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March 2019

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  1. Kinston Jordan

    Services

    Saturday, March 30, 2019, 3:00 PM

    Rising Star Baptist Church
    3931 Brandy Creek Road
    Emporia, VA 23847

    Mr. Kinston Jordan, 82, of Emporia, Virginia, departed this earthly life on Monday, March 25, 2019, at Johnston Willis Hospital, Richmond, Virginia.

    Kinston was born on Sunday, March 14, 1937, in Greensville County, Virginia, to the parentage of the late Howard Jordan and Florence Rebecca Harris Jordan.

    Survivors include:  his wife, Jacqueline Jordan of the home, four children, Priscilla Parker and Charlene Anderton both of Petersburg, Virginia, Kendra Jordan of Las Angeles, California and Willie D. House of Emporia, Virginia; three grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; his siblings, Dorothy Matthews of New Jersey, Louise Cummings (Leon) of South Carolina, Ernie 'Susie' Bullock  and Roger Jordan (Barbara) both of Emporia, Virginia, Christine McNeil (Lardell) of Pennsylvania and Shirley Worrell of Georgia; a host of other relatives and friends. 

  2. Rev. James H and Ann Alsop

    The interment of Rev. James H Alsop and his wife Ann Alsop will be held at the cemetery of Zion Baptist Church in Skippers VA on April 6, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. Rev. Alsop passed on July 21, 2009 and Ann passed on February 7, 2019.

    Zion was the Alsop's first full time church.

    Larry Grizzard will be doing a memorial service and the family welcomes anyone who would like to attend.

  3. 2019 Academy Day is April 27

    Senator Mark Warner invites high school and middle school students, their parents, and school counselors to Academy Day 2019. Attendees will be provided a comprehensive overview of the United States service academies and their admission processes. In addition, students will be able to meet with officials from all five academies as well as representatives from ROTC programs, Mary Baldwin University, Randolph Macon Academy, Virginia Tech, and Virginia Military Institute.

    Representatives from Virginia Congressional offices will be available to answer questions regarding the application procedures for congressional nominations.

    This event will be held on April 27th, 2019 Time: 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Doors open at 9:30 a.m. Program begins at 10:00 a.m. Location: The Paramount Theater 215 East Main Street Charlottesville, VA 22902 To register for Academy Day 2019, please visit https://academyday2019.eventbrite.com. If you have any questions about the event, please email academy_noms@warner.senate.gov or call 540-857-2676.

  4. Gov. Northam Vetoes Bill Creating ‘School Protection Officers’

    By Katja Timm, Capital News Service

     

    RICHMOND — Gov. Ralph Northam has vetoed a bill to create a new public-employee category called “school protection officers.”

    Supporters of the legislation said the officers would help improve security in Virginia’s public schools. But Northam said the bill failed to clearly define the officers’ duties and credentials.

    Introduced by Del. Robert Thomas, R-Stafford, HB 2142 defined a school protection officer as a “retired law-enforcement officer hired on a part-time basis by the local law-enforcement agency to provide limited law-enforcement and security services to Virginia public elementary and secondary schools.”

    During the General Assembly’s recent session, the bill was approved 53-45 by the House and 26-13 by the Senate.

    Virginia law currently provides for two types of officers in schools — school resource officers and school security officers.

    In announcing his veto Tuesday, Northam said school resource officers and school security officers “have well-defined duties and responsibilities set forth in the Code of Virginia and are required to meet stringent training standards” administered as part of the certification process carried out by the Department of Criminal Justice Services.

    Thomas’ bill did not specify what security services a school protection officer would provide.

    It said only that the Department of Criminal Justice Services would “establish compulsory minimum training standards for all persons employed as school protection officers. Such training may be provided by the employing law-enforcement agency and shall be graduated and based on the type of duties to be performed.”

    That raised concerns from Northam, who said duties and training could vary greatly from school to school since each local law enforcement agency has different regulations and standards.

    As an alternative to school protection officers, Northam noted that his Student Safety Work Group had recommended increased training for school resource officers. Legislators passed and the governor has signed two bills — HB 2609 and SB 1130 — that mandate that all school resource officers must undergo more training.

    By approving those bills, the General Assembly endorsed “the position that more, not less, training will better serve Virginia’s students and schools,” the governor’s veto message said.

    “Allowing a new type of officer with undefined duties and indeterminate training will not serve to make Virginia’s students and schools safer. Therefore, there is no compelling reason to create school protection officers when Virginia law already provides for two types of trained officers to provide security in the Commonwealth’s schools.”

    HB 2142 is one of 17 bills vetoed by Northam. The General Assembly will reconvene next Wednesday to consider overriding the vetoes. It takes a two-thirds majority in both the House and Senate to override a veto.

  5. Governor Signs Bill Requiring Clergy to Report Child Abuse

    By Corrine Fizer, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND — In response in part to the child sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church, Virginia will have a new law on July 1 requiring priests, ministers, rabbis and other clergy members to report suspected cases of child abuse or neglect.

    Gov. Ralph Northam has signed into law two bills — HB 1659, sponsored by Del. Karrie Delaney, D-Fairfax, and SB 1257, introduced by Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel, R-Fauquier. The measures mandate that religious officials must report any suspected abuse to local law enforcement.

    The bills passed unanimously in the House and Senate last month.

    Existing state law lists 18 categories of people who must report information to local authorities if they “have reason to suspect that a child is an abused or neglected child.” They include health-care providers, police officers, athletic coaches and teachers.

    The new law will add a 19th category to the list of “mandatory reporters”: “Any minister, priest, rabbi, imam, or duly accredited practitioner of any religious organization or denomination usually referred to as a church.”

    However, the law will exempt clergy members from the reporting requirement when confidentiality is required by the religious organization, such as anything a priest hears during confession.

    A minister who hears about possible child abuse while counseling a parishioner, for example, would not have to tell authorities.

    Delaney said she filed her bill after a church in her Northern Virginia district failed to act on a case of child abuse. She said 27 other states have laws making clergy mandatory reporters.

    “Members of the clergy are in a role of trust and authority and they should not be held to a different standard than every other professional whose duty it is to protect children,” Delaney said.

    Child abuse by clergy has been a national concern in recent years with disclosures that some Catholic priests had sexually abused children and their superiors had covered up the incidents.

    Last month, the Diocese of Richmond released the names of 43 clergy members who “have a credible and substantiated allegation of sexual abuse involving a minor.” The Diocese of Arlington released the names of 16 such individuals.

    The Virginia Catholic Conference, which represents the two dioceses on matters of public policy, supported the legislation introduced by Delaney and Vogel.

    Grier Weeks, senior executive of the National Association to Protect Children, sees Virginia’s new law as a step toward change but also a reflection of how much work is left to do.

    “Any action is great, but you shouldn’t need laws for people to do the right thing — especially when protecting children,” Weeks said.

    Weeks warned parents that predators are usually those they trust most around their children, not strangers.

    “Predators often seem friendly,” Weeks said. “It is important to stay vigilant.”

    Northam signed the legislation just days before the start of National Child Abuse Prevention Month on April 1.

    To receive reports of sexual abuse of a minor by clergy, the Virginia State Police have a website, www.virginiaclergyhotline.com, and a toll-free hotline, 833-454-9064. Callers may remain anonymous.

  6. Governor’s Amendment Would Ban Using a Phone While Driving

    By Kathleen Shaw, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND — Drivers in Virginia would face penalties for using a phone behind the wheel under legislation that Gov. Ralph Northam has amended and sent to the General Assembly for approval.

    “The time has come for the Commonwealth to implement an effective and fair law to combat distracted driving,” Northam said. “Too many families have lost loved ones as a result of a driver paying more attention to their phone than to their surroundings. This bill, as amended, will be a significant step forward in promoting traffic safety across the Commonwealth.”

    The governor amended SB 1768, sponsored by Sen. Montgomery “Monty” Mason, D-Williamsburg.

    As approved by the House and Senate last month, Mason’s bill would prevent drivers from holding a handheld personal communications device in highway work zones. Violators would face a mandatory $250 fine.

    Northam announced Tuesday that he has revised the bill to extend beyond work zones and prohibit distracted driving on all Virginia roads.

    The General Assembly will consider the governor’s recommendation when lawmakers reconvene on April 3.

    Current Virginia law prohibits drivers from texting or emailing on the road; however, it is legal to hold a cellphone to check social media and make phone calls. Northam said curbing Virginia’s distracted driving death rates is a priority for his administration.

    “Virginia’s traffic fatalities have risen every year since 2014,” Mason said. “Distracted driving caused by cellphone use — whether it’s dialing, texting or checking email — is clearly the reason. I’m proud to be a part of a safety measure that will undoubtedly save the lives of many Virginians.”

    The fight against distracted driving in Virginia is not a new battle for legislators.

    During this past legislative session, two bills — HB 1811, sponsored by Del. Chris Collins, R-Frederick, and SB 1341, introduced by Sen. Richard Stuart, R-King George — sought to make it illegal to drive while holding a cellphone.

    Both bills died when a conference committee could not agree on legislative language during the session’s final days.

    In amending Mason’s legislation, Northam recommended that organizations such as DRIVE SMART Virginia and the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police develop resources for law enforcement agencies and the general public about the law against using a phone while driving.

    The governor also wants to require annual reports on distracted driving violations and the demographics of motorists cited for such offenses.

    April will be Virginia’s 13th year of recognizing Distracted Driving Awareness Month. According to the American Automobile Association, 131 people died in 2018 from distracted driving in Virginia. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that nine people die daily in the U.S. from roadway accidents involving a distracted driver.

    Collins and Stuart both issued statements supporting Northam’s amendment to SB 1768.

    “We see too many traffic crashes and tragedies caused by distracted driving,” Collins said. “This is affecting everyone, from road workers to law enforcement officials and first responders trying to keep us safe, to highway workers who are maintaining and improving our roadways. It’s time for us to take action to protect those using our roads in order to save lives in the Commonwealth.”

    Stuart added, “It has come to the point where people are so totally engrossed in their phones that they are almost oblivious to the world around them. And that’s just a dangerous recipe on the highway.”

  7. ATTORNEY GENERAL HERRING CONTINUES TO DEFEND THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT IN COURT

    RICHMOND (March 25, 2019) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring today joined a coalition of 21 attorneys general in filing an opening brief in Texas v. U.S., defending the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the healthcare of tens of millions of Americans. Today’s brief, filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, argues that every provision of the ACA remains valid. It also details the harm that declaring the ACA invalid would have on the tens of millions of people who rely on it for access to high-quality, affordable healthcare, as well as the broader damage that it would do to the nation’s healthcare system. In June, Attorney General Herring intervened to defend against the suit, leaving him and his colleagues to defend Americans’ healthcare after President Trump switched sides and joined with Republican state attorneys general in trying to strike down the law.

    “This politically motivated lawsuit is dangerous, reckless and risks the health of Americans,” said Attorney General Herring. “Millions of Virginians rely on the Affordable Care Act for quality, affordable healthcare and when the Trump Administration refused to defend the ACA in court I knew I had to step in. I will continue to join my colleagues in fighting to make sure that healthcare is not ripped away from Americans.” 

    The plaintiffs, two individuals and 18 States led by Texas, filed this lawsuit in February 2018, challenging one provision of the Affordable Care Act—the requirement that individuals maintain health insurance or pay a tax. Texas’ lawsuit came after Congress reduced that tax to zero dollars December 2017. Opponents of the ACA had attempted and failed to repeal the ACA over 70 times since its instatement. The plaintiffs argued that this change made the minimum coverage provision unconstitutional. They further argued that the rest of the ACA could not be “severed” from that one provision, so the entire Act must be struck down.

    On December 14, 2018, Judge Reed O’Connor of the Northern District of Texas issued his decision agreeing with the plaintiffs. In response, Attorney General Herring and his colleagues filed a motion to stay the effect of that decision and to expedite resolution of this case. The District Court granted that motion on December 30, 2018. On January 3, 2019, Attorney General Herring and his colleagues continued their legal defense in the ACA and formally filed a notice of appeal, challenging the District Court’s December 14 opinion in the Fifth Circuit.

    Today’s filing continues the legal defense of the ACA. In their brief, the attorneys general argue that the plaintiffs do not have standing to challenge the minimum coverage provision, because the individual plaintiffs are not injured by a provision that now offers a lawful choice between buying insurance and paying a zero-dollar tax. The attorneys general further argue that the state plaintiffs also lack standing, because there is no evidence that the amended provision will require them to spend more money. Lastly, the District Court wrongly concluded that the minimum coverage provision was unconstitutional, and even if it were there would be no legal basis for also declaring the rest of the ACA invalid—including its provisions expanding Medicaid, reforming Medicare, and providing protections to individuals with preexisting health conditions.

    The brief also highlights the consequences of upholding the district court’s decision, which would wreak havoc on the entire American healthcare system and risk lives in every state. If affirmed, the district court’s decision would affect nearly every American, including:

    • 133 million Americans, including 17 million kids, with preexisting health conditions;

    • Young adults under 26 years of age, who are covered under a parent’s health plan;

    • More than 12 million Americans who received coverage through Medicaid expansion;

    • 12 million seniors who receive a Medicare benefit to afford prescription drugs; and

    • Working families who rely on tax credits and employer-sponsored plans to afford insurance.

    If successful, Texas’ lawsuit would harm Virginia by:

    • Halting Medicaid expansion, which was signed into law in Virginia last year, with the goal of covering an additional 400,000 Virginians;

    • Allowing insurance companies to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions or charge them more;

    • Allowing insurance companies to discriminate against women by charging them higher premiums;

    • Taking away seniors’ prescription drug discounts;

    • Ending $1.15 billion in tax credits that helped 335,000 Virginians afford insurance in 2017 alone;

    • Ending the healthcare exchange where more than 410,000 Virginians purchased their healthcare in 2017;

    • Stripping funding from our nation’s public health system, including work to combat the opioid epidemic; and

    • Ending billions in federal aid for healthcare, including $458 million in FY 2019 and $1.9 billion in FY 2020.

  8. VSP Seeking Those who Stopped at Gloucester Fatal Crash - Please Call VSP

    As the investigation continues into the fatal traffic crash that occurred Monday afternoon in Gloucester County, the Virginia State Police is asking for those motorists who stopped out at the crash scene to please contact the investigating trooper as soon as possible. Trooper James Street can be reached at 804-832-6368. 

    The single-vehicle crash occurred at approximately 2:35 p.m. in the eastbound lanes of Route 14 (John Clayton Memorial Highway), just east of Route 17( George Washington Memorial Highway).

    A 1998 Ford Explorer was traveling east on Route 14 when it ran off the road and over-corrected. The SUV then overturned several times and ejected the passenger, who was not wearing a seat belt.

    The passenger, Tremayne Ryeshawn Safewright,26, of Newport News., Va., was flown to Riverside Regional Medical Center. He later succumbed to his injuries sustained in the crash.

    The driver, Jiree Dequayne Burrell, 24, of Gloucester, Va., was transported to a nearby hospital for treatment of serious injuries.

    Preliminary investigations reveal that speed and alcohol, were contributing factors. 

    The Gloucester Country Commonwealth's Attorney was notified of the fatality. Charges are still pending at this time.

  9. Skill-based Slot Machines Put Vegas at the Corner Bar

    By Emily Holter and Benjamin West, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND — It sits a few blocks from the bustle of Carytown, under a deep blue awning and the gaze of its mascot — a sunburnt moose holding up a pint with a cocked, toothy smile.

    When City Beach is nearly empty, the bar is vast and echoey. It appears to defy physics, a deeper space than the building should be able to handle when viewed from the street.

    Past the smokers planted on the front patio and just through the doors stands a little room on the left. When occupied, the room can be loud, with an onslaught of clashing, out-of-time electronic sound effects from four bulky machines. Hands come down hard on buttons, and people yell to each other in frustration — or joy when they win a jackpot.

    From the spinning wheels and the colorful cartoon images on the screens to the hands pulling out wallets and feeding in 10s, 20s or even $50 bills, the room looks like a miniature Las Vegas.

    The machines look, sound, feel and act like slot machines, which are against the law in Virginia. But these devices are called “skill machines” on grounds that they’re not based entirely on chance. For the present moment, skill machines are 100 percent legal, and they’re popping up all over the commonwealth.

    Besides the touch screen, each skill machine boasts two big buttons — easy to press, easy to slam: “Play” and “Ticket.” These let the player spin or cash out.

    In the little room, a man named Pierce sat slightly slouched back at the closest machine to the doorway. He declined to give his last name. Batting his hand at the play button as he spoke, his attention stayed trained on the game.

    Gambling isn’t new to Pierce. His mother is “a slot grinder,” and his stepfather has skill machines in the Pennsylvania bars he operates.

    “So I’ve been playing these for years,” Pierce said.

    At this point, Pierce’s machine said he was at $95. He had put in $45 to begin and had been as high as $160, but the “Ticket” button sat unpressed as Pierce kept testing his luck — or skill, depending on your point of view.

    He was playing a game called “Pirates” — his favorite on this machine. Different games have different themes, sounds and cartoon garnishes, but in essence, they all are similar: They are all variations on tic-tac-toe, meaning a certain image has to connect across all three rows, for the player to win.

    Bets range from 40 cents to $4. The higher the bet, the higher the payout.

    Players are presented a set of three-by-three rows and the goal of making a pattern like tic-tac-toe. Each play costs a bet and spins the rows. The hope is to line up at least two of the same images because once the spin is over, you can place a “wild” anywhere on the board to finish the row.

    “So here’s another thing about this game,” Pierce said. “You can hit ‘next puzzle’ and see if the next one’s a winner or not.”

    The “next puzzle” option feels like a cheat code to some players, and yes, it’s as straightforward as it sounds. At any point, a player can see the results of their next spin, whether they’ll win thousands of dollars or absolutely nothing. Knowing the next puzzle can help players make their decision: pull out or keep playing. But ultimately, the “next puzzle” is only second in an endless line of puzzles, and many players are keenly aware of this caveat. So they keep betting to see what might be around the corner.

    This extra piece of information is the argument for why the machines should be called skill machines and not slot machines. It’s why people like Pierce can step into a bar any night of the week and risk some of their cash in hopes of hitting it big.

    Short of hitting a jackpot by lining up the three cartoon tiles assigned to the most money, players tend to hope for a “bonus” win. These are specialty tiles that often specifically say “bonus” on them. They can give the player extra spins or queue a simple minigame, such as opening virtual suitcases or spinning a wheel.

    Players’ reactions reveal that these types of wins are exciting, and it’s easy to see why. They are much more attainable than the standard jackpot win, but they can still draw some serious money.

    After a few minutes, Pierce hit a bonus, giving him 10 extra automatic spins.

    “Oh, look!” he yelled, jumping out of his seat to call down the hallway. “Let’s go, we got the big bonus!”

    The rows started spinning rapidly, possessed, and people in the room gathered to watch over Pierce’s shoulder.

    Pierce excitedly circled the ice in his drink and yelled a few more times, but as the spins started to run out, he calmed down.

    “Ah, it’s not going to be anything crazy, man,” he said, with a tinge of disappointment.

    The bonus spins depleted, numbers flew to the center of the screen to calculate the winnings: $50, putting Pierce’s overall money in play at $136 and some change.

    “I put $45 in. If I cash out now, I’m up $90,” he estimated.

    Pierce tapped around on the screen, checking the next puzzle for the bet amount he was playing on. Nothing. Eventually, he pressed the “Ticket” button, and the machine discharged a warm, freshly printed receipt, which Pierce took to the bar and traded for cash.

    Soon, somebody else sat at Pierce’s machine. Sure, Pierce had made money, but he hadn’t hit the jackpot. The amount, thousands of dollars, taunted from the screen. It was still anybody’s game.

    The legal and corporate perspective

    Currently, gambling is restricted in Virginia. State law allows betting on horse races at licensed locations, and charitable gaming, such as a limited number of bingo games and raffles that benefit nonprofit groups.

    During the General Assembly’s 2019 session, legislators introduced bills to legalize casinos, authorize sports betting and expand charitable gaming. Most of those proposals failed.

    However, skill machines fall into a legal loophole, allowing bars and other establishments to install — and profit from — the devices.

    Queen of Virginia Skill & Entertainment, the company that makes the skill machines used in Virginia, says its devices aren’t illegal because there’s an element of skill.

    “Our machines’ software take out that element of chance and add skill because, based on the player, they can actually win more money than they put in every single time they play our game,” said Kevin Anderson, the director of compliance for Queen of Virginia Skill and a former enforcement agent for the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority.

    The software originated in Pennsylvania, where it went through several court systems, Anderson said. He said Queen of Virginia Skill machines are the only ones checked by a government entity.

    Attorney General Mark Herring has not filed a complaint against the skill machines. A spokesperson for his office said Herring will let each jurisdiction decide whether to allow the machines.

    “We have our games in almost all jurisdictions in Virginia,” Anderson said. He said the machines are located only in ABC-licensed facilities. That would include bars, restaurants that serve alcohol and gas stations that sell beer and wine.

    Anderson said that Queen of Virginia Skill asked the ABC to examine its machines and software and that the agency gave a favorable review.

    Officials at the Virginia Lottery also weighed in, saying they are not worried about skill machines. However, when asked whether the machines are legal, they declined to comment.

    “We were watching closely as they appeared across the state,” said Virginia Lottery spokeswoman Jennifer Mullen. “As of now, we have no concerns.”

    This spring, the Virginia Lottery is adding a feature to its app to allow consumers to play lottery-type games through their phones at any retail location in which they connect through a Bluetooth connection, Mullen said.

    Trent Hazelwood, a server at New York Deli and a casual skill machine player, said he believes the new lottery app was designed to compete with the skill machines; however, the Virginia Lottery said there is no correlation.

    For restaurants and bars, skill machines can provide a new revenue stream. The hosting businesses keep 40 percent of the money that the machines take in. Thirty percent of the revenue goes to the companies in charge of distributing and maintaining the machines, and 30 percent goes to Queen of Virginia Skill & Entertainment.

    The personal perspective on skill machines

    According to Brice Slack, general manager at Buffalo Wild Wings on West Broad Street in Henrico County, a community has emerged among skill machine players who move from place to place, hoping to hit a jackpot.

    “There’s regulars amongst the Queen machine community that kind of hop from establishment to establishment,” Slack said.

    Slack doesn’t believe players will have much luck trying to outsmart the machines.

    “It is just a series of spins,” Slack said.

    In theory, industry officials say, skillful players should be able to win on any machine equally. It’s the distinction that makes the machines legal and popular.

    “Players can WIN every time based on skill & not chance,” Queen of Virginia Skill & Entertainment says in a bulleted entry on its website.

    But some people who work with the machines daily aren’t convinced.

    “Is it really skill? Not really, no. It’s still chance either way,” said Miles Murdock, a server at New York Deli.

    Working just a few feet from his restaurant’s machines, Murdock said he is a frequent player. He even remembers the day they appeared at his workplace. He said his boss framed them as a surprise, a gift of sorts to the employees.

    Unlike some of his customers, Murdock plays with extra money — his tips — and he views the skill machines as entertainment. The machines aren’t paying his rent or buying his groceries. They’re just for fun, he said.

    “We get a lot of people in here who see it as pretty much a revenue source,” Murdock said. “I’d rather just take the money I earn and count on a sure thing.”

    But then again, Murdock said some people are much luckier than he is. They come in, win big and often, and have their own little rituals to keep the money flowing, he said.

    Hazelwood, Murdock’s coworker, offered an example.

    “I’m just going to tell you about this one guy,” Hazelwood said. “He pushes the buttons a certain way. He taps the screen a certain way. And he is convinced that, like, the way that he taps the button or presses the screen means that it will trigger something.”

    At City Beach, Pierce, too, has a ritual: He said he won’t put even dollar amounts into the machines. If he wants to risk about $100, he said, “I’ll put in $105.”

    The community of skill machine players can take the game very seriously. At first, some businesses worried about hosting such activities in establishments that serve alcohol. But local businesses have had few problems with skill machine patrons.

    “Drunk people and gambling, there’s no way that this can end well,” Murdock remembered thinking when the machines arrived at New York Deli. “However, I was proven wrong.”

    Murdock said he occasionally finds parents letting their kids play, which he immediately prohibits — “Participants must be at least 18,” notes a bold, red screensaver as customers sit down to play. Once, a patron told Murdock the machine ate their money.

    “Beyond that, we’ve had no problems,” he said. “No disruptive customers.”

    Hazelwood described the machines as a “loophole in the law,” and Slack called them “a gray area.”

    Virginia has shown reluctance to fully embrace gambling. But at least for these skill machines, those populating bars and restaurants — the servers, managers and people sitting down to play with a drink in their hands — are showing less reluctance.

  10. Yolanda Talley, VCU Health CMH February Team Member of the Month

    Vice President of Professional Services, Todd Howell; Chief Executive Officer, W. Scott Burnette; Phlebotomist, Yolanda Talley; and Director of Laboratory Services, Christina Duke (L to R).

    When you walk around thinking that a smile makes a day, good things tend to follow. The February VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital team member of the month is living proof.

    Yolanda Talley, a phlebotomist with the CMH Lab, has earned repeated high praise from patients and staff she interacts with, according to Christina Duke, manager of the lab.

    “Employees like Yolanda are why people choose CMH.” Christina said. “Yolanda has received 12 outpatient compliments in the past two months.  They even state she sometimes helps them to their cars!”

    One such compliment earned Yolanda the first-ever team member of the month award for a lab employee.

    According to Christina, the patient said, “Yolanda was wonderful. She was so polite and I didn’t have to wait.”

    Yolanda has been with CMH for the past four and half years and works throughout CMH collecting blood samples from patients.

    “I love my job,” she said. “I get to meet new people all the time and see different faces. I get to do the hard job (drawing blood).”

    Yolanda works with patients in the emergency department, ICU, PACU, Acute Care, and in the Hundley Center.

    It’s her fantastic attitude that Christina loves. “I tell all my staff that we are the face of the lab when we interact with patients and giving patients a great experience makes everyone’s day better.”

    Yolanda is a giver. During her off time from work, she is the jayvee girls basketball coach at Park View High School, an assistant coach to the varsity team and an assistant track coach for the Dragons in the spring.

    Yolanda has two children, Nyjay, her high school age daughter, and Elijan, a fourth grade. In her spare time from work, coaching and parenting, Yolanda is a movie junkie.

    Other team members nominated in February were: Adelyn Beiler and Caitlin Crowder from Acute Care; Sean DeVaughn from Environmental Services; Amy Lynch from Care Management; Megan Mull from the Emergency Department; Joyce Paynter from Lab; and John Watson from Physical Therapy.

    In addition to the award certificate, Yolanda 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.

     

  11. Five Steps to Colon Health

    An easy formula to promote prevention, awareness of common cancer

    By: H. “Eddie” Akbari, MD, PhD, FACS     

    Emporia, VA – Cancer of the colon is the third most common cancer in the United States – and, caught early, it’s also one of the most curable. About 90 percent of individuals whose cancer is found before it has spread survive five years after diagnosis. But, if not caught at this point, the five-year survival rate is just 10 percent. For residents in and around Emporia, colon cancer rates are even more alarming. According to a study in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, eastern Virginia and North Carolina are one of 3 hot spots for increased death from colon cancer.

    Dr. Akbari discussing colon cancer prevention at a YMCA Lunch & Learn.

    Dr. Akbari says there are five simple steps that you can take to protect your health.

    1. Get tested - In 2018, the American Cancer Society (ACS) issued new screening guidelines for all adults over age 45 to begin routine colon cancer screenings.

    Prevention is the primary goal and steer providers and patients toward those tests with the highest potential to prevent cancer. The recommendations include two tests and more specifically define the differences between tests: those that find cancer, and those that can find precancerous growths (also known as polyps). ACS recommends those tests that actually examine the interior of the colon because they cannot only detect cancer, but also prevent it by finding – and removing – polyps or growths that can potentially cause cancer. These tests include a flexible signoidoscopy (every five years); a colonoscopy (every 10 years); a double contrast barium enema (every five years); or a CT colonography or virtual colonoscopy (every five years). Polyps found during these tests can be removed on the spot, simply and painlessly.

    Testing options that look for evidence of actual cancer, include three types of stool tests – an annual fecal occult blood test, the annual fecal immunochemical test (FIT), and a periodic stool DNA test.

    2. Develop awareness

    Know the risk factors associated with colon problems:

    • Advancing age: i.e., over age 45
    • A high-fat diet
    • A family (i.e., sibling or parent) or personal history of colorectal cancer
    • A history of polyps or growths inside the colon and rectum
    • Certain conditions that elevate your risk, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
    • Diabetes: People with diabetes have a 40 percent increased risk of colon cancer
    • Ethic background: African-Americans have the highest number of colorectal cancer cases in the United States

    3. Know the symptoms

    Be vigilant about scheduled screenings, and if you have certain symptoms, see your doctor sooner. Symptoms may include persistent stomach discomfort, a change in bowel habits (diarrhea, constipation, or a change in stool consistency), abdominal pain accompanying a bowel movement, dark stools, weakness or fatigue, unexplained weight loss, or blood in the stool. Symptoms vary, and certain foods or medications can also mimic these symptoms. It’s best to err on the safe side and check with your doctor about changes.

    4. Practice prevention

    A balanced diet, regular exercise and smart lifestyle choices will keep your risk level in check. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains provides the nutrients and antioxidants that fight disease. Low-fat dairy products and limited consumption of red meat keep your saturated fat intake low. Getting your vitamins and minerals through a daily supplement helps, but food-based vitamins are more effective and more easily absorbed by the body. Regular exercise – at least 30 minutes most days of the week – helps build your body’s defenses. Finally, quitting smoking and limiting alcohol consumption help, too.

    5. Know your options

    Talk with your doctor about the best way to manage your risk. If you have an above-average risk for colon cancer or an initial test reveals polyps, you and your doctor can decide the course of action that works best for you. Talk with your doctor at Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center about the resources available to you and learn the best way to manage your risk.

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  12. Assembly OKs Limited No-excuse Absentee Voting in 2020

    By Kal Weinstein, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND — Beginning in fall of 2020, Virginia will have more than Election Day. It will be more like Election Week.

    Voters will go to the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, to cast ballots for president and other political offices. But for the first time, Virginians will be able to vote early that year — from Oct. 24 through Oct. 31 — without needing to provide an excuse.

    That is the effect of legislation passed Thursday by the General Assembly and sent to Gov. Ralph Northam, who has expressed support for the measure.

    Currently, Virginia is one of 16 states that require an excuse to vote absentee. To cast an early ballot in the commonwealth, voters must provide one of a dozen reasons for voting absentee, such as having a health, religious, school or business reason that prevents the person from voting on Election Day.

    That would change under SB 1026, sponsored by Democratic Sen. Lionel Spruill of Chesapeake, and HB 2790, introduced by Republican Del. Nick Rush of Montgomery County. On Thursday, the Senate joined the House in passing the final versions of both bills.

    The legislation “allows for any registered voter to vote by absentee ballot in person beginning on the second Saturday immediately preceding any election in which he is qualified to vote without providing a reason or making prior application for an absentee ballot,” according to a summary by the Legislative Information System. The absentee voting period ends on the Saturday immediately before the election.

    In addition, Virginia still will offer absentee voting the existing way — beginning on the 45th day before an election. But until a week and a half before the election, voters must provide an excuse to get their absentee ballots.

    When lawmakers convened in January, Northam urged them to approve no-excuse absentee voting. He called the existing law “arbitrary.”

    Spruill said people do not feel comfortable having to provide an excuse about why they are voting absentee.

    “You’d be surprised at how many folks come down and have to give an excuse as to why they’re voting early,” he said. “There should be no excuse to vote.”

    Spruill said the legislation might reduce long lines to vote at polling precincts on Election Day.

    Del. Kaye Kory, D-Fairfax, co-sponsored both the House and Senate bills. She said passage of the legislation is a “victory for the whole commonwealth,” even though it will not take effect until 2020.

    “It’s about time. The reason this was a bipartisan success is because citizens of Virginia have been pushing for these kinds of reforms for many years,” Kory said.

  13. Report Shows Geographic Disparities in Health in Virginia

    By Rosemarie O’Connor, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND -- It's a five-hour drive from Manassas Park to Galax -- but in terms of life expectancy, the two cities are 25 years apart.

    Residents of Manassas Park, a city of about 16,500 people in the Washington suburbs, live to 91 years old on average. But residents of Galax, a  city of about 6,600 people in Southwest Virginia, typically live to just 66.

    That wide gap in life expectancy reflects the disparities in health outcomes in Virginia, according to the latest County Health Rankings from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, one of the nation’s largest public health philanthropic organizations.  

    For years, wealthy localities in Northern Virginia like Loudoun, Arlington and Fairfax counties have had the best health outcomes in the state while poor communities such as Petersburg, south of Richmond, and Galax and Covington in Southwest Virginia have some of the worst.

    Health outcomes represent how long people live and how healthy people feel. They can be affected by health behaviors like smoking, diet and drug use; access to medical care; social and economic factors such as education and income; and physical environment like air quality.

    The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation drew its data from a variety of sources including the National Center for Health Statistics and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    The rankings help localities understand how various factors affect people’s health, according to the report. It said “connected and supportive communities, good schools, stable jobs, and safe neighborhoods” are the foundation for achieving a long and healthy life.

    Poverty, lack of access to grocery stores and smog or other pollution can all exacerbate negative health outcomes.

    Differences in health outcomes “do not arise on their own,” the report said. “Often, they are the result of policies and practices at many levels that have created deep‐rooted barriers to good health.”

    These include "unfair bank lending practices, school funding based on local property taxes, and discriminatory policing and prison sentencing,” the report states.

    The report emphasizes that “stable and affordable housing as an essential element of healthy communities.”

    “Our homes are inextricably tied to our health,” Dr. Richard Besser, president and CEO of the foundation, said in releasing the report.

    “It’s unacceptable that so many individuals and families face barriers to health because of what they have to spend on housing.”

  14. Mentoring for Success

    By Dr. Al Roberts

    Audrey Williams June, writing in the October 2018 issue of Chronicle of Higher Education, reported, "Having a mentor can make a big difference in student's academic success—particularly for members of underrepresented groups." Her comments were based on the result of a Strada-Gallup Alumni survey of more than 5,000 recent college graduates.

    The National Mentoring Partnership explains that mentoring “guarantees young people that there is someone who cares about them, assures them that they are not alone in dealing with day-to-day challenges, and makes them feel like they matter.” Statistics reveal that young adults who were at-risk for falling off track but had a mentor were 55% more likely to enroll in college, 78% more likely to volunteer regularly, and 130% more likely to hold leadership positions.

    According to the Strada-Gallup Alumni survey, nearly two-thirds of alumni who had a mentor during college said that person was a professor. College staff members were next on the list. Students benefited from mentors’ guidance regarding their educational studies, career plans, personal issues, and physical and mental health.

    While the benefits of mentoring are well documented, the survey also pointed to national inequalities in access to mentors. It noted that although 72% of white alumni reported having been mentored by a faculty member, only 47% of alumni of color described the same experience.

    At Southside Virginia Community College, faculty and staff work together to ensure that all students have the opportunity to receive guidance and encouragement. SVCC programs based on mentoring relationships include Make It Happen, Women in Search of Excellence, and Great Expectations.

    Make It Happen (MIH) focuses on the academic success of rural young men of color, a group that often lags behind its white and urban peers. One cause is the lack of socioeconomic support, which can promote workforce entry over college. MIH provides an institutional climate supportive of the success of African-American males by providing mentoring, ensuring academic support services, and promoting academic achievement.

    Women in Search of Excellence (WISE), a new program just entering its second year, has already amassed significant achievements. WISE participants receive coaching for success, work on building academic skills, explore career options, and plan for their futures. They also participate in team building activities and assist others through community service opportunities.

    Great Expectations serves current and former foster youth. Participating young people receive active support as they explore career possibilities, locate sources of financial aid, and succeed in college.

    SVCC faculty and staff give generously of themselves to enrich the lives of students—in and out of the classroom. If you’d like more information about mentoring programs or other student support services, please contact Bernadette Battle, Dean for Student Success, at 434-949-1063.

    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.

  15. Greensville Schools to host Child Find

    Greensville County Public Schools will sponsor Child Find on Friday, April 12, 2019 from 10 am until 5 pm at Greensville Elementary School.

    Child Find is registration for Head Start or Virginia Preschool Initiative.

    Head Start is a federal preschool program which provides comprehensive services and learning experiences to prepare children for Kindergarten and move families toward self-sufficiency. The program also operates in compliance with IDEA to include children with special needs. All Head Start services are free to children and families.

    The Virginia Preschool Initiative, established in 1995, distributes state funds to schools and community based organizations to provide quality preschool program for at-risk four-year-olds. The program offers full day Pre-kindergarten, parent involvement, child health and social services, and transportation to families with four-year-olds at risk of school failure.

    Parents of all children who are or will be four years old on or before September 30th and are residents of Emporia or Greensville County are encouraged to attend. There will be NO TESTING. Children do NOT need to attend!

    To apply, you must bring your child’s OFFICIAL birth certificate (NOT a hospital certificate), immunization record, PROOF of residency (for example: a current water/electric bill with YOUR name and address) and, because of NEW state guidelines, verification of household income (for example: paystub, W-2, Medicaid card, TANF, SNAP, WIC, SSI).

  16. Job Fair Planned for April 10, 2019

    Job Fair 2019 will be held on Wednesday, April 10, 2019 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Southside Virginia Education Center at 1300 Greensville County Circle, Emporia.  This event is open to all job seekers so dress to impress, bring resumes, a photo id and copy of your WorkKeys Career Readiness Certificate that will be a pass to get in at 12:45. 

    This event is sponsored by Southside Virginia Community College Workforce Development and Student Development Services.  For information, call Courtney Starke at 434-949-6614 or email Courtney.starke@southside.edu

    Employers that will be on site include:

    Lake Country Area Agency on Aging

    Greensville Correctional Center

    Emporia VEC

    Armor Correctional Health Services

    Envoy of Lawrenceville

    Walmart- Emporia

    Penmac Staffing Services

    Greensville Health and Rehabilitation Center

    Avon

    P&S Trucking

    Lincoln Heritage Insurance

    The GEO Group

    Virginia Department of Corrections

    Greensville/Sussex 1

    Meherrin River Regional Jail

    Learning House/Partner Plus

    Heritage Hall Blackstone

    Melvin L. Davis Oil Company

    Southside Regional Jail

  17. State Board Committee Certifies Three Finalists for Southside Virginia Community College Presidency

    RICHMOND – The State Board for Community Colleges has certified three finalists for the position of president at Southside Virginia Community College. The finalists were among 81 applicants from across the nation.

    The three finalists, in alphabetical order, are Dr. Thomas G. Coley of Granger, IA; Dr. Jacqueline M. Gill of Lee’s Summit, MO; and Dr. Quentin R. Johnson of Mooresville, NC

    “I am impressed with breadth and width of talent the presidency of Southside Virginia Community College is attracting,” said Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges. “The college’s service region is easily the geographically largest throughout the VCCS. While that poses some unique challenges it also offers some unique opportunities for a dynamic leader to step forward and help us demonstrate what a modern rural community college can be for those who depend on it.” 

    Dr. Thomas G. Coley has worked in higher education for more than 39 years. He began his career as an assistant professor at the University of Maryland at College Park in 1980. Six years later he began working at California State University, Fullerton, serving as the college’s government and community liaison. Coley proceeded to hold senior executive positions with the Oregon State System of Higher Education; Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, Ohio; and Black Hawk College in Moline, IL before becoming the president of Scott Community College in Scott County, Iowa in 2005. He joined Indiana’s Ivy Tech Community College System in 2011 as the chancellor of the Northwest and North Central Region. Following a system restructuring, he became the chancellor of South Bend – Elkhart campus, where he works today. Coley earned a doctorate from the University of Wisconsin, Madison as well as a master’s degree and bachelor’s degree from Minnesota State University, Moorhead.

    Dr. Jacqueline M. Gill has worked in higher education for more than 20 years. She began her career as the director of continuing education for the NE Campus of Tarrant County College in Hurst, Texas. In 2010, she became the college’s vice president of Academic Affairs & Community & Industry Education. Gill moved to Kansas City, MO in 2016 where she became the president of Metropolitan Community College. Prior to working in higher education, she worked for seven years as a social worker in the greater Dallas Fort Worth metropolitan area, including two years of recruiting candidates from underserved populations into healthcare career fields for the Dallas Fort Worth Area Health Education Center in Irving, Texas . Gill earned a doctorate, master’s degree and bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University, and a separate master’s degree from the University of Texas at Arlington.

    Dr. Quentin R. Johnson has worked in higher education senior leadership roles for more than 20 years. That includes, beginning in 2004, serving as the president’s chief of staff and acting vice president for Student Life and Enrollment Management at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. In 2011 he became the senior vice president for Enrollment and Student Services at Fairmont State University and Pierpont Community and Technical College in West Virginia. Johnson moved to Guilford Technical Community College in North Carolina in 2012 to become the vice president of Student Support Services, the position he holds today. He also has some Virginia experience, previously serving as the assistant dean for Enrollment Management & Student Services at the UVa School of Nursing. Johnson earned a doctorate from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore; a master’s degree from Bowling Green State University; and a bachelor’s degree from Defiance College in Defiance, Ohio.

    The three finalists seek to succeed Dr. Al Roberts, the college’s fifth president, who announced last fall that he was retiring at the end of June, having served as president for five years. The finalists will each visit the college in late March to meet with faculty, staff, students and community members.

    SVCC serves one small city and spans ten rural counties across southern Virginia. The college 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.

    About Virginia’s Community Colleges: Since 1966, Virginia’s Community Colleges have given everyone the opportunity to learn and develop the right skills so lives and communities are strengthened. By making higher education and workforce training available in every part of Virginia, we elevate all of Virginia. Together, Virginia’s Community Colleges serve more than 241,000 students each year. For more information, please visit www.vccs.edu.

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  18. Laura Barnes Velvin

     

    June 18, 1920 - March 23, 2019

    Graveside Service

    Tuesday, March 26, 2019, 11:00 AM

    High Hills Cemetery
    215 N. Halifax Rd, Jarratt, VA

    Laura Barnes Velvin, 98, of Jarratt, passed away Saturday, March 23, 2019. She was preceded in death by her husband, James Edward Velvin and her two sons, James Venable “J.V.” Velvin and wife, Charlotte, and Lawrence Everett Velvin.

    She is survived by three grandchildren, James T. Velvin (Christy), Randy Dean Velvin (Jeannie) and Andrea Velvin (Jason Williams); step-grandchildren, Scott Pritchard (Crystal) and Hope Wood; seven great-grandchildren; six great-great grandchildren; daughter-in-law, Evelyn “Scottie” Velvin and numerous nieces and nephews.

    A graveside funeral service will be held 11 a.m. Tuesday, March 26 at High Hills Cemetery, Halifax Rd, Jarratt, Virginia.

    Memorial contributions may be made to Jarratt Volunteer Fire Department, P.O. Box 562, Jarratt, Virginia 23867.

  19. Marjorie Baird “Margie” King

    January 19, 1943 - March 19, 2019

    Visitation Services

    Thursday, March 28, 2019 at 2:00 P.M.

    Main St. United Methodist Church

    Thursday, March 28, 2019 at 12:00 noon

    Main St. United Methodist Church

     

    Marjorie Baird “Margie” King, 76, died Tuesday, March 19, 2019.

    Margie was a native of Lawrenceville and lived most of her adult life in Emporia. She was the daughter of the late Hobart Maryland and Blanche Edwards Baird. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by a brother; Leroy Baird and his wife Elaine and three brothers in law; John Hartley, Carter Harris, and George Roberts.

    Margie was a longtime active member of Main St. United Methodist Church and the founding Member of Beta Sigma Phi Sorority in Emporia. She loved her family, friends, and her community and always had a gracious smile and hug for everyone she met.

    Margie is survived by her husband of 57 years, Malcolm Lee King, Jr., daughter; Michelle King Edmonds and her husband Scott and grandson Ryan Scott Edmonds all of South Hill, brother; Joseph Edgar “J.E” Baird and his wife Cordie of Colonial Heights, sisters; Catherine Hartley of Charlotte, NC and Mary Carter Harris Roberts of Freeman, and many nieces and nephews.

    A celebration of her life will be held Thursday, March 28, 2019 at 2:00 P.M. at Main St. United Methodist Church in Emporia with Rev. Tom Durrance officiating. The family will receive friends at the church from Noon until service time.

    In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to Beta Sigma Phi Sorority, C/O Barbara Moore, Treasurer, 626 Madison Street, Emporia, VA  23847 or Main Street United Methodist Church, 105 Church Street, Emporia, VA  23847.

    Online condolences may be left at echolsfuneralhome.com.

  20. Environmental Groups Glad About Coal Ash Cleanup Law

    By Adrian Teran-Tapia, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND — Environmental and consumer groups applauded Gov. Ralph Northam after he signed legislation this week that aims to protect water quality by cleaning up more than 27 million cubic yards of coal ash from unlined ponds in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

    Northam signed into law SB 1355, sponsored by Sen. Frank Wagner, R-Virginia Beach, and HB 2786, sponsored by Del. Riley Ingram, R-Hopewell. The legislation seeks to clean up coal ash sites in the city of Chesapeake and in Prince William, Chesterfield and Fluvanna counties.

    The ash is the byproduct of coal-fired power plants operated by Dominion Energy. The law will require Dominion to move the coal ash to lined landfills or recycling it in a safe manner. It will also require the closure and removal of any coal combustion residuals units, including coal ash ponds or landfills, within the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

    “The potential risks to public health and water quality posed by unlined coal ash ponds in the commonwealth are far too great for us to continue with business as usual,” Northam said. “This historic, bipartisan effort sets a standard for what we can achieve when we work together, across party lines, in the best interest of all Virginians. I am proud to sign this legislation into law.”

    Ingram echoed those sentiments.

    “I was pleased to see that the General Assembly, the governor, House, Senate and Dominion were able to all come together and come up with a great solution for the coal ash ponds and in my opinion for the betterment of everyone,” Ingram said.

    The bills were co-sponsored by several lawmakers, including Sen. Scott Surovell, D-Fairfax, and Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy, D-Prince William. They contributed key components, including a ban on “cap in place” closure of unlined ponds — a method critics said could lead to water pollution. Another component is a requirement that at least 25 percent of the coal ash be recycled for concrete or other beneficial uses.

    “I think this represents the first time Virginia has adopted environmental regulations that are more protective of the environment than federal law,” Surovell said. “This represents an important step forward for environmental protections in Virginia.”

    Carroll Foy said she was proud that “bipartisan hard work” produced the legislation.

    “At town halls and meetings with my constituents, I promised that I would fight for legislation to recycle coal ash into concrete and other materials and to excavate and remove the remainder of coal ash to lined landfills because it was the most effective way to protect public health and the environment,” Carroll Foy said.

    The cleanup is expected to cost several billion dollars. Under the new law, Dominion will be able to pass on the cost to its customers. As a result, state officials have estimated, the average monthly electric bill will increase by about $5.

    The Potomac Riverkeeper Network thanked Northam and state legislators for working across party lines to pass the legislation.

    “This legislation, which is a result of four years of persistent work by Potomac Riverkeeper Dean Naujoks and our Virginia partners, is an historic step to solve the serious and lingering pollution problem of legacy coal ash,” said Nancy Stoner, the network’s president.

    She said that four years ago, Naujoks began testing water wells near some of Dominion’s coal ash ponds and discovered that lead and arsenic had contaminated nearby groundwater.

    “The dangers of coal ash, leaking into groundwater, drinking wells, our rivers and streams and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay, have long been documented, and we’re proud of our role in fixing the problem,” Naujoks said.

    Kendyl Crawford, director of Virginia Interfaith Power & Light, said the new law was a step in the right direction. But she said the state should have required Dominion to bear the cost of the cleanup.

    “It is long overdue that decades-old toxic coal ash is finally being addressed after having poisoned Virginia’s waterways. Removing millions of cubic yards of toxic material along waterways to safe, lined landfills is a step towards a healthier and more just state. Now, we have a moral responsibility to ensure that all coal ash, including that outside of the Chesapeake Bay watershed is safely recycled and disposed,” Crawford said.

    “While we applaud the signing of this legislation that cleans up coal ash, once again Dominion, one of our electric utility monopolies, has shown their influence by pushing the fiscal burden to fall on electricity consumers.”

  21. Sallie Inez Young

    August 25, 1932 - March 20, 2019

    Wake Celebration of Life

    R.E. Pearson & Son Funeral Service, Inc. - Emporia

    556 Halifax Street
    Emporia, Virginia 23847

    Diamond Grove Baptist Church
    127 Diamond Grove Road
    Emporia, Virginia 23847

    Ms. Sallie Inez Young was born to the late Walter Young and Junita Young-Cooke of Greensville County, Virginia on August 25, 1932. She joined Antioch Baptist Church at an early age. Inez truly loved the Lord and this was often witnessed through her spreading the gospel and singing old hymns.   

    Inez attended school in Greensville County. She moved to Brooklyn, New York in her early 20’s. She continued serving the Lord by attending church in New York. Also while living there, she was employed with Lloyd and Taylor for over 20 years. She retired with hopes of one day moving back to her hometown of Emporia, Va.

    Inez had two daughters, Diane Young and the late Esther Young-Adams. She had one granddaughter, Crystal Adams and a devoted grandson, Craig Young who was a dedicated caregiver to Inez for over 18 years.

    Inez was a very caring, strong-willed, tough woman. She always tried to be there for her family before becoming ill. One of her grandson’s most memorable moments was his first year in law school and he was low on money. Inez would call to check on him and send boxes of food to ensure he ate. That is just one way she showered her love of kindness.

    Inez was preceded in death by her brothers; Curtis Young, Joe Young, Johnny Ben Young and Cecil Young and sisters; Loretta Young and Rosa Young.

    Inez leaves to cherish her memories one daughter, Diane Young who expressed her love, a devoted grandson, Craig Young, granddaughter, Crystal Adams, great-grandson Ze’Marion D. Finnell, great- granddaughter, Zariah D. Finnell; two sisters; Mabiel Coe and Dorothy Newman, one brother, Eddie Young and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

    www.pearsonandsonfuneralhome.com

  22. Ruby Estell Ferguson Pearson

    November 4, 1921-March 18, 2019

    Visitation Services

    Friday, March 22, 2019, from 1:00 – 2:00

    Forest Hill Baptist Church

    Friday, March 22, 2019, from 2:00

    Forest Hill Baptist Church

    Ruby Estell Ferguson Pearson, at the age of 97, went to be with the Lord on March 18, 2019. She was born November 4, 1921, the oldest daughter of the late Joseph Wyatt and Annie Harrell Ferguson of Emporia VA. She was preceded in death by her husband, Major B. Pearson and daughter Virginia P. King, brothers, Kennon Ferguson Sr., C. Wade Ferguson, and H. Clayton Ferguson, sisters, Mamie F. Driver, Erma F. Vincent and Avis F. Frazier.

    She is survived by her Son-in-law, Charles P. King, Grandsons, Stacy L. King (Amy Walton) and Stephen E. King. Great-Grandson, Kirby Dale King, sister Betty F. Veliky and brother Melvin L. Ferguson.

    She was an active member of Forest Hill Baptist Church until her health started to decline several years ago. She loved her Lord and Savior, family, friends and Church family. She worked at Emporia Garment Factory until she retired. She loved family history and researched and gathered information for picture albums of the Ferguson and Pearson families.

    Ruby loved and appreciated the staff at Northampton Nursing Home Complex, Jackson NC. Pauline, the Director of Activities encouraged her to play BINGO, and she did play twice a week up until about two weeks ago. The family thanks Emily Spence for being such a special care giver.

    Visitation will be held on Friday, March 22, 2019, from 1:00 – 2:00 at Forest Hill Baptist Church with Funeral Service at 2:00 with Rev. Terry Corder officiating.

    In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to: Forest Hill Baptist Church Cemetery Fund 5010 Brink Road, Emporia VA 23847

     

     

    Echols Funeral Home of Emporia VA will be in charge of arrangements.

     

     

    Online condolence may be made to the family at: www.echolsfuneralhome.com

  23. Trump’s Business Dealings Violate Constitution, Attorneys General Say

    By Benjamin West, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND — Flanked by U.S. flags, two attorneys general argued Tuesday that President Donald Trump is violating the constitutional ban against government officials accepting gifts or favors.

    Attorneys General Karl Racine of the District of Columbia and Brian Frosh of Maryland — both Democrats — made that assertion at a press conference regarding the latest chapter in an ongoing legal battle between the two jurisdictions and Trump.

    In mid-2017, D.C. and Maryland sued Trump, alleging that the president has violated the emolument clauses of the U.S. Constitution as a result of his domestic and foreign business dealings through the Trump Organization. The case was heard Tuesday by a panel of three judges of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

    “The Department of Justice continues to take the position that President Trump is above the law and that somehow, the Constitution’s anti-corruption law should not apply to him,” Racine said.

    The suit involves two clauses in the U.S. Constitution:

    • The Domestic Emoluments Clause states that the president cannot profit domestically in business dealings aside from his salary, currently $400,000 per year.
    • The Title of Nobility Clause states that the federal government cannot distribute titles of nobility and that no government official can “accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind, whatever” from any foreign country without the approval of Congress.

    “He’s trying to negotiate the terms of the Constitution,” Frosh said. “We have the right to have the president put our interests first and it appears that he’s not doing that, he’s putting his financial interests first.”

    Racine pointed to the “horrific killing” of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018, widely reported to have been orchestrated by the Saudi leadership.

    “We now as Americans have to ask ourselves whether the administration’s reaction to that horrific murder was for valid diplomatic reasons, or whether it’s because the president of the United States has a financial interest that he is seeking to exploit and preserve,” Racine said.

    Frosh said any payment to the Trump Organization from a foreign entity would be proof of a constitutional violation.

    “The Domestic Emoluments Clause says that he only gets his salary from the United States and no other emolument,” Frosh said.

    He cited the Trump International Hotel Washington, where foreign dignitaries and other guests have stayed, as problematic. The hotel is located less than a mile from the White House in a building called the Old Post Office.

    “Trump Post Office Hotel is itself an emolument,” Frosh said. “So he’s violating both clauses, both of them, every single day.”

    Frosh said the plaintiffs “expect to prevail” in the lawsuit. They plan to pursue the case to the U.S. Supreme Court if needed.

    The attorneys general said Trump’s business empire make it “more difficult” to deal with the emoluments clauses, “but that’s what he signed up for.”

    “When he ran for president, he knew he was going to have to live with these two constitutional requirements,” Frosh said. “And maybe it’s tougher for him than it would be for me or somebody else. But he ran for president; he’s subject to the Constitution just as every other American is.”

    Trump and his attorneys have argued that the lawsuit has no legal merit and that D.C. and Maryland have no authority to sue the president over money his businesses may receive from foreign interests.

    “The complaint rests on a host of novel and fundamentally flawed constitutional premises, and litigating the claims would entail intrusive discovery into the president’s personal financial affairs and the official actions of his Administration,” according to a document filed in court by the U.S. Justice Department.

  24. Governor Signs Law Slashing Sales Tax on Personal Hygiene Products

    By Emily Holter, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND — The sales tax on tampons, diapers and other personal hygiene products will be reduced by more than half beginning Jan. 1, 2020.

    Gov. Ralph Northam announced Wednesday that he has signed SB 1715, sponsored by Sen. Jennifer Boysko, D-Fairfax, and HB 2540, proposed by Del. Kathy Byron, R-Lynchburg. The bills will lower the retail sales and use tax rate on essential personal hygiene products to 2.5 percent.

    The new law will apply to feminine hygiene products and nondurable incontinence products including diapers and other materials.

    “We know that menstrual supplies and diapers are necessary to leave home for work, school, and social activities,” said Boysko, who called her bill the Dignity Act. “I am so glad we have made progress on the issue of menstrual equity and at long last will have tax relief for these products that women and families have to purchase.”

    Currently, consumers pay the regular sales tax rate on these items: 7 percent in Virginia’s Historic Triangle (Williamsburg, James City County and York County), 6 percent in Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia, and 5.3 percent elsewhere in the state.

    Byron said the law will benefit Virginians of all ages.

    “This legislation won widespread bipartisan support because it provides tax relief on necessities used by women and men young and old,” Byron said. “For the young family buying diapers to those purchasing other essentials for their health, the savings because of this bill will add up and be appreciated.”

    Northam commended the General Assembly for passing the bills.

    “I am pleased to sign this common-sense legislation that makes these necessities more accessible and affordable,” he said. “The essential nature of personal health care products is not up for debate.”

    The law will make these products subject to the state’s reduced sales tax of 1.5 percent, which currently applies only to food. In addition, local governments add a 1 percent sales tax on such purchases.

    Boysko had wanted to remove the so-called “tampon tax” entirely. Byron pushed for a compromise on grounds that a tax exemption for personal hygiene products would have a big effect on the state budget.

  25. Edmond “Bob Jack” Hicks

    December 31, 1943 - March 18, 2019

    Visitation

    Celebration of Life

    R.E. Pearson & Son Funeral Service, Inc. - Emporia

    556 Halifax Street
    Emporia, Virginia 23847

    Emmanuel Worship Center
     
    4910 East Atlantic Street
    Emporia, Virginia 23847

    Edmond “Bob Jack” Hicks was born to Napoleon Hicks and Isabelle Arrington Hicks on December 31, 1943 and he returned home to be with the Lord on March 18, 2019 at the VCU Community Memorial Hospital in South Hill, VA.

    Bob Jack was a farmer with a fourth grade education for P. I. Rook and G. B. Ligon. Later in life, he worked for the Emporia Foundery as a welder for twenty years.

    Bob Jack loved dancing, singing and playing cards. He also loved laughing and telling jokes. His favorite phrase was “I ain’t never lied!” while lying the whole time. He was so   funny and he enjoyed life to the fullest. He will truly be missed.

    Bob Jack was preceded in death by eleven siblings, two whom died at birth; Robert “Toboro” Hicks (Dorothy), Junious “Bubba” Hicks (Daisy), Roosevelt “Pap” Hicks (Betty), Willie “Peter” Hicks (Bettie), Archie “Sack” Hicks, Eddie Lewis “Manna” Hicks (Dorris), Rebecca “Sis" Washington (Tommie), Thelma “Duke” Robinson (Albert), and Blanch Barbara “Alene” Hicks (Bufford).

    Bob Jack leaves to cherish his memories his wife, Martha Anne Hicks, children; Ricky Mills (Nadine), Aaron Stewart (Qreatha), step-children; Diane, Doreatha and Isabell, grandchildren; Shamila Beslow (Vernon III), Antione Ingram (Cindy), Corey Faulcon, Aaron Stewart, Jr., and Rico Stewart, great grandchildren; Joshua Bane (Defontney), Christopher Maga, III, Kenneth Thompkins, Jr., Antoine Ingram, Jr. and Arianna Ingram, one great great granddaughter, Esma Bane, one sister, Rosa “Missy-Gal” Franklin (George) and a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

    www.pearsonandsonfuneralhome.com

     

  26. Norman Eugene Kramer

     

    Norman Eugene Kramer, 84, of Emporia, Va. passed away peacefully on Sunday, March 17, 2019, at Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center. He was the son of Lester Kramer and Gesina Norman Kramer. Norman was a retired communication specialist with the United States government.

    Norman is survived by his loving wife, Mary Frances Derring Kramer of Emporia, Va., daughter, Laura Kramer Rose (Russell) of Vienna, Va., son, Mark Kramer (Gina) of Vienna, Va., Stepsons, Richard H. Short III (Betsy) of Emporia, Va., and John C. Short (Janet) of Bracey, Va., grandchildren, Ryan Rose, Sean Rose, Naomi Kramer, and Angela Kramer, all of Vienna, Va., step grandchildren, Ryan Short (Paula) of Littleton, NC., Alex Short and Allison Short of Emporia, Va., Parker Short of Smithfield, Va., and Nicholas Short of Blacksburg, Va., and a step great granddaughter, Mary Katherine Short of Littleton, NC.

    A celebration for Norman Kramer will be held on Sunday, March 31, 2019, at 2:00PM, at Lakeside Lutheran Church, 2427 Eaton Ferry Road, Littleton, NC 27850.

    Memorials may be made to: Lakeside Lutheran Church Building Fund.

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

  27. Advocate Draws From Personal Experience as Example to Youth

    By Georgia Geen, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND — James Braxton went outside only once in the four months he spent in jail, and he ate ice chips instead of drinking water. He says he didn’t want to get used to a routine; that would have meant he was staying there.

    It was in 2005 when he got a call from a friend after being fired from his job at a call center for fighting with a coworker. Braxton needed money, and accompanying a friend on a personal retaliation mission was a way to get it.

    But things didn’t go according to plan. He ended up driving their car through Newport News, pursued by up to a dozen squad cars. Braxton and the three young men in the car with him were charged with possession of a firearm and larceny.

    “I was almost laughing because I couldn’t believe it; I was almost in a state of shock. It didn’t really hit me until we got to jail and we’re there for hours in processing,” Braxton said. “It had already hit the news what was happening, so guys in there are treating us like, ‘Dang, y’all about to go down.’”

    Braxton’s story didn’t begin with a failed robbery attempt, and it didn’t end when he left Hampton City Jail. His early years are similar to those of some of the youth he advocates for today.

    He joined RISE for Youth — a statewide campaign advocating for youth justice reform — two years ago after more than a decade of working to better himself and navigate past traumas. He is now the group’s strategic engagement director.

    Shortly after Braxton’s parents divorced when he was 9, his mother, Mattie Brisbane, was diagnosed with breast cancer. One of the major traumas of his childhood was thinking his mother was going to die, Braxton said.

    “That was a trying time,” Braxton said. “I felt like God spared her because in the times when I needed someone the most, she’s always been there. She’s always been there, always believed in me and always supported me.”

    Despite his tendency to act out in school and high levels of frustration, Brisbane said she always saw “greatness” in her son.

    “Even as a toddler, he was very smart, very curious, but he was bold,” Brisbane said. “One day I went to turn on the light, and the light wouldn’t come on. A couple of things electrical didn’t work and I started looking around — he cut electrical wires because he wanted to make his own TV.”

    In his early high school years, Braxton said he was “one foot in the streets and one foot out.” The area where he lived at the time — Lincoln Park, a public housing site in Hampton that was demolished in 2016 — was known for crime, drugs and violence, he said.

    “By default, I just got sucked into some of the activity that was happening,” Braxton said. “I gravitated toward it. It’s where I felt welcome, it’s where I felt like I belonged.”

    As a 17- and 18-year-old, Braxton acted as a stepfather to his 23-year-old girlfriend’s child. The experience was toxic, he said, and the stress interfered further with his education.

    “I’m thinking about how I’m going to get out of school to get to the WIC office to get this baby some milk,” Braxton said. “I’m now taking on that responsibility as an 11th grader in high school working two jobs living a whole grown person’s life. There was nobody I could talk to about that.”

    When he was a senior in high school, the stress led Braxton to attempt suicide by taking a bottle of painkillers.

    “I remember waking up in the hospital and just feeling broken and the weakest I had ever felt in my life,” he said. “I vowed to never be that weak again.”

    It might have improved his situation, Braxton said, if he had had a mentor — someone he could relate to.

    “That would have allowed me to feel open enough to have those conversations,” Braxton said. “And then from that, [have] some real, tangible, solid answers for housing and for food and for transportation in places where I don’t have to be system-involved to access them.”

    By “system,” he means the welfare system or the criminal justice system. Most young people can’t access resources for necessities like food, housing and transportation until they’re “system-involved,” Braxton said.

    An alternative would be local organizations working with the local government to address those issues, he said.

    Braxton experienced what he considers a similar lack of assistance after he was released from jail in 2005. He got out when his $80,000 bond was reduced to $20,000, an amount his family was able to pay.

    At the time, he spent all day, every day applying for jobs — it was “application after application,” he said. The opportunity that Braxton says changed his life was when he was hired as a pediatric dental assistant.

    “But it had nothing to do with the [criminal justice] system, and the system had the opportunity to do that,” Braxton said. “That has to change.”

    To Braxton, that job is the reason a judge decided to give him a second chance at the end of two years of criminal proceedings in 2007. The office staff and the doctor that hired him came with him to the sentencing.

    “The judge was like, ‘I don’t see this often; I don’t see young men coming in with these kinds of charges and they’re doing the positive things you’re doing and making this kind of impact,’” Braxton said.

    Braxton had taken an Alford plea — in which the defendant pleads guilty without admitting to the act — to his gun charge. After three years of probation, the judge dropped the larceny charge.

    Braxton worked in property management for several years before he felt he needed to make a change and connect himself to his “purpose.”

    He now advocates for improvements in the criminal justice system. In January, Braxton was part of a rally at the state Capitol that urged the General Assembly to reinstate discretionary parole, which allows prisons to release certain offenders before they have completed their sentences. During the 2019 legislative session, several bills were proposed to reinstate parole; none of them passed.

    Braxton said he hopes “to be an example and mentor, especially to young African-American boys that don’t have examples of fathers or leaders in their home or in their environment.”

    “I think that’s where it starts,” he said, “not waiting for the state or not waiting for the government to provide answers to neighborhoods and communities.”

  28. Virginia House of Delegates v. Bethune-Hill

    Attorney General Mark R. Herring issued the following statement after oral argument in the U.S. Supreme Court in Virginia House of Delegates v. Bethune-Hill:

    “This case has cost Virginians four years of litigation, multiple elections under an unconstitutional map, and probably more than $10 million, mostly spent by House Republicans to defend racial gerrymandering. The trial Court issued 100 pages of factual findings explaining the ways that the plan ‘sorted voters into districts based on the color of their skin’ and reduced the political power of African-Americans. That is wrong. We should all be concerned about this race-based violation of Virginians’ right to vote and should work to fix it as soon as possible. 

    “Nothing I heard today changes my belief that it is time to put an end to this case, and to implement fair, constitutional districts.”

    In June 2018, a three-judge panel found that eleven House of Delegates districts were unconstitutional. In July 2018, Attorney General Herring announced that the Commonwealth of Virginia would not appeal the decision, citing the seriousness of the constitutional violation, the likelihood of success, and the considerable time and millions in taxpayer money that had already been expended. 

    The three-judge panel and Supreme Court have three times denied requests by the House of Delegates to delay implementation of a new redistricting plan that corrects the identified racial gerrymandering.

  29. Virginia Electric Utilities Wiring Rural Areas for Broadband

    By Daniel Berti, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND — If you want internet service in the rural hamlet of Honaker, in far Southwest Virginia, Cable Plus is the only game in town. With internet speeds of 3 megabits per second, customers can go online to check their email, surf social media and watch low-quality videos from streaming services, but not much else.

    The cheapest Cable Plus internet package available to the 700 households in Honaker: $54 a month.

    An hour away in Bristol, Virginia, residents have plenty of options to choose from for broadband. They can get high-speed service — with speeds of at least 25 Mbps — for as low as $45 a month.

    The difference in internet services between urban and rural communities in Virginia is stark: Only 53 percent of rural Virginians have access to broadband internet. Urban areas have far better coverage — 96 percent, according to a 2016 study by the Virginia Chamber of Commerce.

    That’s because internet providers profit more when their customer base is concentrated and easy to reach. In rural areas, it’s much more expensive per customer to provide high-speed internet.

    Virginia lawmakers have taken steps to address geographic disparities in broadband coverage by passing a bill that will give the state’s two largest electric utilities, Dominion Energy and Appalachian Power, the green light to provide broadband internet service to unserved areas.

    HB 2691, sponsored by Del. Israel O’Quinn, R-Bristol, will create a pilot program that allows the electric utilities to expand “middle mile” broadband coverage — the infrastructure that connects the networks and core routers on the internet to local internet service providers that serve businesses and consumers directly.

    The bill will allow each utility to spend up to $60 million annually on the pilot program. The companies will be able to recover that money from ratepayers.

    Dominion and Appalachian Power won’t be providing high-speed internet straight to residents’ homes and businesses, however. The final connection, called the “last mile,” will be left to third-party internet providers. The last mile brings service to the end user’s premises and is typically the most expensive component of broadband infrastructure.

    Nate Frost, director of new technology and energy conservation at Dominion Energy, said the program is “unconventional” for electric utilities but could help solve rural Virginia’s broadband woes.

    “There’s a unique opportunity to potentially leverage some of the business that we’re going to be doing anyway,” Frost said. “But getting to that point won’t be easy.”

    Under the Grid Transformation and Security Act of 2018, Dominion Energy and Appalachian Power must modernize their systems, and part of that involves bringing broadband to electrical substations to support new “smart” infrastructure initiatives.

    The pilot program allows the electric utilities to add extra fiber optic cables to rural substations in addition to the fiber they’re already putting in place. That additional broadband capacity will then be leased to third-party internet providers, which will provide last-mile connections to homes and businesses nearby.

    O’Quinn’s bill is awaiting Gov. Ralph Northam’s signature to become law.

    Evan Feinman, Northam’s chief broadband adviser, said earnings by electric utilities from leasing middle-mile infrastructure will result in lower electric bills over time and will save ratepayers an estimated $150 million over the next three years.

    Those savings are based on Dominion’s 2018 Broadband Feasibility Report, in which the company outlined the potential for adding broadband capacity to rural areas.

    “It’s one of those very rare win-wins where the electric companies, ratepayers and people in need of broadband service all benefit,” Feinman said.

    The bill passed the Senate unanimously but drew opposition from a few Republicans in the House of Delegates. Del. Kathy Byron, R-Bedford, voted against it.

    “We’ve made great progress toward achieving this goal over the last several years,” said Byron, who chairs the state Broadband Advisory Council. “I’m concerned that the approach enacted by HB 2691 might unintentionally divert or detract from our well-established and successful efforts.”

    Over the last few years, the Virginia Telecommunication Initiative has provided millions of dollars to broadband service providers to extend their service into rural areas. During its recent session, the General Assembly increased funding for the Virginia Telecommunication Initiative for the 2020 fiscal year from $4 million to $19 million.

    Del. Dave LaRock, R-Loudoun, also voted against O’Quinn’s bill, citing the increased costs to ratepayers.

    “This is a perversion of the system where the State Corporation Commission has the authority to set reasonable rates and to return ratepayer money that exceeds reasonable rates,” LaRock said.

    It’s not unprecedented for electric utilities to provide internet services in Virginia. Central Virginia Electric Cooperative, which serves rural areas in 14 counties, announced its own broadband expansion in January 2018. The $110 million project aims to provide internet and phone service directly to consumers through a subsidiary company called Firefly Broadband.

    Virginia has the fifth-highest rate of broadband adoption in the nation and ranks among the top 10 states in terms of its average peak internet connectivity speed, according to the Virginia Chamber of Commerce. Up to 70 percent of the world’s internet traffic flows through Northern Virginia.

    But state officials have been concerned about the lack of broadband in rural areas, saying such connectivity is critical to economic development. Northam has made broadband expansion a priority, proposing that the state spend $250 million over the next 10 years to address the unequal distribution of internet service.

    “Broadband internet is inarguably a necessity for participation in a 21st-century economy, and many Virginians have been left without quality access for far too long,” Northam said. “By ending this disconnect, we can better attract and support business and entrepreneurship, educate all Virginia students and expand access to cost-saving telehealth services.”

  30. Occupational Health Services for Area Employers

    Let’s build a healthy workforce, together.

    South Hill—As you know, your team members are the single most important and valuable resource in your organization. A healthier team member is often a more productive team member. VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital Health and Wellness Services provides team member health services required and needed in today’s world of business and industry. We can help your business reach its goals for a healthier workforce.

    A healthier workforce will decrease lost work time, provide more productive and motivated employees, reduce health care and worker’s compensation costs andreduce workplace injuries.

    For more than 17 years, the professionals with VCU Health CMH Health & Wellness Services have been responsive to the health needs of the corporate community.  Currently they contract with numerous companies throughout the region to provide such services as:  pre-employment physicals, DOT physicals, rapid drug screens, lab based drug screens (urine, hair follicle), breath alcohol testing, immunizations, OSHA hearing conservation education and testing and much, much more. 

    Learn more about how you can make your workforce healthier by visiting our website at vcu-cmh.org and downloading a brochure or calling (434) 774-2541.

    Meet the professional staff of VCU Health CMH Occupational Health: (pictured from left to right)  Linda Crump, Office Service Specialist; Donna Overton, LPN, COHC, BAT, SAMI-DOT; Amy Hobbs, FNP-C; DeeAnna Forbes, LPN, COHC, BAT APS-DOT; Jessica Seamster, LPN, BAT, APS-DOT

  31. Institute of Contemporary Art Hosts Queer Film Collective Dirty Looks

    By Emily Holter, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND -- It has been eight years since the first showing of “Dirty Looks,” a queer film series that traces contemporary LGBTQ aesthetics through historical works.

    Beginning in New York City, “Dirty Looks” has been shown in several U.S. cities and international settings, including screenings at The Museum of Modern Art and The Kitchen in New York and The Hammer in Los Angeles.

    The film series’ winter tour features cities such as San Francisco, Portland, Chicago and Richmond.

    The Institute of Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University is hosting a free showing of “Dirty Looks” starting at 6 p.m. on April 3.
    For David Riley, a graduate curatorial assistant at the institute, the film series offers insight into queer culture and how it has shifted throughout history.

    “We’re looking forward to hosting this event and hoping to hold more events like these,” Riley said.  

    Each tour has a different film lineup. This tour includes films from Angie Stardust, Zina Zurner and other queer contemporaries.  

    “When I’m picking films for the program, I love going through old film guides finding titles that are interesting and not well known,” said Nordeen, who launched the Dirty Looks Inc. collective in 2011 in New York City because there was a lack of consistent space for queer film and art.  

    “I prefer finding filmmakers whose works haven’t been canonized yet.”

    “Dirty Looks” attracted an audience from the start.

    “The first showing we did we ran out of chairs, and it was in a blizzard,” Nordeen said. The collective’s goal is to build community by looking at queer history and to create a consistent space for queer films, he explained.

    Three years ago, the collective expanded to include an on-location segment in which its films are shown in city spaces that were traditionally queer spaces.

    “Art is made in life,” Nordeen said. “When we’re looking at queer art, it is communal.”

    Although Nordeen expanded the collective from New York to Los Angeles, he said it is important to screen these films in other cities.

    “You know, why not Richmond?” Nordeen said. “Places like New York City and Los Angeles -- they need me the least.”  

    Nordeen and other members of the collective will host a panel discussion following the showing, and take questions from the audience.

  32. “Wake Up Time”

    From whom do we collect taxes
    When our citizens move away
    Yes and what incentive do we use
    To encourage them to stay.
     
    There is constant talk of tourism
    And the Big Role it could play
    Then we closed that gate on thousands
    When the Pork Festival went astray.
     
    Now it would be nice if you got what you wanted
    Then we all would join in for a cheer
    Yet may I suggest in the mean time
    To do something for those that live here.
     
    We need to go out of town for good shopping
    And to get a good meal as well
    Yes that is where I see the most of you
    Though you know that I won’t tell.
     
    You’re filling up the vacant stores
    With things we do not need
    Yet what about the recreation
    That would be good indeed.
    I’m certain there are ways and means
    For the problems we have to solve
    Still if we don’t take action now
    More trouble it will involve.
     
                        Roy E. Schepp
  33. USDA Outlines Eligibility for 2019 Supplemental Coverage Option Regarding Elections for Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage

    WASHINGTON, March 13, 2019 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) announced this week that producers who purchased or plan to purchase the 2019 Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO) policy should report Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) election intentions to their crop insurance agent by March 15, 2019, or the acreage reporting date, whichever is later.

    Producers have the option to elect either ARC or PLC through the Farm Service Agency (FSA) to receive benefits. The 2018 Farm Bill allows producers to make an election in 2019, which covers the 2019 and 2020 crop years.

    The Federal Crop Insurance Act prohibits producers from having SCO on farms where they elect ARC. Because of the timing of the Farm Bill, FSA’s ARC/PLC election period will not occur until after the SCO sales closing dates and acreage reporting dates.

    Producers who purchased SCO policies with sales closing dates of Feb. 28, 2019, or earlier may cancel their SCO policy by March 15, 2019. This allows producers, particularly those who intend to elect ARC for all their acres, to no longer incur crop insurance costs for coverage for which they will not be eligible.

    Producers with SCO coverage now have the option to file an ARC/PLC acreage intention report with their crop insurance agent by the later of the acreage reporting date or March 15, 2019. This report will adjust the acreage report by specifying the intended ARC or PLC election by FSA Farm Number. The number of eligible acres on farms with an intention of PLC will be the number of acres insured for SCO regardless of any actual elections made with FSA. If a producer does not file an ARC/PLC acreage intention report, SCO will cover all acres as though the producer elected PLC.

    The existing penalties for misreporting eligible acreage on the SCO endorsement will not apply in 2019.

    Additional details about SCO can be found at www.rma.usda.gov.

  34. Milton Alan Cain, Jr.,

    July 24, 1991 - March 15, 2019

    Visitation Services

    R.E. Pearson & Son Funeral Service, Inc. - Emporia
    556 Halifax Street
    Emporia, Virginia 23847

     

    ,

    Macedonia Baptist Church
    30 Quarrell Road
    Emporia, Virginia 23847

     

    Milton Alan Cain, Jr., also well known as “Junie” or “Junior”, was born July 24, 1991 in Emporia, Virginia to Milton and Demetrice Cain.  He  departed this life on Friday, March 15, 2019 after a short illness at Chippenham Medical Center.

    Milton received his education in the Greensville County Public School System along with the Brunswick County Public School   System and graduated from Greensville County High School. He  furthered his education at Virginia State University where his     major was Computer Engineering. He further enlisted in the United States Army as a Corporal. After being in the military, he worked at McDonald’s of Emporia for a few years and later transferred to McDonald’s of Lawrenceville until they closed it’s door in 2014 and then moved on to Amazon of Chester, VA. Later on, he went to work for the Department of Corrections (Greensville Correctional Center) as an Officer and then went on to the Emporia Police Department until his illness.

    Milton accepted Christ at an early age and joined Macedonia Baptist Church where he served as a Drummer and Treasurer for the Junior Choir.  He later moved his membership to the Rising Star Baptist Church as the Minister of Music and remained there until his health failed. He was a kind, quiet, loving, humble and faithful servant.

    Milton also ministered at the following churches:  First and Third Sunday; Rising Star Baptist Church Choir of Ante, VA, Second and Fourth Sunday; Rocky Mount Baptist Church Mass Choir, Emporia, VA, the 75th District Choir, Emporia, VA and also the Community Male Chorus, Emporia, VA.

    Milton leaves to cherish his memories his loving father and mother; Milton and Demetrice of the home, one child, Cameron Drake of Emporia, VA, one brother, Marlon Ricks (NaTasha Brookins) of Daytona Beach, FL, two nieces; Ajha and Kamani Ricks of Kannapolis, NC, his grandparents; Matthew and Corrine Merritt of Valentines, VA, Nathan, Sr. and Ella Cain of Emporia, VA, godparents; Robert and Dorothy Webb of Skippers, VA, six aunts; Frances (Lawrence) of Richmond, VA, Deborah Merritt of Chesterfield, VA, Wanda Nollie (James) of Okinawa, Japan, Doris Dillings (Alvin) of Bristow, VA, Audrey Hart (Joseph) of Fairfax, VA and Rebecca Andrews (Ted) of Emporia, VA; four uncles; Nathaniel Roberts (Kelly) of Norlina, NC, Nathan Cain, Jr. (Paulette) of Emporia, VA, Wayne Cain (Claree) of Emporia, VA and Eric Cain (Nina) of Manassas, VA his best friend and son’s mother, Daja Drake of Emporia, VA, four great aunts; Leslie Mae Phipps of Fayetteville, NC, Ida Mae Gillus (Neil) of Fayetteville, NC, Rosa Mae Powell of Emporia, VA and Gladys Cain of Emporia, VA and a host of cousins, other relatives and friends.

    Milton had valued friendships, especially from his cousins; Stephen Taylor and Zedavion Taylor. He also had support from his cousin, Sam Easter and many others.  The family extends gratitude to Dr. Theopolis Gilliam, Jr. and his staff, Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center staff, McGuire Hospital staff and especially the staff at Chippenham Medical Center.

     

  35. Michael Wayne Moore

    Michael Wayne Moore

     

    February 9, 1969 - March 10, 2019

     

    Visitation Services

    Friday, March 15, 2019. 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

    Owen Funeral Home
    303 S. Halifax Rd
    Jarratt, Virginia 23867

    Saturday, March 16, 2019. 2:00 PM

    Owen Funeral Home
    303 S. Halifax Rd
    Jarratt, Virginia 23867

    Michael Wayne Moore, 50, of Emporia, passed away Sunday, March 10, 2019. He was preceded in death by his father, Louis Sanford Moore, Jr.; grandparents, Louis Sanford Moore, Sr. and Ruby Moore and Willie Fajna and Pearl Wrenn Fajna; Aunts, Patsy Moore, Barbara Moore Jones and husband, Russell; Mary Poarch; Lorraine Norwood and husband, Sonny, and uncles, Linwood “Squirrel” Moore and Charles Eugene Wrenn.

    Michael is survived by his mother, Joyce Wrenn Moore; brother, Robert Earl Moore and friend, Christopher Upton; sister, Angela Moore Grizzard and husband John; nephews, Nathaniel and Nicholas Grizzard; niece, Bryanna Grizzard; five step-children, Crystal Seymour and husband, Brian, Jillian Bradshaw and husband, Joe Bradshaw, Jr., Christopher Poole, Kacie York and Cynthia Marie Moore; two step-grandchildren, Jayden York and Bentley Stephens; uncles, Franklin “Doo” Moore; John W. Moore and wife, Deanna and William S. “Billy” Poarch; aunt, Debbie Moore. He is also survived by his longtime friend, Randy Moss and a number of cousins and extended family.

    The family will receive friends 6-8 p.m. Friday, March 15 at Owen Funeral Home, 303 S. Halifax Rd, Jarratt, Virginia where the funeral service will be held 2 p.m. Saturday, March 16. Interment will follow at High Hills Memorial Cemetery.

  36. Teresa Wray Welsh

    April 24, 1957 - March 12, 2019

    Visitation Services

    Friday, March 15, 2019, from 6:00P.M. to 8:00P.M. at

    Echols Funeral Home

    Saturday, March 16, 2019, at 2:00

    Emporia Cemetery

    Teresa Wray Welsh passed away on Tuesday, March 12, 2019, at the age of 61. She was a senior reporter for the Independent Messenger. She was preceded in death by her mother and father, Edla Mae Hobbs Wray, Robert Holmes Wray, and Daughter, Wendy Jenise Gordan. She is survived by her brother, Roger Wray (Cathy) of Emporia, Va, granddaughter, Kelly Michele Finn of Louisburg, NC, great granddaughter, Candi Jenise Finn of Louisburg, NC, two nieces, Amy Hobbs and April Clarke of Emporia, Va, nephew, Robbie Wray of Emporia, Va, five great nieces, Carly Clarke, Morgan Clarke, Emma Wray, Ella Mae Wray, and Bailey Black of Emporia, Va, great nephew, Nick Hobbs of Emporia, Va.

    A visitation will be held on Friday, March 15, 2019, from 6:00P.M. to 8:00P.M. at Echols Funeral Home. A graveside service will be held at Emporia Cemetery, Saturday, March 16, 2019, at 2:00P.M. with Rev. Ken Arrington officiating.

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

  37. Animal Welfare Groups Happy About 2019 Legislation

    Adrian Teran-Tapia, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND — Animal welfare advocates are pleased by the results of the 2019 General Assembly, which increased penalties for animal cruelty and mandated that pets receive more room to roam if tethered outside.

    “Overall, this year’s General Assembly brought significant victories for Virginia’s dogs and cats,” said Matthew Gray of the Virginia Humane Society.

    One of the standout bills was SB 1604, also known as “Tommie’s Bill,” which increases the penalty for animal abuse from a misdemeanor to a Class 6 felony.

    The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Bill DeSteph, R-Virginia Beach, gained local and national attention and support after a pit bull was intentionally set on fire in February at a Richmond park. The dog, Tommie, eventually died from his injuries.

    DeSteph’s bill and a companion measure in the House — HB 1874, introduced by Del. Margaret Ransone, R-Westmoreland — easily passed both the House and Senate and now await the governor’s signature.

    Del. Robert Orrock, R-Caroline, successfully sponsored two animal-related bills:

    • HB 1625 clarifies the definition of adequate shelter to protect an animal from heat or cold. The new definition says the shelter must be “properly shaded” during hot weather and have a windbreak during cold weather.
    • HB 1626 gives animal control officers permission to confiscate any tethered cocks that are being used or suspected of being used for animal fighting.

    Orrock also introduced HB 1827, which said that animals tethered outside must have a tether four times the animal’s length or 15 feet long, whichever is greater. That bill cleared the House but was killed by a Senate committee.

    According to the Humane Society, Virginia remains in the top tier as it relates to state animal protection laws, but several animal rights activists say Virginia can do more. For example, state officials should address the issue of tethering, said Tabitha Treloar of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

    Sen. Lionell Spruill, D-Chesapeake, introduced a bill similar to Orrock’s tethering proposal in the Senate. SB 1025 passed after revisions and is on Gov. Ralph Northam’s desk.

    It would require tether lengths to be at least three times the size of the animal or 10 feet long, whichever is greater. The bill would also prohibit adding weights to the end of the tether. Farm animals would be exempt from the tethering provisions.

    Although the bill is not the big win animal activist hoped for, Treloar said it is a step in the right direction.

    “We think this is going to provide additional clarity to the animal control officers who are responsible for enforcing code around the state, and we are glad we could come to a compromise,” Treloar said.

    Also during the legislative session that ended Feb. 24, the General Assembly passed SB 1675, sponsored by Sen. Bryce Reeves, R-Fredericksburg. It would mandate a minimum six-month imprisonment sentence for anyone who maliciously kills or injures any law enforcement animal. The punishment would be separate from and run consecutively with any other sentence.

    Animal testing was another issue brought up this session. Sen. Jennifer Boysko, D-Fairfax, proposed SB 1642, which sought to prohibit cosmetic manufacturers and suppliers from producing and selling any animal-tested cosmetics. This bill also would have authorized civil actions against violators, with penalties of up to $5,000.

    “Animal testing for cosmetics is cruel and unnecessary and is deeply unpopular with the public,” Boysko said. “My bill aimed to ensure that animals are not harmed for cosmetics sold in Virginia, thus meeting consumer demand, saving animals and helping the U.S. match global progress on this issue.”

    Boysko’s bill passed the Senate, 22-18, but was killed in the House Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources.

  38. Kazoos and Chants Drown Out Westboro Church’s Message of Hate

    By Evie King, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND — Randy Blythe of Richmond’s heavy metal band Lamb of God met demonstrators from Westboro Baptist Church at the Virginia Capitol on Monday with an unlikely weapon: kazoos.

    Armed with colorful plastic instruments, Blythe and more than 100 other counterprotesters drowned out the six WBC members with a cacophony of chaotic noise.

    “I couldn’t bring my band, so we brought kazoos instead,” Blythe said.

    Westboro Baptist Church, which the Southern Poverty Law Center calls “arguably the most obnoxious and rabid hate group in America,” came to the Capitol to protest Del. Danica Roem as the first transgender woman to be elected to the Virginia General Assembly.

    In a news release, WBC, which condemns LGBTQ rights, called Roem a “slave to sin” among other inflammatory statements.

    As a rebuke to WBC’s hateful remarks, Roem encouraged her Twitter followers to donate to her campaign for re-election in the 13th House District, which includes Manassas Park and part of Prince William County. With the hashtag #westborobackfire, more than 900 contributors haveraised over $34,000 since March 1.

    Jill Hammer, who supports Roem, showed up to celebrate her city’s diversity.

    “Richmond is fueled by creativity, fueled by musicians and artists, and we’re here to have a party and show them that Richmond is about love for everyone,” Hammer said.

    The music coming from WBC member Shirley Phelps-Roper’s speaker was barely audible over the counterprotesters’ unconventional chorus of noise.

    Singing along to parodies of pop songs like “Bohemian Rhapsody,” with lyrics modified to match the group’s message, Phelps-Roper said WBC intentionally chooses well-known music. “We’re trying to talk to this generation, meet them where they live,” Phelps-Roper said.

    Less than 30 minutes later, the WBC protesters moved north to a sidewalk near VCU’s campus, demonstrating against the college’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. Students stopped as they walked to class, some vocally protested while others stopped and stared.

    In a statement to the university community, VCU President Michael Rao said the WBC demonstrators “detest what we hold dear: the beautiful diversity of our community, the inclusive commitments we make to each other, and our values of collaboration and integrity.”

    At the counterdemonstration at VCU, Meredith Carrington held a sign that read, “God’s love is greater than your hate, Westboro.” Carrington said she felt it was her duty to show up to protest WBC’s messages.

    “I think that Richmond has a long history of hate that we’ve done a tremendous amount to overcome, and I think we need to continue to do that in real ways,” Carrington said.

    VCU student Tiana Roomes said she knew WBC’s message was directed at VCU students. “They are directing this to us because we support gay rights and preferred pronouns for transgender [individuals], and we support our military — and they hate that,” Roomes said.

    The six WBC members were again drowned out by VCU students and counterprotesters who came from the Capitol. Within a half-hour, the group dispersed peacefully as kazoos buzzed and students chanted, “We’re here, we’re queer, nobody wants you here.”

  39. Emporia Welcomes Dunkin' Donuts

    On Saturday, March 9, Dunkin' Donuts celebrated their grand opening. Guests received free medium coffees all day long.

    The new store at 908 Market Drive in Emporia will be open 24 hours a day and offers mobile ordering.

    Employees, owners and a Dunkin' franchise representative pause for a quick photo.

    There were door prizes.

    Representatives from Benchmark Bank were on hand.

    Samples of the new Orange-Vanilla Coke were offered.

  40. HERRING HIGHLIGHTS PROTECTIONS FOR VIRGINIA STUDENT LOAN BORROWERS

    ~ Protecting student borrowers has been a priority for Attorney General Herring’s Consumer Protection Section, which has recovered more than $10.3 million for more than 5,000 student borrowers ~

    RICHMOND (March 6, 2019) – As part of National Consumer Protection Week, Attorney General Mark R. Herring is highlighting protections and resources for student borrowers, as well as the work he and his team have done to protect Virginia student loan borrowers. Attorney General Herring and his team have reached multiple settlements with for-profit colleges for using deceitful tactics against student borrowers, as well as continuously challenged Secretary Betsy DeVos and the U.S. Department of Education in court to uphold the federal protections in place to protect student borrowers from predatory, for-profit schools. The Consumer Protection Section has recovered more than $10.3 million for more than 5,000 student borrowers in Virginia.

    “Over the past few years, we have seen the Trump Administration fail to protect student borrowers, instead implementing policies that have favored for-profit colleges who take advantage of them to line their own pockets,” said Attorney General Herring. “My Consumer Protection Section and I will continue to fight against policies that harm student borrowers and hold for-profit colleges accountable when they mislead and deceive their students.”

    In October 2018, Attorney General Herring announced that a federal judge rejected the Trump Administration’s challenge to the Borrower Defense Rule, ordering its immediate implementation for students nationwide. This ruling followed a victory Attorney General Herring won in federal court after he and a coalition of state attorneys general challenged the U.S. Department of Education’s plan to abruptly rescind its Borrower Defense Rule which was designed to hold abusive higher education institutions accountable for cheating students and taxpayers out of billions of dollars in federal loans. The immediate implementation of the Borrower Defense rule meant that the U.S. Department of Education had to automatically discharge $381 million in loans for students whose schools closed.

    Attorney General Herring has taken major actions against for-profit colleges for misleading students. In November 2015, for-profit education companyEducation Management Corporation announced it would significantly reform its recruiting and enrollment practices and forgive more than $2.29 million in loans for approximately 2,000 former students in Virginia through an agreement with the Attorney General and a group of state attorneys general. Nationwide, the agreement required the for-profit college company to forgive $102.8 million in outstanding loan debt held by more than 80,000 former students.

    In December 2016, the Attorney General announced that more than 5,000 Virginia students formerly enrolled in schools operated by Corinthian Colleges, Inc. may be eligible for loan forgiveness. This came after the U.S Department of Education found that Corinthian College and its subsidiaries published misleading job placement rates for many programs between 2010 and 2014. Following this announcement, Attorney General Herring urged Secretary DeVos and the Department of Education to follow through on their commitment to cancel student debt for students in Virginia and around the country who were victimized by Corinthian Colleges' practices.

    Attorney General Herring announced in January of this year that he and 48 other attorneys general reached a settlement with for-profit education company Career Education Corporation. The terms of the settlement required CED to reform its recruiting and enrollment practices and forgo collecting about $493.7 million in debts owed by 179,529 students nationally. In Virginia, 3,094 students will receive relief totaling $8,022,178.

    Below are some tips for student loan borrowers to keep in mind:

    (1) Financing Options

    • Check First for Grants and Scholarships – Resources include:

    • the financial aid office at a college or career school

    • a high school or TRIO counselor

    • the U.S. Department of Labor’s free scholarship search tool

    • federal agencies

    • your state

    • your library

    • foundations, religious or community organizations, local businesses, or civic groups

    • organizations related to your field of interest, like professional associations

    • ethnicity-based organizations

    • your employer or your parents’ employers

    • Evaluate Whether Private or Federal Loans Are Right for You:

    • Federal Loans Include:

    • Direct Loans, where the U.S. Department of Education is the lender;

    • Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL), where private lenders make loans backed by the federal government;

    • Federal Perkins Loans, low-interest federal student loans for undergraduate and graduate students with exceptional financial need; and

    • PLUS loans, federal loans that graduate or professional students and parents of dependent undergraduate students can use to help pay for college or career school.

    • Private loans, sometimes called “alternative loans,” are offered by private lenders, like banks and credit unions, and do not include the benefits and protections that come with federal loans.

    • Review the Federal Trade Commission’s Comparison of Federal and Private Loans at: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/1028-student-loans.

     (2) Paying Back Your Student Loans

    • Federal Loans

    • The U.S. Department of Education has repayment programs that can ease the burden of paying for your education, including:

    • income-driven repayment plans — your monthly payment is based on how much money you make

    • deferment and forbearance — you can postpone making payments, if there’s a good reason you can’t repay right away, though interest might cause what you owe to increase

    • loan forgiveness or loan discharge — in some circumstances, you don’t have to repay some or all of your loans. You might qualify if, for instance, you work for a government or not-for-profit organization, if you become disabled, or if your school closed or committed fraud. Also, under certain income-driven repayment plans, any balance that remains after 20 or 25 years of payments is forgiven. In some cases, you may owe income taxes on the forgiven or discharged amount.

    • Learn more at https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans.

    • Private Loans

    • With private student loans, you typically have fewer repayment options, especially when it comes to loan forgiveness or cancellation. To explore your options, contact your loan servicer directly. If you don’t know who your private student loan servicer is, look at a recent billing statement.

    • Free Federal Loan Consolidation

    • Consolidating federal loans with the federal government is FREE. There are companies that may offer to help you consolidate your federal loans with the federal government, for a fee, but you DON’T have to pay for this service. Consolidating with the federal government is a process you can do on your own, at no cost.

    • Review the Federal Trade Commission’s recommendations on whether loan consolidation is right for you athttps://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/1028-student-loans.

    • Avoid Student Loan Debt Relief Scams

    • Only scammers promise fast loan forgiveness.

    • NEVER pay an up-front fee for help.

    • Scammers will often fake a government seal, so be vigilant of scammers trying to appear like a government agency. If you have federal student loans, work with the Department of Education directly at https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans.

    • If you have federal student loans, do NOT share your Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID with any company offering debt relief assistance.

    Virginians who have a question, concern, or complaint about a consumer matter should contact Attorney General Herring’s Consumer Protection Section:

    Since 2014, Attorney General Herring’s Consumer Protection Section has recovered more than $292 million in relief for consumers and payments from violators. The Section has also transferred more than $33 million to the Commonwealth’s General Fund. Following a major reorganization and enhancement in 2016, the OAG’s Consumer Protection Section has been even more effective in fighting for the rights of Virginians.

     

  41. Southside Physicians Network Improves Diabetes Care Options For Emporia and Greensville County

    Emporia, VA – Southside Physicians Network (SPN) is proud to announce that Dr. Neha Lalani, fellowship trained endocrinology and board certified in internal medicine is now accepting new patients in Emporia. Starting Monday 4/1/19, Dr. Lalani will provide endocrinology services to help residents with diabetes, thyroid conditions and other medical issues. She joins Family Medicine providers Dr. Spencer Feldmann and Amanda Temple, MSN, FNP-C at 511 Belfield Drive, Emporia, VA 23847.

    “Dr. Lalani is well-liked and respected by her peers at Southside Physicians Network,” said Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center Board of Trustees Member, Dr. Hall Squire. “There is a great need for diabetes care in our area and having a fellowship trained endocrinologist of her caliber here will help improve the health of our patients.”

    Endocrinologists specialize in the treatment of our body’s glands and the hormones they produce. Dr. Lalani deals with metabolism, or all of the internal processes that make the body work.  Endocrinology services have been greatly needed in the Emporia area; previously, the closest endocrinologist was across the North Carolina border or in Petersburg, VA.

    Dr. Lalani specializes in diabetes management and believes in creating a team approach to healthcare, focusing on partnering with the patient to achieve results. She understands that diabetes and metabolic diseases can cause distress to patients and their families and it requires the patient to learn a new way of living.

    “We must to meet our patients where they live and not make them drive hours for the treatment they need. That means being in Emporia and keeping patients near their home and family,” said Lalani.

    Dr. Lalani earned her medical degree from Deccan College of Medical Sciences in India, where she was in the top 10 of her class. She completed her internal medicine residency at the University of Buffalo, Catholic Health System in Buffalo, NY, and her fellowship in endocrinology and metabolism at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, KS.

    She is a member of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinology and the Endocrine Society. Lalani joined SPN in 2019 and her primary office is in Petersburg, Virginia.

    To make an appointment with Dr. Lalani, call 434-532-7194 or click here to learn more>>> http://bit.ly/2ItQHb1

  42. John Wayne O’Berry

    September 23, 1945-March 9, 2019

    Visitation Services

    6-8 p.m. Monday, March 11

    Owen Funeral Home, 303 S. Halifax Rd.

    Jarratt Virginia

    2 p.m. Tuesday, March 12

    Calvary Chapel Branchville

    15198 Broad St.

    Branchville, Virginia 23828.

    Interment will follow at Greensville Memorial Cemetery.

    Mr. John Wayne O’Berry, 73, of Jarratt, died Saturday, March 9, 2019. He was preceded in death by his wife, Marlene O’Berry, son, John Wayne O’Berry, II.; daughter, Amy O’Berry; grandson, John Madison Lynch; brother, William O’Berry and sister, Mildred King.

    Mr. O’Berry is survived by his wife, Ruth O’Berry; son, Greg O’Berry  and wife, Sharon; daughter, Susan Harrison and husband, Richard; two step-daughters, Brenda Kitchen and husband, Owen and Ginger Ridout; twelve grandchildren; five great-grandchildren and brother, Charles Lee O’Berry and wife, Linda and a number of nieces and nephews.

    The family would like to extend their heartfelt thanks for the loving care and support provided by caregivers, Shannon and Erica with the New Century Hospice.

    The family will receive friends 6-8 p.m. Monday, March 11 at Owen Funeral Home, 303 S. Halifax Rd., Jarratt Virginia. The funeral service will be held 2 p.m. Tuesday, March 12 at Calvary Chapel Branchville, 15198 Broad St, Branchville, Virginia 23828. Interment will follow at Greensville Memorial Cemetery.

    Memorial contributions may be made to New Century Hospice, (www.newcentury.curohs.com).

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

  43. Statewide Summit to Address Needs, Future of Urban Agriculture in Virginia

    4th Virginia Urban Agriculture Summit to be held April 23-25 in Virginia Beach

    Photo caption: Curtis Moody, teaches school children about planting and growing at Moody Street Garden. Photo courtesy of Cedric Owens.

    Agriculture is increasingly spreading from rural areas into our urban and suburban communities for many reasons, not the least of which includes a growth in the number of people who want their food sourced locally and a need for communities to eliminate food deserts. The United States Department of Agriculture defines a food desert as “…parts of the country vapid of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods, usually found in impoverished areas.”
     
    Evidence of urban agriculture’s rise in Virginia can be seen in counties like Arlington and Fairfax, which have already established legislation and zoning codes to address urban agriculture. Some communities like Alexandria, Fairfax and Arlington have long waiting lists for community garden spaces. Courses and training programs like Virginia State University’s 12-week Sustainable Urban Agriculture Certificate Program are growing in popularity. And the number of urban farms in Richmond, Hampton Roads and other urban areas across the commonwealth has exploded over recent years.
     
    As more farmers get started on vacant lots and rooftops and in shipping containers and other non-traditional urban spaces, conversations about research, policy, safety, land-usage rights and sustainability are on the rise.
     
    To address these and other issues pertaining to the growth of Virginia’s urban agriculture industry, the Virginia Cooperative Extension program at Virginia State University, among other partners, is hosting the 4th Virginia Urban Agriculture Summit April 23–25, 2019, at the Founders Inn and Spa, 5641 Indian River Rd, Virginia Beach, Va. Over three days more than 100 urban farmers, gardeners, foodies, ag-tivists, policy makers and government leaders will convene to network and learn about one of agriculture’s fastest growing sectors.
     
    “The Virginia Urban Agriculture Summit is an important learning opportunity for anyone seeking more knowledge to grow their own produce, either for personal consumption or for commercial sales,” said Dr. Leonard Githinji, Virginia State University Urban Agriculture Extension specialist. “People of all ages are becoming more focused on their health; they want to reconnect with the earth and learn how to grow vegetables and fruits. Urban agriculture offers a feasible option for these people and is an antidote to food deserts.”
     
    Keynote speakers include Dr. Jewel Bronaugh, Virginia’s 16th Commissioner of Agriculture; Duron Chavis, manager of Community Engagement at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond; Shelley Blades, farm manager and executive director of Lynchburg Grows; and Curtis Moody, community garden coordinator of Moody Street Garden of Newport News. Topics covered at the summit will include urban food systems, food deserts, food security, food safety, postharvest handling, food justice, urban environmental issues and urban economic development. Interested parties are encouraged to submit an abstract for an oral, poster or panel presentation for the summit. Visithttps://www.ext.vsu.edu/vuas-abstracts before March 15.

     
    Summit registration is $150 and is limited to 150 registrants. The registration cost includes two continental breakfasts, two buffet lunches, a networking dinner reception, and continuous food and drink refreshments throughout much of the summit. An award-winning chef will prepare food sourced from the freshest meats, seafood, as well as seasonal fruits and vegetables from local and regional artisan providers. To register, visit www.ext.vsu.edu/calendar, click on the event and then click on the registration link. 

     
    Accommodation is available for $99/night per room until midnight March 24. Visithttps://www.ext.vsu.edu/vuas-conference-venue to book your accommodation or call the hotel at 1-844-382-7378. Registrants calling directly to book a room must ask for the “2019 Virginia Urban Agriculture Summit” room rate.

     
    Watch an overview video from the 3rd Virginia Urban Agriculture Summit athttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97_O0vUUKPw. Learn more about the first three summits at https://www.ext.vsu.edu/vuas-past-events.

     
    For further information or if a person with a disability desires any assistive devices, services or other accommodations to participate in this activity, contact Mollie Klein at mklein@vsu.edu or call (804) 524-5964 / (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.
     
    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. VSU is 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.

     

  44. *SCAM ALERT* HERRING WARNS VIRGINIANS ABOUT TECH SUPPORT AND REPAIR SERVICES SCAMS

    ~ Warning comes as part of a nationwide crackdown on scams of this nature ~

    RICHMOND (March 7, 2019) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring is warning Virginians about scammers who try to trick consumers into buying costly tech support and repair services as part of a nationwide crackdown on these scams. Attorney General Herring, in coordination with attorneys general from across the country through the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG), has joined the U.S. Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and other regulators to combat tech support scams. As part of this effort, NAAG and the Department of Justice today announced a sweep of elder fraud cases and focused particular attention on tech support scams as a major threat to senior citizens.

    “Unfortunately, fraudsters are ever-evolving and always coming up with new and relevant ways to scam consumers,” said Attorney General Herring. “I would encourage Virginians to be vigilant about anyone contacting them with threats or high pressure sales tactics, whether by mail, phone, or online and remember to never send money to a company or person who you are not sure is trustworthy.”

    These scams work in similar ways. Scammers use phone calls and online ads resembling security alerts from major technology companies to trick consumers into contacting the operators of these schemes and providing access to the consumers’ computers. The scammers will claim consumers’ computers are infected with viruses or experiencing other problems. They then try to pressure consumers into buying unnecessary computer repair services, service plans, anti-virus protection or software, and other products and services.

    Here are some tips to avoid tech support scams:

    • Be on the lookout for scams which try to make you believe you have a serious problem with your computer, like a virus;

    • Do not pay for services by wiring money, putting money on a gift card, iTunes card, prepaid card or cash reload card, or using a money transfer app because these types of payments can be hard to reverse;

    • Beware of fake computer technicians pretending to be from a well-known company requesting remote access to your computer and then pretending to run a diagnostic test;

    • If you get a phone call you didn’t expect from someone who says there’s a problem with your computer, hang up;

    • Beware of scammers who try to lure you with a pop-up window that appears on your computer screen, which might look like a security issue or error message from your operating system or antivirus software, and which might use logos from trusted companies or websites;

    • If you get this kind of pop-up window on your computer, don’t call the number as real security warnings and messages will never ask you to call a phone number;

    • Look out for illegitimate websites that show up in online search results for tech support, or other ads;

    • If you think there may be a problem with your computer, update your computer’s security software and run a scan;

    • If you need help fixing a problem, go to someone you know and trust, for instance the company you purchased the software from or a store that sells computer equipment and offers technical support in person;

    • If you paid a tech support scammer with a credit or debit card, contact your credit card company or bank right away, tell them what happened and ask if they can reverse the charges;

    • If you paid with a gift card, contact the company that issued the card right away and ask if they can refund your money;

    • If you gave a scammer remote access to your computer, update your computer’s security software, run a scan and delete anything it identifies as a problem; and

    • If you gave your user name and password to a tech support scammer, change your password right away and on any other sites that have the same password.

    Virginians who have a question, concern, or complaint about a consumer matter should contact Attorney General Herring’s Consumer Protection Section:

    Since 2014, Attorney General Herring’s Consumer Protection Section has recovered more than $292 million in relief for consumers and payments from violators. The Section has also transferred more than $33 million to the Commonwealth’s General Fund. Following a major reorganization and enhancement in 2016, the OAG’s Consumer Protection Section has been even more effective in fighting for the rights of Virginians.

     

  45. General Assembly Acknowledges, with Profound Regret, the Existence and Acceptance of Lynching Within the Commonwealth.

    SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 297

    Acknowledging with profound regret the existence and acceptance of lynching within the Commonwealth.

    Agreed to by the Senate, February 5, 2019


    Agreed to by the House of Delegates, February 20, 2019

    WHEREAS, the year 2019 marks the 400th anniversary of the arrival to the Jamestown settlement of the first Africans in what would become the United States, where they were enslaved, marking the beginning of nearly 250 years of slavery in the British colonies and in the new nation; and

    WHEREAS, throughout America’s history of slavery, segregation, and inequality, thousands of African Americans were lynched across America, particularly throughout the southern United States, to perpetuate racial inequality and white supremacy and to terrorize African American communities; and

    WHEREAS, during Reconstruction, the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution were ratified, abolishing slavery, granting citizenship to any person born or naturalized in the United States, and guaranteeing the rights to due process of law and equal protection under the law and the right to vote for African American men; and

    WHEREAS, in outright defiance of the Reconstruction Amendments, people across the nation acted outside of the law, deliberately, violently, and brutally, against African American citizens in retribution for alleged or invented crimes and faced few or no consequences; and

    WHEREAS, the Equal Justice Initiative has documented more than 4,000 lynchings that took place throughout the South between 1877 and 1950, over 80 of which took place in Virginia; other scholarship documents more than 100 lynchings in Virginia; and

    WHEREAS, African American men, women, and children lived in fear that their lives and the lives of loved ones could end violently at any time and in any place; and

    WHEREAS, lynchings were often widely known and publicly attended; some were witnessed by crowds that numbered in the thousands, reflecting community acceptance, and many leaders and authorities and much of society denied and enabled the illegal and horrific nature of the acts; and

    WHEREAS, Richmond Planet editor John Mitchell, Jr., exposed lynchings in Virginia as they occurred and led the state’s antilynching campaign; however, despite his efforts and other accounts, historians believe still more lynchings remain undocumented; and

    WHEREAS, at the urging of Norfolk Virginia-Pilot editor Louis Isaac Jaffe and other antilynching activists, and to curtail mob violence in Virginia, the General Assembly passed an antilynching measure that was signed into law on March 14, 1928, declaring lynching a state crime; and

    WHEREAS, the extreme racial animus, violence, and terror embodied in the act of lynching did not die with the criminalization of the act, and few, if any, prosecutions occurred under the measure; and

    WHEREAS, the legacy of racism that outlived slavery, enabled the rise and acceptance of lynching, facilitated segregation and disenfranchisement, and denied education and civil rights to African Americans has yet to be uprooted in Virginia, the South, and the nation, and this dark and shameful chapter of American history must be understood, acknowledged, and fully documented and the seemingly irreparable breach mended; and

    WHEREAS, the most abject apology for past wrongs cannot right them; yet the spirit of true repentance on behalf of a government and, through it, a people can promote reconciliation and healing and avert the repetition of past wrongs and the disregard of manifested injustices; and

    WHEREAS, in 2010, the Equal Justice Initiative began investigating thousands of racial terror lynchings in the American South in an effort to understand the terror and trauma this sanctioned violence against the African American community created, resulting in the report Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror in 2015 and the opening of the Memorial for Peace and Justice on April 26, 2018, as the nation’s first memorial dedicated to the legacy of enslaved black people, people terrorized by lynching, African Americans humiliated by racial segregation and Jim Crow, and people of color burdened with contemporary presumptions of guilt and police violence; and

    WHEREAS, the Equal Justice Initiative created the Community Remembrance Project to create greater awareness and understanding about racial terror lynchings and to begin a necessary conversation that advances truth and reconciliation by working with communities to commemorate and recognize the traumatic era of lynching by collecting soil from lynching sites across the country and erecting historical markers and monuments in these spaces; and

    WHEREAS, the General Assembly established the Virginia Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Commission in 1992 to continue the work of Dr. King, himself a victim of violence, as he sought to realize his dream of a “Beloved Community” in which love, peace, and justice prevail over hatred and fear; now, therefore, be it

    RESOLVED by the Senate, the House of Delegates concurring, That the General Assembly hereby acknowledge with profound regret the existence and acceptance of lynching within the Commonwealth and call for reconciliation among all Virginians; and, be it

    RESOLVED FURTHER, That the Virginia Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Commission make as complete a record as possible of each documented lynching that occurred in the Commonwealth of Virginia, including the names of the victims and the locations and circumstances of each occurrence, to be preserved on the Commission’s website, and develop programming to bring awareness and recognition of this history to communities across the state, that such awareness might contribute to the process of healing and reconciliation in Virginia’s still-wounded communities and for families and descendants affected by lynchings; and, be it

    RESOLVED FURTHER, That the Virginia Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Commission coordinate with the Department of Historic Resources to identify sites for historic markers to recognize documented lynchings and assist the Equal Justice Initiative in its Community Remembrance Project in the Commonwealth; and, be it

    RESOLVED FINALLY, That the Clerk of the Senate transmit a copy of this resolution to the Virginia Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Commission, requesting that it further disseminate copies of this resolution to its constituents so that they may be apprised of the sense of the General Assembly of Virginia in this matter.

  46. Researcher Publishes Open Letter to Lynched Culpeper Man

    This family picture of the Thompson family, about 1905 or 1906.From left, Lillian, Myrtle, mother Ida and Allie Thompson. Charles Allie Thompson was murdered at the hands of a lynch mob in Culpeper County, Virginia on Nov. 25, 1918. Photo courtesy Lorraine Nickens, niece, and Otis Jordon, nephew, of Allie Thompson.

    The simple stone that marks the grave of Allie Thompson, in the family cemetery in Amissville. Photo by Allison Brophy Champion

    By Kaytlin Nickens, Capital News Service

     

    RICHMOND — “Working in the trenches, side by side with people,” as Zann Nelson said, highlighted the beliefs her father instilled in her youth. Growing up in Culpeper County, Nelson said she learned of a deeper truth to American history, and her father reminded her that people should be seen through the lens of equality.

    Those experiences motivated her pursuit to make Virginia the first state to acknowledge the horrific crimes of the Jim Crow era.

    Nelson, a researcher and a columnist for the Culpeper Times, initiated a resolution that passed the General Assembly acknowledging with “profound regrets” the lynching of over 80 African-American men. Nelson is the former director of the History of Culpeper Museum, where her research began.

    “The culminating thing for me was when I took the position at the local museum and I could see first-hand histories were not being told,” Nelson said.

    In 2005, a reporter contacted Nelson about the lynching decades earlier of an 18-year-old black man, Charles Allie Thompson of Culpeper. At that time, she said the only thing she had come across were two news articles published two days after Thompson’s murder.

    “I wanted to know more,” Nelson said. She spent the next 13 years investigating the 1918 lynching of Thompson, hoping to bring some reconciliation to his family.

    “Thirteen and a half years of perseverance is what got this resolution to pass,” Nelson said.

    Nelson then worked with Culpeper Star-Exponent reporter Allison Brophy Champion on a series about the homicide and the various families affected. But she realized she needed to expand her scope.

    “I discussed with a friend -- she brought it to my attention that I was just going after one person and encouraged me to look further into some kind of request,” said Nelson.

    Nelson began emailing and visiting legislators. Nelson first reached out to Sen. Jennifer McClellan, D-Richmond, and Sen. Emmett Hanger, R-Mount Solon. The legislators asked Nelson if she would be willing to draft a resolution.

    “The resolution is more than a piece of paper and consists of directives that will encourage ongoing research and recognition: particularly in the form of the database and the collaboration with the (Virginia Department of Historic Resources) on a marker program,” Nelson said. “This is not the end, but rather the beginning of a long and overdue journey to truth and the hope of reconciliation.”

    Nelson took her resolution draft to the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Commission, which helped her advance her resolution, by forming a work study group called the History of Lynching in Virginia.

    The resulting measures, HJ 655 and SJ 297, passed the General Assembly unanimously. The legislation calls “for reconciliation among all Virginians” regarding the racial terror, state-sanctioned segregation and discrimination faced by African-Americans during the Jim Crow years.

    According to the identical resolutions, the state will document the lynchings online and with historic markers. The goal is to bring awareness of Virginia’s lynching history, for “healing and reconciliation in Virginia’s still-wounded communities and for families and descendants affected by lynchings.”

    The resolutions note that more than 4,000 lynchings took place throughout the South between 1877 and 1950. At least 80 lynchings — some scholars say more than 100 — occurred in Virginia.

    After the legislation was passed, Nelson wrote an open letter to Thompson, who went by Allie, published in the Culpeper Times on Feb. 21. In her letter, Nelson details the process for getting the resolutions passed and the importance of Thompson’s legacy.

    “Allie, I assure you it is not just lip-service to the shameful past,” Nelson wrote in her letter.

    “In closing please allow me to thank you. You may think that your loss of life was for nothing, but you would be wrong. Allie, it is because of you that this historic piece of legislation has come to pass: the first for any state in the United States.”

  47. Jarratt Hardware’s Spring Open House – FREE Community Event for All!

    On Saturday March 23, 2019 from 10am to 4pm, Jarratt Hardware will be hosting aFREE family fun day full of learning opportunities. Lunch will also be provided at no cost from 12-1PM. Jarratt Hardware’s Spring Open House eventis a community event for all ages. The store is teaming up with local Virginia Cooperative Extension offices in Greensville/Emporia and Sussex County, as well as the Southside Beekeepers Association, to provide a fun learning day at the store.

    At the event, youth and their families will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of fun, agricultural hands-on activities, learning about beekeeping, hatching chicks, raising chickens, gardening, soil fertility, lawn health and more.

    Come learn about beekeeping with representatives from the Southside Beekeepers Association and learn how to start and manage your own hive. 4-H Youth Development will be providing fun, interactive games and activities for youth to learn all about chickens, bees, pollinators, local youth opportunities and more! Local 4-H Teen Club members and 4-H Livestock/Animal Club members will be present at the event to assist with educational games and activities. Come see live chicks hatching and learn how you can raise your own flock. Baby chicks, as well as all supplies needed to raise chickens and start beekeeping, will be in stock for purchase the day of the event.

    Local soil scientists and store owners, Andy and Alexis Jones, will be discussing soil fertility and lawn care at the event. Soil testing supplies will be present the day of the event. Come with your soil samples and any questions that you may have about soil fertility and grass growing!

    Greensville County Farm Bureau Women’s Committee will be on hand during the event with giveaways for the children and informational handouts for Agriculture Education. Pine View Nursery will be at the event as well showcasing their beautiful flowers and garden plants ready for planting this spring. Local Girl Scout troop #540 will also be onsite during the event to sell their delicious Girl Scout cookies. Many organizations from across the community will be present, so this is definitely an event you do not want to miss!

    Come and see Jarratt Hardware, under new ownership, striving to increase the diversity of their inventory (hunting supplies, building materials, etc.) as well as increase in availability of special orders. Theywill have a few in-store specials available during the event. Spring lawn and gardening needs will be in stock for this event. We hope to see you there!

    FREE lunch will be provided for all from 12:00-1:00PM. The event will be held at Jarratt Hardware, located at 111 Jarratt Avenue, Jarratt, VA.

    For more information about the event, please call Jarratt Hardware at 434-535-8137 or Virginia Cooperative Extension at 434-348-4223.

    If you are a person with a disability and desire any assistive devices, services or other accommodations to participate in the 2018 4-H Camp, please contact Hannah D. Parker, at the Extension Office no later than two weeks prior to the date assistance is needed.  Our office hours are Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

  48. Upcoming Small Business Workshop

    Longwood Small Business Development Center will present How to Write a Business Plan, Financing Options,  SWaM Certification &  Business Insurance in Colonial Heights on March 27, 2108

    If you are thinking of starting or have a small business and want to learn how to write a business plan, learn about financing options, SWaM certification & business insurance, this free workshop is for you! 

    Some of the topics will be:

    • Why do you need a business plan? How to prepare and   present your business plan and what are some marketing strategies and financial planning information to enhance it.

    • What financing options are out there and what do lenders look for?

    • What is SWaM certification? How can it help your small business and how do you get SWaM certified?

    •  Why you need business insurance and how it will protect you and your small business.

    The workshop will be held on March 27, 2019,9:00am-11:30am in theColonial Heights City Council Chambers at201 James Avenue in Colonial Heights.

    Please click here to register.

     

     

     

  49. Governor Signs Law Banning All Tobacco Products at School

    By Alexandra Zernik, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND — School boards must ban any tobacco or other forms of nicotine products from all school property and school-sponsored events under legislation signed into law Wednesday by Gov. Ralph Northam.

    Northam signed HB 2384 and SB 1295, which expands existing law to include:

    ·A wider variety of nicotine products, such as vapes and e-cigarettes in addition to tobacco

    ·A broader range of school property, such as school buses and school-sponsored events off campus.

    The new law, which takes effect July 1, will require all local school boards to develop and implement comprehensive tobacco-free policies.

    “The recent and dramatic rise in youth smoking and vaping represents a serious public health crisis that requires our attention and action,” Northam said. “We have a responsibility to prevent our children from being exposed to all types of tobacco or nicotine-containing products.”

    Northam noted that when he was a state senator, he led efforts to enact a statewide smoking ban in bars and restaurants. He sees HB 2384, sponsored by Del. Patrick Hope, D-Arlington, and SB 1295, introduced by Sen. Lionel Spruill, D-Chesapeake, in the same way.

    “As governor, I am proud to sign this legislation that will make Virginia schools and communities safer and healthier,” Northam said.

    The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that use of tobacco products by American youth is on the rise — largely because of the increasing popularity of e-cigarettes.

    Nationwide last year, more than 27 percent of all high school students used a tobacco product within the past 30 days, according to a survey by the CDC. About 21 percent of the students had used e-cigarettes, and 8 percent regular cigarettes. (Some survey respondents used both types of products.)

    That represented a big increase in vaping: In the 2017 survey, fewer than 12 percent of high school students had used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days.

    Northam noted that as of fall 2017, about 12 percent of Virginia high school students were using e-cigarettes — almost twice the proportion of teenagers smoking traditional cigarettes.

    The U.S. surgeon general and the federal Food and Drug Administration have declared the sudden increase in e-cigarette use an epidemic. They fear a new generation of young people may become addicted to nicotine if actions aren’t taken to prevent it.

    Virginia’s secretary of health and human resources, Daniel Carey, praised the legislation signed by Northam.

    “This law will not only protect Virginia’s children from exposure to second-hand smoke, it will also help to establish a tobacco-free norm, allowing students to make better choices about their health when it comes to saying no to tobacco products outside of school,” Carey said.

    According to State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver, a statewide survey found that 84 percent of adults in Virginia — including 75 percent of smokers — agree that all nicotine products should be banned from school grounds and activities.

    “While 40 school districts in Virginia already have established this type of policy, the new law will expand protection to children in all of our public schools,” Oliver said.

    Northam previously signed into law legislation raising from 18 to 21 the age to buy tobacco and nicotine products.

  50. Catherine Pulley Pair

    April 22, 1928-March 4, 2019

    Visitation Services

    Wednesday, March 6, 2019, 6:00 pm

    Calvary Baptist Church

    301 North Main Street
    Emporia, Virginia

    Thursday, March 7, 2019, 1:00 pm

    Calvary Baptist Church

    301 North Main Street
    Emporia, Virginia

     

    Catherine Pulley Pair, passed away on Monday, March 4, 2019, at the age of 90. Mrs. Pair was born on April 22, 1928 in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina. A loving and devoted wife and mother and dearly loved by her family. She was a Secretary at Continental Telephone Company and later was a nurse at Greensville Memorial Hospital, Guardian Care Nursing Home, Perdue Inc. and Boars Head Provisions Inc.

    Catherine was preceded in death by her son, Robert “Bobby” Henry Pair, Jr., along with her mother and father, Hattie Sue Johnson and George R. Pulley. She is survived by her husband, Robert Henry Pair, Sr., her 3 daughters, Constance P. Murray (David) of Swoope, Va., Deborah P. Allen (Ronnie) of Emporia, Va., Shelby E. Adams of Emporia, Va., 8 grandchildren, Shelby Wyatt (Don) of Emporia, Va.,  Brandon Murray (Colleen) of Verona, Va., Derek Murray (Carianne), Kevin Murray of Richmond, Va., Daniel Allen (Brinkley) of Emporia, Va., Catherine “Katie” Slate (Will) of Emporia, Va., Logan Elliott (Meggie) of Henrico, Va., and Jason Elliott (Sarah) of Mechanicsville, Va., along with 11 Great Grandchildren.

    A visitation will be held at Calvary Baptist Church on Wednesday, March 6, 2019, from 6 to 7:30 P.M. Funeral services will be held on Thursday, at 1 P.M. at Calvary Baptist Church, with Rev. Andy Cain officiating.  Memorial donations may be made to Calvary Baptist Church.

    Online condolences may be left at echolsfuneralhome.com.

  51. Attorney General Aims to Help Virginians Avoid Scams

    By Ben Burstein, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND -- Nearly 12 million consumer complaints have been filed in the United States, in just a few years, ranging from reports of identity theft to consumer rights. The first week in March marks the Federal Trade Commission's National Consumer Protection Week, created to educate consumers about their rights and available resources.

    In Virginia, Attorney General Mark Herring’s Consumer Protection Section will cover a different topic every day this week to highlight different ways consumers can protect themselves and their money.

    Herring addressed environmental consumer issues Tuesday, such as with Fiat Chrysler and auto parts supplier Robert Bosch. The company reached a settlement over the use of “emissions defeat devices,” which turn on a vehicle's emissions control sensor while being tested, but then turned off during normal operation in some of their vehicles. The emissions control sensor in vehicles reduces pollutant gas discharged while being driven.

    Bosch is required to fix affected vehicles and provide owners with restitution. A total of $171 million is being paid back to the states involved, including $5.3 million to Virginia. That money is being used to either buy back, or fix vehicles that were impacted. Some of the money will be paid to the National Association of Attorneys General for training and future enforcement purposes.

    "Businesses who lie to consumers about their products must be held accountable, and Virginians who purchased these misrepresented products deserve compensation," Herring said.

    Monday, Herring’s office focused on ways its Consumer Protection Section can help Virginians. The organization has five units and was created to protect consumers from fraudulent business practices, and to respond to consumer complaints. "State consumer protection efforts have become increasingly important as the Trump administration continues to dismantle and undermine federal consumer protection efforts, especially from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau," Herring said.

    Since 2014, the section has recovered over $292 million in relief for consumers, according to Herring.

    "My Consumer Protection Section has returned millions of dollars to Virginia consumers who were scammed by predatory lenders, shady debt collectors, and businesses that try to skirt the law. I will continue to fight for Virginia consumers and make sure they have the tools they need to protect themselves," Herring said.

    The office has a webpage housed with different resources for consumers to keep up with recent scams, view business records and submit complaints. There is also information on how to obtain a free credit report from a credit bureau agency, and how to check for fraudulent activity.

    Federal law requires free access to a credit report from each bureau annually. Anything suspicious on a credit report or financial account should be reported immediately; the FTC has information on credit freezes to prohibit anyone from obtaining information.

    This week Herring also announced the start of the Wells Fargo Consumer Redress Review Program, which allows those who have not received reimbursement in the unauthorized account scandal to have their cases reviewed by Wells Fargo. The program, which reviews if a consumer is eligible for compensation, is a result of a December settlement with Wells Fargo.

    "I would encourage any Virginians who believe they have been a victim of Wells Fargo's deceitful business practices to reach out to the company, to see what kind of relief they are owed," Herring said.

    On Tuesday the office also delved into student debt protection. On Wednesday, the focus is protections for veterans, from scams that attempt to obtain pensions. Thursday the office will tackle protections consumers have from predatory lending scams, and also tech-related scams.  On Friday, consumers can learn about different scams and fraud tactics, and how to identify them.

    National Consumer Protection Week is in its 21st year since being created by the Federal Trade Commission in 1998.  

  52. Do You Have Sleep Apnea?

    Community Out-Reach Education

    South Hill – Sleep apnea is a common and serious sleep disorder that causes your breathing to become shallow or stop completely during sleep. It’s estimated that nearly 30 million people in the United States have sleep apnea. What are the symptoms of sleep apnea? How is sleep apnea treated?

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

    This FREE program will be held on Tuesday, March 19th at 4:00 p.m. in the VCU Health CMH Education Center inside the C.A.R.E. Building located at 1755 N. Mecklenburg Avenue in South Hill.

    The speaker for the program with be Dr. Indu Shivaram.  Dr. Shivaram specializes in Pulmonology and Critical Care. She earned her Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree from Government Medical College in India and completed her Fellowship in pulmonary medicine at SUNY Downstate Medical Center and her Fellowship in critical care medicine at Montefiore Medical Center in New York. Dr. Shivaram is Board Certified in pulmonary medicine, critical care medicine and internal medicine. She practices at CMH ENT & Pulmonology Services, located in the C.A.R.E Building at VCU Health CMH.

    Registration is required to help us prepare and seating is limited. For more information or to register to attend, please call (434) 447-0917 or register online at www.vcu-cmh.org. Attendees can enjoy refreshments and register for door prizes.

  53. “Do We Need Outside Help”

    I found a phone number the other day
    but I didn’t know whose it was
    well I thought ig over for a minute or two
    then I gave it one long buzz.
     
    Now I know it rang once or twice
    then a knock came to my door
    they said they’re from problem solvers
    yet had never been here before.
     
    They said if you have a problem
    first you have got to explain
    then they will call people in the know
    and they even work in the rain.
     
    Well the Council all have telephones
    and indeed it is worth a try
    why not ask them to call problem solvers
    before another year goes by.
     
    Well we must not have the skilled labors
    that problem solvers so rely
    yes or why can they not fix a pothole
    somewhere before the third try.
     
    The spring is almost upon us
    and summer just around the bend
    yet our buildings and streets are still messed up
    what is the message we send.
     
    Now the boarded up buildings with broken windows
    has for long been a dreadful sight
    if they can’t find a law of who fixes
    find the owner before he takes flight.
     
    Well thank you tourists for once more stopping here
    at least to spend the night
    if and when Council calls problem solvers
    maybe next year we’ll be rid of the blight.
     
                             Roy E. Schepp
  54. Walker Navigated to a Cool Job

    Since people are not born with navigation systems installed, the road to success is not always straight, fast, and without bumps along the way.  Dixie Walker, who has a cool job as the new Tourism Coordinator for Brunswick County, took such a journey in her educational pursuit.

    While attending high school, Walker enrolled in Dual Enrollment classes at Southside Virginia Community College as early as the ninth grade.  These classes, combined with summer and online courses, enabled her to complete an Associate degree in General Studies from SVCC along with graduating high school the same year.

    After a brief stay at Virginia Tech, Walker decided to transfer her esteemed SVCC associate degree to Radford University where she earned two Bachelor of Science degrees which included a minor in Marketing. During her time at Radford University, Walker also served three years as a Radford University Ambassador.

    Upon graduation, she returned to Southside Virginia where she utilized her creative talents. She has worked for locally owned small businesses in our surrounding community.  Walker used her creative skill set to help promote and market these businesses through several different medias. She’s held a job since she was fifteen serving the public and gaining customer service expertise.  Walker has also served as President of the South Hill Junior Women’s Club for two years and is still an active member.  She recently was recognized as “Member of the Year” by her fellow club members. After becoming a member of the club, she was able to further use her talents to promote the club through social media, raise money hosting special events for the community, and inspire her follow club members.

    “It’s all added up to this,” she said recently from the new Brunswick Byways Visitor Center located on Christanna Highway 46 south of Lawrenceville.       

    Completed in October 2017, the Center serves and informs the traveling public about Brunswick County’s Native American heritage, Colonial American “frontier” history, Civil War history, early American religious history, natural resources and assets, and agricultural economy.   Besides operating the Center, Walker works with other special events throughout the county including the Taste of Brunswick held in October and the Brunswick Stew Day at the capitol in Richmond.  She also coordinates volunteers at the Center and greets visitors to the county.

    She is also proud to have taken advantage of the offerings at SVCC. “I liked the smaller class size at SVCC, the rural area and the one-on-one attention students received from the teachers.  The faculty and staff at SVCC care about you and your educational journey. They want to see you succeed no matter whichever path you may be on. Everyone seems pleased to be on campus and in the classroom, learning. It is a textbook learning environment for someone from a small town who doesn’t like to be distracted from reaching their goal. The paths are clear and straight at SVCC as to what’s needed to obtain your chosen goal, there are hardly any unexpected speed bumps or hurdles as long as you do your part” Walker said. 

  55. Gold Box in Richmond Park Connects People Around Globe

    By Andrew Gionfriddo, Capital News Service


    RICHMOND -- It sounds like science fiction, but for the past several weeks, visitors to Monroe Park have been able to step inside a large gold-colored shipping container and have a conversation with people in Mexico, Sweden and other countries around the world.


    The futuristic technology is a portal featuring a large-screen monitor and high-speed internet. It connects to dozens of similar portals across the globe.

    The device, built by a New York-based company called Shared Studios, was installed at the suggestion of Richmond businessman Andy Stefanovich, a thought leader who helped organize the first TEDxRVA in 2013.


    Stefanovich brought his idea to Alice Massie, president of the Monroe Park Conservancy, which manages the park. Massie said it did not take much convincing for her to agree to install the portal.


    “It’s a little bit of an element of surprise,” she said. “Why a gold box in the park?”


    Shared Studios has been installing portals since December 2014. The first was between New York and Tehran, Iran.


    “Everyday New Yorkers and everyday Iranians could walk and meet someone new and have a conversation with someone they otherwise wouldn’t have the context or opportunity to engage with,” said Jake Levin, chief operating officer of Shared Studios. “We expected people to stay in for five minutes, and they ended up staying for 45 minutes or longer and having really powerful conversations, so it kind of grew from there.”


    Richmond’s portal, Shared Studios’ 41st, was installed in mid-January in Monroe Park. The news spread by word of mouth, Massie said. Virginia Commonwealth University, which surrounds the park, provided a strong server to help deliver the clearest and most responsive experience possible.

    “What I was surprised about was how much people were willing to do for it,” Massie said.


    The portal is privately funded for a year. Local organizers are reaching out to potential sponsors to keep it in the city after January 2020. It will remain in Monroe Park until May 1 and then head to another area of the city.


    “One of the ideas was moving it to a neighborhood that doesn’t have a lot of experiences during the summer,” Massie said. “You have kids in summer school and in camps. What if they got the chance to interact?”


    Massie hopes the project will help promote the city across the nation and around the world. “We want people to know Richmond beyond Virginia and the East Coast,” she said.


    The portal is an opportunity for Richmond residents to share their thoughts with people elsewhere.


    “It’s not only importing things from the world to inspire us, but also what are we going to export?” said Karen Manning, who serves as a portal ambassador, communicating with other portals, organizing events and helping people use the device.


    From sharing urban garden tips with people in Los Angeles to jazz musicians jamming with Appalachian musicians, the portal transports locals for a moment in time. By walking into a container and talking to a stranger, they come back from the exchange with more cultural knowledge.


    “It’s all about understanding how similar people can be,” said Taylor Logue, another Richmond portal ambassador.


    “You can talk with someone you have nothing in common with culturally and still very quickly get to a meaningful conversation,” Logue said.


    Those conversations can break down barriers, said Sanaz Habibi, the curator for the portal in Stockholm, Sweden.


    “Even with different socio-political atmospheres, we’re still struggling with the same issues,” Habibi said.


    Shared Studios’ next step is to make the portals portable. Manning said the company hopes to develop a way to bring the devices -- perhaps on trucks or as inflatable portals -- to remote areas.

  56. Green Book Helped Black Travelers Navigate Racist Terrain

    By Kaytlin Nickens, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND — The Oscar-winning film “Green Book” has spurred interest in the original Negro Motorist Guide that many African-Americans consulted when traveling in the South during the Jim Crow era. Virginia, and especially Richmond, played a key role in the book’s development.

    The movie depicts the African-American pianist Don Shirley’s concert tour in 1962 in the Deep South and the friendship that developed between Shirley and his cab driver, Tony Lip. The movie ends with Shirley giving Lip a copy of the Negro Motorist Guide: Green Book.

    The guidebook was first published in 1936 by Victor Hugo Green, a postal carrier in the Harlem section of New York. Green’s wife, Alma Duke, was from Richmond. Green was inspired to write the book in part by the discrimination he and his wife faced on trips to her racially segregated hometown.

    “With Green’s wife being from Virginia, he decided to make trips less humiliating and reached out to fellow mailmen all over the country,” Calvin Alexander Ramsey, an author and playwright who has done extensive research on the subject, told The New York Times in 2015.

    Green knew the risks African-American travelers faced when entering a “whites only” establishment. So with information gathered from fellow postal workers and other sources, Green put together his guidebook.

    “The idea of the Green Book is to give the Negro traveler information that will keep him from running into difficulties, embarrassments and to make his trips more enjoyable,” Green wrote.

    For Virginia, the 1938 issue of the Green Book listed more than 50 hotels, tourist homes, restaurants, beauty parlors and other businesses that welcomed African-Americans.

    Ten of those establishments were in Richmond. One was the YWCA, built in 1914. The organization has worked to help families in Richmond during a time when racism and segregation prevailed.

    The YWCA is still on Fifth Street in Richmond, but many of the local establishments listed in the Green Book are gone.

    Only a third of the travel guide’s sites still exist, according to the Smithsonian Channel, which has produced a documentary about the book.

    In the documentary, Dr. Henrie Monteith Treadwell, a civil rights activist, said Green’s travel guide reflected a significant and troubling time in U.S. history when many businesses openly discriminated against African-Americans.

    “It’s important to have everyone in this nation examine the significance of the Green Book,” Treadwell said. “If you don’t see the history, if you don’t see where it was, how can you say it happened?”

    The Smithsonian Channel produced the documentary because of popular interest in the “Green Book” movie and the controversy it has raised. Although the film won an Oscar and Golden Globe for best picture, many critics say it contains factual inaccuracies and unjustly tells the story from a white person’s point of view.

    The documentary can provide historical perspective on the actual Green Book, said David Royle, the Smithsonian Channel’s chief programming officer. “We are proud to tell the true story behind this remarkable guide and to shine new light on this disturbing yet important period in American history.”

    He noted that before Green published his guidebook, it was hard for African-Americans to know where they could travel. African-American travelers faced widespread discrimination — and not just in the South.

    “During the first half of the 20th century, throughout Jim Crow and continuing into the era of the civil rights movement, segregation was a legal reality in the American South,” the Smithsonian Channel reported. “When African-Americans journeyed north and west, however, they encountered racism that spanned the entire country.”

    The final edition of the Green Book was published in 1966 — shortly after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibited racial discrimination in public accommodations. In earlier issues of his publication, Victor Green said he looked forward to the day when the Green Book would no longer be needed.

    “There will be a day sometime in the near future when this guide will not have to be published,” Green wrote. “That is when we as a race will have equal opportunities and privileges in the United States. It will be a great day for us to suspend this publication. For then we can go as we please without embarrassment.”

  57. Robert Jennings “Bobby” Howerton Jr.

    August 23, 1930-March 2, 2019

    Visitation Services

    Monday, March 4, 2019, 1:00 pm

    Independence United Methodist Church

    4438 Independence Church Rd., Emporia, VA, 23847

    Monday, March 4, 2019, 2:00 pm

    Independence United Methodist Church

    4438 Independence Church Rd., Emporia, VA, 23847

     

    Robert Jennings “Bobby” Howerton Jr., 88, died Saturday, March 2, 2019 at his home.

    Mr. Howerton was the son of the late Robert Jennings and Mary Howerton Sr. A native of South Boston, he retired after many years of service as an auto mechanic. Bobby was a longtime active member of Independence United Methodist Church and in his later years enjoyed cutting grass and working in his yard at home. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife, Edith Earline Phillips Howerton, and a son, Charles Michael Howerton.

    Bobby is survived by his sons; Clyde Jeffrey Howerton and his wife Katherine, Robert Wayne Howerton and his wife Mary of Chesterfield, a daughter; Linda H. Thomas and her husband Harry of Delaware, a daughter in law; Lynn Howerton, 9 grandchildren, 12  great grandchildren and his special fur baby Daisy.

    Funeral Services will be held Monday, March 4, 2019 at 2:00 P.M. at Independence United Methodist Church with Rev. Jeaux Simmons officiating. Burial will follow in the Church Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 1:00 P.M. until service time at the Church.

    In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Independence United Methodist Church, 4438 Independence Church Rd., Emporia, VA, 23847.

    Online condolences may be left at echolsfuneralhome.com.

Emporia News

Stories on Emporianews.com are be searchable, using the box above. All new stories will be tagged with the date (format YYYY-M-D or 2013-1-1) and the names of persons, places, institutions, etc. mentioned in the article. This database feature will make it easier for those people wishing to find and re-read an article.  For anyone wishing to view previous day's pages, you may click on the "Previous Day's Pages" link in the menu at the top of the page, or search by date (YYYY-M-D format) using the box above.

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