE URGES TEEN MOTORISTS TO BE ROAD RESPONSIBLE

    ~Prepare the next generation to drive safely by starting the conversation today~

    RICHMOND – As National Teen Driver Safety Week gets underway, Governor Ralph Northam, Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian J. Moran and Virginia State Police are encouraging young people, who are just taking to the roads, to take charge of their safety.

    "Every driver has a responsibility to be safe when they are getting on the road, including our newest drivers," said Governor Northam. "National Teen Driver Safety Week is a great opportunity to engrain safe driving habits that will stay with our teenagers for the rest of their lives."

    As of Oct. 1, preliminary data in Virginia shows there have been 56 fatalities in crashes involving teen drivers, marking a 36 percent increase over 2017.* Of those traffic deaths, 28 individuals were not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.*

    “Sadly, motor vehicle crashes continue to be the leading cause of death for teenagers nationwide, yet this loss of young people’s lives is preventable,” said Col. Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “Starting a conversation with teens about safety and responsibility on the road is the first step toward reducing fatalities. We as parents, mentors and friends need to equip the next generation of drivers with the tools they need to navigate the highway tomorrow by encouraging them to practice safe habits today.”

    Among the most significant dangers to teenage drivers are alcohol consumption, lack of seat belt use, distracted and drowsy driving, speeding, and driving with passengers in the vehicle.*

    As part of National Teen Driver Safety Week, VSP joins Youth of Virginia Speak Out About Traffic Safety (YOVASO) in encouraging youth and teens to make good choices and celebrate responsibly as part of its statewide Halloween Safety Campaign. This week, schools and youth groups across the Commonwealth are participating in the peer-to-peer campaign in an effort to prevent tragedies on what is supposed to be a fun night for all.

    Irresponsible driving behaviors such as underage drinking and driving as well as texting and driving can be even more deadly on Halloween night when young children are out trick-or-treating on neighborhood streets. Between 2012 and 2016, there were 168 drunk-driving fatalities on Halloween Night.** Approximately 44 percent of all fatalities on Halloween Night (6 p.m. Oct. 31 – 5:59 a.m. Nov. 1) were in crashes involving a drunk driver.**

    Before getting behind the wheel, teen drivers are urged to limit the distractions in their vehicle, including human ones. Not only does the risk of a fatal crash increase in direct relation to the number of teen passengers in the vehicle, but the likelihood of teen drivers engaging in risky behavior triples.*** Approximately 10 percent of teen drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2016 were distracted at the time of the crash.***

    “As a father of two teenagers, teaching responsibility on our roadways is of the utmost importance given the rise of distracted driving,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran. “Emphasizing road safety as a vital part of our overall public safety efforts will continue to be a top priority moving forward.”

    As a new driver, operating a vehicle is a big responsibility not only because of the dangers of driving but also the threat of vehicle theft, which affects more than 750,000 people each year.*

    Virginia State Police Help Eliminate Auto Theft (HEAT) program encourages parents to teach their new drivers to practice common sense habits that will protect them and their vehicle. Simple things like remembering to take your keys every time you leave your vehicle and never leaving your car unattended with the doors unlocked. The HEAT program teaches a three-layered approach to auto theft prevention, and taking your keys and locking your doors are simple but important steps in vehicle protection.

    “A lot of responsibility comes along with becoming a new driver and part of that responsibility is establishing good habits to protect yourself and your vehicle,” said 1st Sgt. Thomas J. Molnar, HEAT program coordinator. “A significant number of vehicles stolen in Virginia still have the keys in the ignition. It’s important for teens to minimize distractions and remember to remove their keys from the ignition and lock the vehicle’s doors every single time.”

    In addition to locking your doors and taking your keys, parking in a well-lit area and concealing valuable items can keep your car from becoming a target of thieves. These are all common sense tactics, but are often the things individuals forget to do the most. To create additional layers of vehicular protection, motorists are also encouraged to install audible or visible deterrents, such as VIN etching, and add technology, such as an immobilizer or tracking device.

    VIN etching is the process of placing a vehicle’s VIN number on all major areas of glass on the vehicle. This serves as a deterrent to potential thieves because if they remove the VIN number, all the glass will have to be replaced. This is a free service offered by the Virginia State Police HEAT program.

    *Source: Virginia Highway Safety Office, **Source: National Center for Statistics and Analysis, ***Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

  18. Five Ten Year Service Awards SVCC

    Service Awards recognizing college employees celebrating an anniversary of five, ten, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 years were awarded during the Southside Virginia Community College Convocation on August 16,2018. 

    Ten Year awards were presented to (Left to Right) Tiffany Slagle of Emporia, Susan Early of Baskerville, Wendy Ezell of South Hill, Russell Hicks of Victoria, LeAnn Ferguson of Charlotte Court House, Jennifer Myrick of Dolphin and Jessica Shelton of Victoria. 

    Five Year Awards were presented to (Left to Right) Katherine Clatterbuck of Meherrin, Lisa Jordan of South Hill, Denis McCarthy of Blackstone, Jeremy Parenti of Petersburg, Tonya Talbott of North Dinwiddie.  Those not pictured are Laroya Eanes-Walton of FarmVille, Shayna Kendall-Maxey of South Hill, Erica Randolph of North Dinwiddie, Mary Winfield of Warfield, Scott Edmonds of South Hill, Jeffrey Vance of Howardsville and Dr. Tara Blackwellof Keysville.

     

  19. Mollie Spence Roberts

    Mollie Spence Roberts,80, died Saturday, October 20, 2018, at her home. A native of Greensville County, she was the daughter of the late Dick Spence and Maggie Jane Robbins Spence. She was a longtime member of Spring United Methodist Church and the Director of Medical Records at Greensville Memorial Hospital, and after her retirement worked several years for Greensville County. Mollie was also a longtime dedicated volunteer with the Hospice Support Group of Southside Virginia.

    In addition to her parents, Mollie was preceded in death by her loving husband Marvin Edward Roberts, brothers; Hansel, George, Calvin, and Edward Spence, sisters; Virgie Driver, Maude Spence and Nellie Spence, son in law; James C. Allen Jr.

    She is survived by her daughters; Cynthia R. Allen, and Sherry R. Scott and her husband Mike, sister; Daisy Lambert and husband Marshall of Mechanicsville Va., grandchildren; Tiffany Marie Scott Slagle and husband Jason, Laural Jane Allen Davis, and Jeremy Edward Scott and wife Elizabeth Lee Scott, great grandchildren; Hannah Jane Davis, Nathaniel Parker Slagle, Colton Jase Scott, Ava Marie Slagle, and Olivia Morgan Scott, special great niece and caregiver Paula Copeland, numerous nieces, nephews and great nieces and nephews.

    Funeral Services will be held Tuesday, October 23, 2018 at 2:00 P.M. at Echols Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. Bob Clyde officiating. Burial will follow in Greensville Memorial Cemetery. The family will receive friends Monday, October 22, from 6:00 P.M. until 8:00 P.M. at Echols Funeral Home.

    Memorials may be made to Spring United Methodist Church Cemetery Fund or the Hospice Support Group of Southside Virginia.

    Online condolences may be left at echolsfuneralhome.com

  20. Medicaid Expansion – What It Means For Emporia

    Emporia, VA – Enrollment for new, low-cost health care coverage for eligible adults will commence in the Commonwealth of Virginia on Nov. 1.

    Virginia Governor Ralph S. Northam, MD, has announced that as the date when the state will begin accepting applications for coverage that takes effect Jan. 1, 2019. The best source for information about this new coverage is available at www.coverva.org. On that website, people can access an eligibility screening tool to determine if they are likely to qualify for coverage. Website visitors can sign up to receive regular e-mail or text message updates about new coverage and the enrollment process.

    People can also call 1-855-242-8282 for more information. The information phone line for people who are hearing impaired is 1-888-221-1590.

    New coverage for adults is available for men and women ages 19-64 who aren’t eligible for Medicare, and who meet income eligibility guidelines, which vary depending on family size. For example, a single adult who earns less than $16,754 in annual income may be eligible. The income threshold for an adult in a two-person household is $22,715. It is $28,677 for an adult in a three-person household, and $34,638 for an adult in a four-person household.

    Earlier this year, the Virginia General Assembly and Governor Northam’s Administration achieved a bipartisan compromise to increase coverage for hard-working, low-income adults in Virginia. This coverage, also known as Medicaid expansion, is available under the provisions of the U.S. Affordable Care Act. Virginia elected officials brokered a fiscally-responsible deal that recovers the Commonwealth’s tax dollars, produces millions in state budget savings that free up funds for other important needs, will improve public health and the economy by supporting job growth, and will benefit Virginia taxpayers.

    This plan has public support, with polling showing more than 80 percent of Virginians in favor of a coverage compromise, backing from dozens of local and regional chambers of commerce across the Commonwealth, and from the business and health care community. Private hospitals from throughout Virginia are even contributing financial support to help defray any costs the state may incur associated with increasing coverage access.

    “When both sides of the aisle came together earlier this year to pass Medicaid expansion, the Commonwealth set a realistic, aggressive timeline for implementation and I’m proud to report the remarkable progress we’re making on these goals in close coordination with our federal partners,” Governor Northam said in a statement announcing Nov. 1 as the date when Virginia will begin accepting applications for expanded health coverage. “I encourage all Virginians to get acquainted with the new eligibility rules and learn how they and their family members qualify for access to quality health coverage.”

    Virginia is one of 33 states that have expanded coverage eligibility for low-income adults. The compromise plan in Virginia includes reform provisions on work and personal responsibility so that people who benefit from the program are invested in their own health and success.

    Enabling more people to gain health care coverage also means that people will be able to access timely care in an appropriate setting for their needs, so they can recover soon and go about their lives as productive, contributing members of society.

    Right now, many people without insurance delay needed medical care for too long. Eventually, they end up in a hospital emergency room when their condition is much worse, the cost of care is much greater, and their recovery time is much longer. That is not an ideal circumstance for the patient, the health care provider, or the economy because that person is removed from the workforce, and the unpaid cost of their care ultimately gets passed on to taxpayers and consumers in the form of higher insurance rates.

    Speaking about the new coverage program, Virginia Health and Human Resources Secretary Dr. Dan Carey, MD, noted that “thousands of Virginia adults will soon benefit from a comprehensive package of health services, including coverage for visits to primary and specialty care doctors, hospital stays and prescription medications. Individuals with chronic diseases will have access to the sustained care that is essential to maintain their health.”

    This new coverage, Secretary Carey added, will also help Virginians who need behavioral health and addiction treatment as the Commonwealth continues to focus on improving mental health treatment and combating the opioid epidemic.

    “This new coverage will help individuals across the Commonwealth like our friends, our neighbors, our caregivers, and the people we meet daily in coffee shops and restaurants,” said Dr. Jennifer Lee, MD, Director of the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services. “It’s critically important that hard-working Virginians will have access to the health care they need to be productive in their jobs and to enjoy a high quality of life.

    In Emporia and surrounding communities, as many as 3,300 local Virginians will be eligible to enroll in this new health care coverage. This year alone Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center (SVRMC) is on pace to exceed more than $4.3 Million in charity care.

    Spencer Feldmann, MD with Southside Physicians Network (SPN) says, “Because of Medicaid Expansion, patients are more likely to get a primary care physician and get their medical needs met earlier before they become too acute.” All SPN physicians accept Medicaid. “In the long run the conversion to a more preventative medicine based approach is a win not only for the patient, but for the Emporia community.

    The Nov. 1 start of the application period for coverage enrollment is days away. Virginia adults interested in learning more about this new health care coverage are encouraged to visit www.coverva.org. People can also call 1-855-242-8282 (or 1-888-221-1590 for hearing impaired people) for more information.

  21. Need to change your name on your social security card?

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

    Are you changing your name? If so, let Social Security know so we can update your information, send you a corrected card, and make sure you get the benefits you’ve earned. 

    To change your name on your card, you must show us documents proving your legal name change and identity. If you are a U.S. citizen, you also must show us a document proving your U.S. citizenship, if it is not already in our records. You must present original documents or copies certified by the agency that issued them. We can’t accept photocopies or notarized copies.

    To prove your legal name change, you must show one of the following documents:

    • Marriage document;
    • Divorce decree;
    • Certificate of naturalization showing a new name; or
    • Court order for a name change.

    To prove your identity, you must show an unexpired document showing your name, identifying information, and photograph, such as one of the following:

    • U.S. driver’s license;
    • State-issued non-driver’s identification card; or
    • U.S. passport.

    If you don’t have one of those documents available, we may be able to accept your:

    • Employer identification card;
    • School identification card;
    • Health insurance card; or
    • U.S. military identification card.

    To prove your U.S. citizenship, you must show one of the following documents:

    • U.S. birth certificate;
    • U.S. Consular Report of Birth Abroad;
    • U.S. passport (unexpired);
    • Certificate of Naturalization; or
    • Certificate of Citizenship.

    Whatever your reason for your name change, Social Security is here to help you with the new… you! Fill out the form at www.socialsecurity.gov/forms/ss-5.pdf and follow the instructions to ensure your Social Security card is delivered in a timely manner. You can also locate your local field office at www.socialsecurity.gov/locator so you can apply for your updated card and show your required documents in person.

    For complete instructions, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber, which includes information for non-citizens. And remember, if you simply need to replace a lost Social Security card, but don’t need to change your name, you can — in most states — request your replacement card online using your my Social Security account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

  22. “Just a Housewife”

    I think there’s an illusion
    in today’s status quo
    whereby a college degree
    depicts what you know.
     
    You see I am a housewife
    just simple and plain
    I’ve no shingle to hang
    embossed with my name.
     
    My job though rewarding
    starts early each day
    I help two of my children
    for school get away.
     
    Then my next step is breakfast
    for that husband of mine
    yes he needs my assistance
    to reach work on time.
     
    Now that everyone’s gone
    I can take a short break
    then a cry from the nursery
    means the babys awake.
     
    A quick change is needed
    and then some powder to dry
    then I refill her bottle
    and it’s sleepy time bye.
     
    Now it’s off to the kid’s room
    to make up their bed
    then I out clothes in the washer
    and do the dishes I dred.
     
    Well it’s lunchtime already
    and have the baby to feed
    then I make out my list
    for the groceries we need.
     
    I then get out the stroller
    for they say it is wise
    to push the baby to market
    for your exercise.
     
    The shopping all finished
    and put the baby to bed
    yes and I made shacks for the children
    with their favorite spred.
     
    Now soon after I’ve vacuumed
    and dusted once m ore
    the children from school
    come through the front door.
     
    The sound of their voices
    I knew the baby would wake
    so outside I sent them
    and put on the steak.
     
    It was later than usual
    when my husband arrived
    yet thanks to the snacks
    the children survived.
     
    Now dinner is all finished
    so the dishes I’ll stack
    knowing tomorrow at seven
    I’m sure to be back.
     
    Yes I’m an occupation Housewife
    though I’ll make it quite clear
    I’m not just a housewife
    but a Household Engineer!
     
                        Roy E. Schepp
  23. Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center Offers $99 Mammogram Special* To Encourage Breast Cancer Screening

    Emporia, VA – One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. In Virginia, breast cancer is the most frequently occurring cancer for women.**

    To encourage more women to take action for their breast health, Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center (SVRMC) is offering a special to women in October, which is recognized as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. SVRMC has teamed up with MDsave to offer $99 mammogram screenings!

    Here’s how it works:

    • Get a referral from your physician or healthcare professional
    • Go to mdsave.com/mammogram to purchase your voucher
    • Call SVRMC’s Imaging Center to schedule your mammogram (434) 348-4470
    • Bring our $99 mammogram voucher to your appointment

    “Mammograms save lives,” said Dr. Sasa Espino, Board Certified Breast Surgeon with Southside Physicians Network. “Today, thanks to early detection and treatment advances, more women are surviving breast cancer and living longer, healthier lives.”

    This program runs now through October 31, 2018 and is for mammogram screenings performed at SVRMC located at 727 North Main St, Emporia, VA 23847. Get Directions.

    “The bottom line is, nearly all breast cancers can be treated successfully if found early,” Dr. Espino added. “And the most effective way to detect breast cancer at an early, treatable stage is to have yearly mammograms starting at the age of 40, and to have regular clinical breast exams by a doctor or nurse.”

    For women of average risk, the American College of Radiology recommends annual mammograms starting at age 40, with no upper age limit as long as the woman is in good health. Different guidelines apply to women at higher risk.*** A screening mammogram can help detect breast cancer in its earliest and most treatable stages.

    To participate in the $99 mammogram screening promotion, a woman must be age 40 or older and know the date of her last mammogram. Insurance will be charged and only covers one mammogram annually. This is for a digital 2D mammogram screening of both breasts, for women who exhibit no signs or symptoms of any disease, complaint, or abnormality. This also includes computer-aided detection (CAD) of lesions obtained during the mammogram. Medicaid and Medicare participants are not eligible for this promotion.

    *This is for a digital 2D mammogram screening of both breasts, for women who exhibit no signs or symptoms of any disease, complaint, or abnormality. This also includes computer-aided detection (CAD) of lesions obtained during the mammogram.

    Price Details:

    • Facility fee: technical (equipment) fee for the imaging
    • Physician fee: physician interpretation fee

    This MDsave bundled price includes the cost of your procedure and the fees listed above. These fees are for the services most frequently packaged together with this procedure. Any services provided at the time of treatment that are not listed here will not be covered in your purchase. View Details

     

    **Breast Cancer statics sourced via https://gis.cdc.gov/Cancer/USCS/DataViz.html

     

    ***For a list of risk factors and American College of Radiology recommendations, visit www.acr.org.

    Appointments are on a first-come, first-served basis. An order from a physician or qualified healthcare provider is required. If the patient does not have a physician/provider, a list will be provided for selection. All mammogram reports will be sent to the physician/provider, and the patient is responsible for follow-up.

    Check with your insurance provider to confirm coverage for a screening mammogram.

     

     

     

     

     

  24. SVCC Receives Donation from Abilene Motor Express

    Abilene Motor Express recently donated a 53’ trailer to the Truck Driver Training School at Southside Virginia Community College. Abilene was founded in 1986 by the Jones family from Charlotte County.  Their successful business, with its home office in North Chesterfield, is well known and highly regarded all around the United States by the trucking industry.  

    Duncan Quicke, Coordinator of SVCC’s Training School said, “Abilene has one of the best maintained and most immaculate fleets on the road today, but their sparkling image goes far beyond their pretty green and gold paint scheme. The Joneses are true ambassadors to the trucking profession, and they treat everyone in the industry like family. We are no exception at the Truck Driver Training School. They provide us with the necessary tools to train our students, and they are actively hiring our graduates. Abilene’s generosity helps us continue to run a quality program and prepare drivers for the trucking industry.” 

    Current students of the Truck Driver Training School show off the new trailer.

  25. VSU Welcomes New Hires in 4-H, Forestry and Operations

    Virginia State University (VSU) is pleased to announce the addition of three new personnel who have joined Cooperative Extension and the College of Agriculture. Chantel Wilson, Ph.D., has joined as 4-H STEAM Extension specialist, Jerry Bettis Sr., Ph.D., has joined as forestry Extension specialist, and Ronald Howell has rejoined the College of Agriculture as director of Operations Management reporting to Dean M. Ray McKinnie.

    “We are thrilled to welcome two new specialists to our Extension family. The addition of Dr. Chantel Wilson will enable us to enhance our capacity to engage youth in agriculture through our 4-H program. Dr. Jerry Bettis will provide expertise to foresters and Virginians interested in trees and forests,” said Dr. McKinnie. “And we are pleased to welcome back Ronald Howell to VSU. He will provide guidance and direction for College of Agriculture strategic operating plans, projects and initiatives.”

     “I’m excited for the chance to ‘give back’ by developing programming to help prepare young people for success in a changing world,” said Dr. Wilson. “Programs such as 4-H can have a tremendous positive influence on the lives of young people. I believe that my participation in a youth agricultural program helped me to develop career aspirations and the skills needed for my success, eventually leading me to become the first person in my family to graduate from college.”

    Dr. Wilson earned a Ph.D. in crop and soil environmental sciences from Virginia Tech, and an M.S. in plant pathology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She intends to work with stakeholders to determine community needs and the skills young people need for success in STEAM fields. STEAM in this instance stands for science, technology, engineering, agriculture and math. “I hope to channel my creativity and passion to develop fun, informative and useful programming based on current research,” she said. “My ultimate goals are to generate interest in STEAM fields, strengthen scientific literacy and to empower youth by showing them how to reach their career goals.” 

    Dr. Wilson is also a Virginia certified turf and landscape nutrient management planner. Before joining VSU, she served as urban nutrient management Specialist at Virginia Tech contracted to the Virginia Dept. of Conservation and Recreation, and as a graduate research assistant/teaching scholar at Virginia Tech. Dr. Wilson joins VSU’s 4-H Extension specialist Dr. Maurice Smith, who specializes in youth development, citizenship and leadership development.

    Dr. Bettis Sr. expressed his enthusiasm for becoming part of Cooperative Extension’s rich history of educating and training Virginia landowners. “I hope my first accomplishments are to teach and train underserved landowners to seek the services of a consulting forester and use a written contract prepared by a consulting forester when selling timber,” he said. “If each landowner in Virginia does this when selling timber, I would consider my tenure at VSU stellar!”

    Dr. Bettis holds a Ph.D. in forestry from North Carolina State University. Before joining VSU, he served as forestry-natural resources Specialist at Tuskegee University, and as early rotation forester and raw materials representative at the Weyerhaeuser Company in New Bern, NC, where he was responsible for fire, vegetation and pest control on approximately 500,000 acres of timberland. 

    Ronald Howell, a USDA scholar and VSU alum, said, “I am excited about my new position and to give back to my alma mater and the college that has made a huge impact on my life personally and professionally. Being back at Virginia State University and a part of the College of Agriculture allows me to share my passion for agricultural sciences and work with the faculty members and staff who afforded me so many opportunities as a student and who helped launch my career.”

    Howell, who earned his master’s degree in agriculture and Extension education-community development from Virginia Tech, will be integral to the administration of budgets, developing management procedures and implementing new business processes. He will also provide administrative leadership to Randolph Farm and have oversight for the 1890 Facilities Grant Program. And through a partnership agreement, he will serve as a special advisor to the Office of the Secretariat of Agriculture and Forestry to increase land-grant capacity for outreach, student development and build strategic partnerships and initiatives that improve the stability and sustainability of farm and forestland owners in Virginia. Howell has held several positions with USDA and with the Commonwealth of Virginia, each time at a greater level of responsibility.

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

  26. SBA Small Business Lending Momentum Continues in FY18

    ~SBA FY18 total loan volume reaches more than $30 billion with more than 72,000 approved loans~

     

    WASHINGTON – The U.S. Small Business Administration announced FY18 lending numbers showing that it guaranteed over $30 billion to small businesses that otherwise would not have had access to capital.

    “We are providing tools, resources and access to capital for America’s 30 million small businesses, and our FY18 numbers bear that out,” SBA Administrator Linda McMahon said. “SBA’s 7(a) and 504 loan programs have never been more dynamic, easy to use and accessible—helping small businesses succeed and thrive.  Our loan programs in FY18 continue to show strong performance, and we believe the President’s tax cuts and deregulatory actions will help more small businesses grow and prosper in the coming year.”

    In FY18 there were approximately 60,353 7(a) loans made, with a total dollar amount of $25.37 billion. The 7(a) program is SBA’s flagship program, which offers guarantees on loans to small businesses of up to $5 million on reasonable terms and conditions. 7(a) loans are commonly used for acquiring land, purchasing equipment, or working capital.

    The SBA’s 504 loan program had another year of high performance for lending, with 5,874 loans made for a total dollar amount of over $4.75 billion. In FY18 SBA launched the 25-year Debenture, which offers an extra 60 months of financing at a fixed rate for small businesses. Since its introduction in April, over 1,000 debentures had been sold by the end of September.

    “The 25-year Debenture is designed to help free up cash flow and offer fixed rates in a rising interest rate environment for 504 borrowers and we are pleased to see over $1 billion has been disbursed in less than six months,” Associate Administrator for SBA’s Office of Capital Access William Manger said.

    In FY18 there was significant growth in the SBA’s smaller loans, including a record volume of dollars lent in the Microloan and Community Advantage Programs. Specifically, over 5,000 loans were approved for over $72 million in the Microloan program and over 1,000 loans for over $150 million in SBA’s Community Advantage program.

    The SBA continued to innovate and improve processes by leveraging enhanced technologies. Lender Match is an SBA technology platform that gives entrepreneurs the ability to complete a quick online form, without registration or cost, and be connected with an approved SBA lender within 48 hours. To date, Lender Match has generated 3.6 million leads on behalf of small businesses to our lenders and over 160,000 unique borrowers have been contacted by lenders with financing options. 

    Another technological innovation was the development of the SBA’s Franchise Directory, which was launched this year and has resulted in an over 50 percent increase in eligible franchise brands. There are currently 3,192 brands on the Franchise Directory. When the directory was first published in October 2017 there were only 2,034 brands.  In FY18, SBA has seen a year over year increase of over 21 percent in 7(a) and 504 dollars going to franchises.

    For more information about SBA’s loan programs, financial assistance and other services, visit www.sba.gov.

     

  27. Justin Owen of Skippers Completes SVCC PLW Program

    Justin Owen of Skippers and a graduate of Greensville County High School, completed the Southside Virginia Community College Power Line Worker Training Program on September 19, 2018.

    The 11-week program provides both classroom and hands-on training in safety, climbing techniques, electrical theory, aerial framing, rigging, Operation Utility Service Equipment and Commercial Driver’s License Training.

    SVCC offers the Power Line Worker class in Blackstone Virginia at the Occupational/Technical Center in Pickett Park. For information, southside.edu.

  28. Power Line Worker Students from the eighth class of the SVCC Training Program

    Front L-R  Wayne Gates of Petersburg, Chase Simon of Meherrin, George Blackwell of Lunenburg, David Rios of Farmville, Justin Owen of Skippers, Brandon Chumley of Red Oak, Logan Branch of Gladstone, Alex Hite of Kenbridge, Nick Plutro of Carson, Alex Rothgeb of Clarksville, Justin Perez of King George, Brad Wike, Instructor

    Back L-R:  Clyde Robertson, Instructor  Adam Ashmore of Disputanta, Charlie Herrin of Oakton, Luke Swanson of Winchester, Nate Trevillian of Monroe, Zac Cavezza of Suffolk, Cole Shornak of Chester, Brian Burch of Crewe, Ian Banker of New Ellenton, SC, Blake Spangler of Salem, and Nick Grigg (Student Instructor)

  29. Building for a Promising Future

    By Dr. Al Roberts

    Established in 1970, Southside Virginia Community College is one of 23 colleges in the Virginia Community College System. From its humble beginnings, the college has grown to become the leading provider of quality academic and workforce services within the largest community college jurisdiction in our state. The college’s 4,200-square mile service region spans ten counties and also encompasses the city of Emporia.

    Meeting the need for education services across such a broad area requires a wide range of diverse options. Consequently, the college serves students from two main campuses, five education centers, and other off-campus sites, as well as through online learning opportunities. The college’s Christanna campus in Alberta currently has six permanent buildings. The John H. Daniel Campus in Keysville has four permanent buildings, including its Learning Resource Center/Student Services building, a 32,700-sqare foot structure completed in 2014. All combined, the college maintains 220,000 square feet of building facilities, 88% of which is allocated for instructional and student use.

    And SVCC continues to grow. The college is among the leaders in Virginia’s FastForward workforce credentialing program. Innovative services to help ensure student success continue to be deployed, and connections with area business and industry partners continue to expand.

    The college is also growing physically. In September, construction began on a new, two-level Learning Resource Center on the Christanna Campus. The new facility will expand the college’s infrastructure in order to provide exceptional resources for mission-critical activities. When completed in January 2020, the 45,000-square-foot building will house the Christanna Campus library, and it will provide performance space, a food service area, student study and lounge areas, a workout room, and a welcome area. It will also feature a Career Center, a Veterans’ Center, a Credentialing Center, and an IT Training Laboratory. Student services, including financial aid, admissions and records, and IT support, will also be relocated to the new building.

    The new Learning Resource Center will play a vital role in the lives of students for semesters and years to come. SVCC offers 23 degrees at the associate level, a host of shorter-term academic and workforce development programs, opportunities for dually enrolled high school students, adult basic education, and other transitional services for non-traditional students. In addition, a comprehensive team of academic advisors, tutors, student services professionals, and counselors are available to help students develop their academic strengths and tackle challenges.

    At SVCC, we believe in the transformative power of education to positively impact individual students and the communities we serve. To learn more about how to build your educational future at SVCC, visit the college’s website at Southside.edu or call 434-949-1000. Our team of academic and workforce advisors can help you discover how to create your own promising future.

    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.

  30. Breast Cancer – Symptoms, Treatment and More

    ~Community Out-Reach Education~

    South Hill – Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women worldwide.  Each year, breast cancer accounts for 12 percent of all cancers diagnosed globally, and is the second leading cause of cancer-related death among women.  What are causes, symptoms and stages of breast cancer?  What are current treatments and the newest research related to breast cancer?  What are breast cancer risk factors?

    If you are seeking answers to questions like these you should attend October’s C.O.R.E. (Community Out-Reach Education) Program at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital to learn about breast cancer.

    This FREE program will be on Monday, October 22nd at 4:00 p.m. in the VCU Health CMH Education Center inside the new C.A.R.E. Building located at 1755 N. Mecklenburg Avenue in South Hill.

    The speaker for the program with be Dr. Masey Ross.  Dr. Ross specializes in oncology, the branch of medicine that deals with the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer.  Dr. Ross received her medical degree from Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine in Chicago, IL.  She completed her residency and internship as well as a fellowship from VCU Medical Center in Richmond, VA.  Dr. Ross evaluates, diagnoses and coordinates care for patients at the Hendrick Cancer and Rehab Center in South Hill; at VCU Medical Center North Hospital and Stony Point 9000 in Richmond.

    Reservations are not required for this program; however, they are recommended.  For more information or to register to attend, please call (434) 447-0854 or visitwww.vcu-cmh.org.

  31. Meherrin River Expected to Crest at 25.5 Feet after Tropical Storm Michael

    After all of the rain from Hurricane Michael, especially the rain to the west of us, the Meherrin River is already above Moderate Flood Stage and is overflowing it's banks, flooding parts of Center Street and closing Vetreans Memorial Park and the Meherrin River Park.

    At 8:30 Sunday evening, the guage recorded 25.34 feet and the National Weather Service expects a crest of 25.5 feet at 2:00 am on Monday. The estimated flow when the river crests is expected to be over 16,000 cubic feet per second. At a typical depth, the flow of the Meherrin River is less than 500 Cubic feet per second.

    The river is expected to be below the 13 foot action stage on Tuesday.

    The impact of various water levels is listed below:

    34 Feet Water begins to flow across the Hicksford Ave Bridge.
    33.5 Feet Water reaches the intersection of Center St and High St.
    30 Feet Water reaches the entrance to Meherrin River Park along Hicksford Ave.
    25  Feet Homes on Center St between Cleveland Ave and Monroe St are inundated.  Homes along Meherrin Park Rd begin to flood and the ball fields in the EGRA park are flooded.
    24 Feet Portions of Center St begin to flood and some residential areas are threatened.
    23 Feet Flood waters infiltrate sewer system. The parking lot next to the ball fields in EGRA Park begins to flood.
    20
    Feet
    Water reaches the top of the boat ramp in the Meherrin River Park/EGRA Park.
    19 Feet Water covers the walking bridge in the Meherrin River Park.
    16
    Feet
    Meherrin River Park and Veterans Memorial Park are closed to public access.
    15 Feet Water begins to cover portions of the walking trail in the Meherrin River Park.
    13
    Feet
    Cautionary stage. Water begins to overflow the banks in the Meherrin River Park.

     

  32. Lillie E. Langley Pearson

    Lillie E. Langley Pearson,95, died Friday October 12, 2018, surrounded by her family and friends. Lillie was born in Brunswick County to the late John Temple Langley and Ola Mosley Langley.

    She spent her childhood at the Jackson-Feild Episcopal Home Walnut Grove where she was well cared for and connected with other girls who became like sisters.

    Lillie attended Greensville County Schools where she met her future husband, George Gilbert Pearson. Gilbert and Lillie were married in November of 1945 and lived in Emporia, where they raised two daughters. She worked at Virginia Dye Plant until her retirement and was a member of Main Street Methodist Church. Lillie spent her free time developing the perfect recipe with her husband for their locally famous pound cakes. She continued to provide cakes to the community throughout her life and passed along her recipe to her family.

    Left to honor Lillie and remember her love are her daughter; Gay Taylor and husband Melvin, grandchildren; Patricia Watson and husband Rick, Robert Taylor, Allison Travis and husband Walker of Gordonsville, VA, five great-grandchildren; Taylor, Jordan, Tanner, Lily, and Lauren; and many nieces and nephews. Lillie was preceded in death by her loving husband Gilbert Pearson, a daughter, Ann Pearson, God Parents , Arch and Gay Campbell, four sisters and a brother.

    The family would like to extend their sincere appreciation to New Century Hospice aid Candice Pride and nurse Ann Mathews for their care and dedication.

    Funeral Services will be held Sunday, October 14, 2018 at 3:00 P.M. at Main Street Methodist Church with Rev. Tom Durrance and Rev. Joseph Klotz Jr. officiating. Burial will follow in Emporia Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 2:00 P.M. until Service time at the church. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Lillie’s name to Main Street Methodist Church.

    Online condolences may be left at echolsfuneralhome.com.

  33. ATTORNEY GENERAL HERRING FIGHTS TO STOP ILLEGAL ROBOCALLS AND SPOOFING THAT PLAGUE CONSUMERS

    ~ AG Herring joins bipartisan coalition of 34 attorneys general asking the FCC to let phone companies do more to block illegal robocalls – including neighbor spoofing ~

    RICHMOND (October 10, 2018) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring has joined a bipartisan coalition of 34 attorneys general in calling on the Federal Communications Commission to create new rules to allow telephone service providers to block more illegal robocalls being made to unsuspecting consumers in Virginia and across the country.
     
    “It seems today like every Virginian has either received these annoying robocalls or they know someone who has, even I have received them and I am the Attorney General,” said Attorney General Herring. “These robocalls are not just annoying and frustrating to consumers but they are also illegal and folks should not have to worry about being scammed by these types of phone calls. It is my job as Attorney General to protect Virginia’s consumers, which is why I’m joining my colleagues in calling on the FCC to take stronger action and create new rules to protect Virginians from robocalls.”
     
    The formal comment to the FCC explains that scammers using illegal robocalls have found ways to evade a call blocking order entered last year by the FCC. Despite the FCC’s order, robocalls continue to be a major irritant to consumers in Virginia and across the United States. In 2017, the Federal Trade Commission received 4.5 million illegal robocall complaints – two and a half times more than in 2014. The Virginia Office of Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Section receives numerous complaints each year with respect to illegal calls, including scam calls, telemarketing complaints, and robocalls. 
     
    Following last year’s order when the FCC granted phone service providers authority to block certain illegal spoofed robocalls, the attorneys general are now seeking added authority for the providers to work together to detect and block more illegal spoofed robocalls – including “neighbor spoofing.”
     
    “Spoofing” allows scammers to disguise their identities, making it difficult for law enforcement to bring them to justice. “Virtually anyone can send millions of illegal robocalls and frustrate law enforcement with just a computer, inexpensive software and an internet connection,” the attorneys general wrote in the formal comment filed with the FCC.
     
    One tactic on the rise is “neighbor spoofing,” a technique that allows calls - no matter where they originate - to appear on a consumer’s caller ID as being made from a phone number that has the same local area code and first three digits as the consumer. This manipulation of caller ID information increases the likelihood that the consumer will answer the call.
     
    In the formal comment, Attorney General Herring and his colleagues expressed support for a new initiative, which will give phone service providers the ability to authenticate legitimate calls and identify illegally spoofed calls and block them. The added authority sought by the attorneys general will allow service providers to use new technology to detect and block illegal spoofed calls – even those coming from what are otherwise legitimate phone numbers. Service providers will be ready to launch this new authentication method in 2019.
     
    To date, the FCC has not issued a notice of proposed rulemaking concerning additional provider-initiated call blocking. The attorneys general anticipate that further requests for comments will take place on this subject.
     
    Attorney General Herring was joined on the comment by the Attorneys General of Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and the Hawaii Office of Consumer Protection.
  34. Achieving Self-Support with Social Security

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

    Work means different things to different people, but it can give you a sense of self, a community to rely on, and much-needed structure. Some people define themselves through their careers, while others enjoy the social aspect of their jobs. If you rely on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments and want to start working or return to work, we can help.

    A plan for achieving self-support (PASS) is a plan for your future. This plan lets you use your income or resources you own to help you reach your work goals. You could set aside money to go to school and get specialized training for a job or to start a business. The job that you want should allow you to earn enough to reduce or eliminate your need for payments provided under the SSI program.

    You can have a plan if:

    • You want to work;
    • You get SSI (or can qualify for SSI by having this plan) because you have a disability or are blind; and
    • You have other income and/or resources to use to get a job or start a business.

    A PASS can even help you receive or keep SSI or could mean a higher payment. Under SSI rules, any income that you have may reduce your SSI payment. But, if you have an approved plan, you can use that income to pay for the items you need to reach your work goal.

    We don’t count money set aside under this plan when we decide your SSI payment amount. This means you may get a higher SSI payment. However, you can’t get more than the maximum SSI payment for the state where you live. A PASS can also help you set aside money for most work expenses. With an approved plan, you can set aside money to pay expenses to reach your work goal. You can read all about what work expenses are covered and more at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-11017.pdf.

    The plan must be in writing, and Social Security must approve it. To start, contact your local Social Security office for an application (Form SSA-545-BK). You can access this form at www.socialsecurity.gov/forms/ssa-545.html.

    Your job isn’t just a source of income — it can be a vehicle to independence or a beginning to fulfilling your dreams. Let Social Security’s Plan for Achieving Self-Support help you achieve your goals.

  35. More Uses for $222,050

    These are the suggestions that have arrived via e-mail and been made in person:

    • Sidewalks all the way to Wal-Mart and Food Lion.
    • Sidewalks along Commomwealth Blvd.
    • Sidewalks along ALL of Main Street
    • A Playground near the I-95/US 58 interchange.
    • Bolster JOB CREATION and ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT.
    • More funding for the Public Schools.
    • Five-day-per-week access to the General Registrar (Why should people not be able to register to vote Monday-Friday?).
    • Longer hours for the Treasurer, so that those working out of town can pay in person, even if only one night per week.
    • An ATM like kiosk for payments to the City (Water Bills, Taxes, etc).
    • Electronic Billing as opposed to just automatic bank draft for payments to the City (without any fees, other cities do it).
    • Creating Mulch/Compost from yard waste and allowing Citizens to use resulting product (an idea that might save money if the City could stop purchasing mulch).
       

    This list will be updated and added to as more suggestions arrive.

    In the meantime, visit this page for the e-mail addresses of your City Council Member. You can also drop a letter to The Clerk to City Council, PO Box 511, Emporia, Virginia 23847. The Clerk to City Council may be reached by phone at (434)634-7309 and City Administration may be reached at (434)634-3332.

    Tags: 

  36. What would you do with $222,050? ***UPDATED***

    Editor's Note: According to the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, Emporia is the most fiscally stressed locality in the Commonwealth. There is no city or county in the Commonwealth with a higher fiscal stress rating.

    A former menmber of the Civic Center Foundation just informed EmporiaNews.com that that group raised the money and paid to remove the asbestos from the Auditorium. The fact that the asbestos has already been abated, at great expense to the Civic Center Foundation, is yet one more reasons to leave the building standing.

    There have been several e-mails sent to the editor echoing the sentiments of this article.

    THERE IS NO JUSTIFIABLE REASON FOR THE EMPORIA CITY COUNCIL TO WASTE THE AMOUNT OF MONEY BUGETED ($210,000), PLUS AN ADDITIONAL $12,050 TO "SAVE" PARTS OF THE BUILDING THAT HAVE BEEN DEEMED IMPORTANT BY THE VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF HISTORIC RESOURCES.

    Once again, the Emporia City council has decided to waste your money tearing down a perfectly good building.

    Please don’t get me wrong, it’s not a spectacular building it has no major architectural character, but it’s ours.  It’s a symbol of a time when our country could come together can put everyone to work.

    The building in question is the auditorium on Main Street.  All that remains of the former school complex.  This particular building was built as a Works Progress Administration project in the midst of the great depression if.  The Auditorium is one of three WPA project within the city of Emporia, the others are in close proximity - the Post Office and the Armory.

    I say again, it is not a spectacular building, but it is important history.  More importantly, it’s not eating anything nor is it drinking anything.  The city is expanding minimal funds in maintenance, and the building is not connected to any utilities except water and sewer; and those are most likely not being used.

    One can imagine countless school assemblies, Christmas programs, concerts and the like being held in this auditorium.  In its more recent history it was the first home of the Meherrin River arts council.  Just like the Victorian school buildings that once stood beside it, this building is part of our history.

    It was suggested to a member of City council that the school buildings and auditorium would make an excellent City Hall.  This was several years ago before the schools were torn down.  There was enough space in those buildings to house all of the offices of our city government, and have banquet halls that would rival those of golden leaf commons.  The police department could move into the existing City Hall, or it could have been used as a new library. 

    That suggestion fell on deaf ears and two perfectly useful buildings were demolished.

    We can listen the City Council share concerns about asbestos, but I saw no asbestos abatement when the schools were torn down.  We can listen to city council when they talk about how it’s a drain on our resources, but as mentioned above the building is connected to no utilities and receives only very minimal maintenance.

    One can listen to the City Council until one is blue in the face and one will probably never know the real reason why that August body is so determined to demolish this building.

    City council is budgeted more than $220,000 for the task of removing a perfectly useful building, which according to their own architectural review is in good condition and is costing us nothing. 

    Just two weeks before the meeting at which City Council decided to waste this money, they entered into a lease/purchase agreement for three vehicles.  That agreement was for $154,000.  By not demolishing the auditorium, the interest payments on at least purchase arrangement could be saved and the city could pay cash outright for those three vehicles.

    Much-needed police vehicles aside, $222,050 could pay for much needed expansion and upgrades at the library or even just pay for more computers and additional hours.

    $222,050 would more than cover the $172,000 needed to replace our 911 call handling equipment.  The balance could be used to cover the 2% COLA raises for city employees, which total $10,955 according to the most current budget.

    In the time that I’ve lived here water bills have more than tripled and sanitation fees have nearly quadrupled.  $222,050 would surely put a dent in the debt service that caused those bills to soar out of control, or the very least pay off whenever debt remains on that new garbage truck. $222,050 would go a very long way toward replacing the water meters in the City, a task that is in dire need of undertaking.

    Just looking at the budget, one can see many opportunities to constructively spend $222,050.

    Without even leaving the school property, $222,050 would go a long towards making the auditorium and the cafeteria viable for event rental.  In light of the doubling the fees at golden leaf commons, organizations such the family violence and domestic assault unit could continue to use a low-cost facility for their fundraising (or no cost, as this program is administered as a city department).

    Knowing that you, the average citizen of the city of Emporia, could pay down your debt, complete existing projects, or avoid incurring new debt, how would you spend $222,050?

    The city of Emporia is currently one of the most fiscally stressed localities in the commonwealth of Virginia.  We cannot afford to allow our City Council to squander our money.  The fiscally conservative option is to spare this building demolition and find a useful purpose for it.  No matter what anyone else, especially if they claim to be fiscally conservative, the demolition of the WPA Auditorium on Main Street is not fiscally conservative.

    Further, anyone who claims to be fiscally conservative and voted for the demolition of the structure, which is clearly a waste of taxpayer revenue, is not fiscally conservative.

  37. Should the Emporia City Council proceed with the demolition of the Auditorium, or is the money better spent elswhere?

  38. Visiting Chefs Mentor Jackson-Feild Students

    Culinary Arts students at Jackson-Feild Behavioral Health Services (JFBHS) Gwaltney School recently had an extraordinary day working with Chef Patrick J. Kearney of US Foods and Chef Sue Jett Taylor of The Affinity Group, a food broker with US Foods.

    Working side by side with Chef Patrick and Chef Sue, the students prepared variety of restaurant-worthy offerings.  From BLT & Fried Green Tomato Sandwiches on Chia Seed Bread to Ham & Manchego Cheese topped with a Wilted Salad and tossed with Balsamic Dressing, students and staff alike were delighted with the results.  In addition to those savory dishes, the students and chefs also prepared Lightly Glazed Donuts and a Butter Tart topped with whipped cream and strawberries.

    This hands-on opportunity was the brainchild of JFBHS Food Service Director and Culinary Arts teacher, Chef Mary Griffith.  Ms. Griffith is forever seeking ways to engage and motivate her students, and this event was a resounding success that boosted student self-confidence and reinforced the lessons learned in the classroom. The students were thrilled to demonstrate their skills and receive positive feedback from their peers and staff.

    JFBHS would like to thank US Foods representatives Kim Harper and Suzanne Vandeventer for making this event happen for the students in Gwaltney School’s Culinary Arts program. The chefs’ time and attention as well as the food prepared were provided by US Foods and The Affinity Group as part of their outreach and educational volunteerism program.

  39. Caring is Cool for this SVCC Alumnus

    Hope Alexander’s job is cool because she has spent her entire career caring for others.  There is a quote, “Care for one, that’s love, care for hundreds…. that’s nursing.” 

    Alexander started her career at the early age of 16 as a Licensed Practical Nurse who completed the program at Southside Virginia Community College.  Now, she is a full time Family Nurse Practitioner employed by Centra Health Systems. She mainly works out of the Burkeville office. 

    She has her own assigned patients and manages chronic and acute conditions. 

    As the only female provider in the office she notes, “I so enjoy my calling. I dare not say it’s a job.  Jobs are chores... this is my passion.”

    When Alexander isn’t caring for patients Monday through Friday 8:30am to 5pm, she extends herself and works at least two Saturdays a month from 8 am to 12 noon at the Walk-In Urgent Care Center in Farmville, Va.  

    Graduating at 16 from Bluestone High School, the Boydton native then attended SVCC and completed the Practical Nursing Program.  She went on to work at Duke University Hospital in the Emergency Department, the Intensive Care Unit working with spinal cord injuries and open-heart surgery patients for five years.

    “Then, I came back to SVCC,” she says enthusiastically about receiving her Associate’s Degree in Nursing in 1999.  

    During this time, she continued to work at Duke part-time.   

    After becoming a Registered Nurse, Alexander worked for Community Memorial Hospital in South Hill (now VCU Health Community Memoria Hospital) and during this time, she also tutored ADN students at SVCC.  Later, she became an adjunct instructor for her alma mater teaching campus lab, drug dosage, health assessment and clinical instruction at the Emporia/Greensville hospital (now Southern Virginia Regional Hospital).  

    With no reduction in energy and drive working all these full-time jobs, she continued to be a student.  She received her Bachelor’s degree in Nursing from Liberty University and, a BA in social work and business administration.  In 2011, she completed a Master’s in business education and Leadership through Liberty also.

    And then, there is more…she went back for her Nurse Practitioner(NP) in 2015 completing this degree from South University.  An NP is an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse who has additional responsibilities for administering patient care than RNs. NPs can prescribe medication, examine patients, diagnose illnesses, and provide treatment, much like physicians do.

    And, finally, she completed her Ph.D. from Liberty in psychology. But, there may be more classes out there for Alexander to pursue. 

    Also, during all the studying, Alexander was busy being a mom to three children, a daughter and two sons.   People asked why she kept going, kept studying and adding degrees.

    “I was hungry for more,” she said. 

    The energizer bunny has nothing on Alexander.  At home, she takes care of her family and three chihuahuas and reads in her spare time.

    “SVCC gave me my start.  As for my children, failure is not an option and I use myself as an example for them,” she said.    

    “I tell them anyone can play a sport, but knowledge is power,” Alexander said.   

    Alexander has a powerfully cool job as she takes care of her community every day with enthusiasm, pride and a smile.

    She has many mantras that she applies to her life.  One in particular is this, “If you love what you do... you will never work a day in your life.”

  40. Breast Cancer Awarness at BA

    The students and faculty of Brunswick Academy wore Pink in support of Breast Cancer Awareness on Tuesday, October 2.

  41. Hunting the White Tail Deer and Chronic Wasting Disease

    This year, I was one of the legislators to represent Virginia at the Southern Leadership Annual Conference in St. Louis, MI. I attended several workshops on education, economic development, public safety, and sportsmen rights. As a member of the Virginia Sportsmen Caucus and an advocate for hunting/ sportsman rights, I discussed the future of hunting as a sport with John Culclasure, who is the manager of the Congressional Sportsman Foundation at the National Sportsmen caucus meeting. One of the major hunting concerns nationwide that is impacting rural communities, is the spread of chronic wasting disease among the white tail deer population.

    Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a fatal neurological disease that affect deer, elks, and moose. This disease is transmitted to deer through saliva, feces, urine and through water or soil contaminated with an abnormal infectious protein called prion. The signs and symptoms of this disease (CWD) in deer are progressive weight loss, excessive thirst, teeth grinding, excessive salivation and holding the head in a lowered position and drooping ears.

    Chronic Wasting Disease was first discovered in Virginia in 2009. The first case was found in November in 2017 in Frederick County.  The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries have tested 16 positive deer with chronic wasting disease during the months of October -November throughout Frederick, Warren, Shenandoah and Clarke County. Although chronic wasting disease poses a very serious threat to the deer population, the effects of the disease have shown to impose no substantial health risks to humans or domestic animals.

    As we approach the deer hunting season, please be aware of this infectious disease that is gradually spreading among the white tail deer population. If you identify a deer exhibiting the above listed signs and symptoms, please contact the Game and Inland Fisheries or my office. Please feel free to invite me to your hunt club or church, or civic organization meeting by contacting my office at (434) 336-1710 or email delrtyler@house.virginia.gov.

  42. "What Parade"

    Lots of peanuts and wrapped candy
    did away with our big parade
    there was nothing that showed to be creative
    like when those big beautiful floats were made.
     
    I think I saw enough cars and trucks
    to fill up most parking lots
    yes and I saw children hanging on to tailgates
    in far too many spots.
     
    We used to have some bands that played
    and marchers that could march
    the uniforms that most did wear
    needed a bit more starch.
     
    What used to be a tribute
    to the peanut farmers for whom we care
    has turned into an election line
    with politician cars everywhere.
     
    I think a feasibility study is in order
    to see which way you’re going
    if this is a tribute to our farmers
    you have a funny way of showing.
     
                                 Roy E. Schepp
  43. Benjamin “Gil” Perkins inducted as the 2018 Hall of Fame recipient

    Defense Logistics Agency Aviation Commander Air Force Brig. Gen. Linda Hurry presents Benjamin “Gil” Perkins with the Hall of Fame medal and award for his selection as DLA Aviation’s 2018 Hall of Fame member Sept. 27, 2018 in the Frank Lotts Conference Center, Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Jackie Roberts)

    By Natalie Skelton, DLA Aviation Public Affairs Office

    Richmond, Va., Oct. 2, 2018 —

    For his dedicated service and contributions to Defense Logistics Agency Aviation, Benjamin “Gil” Perkins, former DLA Aviation chief counsel was inducted into the 2018 DLA Aviation Hall of Fame Sept. 27. Perkins retired in 2015 after 34 years of service.

    The ceremony was held Thursday afternoon in the Frank B. Lotts Conference Center on Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia.  DLA Aviation Commander Air Force Brig. Gen. Linda Hurry opened the ceremony, making note of Perkins’s many contributions during his time at DSCR. “There is no question that Gil’s dedication to this team helped shape this center, touching the lives of many people throughout our center, from the time he started here in March 1981 until his retirement in October 2015, and beyond,” Hurry said.

    Perkins’s tenure at DSCR and DLA Aviation began with services as a law clerk while was still attending the T.C. Williams School of Law at the University of Richmond. He then served as an attorney-advisor at DSCR, and later in a rotational assignment as business manager for the Packaged Petroleum, Chemicals, Gases and Rings, Shims & Spacers Product Center — a $120 million venture. In 2006, he was promoted to chief counsel for DLA Aviation at DSCR, a position he held until retirement.

    Julia Roquemore, Aviation and Airframes division chief, Supplier Operations Commodities Directorate, DLA Aviation and Brenda Brunner, supervisory paralegal specialist, DLA Counsel-Aviation, nominated Perkins.

    Roquemore said the reason she nominated Perkins was because he cared more than anyone. “He was a champion of improving the quality of life for all DLA Aviation employees,” said Roquemore. “He took time to listen to people. He was a true champion of DLA Aviation.”

    Perkins’s accomplishments while at DSCR include leading the office to establish and create a workload-tracking and case management database that served as the model for the DLA Counsel enterprise wide Automated Workflow and Reporting System, better known as AWARS.

    “Gil’s legacy has impacted our mission, set examples for employees and introduced enduring benefits to the organization,” Hurry said. “He called DLA his dream job that fell right in with two of his life goals: serving people and supporting his country.”

    The event was attended by his wife, Susan, who also worked at DLA Aviation and retired shortly before her husband after 30 years of service. One of Perkins’s four daughters—Lauren Freeman, also attended, as well as Perkins’s father, Hugh, and his sister Mary Perkins.

    The DLA Aviation Hall of Fame recognizes former civilian and military team members who have made significant and lasting contributions to the agency and who represent core DLA values and ideals. Perkins is the 36th inductee into the Hall of Fame.

    Perkins said, “Don’t just go to work, go to serve, to appreciate the privilege we’ve been given, to accept the responsibility that goes with the privilege and to continue to do great things."

  44. HEAD OF VIRGINIA’S MFCU ELECTED PRESIDENT OF NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF MEDICAID FRAUD CONTROL UNITS

    ~ During Attorney General Herring’s time in office MFCU has recovered $91,525,956 ~

    RICHMOND (October 2, 2018) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring announced today that Randy Clouse, Director of the Virginia Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU), has been elected President of the National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units (NAMFCU). Randy has been the Director of Virginia’s MFCU for nearly 20 years and under his leadership the unit has grown from 12 to 102 members and recovered over $2 billion in court ordered restitution fines and penalties for the Virginia Medicaid program.
     
    “I cannot think of a more worthy and qualified person to serve as President of NAMFCU,” said Attorney General Mark Herring. “Randy has been the head of our MFCU for almost 20 years, and in that time he has grown the unit exponentially and recovered more than $2 billion for Virginia. I want to congratulate Randy on this honor and thank him for all of his hard work making Virginia’s MFCU one of the best in the country.”
     
    “The outstanding results are the direct reflection of the great work of the employees of the MFCU and outstanding relationships we have with our federal counterparts, the United States Attorneys Offices for the Western and Eastern Districts, the FBI, IRS, DEA, FDA and HHS-OIG and the Department of Medical Assistance Services,” said Randy Clouse.
     
    About Randy Clouse
     
    Randy joined the Virginia Attorney General’s Office in May 1999 as the Director of the Virginia Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. Prior to joining the MFCU, Randy was a Police Officer with the Richmond Police Department. While in that capacity, he was a Detective assigned to the Organized Crime Division’s Vice Squad infiltrating street level illegal narcotics, prostitution, worked outlaw biker gangs and satanic cults. During Randy’s last three years in the Organized Crime Division, he was the Undercover Coordinator where he supervised multi-jurisdictional undercover sting operations targeting organized crime, organized prostitution rings and human trafficking. During his last two years in the Department, he was assigned to work Violent Crimes and Homicides. He attended California University, in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, majoring in Criminal Justice. 
     
    Randy has been a member of the National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Unit’s Executive Committee for five years and served as Vice President for the last year. Randy will be the first non-attorney to be president in the 40 year history of the National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units. As President of NAMFCU, Randy will continue to work closely with the National Association of Attorney’s General and the NAMFCU Executive Committee to continue their outstanding work overseeing the Association’s training programs and multi-state cases involving health care fraud, the illegal prescribing of opioids and elder abuse and corporate neglect issues. 
     
    About Virginia’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit
     
    The Virginia Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) of the Office of the Attorney General was certified October 1, 1982, by the United States Department of Health and Human Services. The Unit is one of 50 units throughout the United States with the same mission. 
     
    From the MFCU inception in 1982 through 1999, the Virginia MFCU recovered over $10 million in court ordered restitution, fines and penalties. From 1999 through present, under Randy Clouse’s leadership, the Virginia MFCU has recovered over $2 billion in court ordered restitution, fines and penalties. 
     
    The MFCU employs a professional staff of criminal investigators, auditors, attorneys and support staff who work together to develop investigations and prosecute cases. The Virginia MFCU works regularly with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to combat fraud, protect our most vulnerable citizens and to save taxpayer dollars.
     
    In 2008, the Virginia Medicaid Fraud Control Unit received the State Fraud Award from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General for achieving the highest amount of monetary recoveries in the history of all state Medicaid fraud control units in fiscal year 2007 with over $500 million in recoveries.
     
    In 2013, the Virginia MFCU was named the number one MFCU in the country by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General.
     
    In 2014, during Attorney General Herring’s first term, Virginia’s MFCU received the State Fraud Award from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General for achieving, again, the highest amount of monetary recoveries in the history of all state Medicaid fraud control units in fiscal year 2013 with over $1 billion in recoveries. To this date, neither of those recoveries has been achieved by any other state MFCU. Also in 2014, Virginia’s MFCU was awarded the “Honest Abe” award from the Taxpayers Against Fraud Education Fund.
  45. Lake Gaston Baptist Church Adventurers Annual Arts and Craft Fair Saturday November 3, 2018 9:00 a.m. to 3 p.m.

    The lake community always looks forward to this annual Arts and Craft Fair, now in it’s 11th year and featuring over 50 vendors!

    All items are handcrafted by local and regional artists and designers. Admission is free and drawings for door prizes are held throughout the day. Shoppers will receive shopping bags with a few goodies inside while supplies last. Lunch, snacks and beverages will be available for purchase.

    Don’t miss this opportunity to shop for unique handcrafted items!

    Interested vendors may contact Lynne Sanders at sanders.lynne@gmail.com or Teresa Freeman at 252-532-3027

  46. Innovation Award to Dominion team

    (From left) Nathan Worcester, Adam Flowers, Alan Bradshaw, Alison Kaufmann, Annette Martin and Andy Thomas win the Chairman’s Excellence Award for their mobile app solution that directly helps customers.

    RICHMOND, Va. (Oct. 3, 2018) – A mobile app solution to enhance collaboration with customers won top recognition at Dominion Energy’s inaugural Innovation Expo. The app uses augmented reality to communicate with customers one-on-one before overhead power lines are converted to underground power lines on their property.  

    An employee-led team from the Power Delivery business unit and the Information Technology group won the “Chairman’s Excellence Award” at a ceremony held today at the Science Museum of Virginia. CEO Thomas F. Farrell presented the honors to that team, as well as 11 other finalists voted among the best by their colleagues across the company.

    The awards, which recognize the most creative ideas to emerge from employees in the past year, make up just one part of the company’s much broader innovation strategy that is moving forward.

    “Our customers want choices and improvements in how to power their homes, businesses and vehicles,” Farrell said. “They want their energy company to be a leader in modernizing electric and natural gas infrastructure, and developing clean energy solutions.”

    Innovation at Dominion Energy means using new technology and improving existing business processes to bring the future closer, and creating an environment in which employees are encouraged to experiment. Because new business models are being explored every day to anticipate the major shifts happening in the energy sector, the company has put in place a dedicated innovation team led by Chief Innovation Officer Mark Webb, to work across all business units to consistently apply an innovation strategy.

    The mobile app that won the highest honor was developed by employees Andy Thomas, Alison Kaufmann, Adam Flowers, Annette Martin and Nathan Worcester. Currently being used in the company’s Strategic Underground Program, the app enables an employee to use an iPad camera to add a virtual image of equipment that is overlaid on a customer’s property configuration. The employee can review the layout with the customer and adjust it until the customer is satisfied with the placement. It is another way to partner and collaborate with customers when installing equipment on their property.

    “We are not simply trying to react to customer expectations, we are creating new experiences,” Farrell added. “The achievements of these colleagues and those to come will ensure our future success.”

  47. Workers'Compensation and CERTAIN Disability Payments May Affect Your Social Security Benefits

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

    Many people working nowadays have more than one job, so it’s not uncommon for them to have several sources of income. Owning multiple small businesses, seasonal jobs, and the gig economy add to the mix — and complexity — of our modern day economy. It’s important to keep in mind that having multiple sources of income can sometimes affect your Social Security benefits.

    Disability payments from private sources, such as private pensions or insurance benefits, don’t affect your Social Security disability benefits. Workers’ compensation and other public disability benefits, however, may reduce your Social Security benefits. Workers’ compensation benefits are paid to a worker because of a job-related injury or illness. These benefits may be paid by federal or state workers’ compensation agencies, employers, or by insurance companies on behalf of employers.

    Public disability payments that may affect your Social Security benefits are those paid from a federal, state, or local government for disabling medical conditions that are not job-related. Examples of these are civil service disability benefits, state temporary disability benefits, and state or local government retirement benefits that are based on disability.

    Some public benefits don’t affect your Social Security disability benefits. If you receive Social Security disability benefits, and one of the following types of public benefits, your Social Security benefits will not be reduced:

    • Veterans Administration benefits;
    • State and local government benefits, if Social Security taxes were deducted from your earnings; or
    • Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

    You can read more about the possible ways your benefits might be reduced at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10018.pdf.

    Please be sure to report changes. If there is a change in the amount of your other disability payment, or if those benefits stop, let us know. Tell us if the amount of your workers’ compensation or public disability payment increases or decreases. Any change in the amount or frequency of these benefits is likely to affect the amount of your Social Security benefits.

    An unexpected change in benefits can have unintended consequences, but not if you’re informed and have financially prepared yourself. Visit our benefits planner webpage at www.socialsecurity.gov/planners for information about your options for securing your future.

  48. Shirley Jean Robbins Prince

    Shirley Jean Robbins Prince, 73, died Monday, October 1, 2018 at Southside Regional Medical Center.

    A native of Watauga County North Carolina, she was the daughter of the late Lillie Dotson Robbins and was also preceded in death by three sisters; June Robbins, Sue Parton, and Evelyn Whisenant.

    Shirley was a retired homemaker and is survived by her devoted husband of 37 years; Roy Lee Prince, son; David Butler (Tammy), daughter; Rebecca Curry (James) of Roanoke Rapids, NC, a brother; David Dotson (Tammy) of Maiden, NC, grandchildren; Destiny Morriss, Isaac Butler, Harley Butler and Devin Butler.

    A Memorial Service will be held Thursday, October 4, 2018 at Echols Funeral and Cremation Service Chapel at 2:00 P.M. with Rev. Larry Grizzard officiating.

    Online condolences may be left at echolsfuneralhome.com

  49. Dr. El Mouallem Joins VCU Health CMH

    Nemer Junior El Mouallem, M.D.

    South Hill – VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital in South Hill would like to welcome Dr. Nemer Junior El Mouallem to our family of health care providers as a Medical Hematologist-Oncologist and Medical Director of VCU Health CMH Cancer Care. 

    Dr. El Mouallem comes to VCU Health CMH with clinical specialties in medical oncology, hematology and internal medicine.

    Dr. El Mouallem received a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Doctorate of Medicine from the American University of Beirut located in Beirut, Lebanon.  He completed his residency at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital, located in Birmingham, Alabama.  He completed his Fellowship at the Department of Internal Medicine – Hematology, Oncology, and Palliative Care Division at Virginia Commonwealth University Health System, Richmond, VA and Veterans Affairs Medical Center, also located in Richmond. He is licensed by the Commonwealth of Virginia and board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine.  Dr. El Mouallem is a professional member of the American Society of Hematology, American Society of Clinical Oncology and the American College of Physicians.

    Dr. El Mouallem is currently working at the Hendrick Cancer and Rehab Center located at 750 Lombardy Street in South Hill. Dr. El Mouallem joins the CMH Cancer Care team of Dr. Monica Morris, Radiation Oncologist; Dr. Shekhu Brar, Medical Oncologist; Dr. Masey Ross, Medical Oncologist; Dr. Mark Malkin, Neuro-oncologist; and Mrs. Lisa Moss, Oncology Nurse Practitioner.  To schedule an appointment with Dr. El Mouallem call (434) 774.2417.

  50. No Kid Hungry Virginia Grants Support Breakfast After the Bell Programs in Local Schools

    RICHMOND, Va., Sept. 26, 2018 – No Kid Hungry Virginia is investing $57,400 to launch alternative breakfast programs in 15 schools across the state. The programs – known nationwide as Breakfast After the Bell – increase access to school breakfast by making it a part of the school day,providing breakfast in a way that is more convenient and accessible to students, resulting in increased student participation.

    The school breakfast program can ensure that kids get the morning nutrition they need, but too often, it can be challenging for kids to access this critical meal. Some examples of alternative breakfast service models include: Breakfast in the Classroom (BIC), Grab and Go Breakfast, and Second Chance Breakfast.

    More than 300,000 children in Virginia live in families that struggle with hunger. Research shows that hunger has long-term ramifications on children, including lower test scores, weaker attendance rates and a higher risk of hospitalizations and chronic diseases. No Kid Hungry Virginia and its partners focus on Breakfast After the Bell as a critical way to end childhood hunger in Virginia.

    The following schools received No Kid Hungry Virginia breakfast grants:

    • Brunswick High School in Brunswick County - $5,000
    • Caroline Middle in Caroline County - $4,920
    • Churchland High in the City of Portsmouth - $5,000
    • Clarke County High in Clarke County - $5,000
    • Courtland High in Spotsylvania County - $3,675
    • Dinwiddie High in Dinwiddie County - $5,000
    • Edward W. Wyatt Middle in Greensville County - $3,500
    • Fluvanna County High in Fluvanna County - $2,775
    • Kentuck Elementary in Pittsylvania County - $1,956
    • Lebanon Middle in Russell County - $5,000
    • Randolph Elementary in Goochland County - $2,500
    • Rappahannock High in Richmond County - $4,400
    • Riverview Elementary and Middle in Buchanan County - $5,000
    • Spotsylvania Middle in Spotsylvania County - $3,675
    • Thornburg Middle in Spotsylvania County - $3,675

    Nearly 1,000 schools in Virginia have Breakfast After the Bell programs. Research indicates that eating breakfast at school helps children improve classroom performance, have better attendance and promotes healthy habits.

    “We know one of the most effective ways to boost school breakfast participation is to serve it after the bell and make it a part of the school day,” said Claire Mansfield, No Kid Hungry Virginia state director. “We’re excited that more schools across Virginia will be implementing Breakfast After the Bell programs this school year. No Kid Hungry Virginia is here to help schools and districts launch and strengthen breakfast programs so that students have the nutrition they need to succeed in the classroom.”

    The grants will help schools purchase items such as “Grab and Go” kiosks where students can easily pick up breakfast in the morning, along with other supplies to assist cafeteria staff with launching alternative Breakfast After the Bell models aimed at bringing breakfast out of the cafeteria to increase student access and participation.

    No Kid Hungry Virginia also awarded Southampton County Public Schools with a $5,000 grant to expand an Afterschool Meals Program to Southampton Middle School. The division is using the grant to fund a refrigeration unit and to support marketing materials that build excitement and awareness about the program.

    Visit va.nokidhungry.org for more information about No Kid Hungry Virginia’s work and Breakfast After the Bell programs.

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