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April 2019

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  1. Could Hemp Join Tobacco as Big Cash Crop in Virginia?

    By Daniel Berti and Andrew Gionfriddo, Capital News Service

    JARRATT, Va. — At first glance, it looks like a stoner’s paradise: acres of plants that resemble marijuana. But this crop is hemp, a relative of cannabis that has commercial uses ranging from textiles and animal feed to health products.

    Officials at the Southern Virginia Hemp Co., as well as other farmers and processors of the plant, say hemp could be a big boost to the state’s agricultural sector as demand for tobacco wanes. And it just got much easier to grow hemp in the commonwealth.

    Lawmakers have amended the state’s hemp laws to match the rules in the 2018 federal farm bill passed by Congress. Virginia farmers can now grow hemp for producing cannabidiol, or CBD, a naturally occurring chemical that some say has mental and physical health benefits.

    CBD products have become popular over the past few years, with some industry analysts predicting the CBD industry will be worth $22 billion by 2022. Until now, only researchers at Virginia universities could grow hemp for making CBD.

    The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has seen a surge in grower and processor applications since Congress passed the farm bill in December. The agency expects the number of applicants to increase even more now that Virginia has amended its hemp laws to match the federal laws.

    “VDACS was not issuing registrations to processor applicants who indicated that their sole goal was to sell a hemp-derived CBD to the public,” said Erin Williams, a spokesperson for the agency. “With the 2019 amendment, I think it will clear up the gray area.”

    As of Tuesday, the department had issued 629 grower registrations and 92 processor registrations. So far, Virginia hemp growers are planning to cultivate over 2,000 acres of hemp this year.

    In Southside Virginia, where tobacco growers have been hit hard by declining sales and tariffs on their products, farmers are increasingly turning to hemp as a potential cash crop that can be grown in addition to tobacco. Southside Virginia has more registered hemp growers than any other region in the state.

    “There’s significant interest in Southside Virginia, particularly among tobacco growers who are looking to add a crop to what they’re doing,” Williams said.

    For years, several other states have allowed farmers to grow hemp for the manufacture of CBD products. But Virginia farmers were barred from doing so until lawmakers approved House Bill 1839 in February.

    Gov. Ralph Northam signed the bill into law on March 21. Thanks to an emergency clause, it took effect immediately.

    The legislation comes on the heels of the 2018 federal farm bill, which established a regulatory framework for the commercial production of hemp. HB 1839 conforms Virginia’s hemp laws to match the provisions of the federal bill.

    The Southern Virginia Hemp Co., a farm in the town of Jarratt straddling Greenville and Sussex counties, is expanding its operations to meet the demand for CBD products. The company plans to grow between 75 and 150 acres of hemp this year and aims to hire 40 additional employees to work on the farm this summer.

    Wayne Grizzard, owner of the Southern Virginia Hemp Co. and Virginia Homegrown Botanicals, said the new laws could have a positive impact for farmers across the commonwealth, especially for tobacco farmers who have been hit hard by tobacco tariffs levied against the United States by China.

    “One of my partner’s farms was for tobacco. He lost all three contracts this year because of the tariffs,” Grizzard said. “Some of the farmers have been forced to grow hemp because they don’t have anything to replace it.”

    Since colonial times, Virginia farmers — even George Washington — have planted hemp, using the fiber to make rope and other goods. Historian estimate that by the mid-18th century, Virginia had 12,000 acres cultivated for hemp. Marijuana and hemp were both banned in the 1930s under the Marihuana Tax Act, however. (And yes, that is how the law spelled marijuana.)

    Now, Grizzard, once a vegetable farmer, has converted his entire farm to hemp.

    “When we first started growing, everybody kind of turned their nose up because it’s cannabis,” Grizzard said. “Once they started realizing that everybody’s getting into it and there’s money involved, they started singing a different tune.”

    Until now, Virginia’s hemp industry has failed to keep pace with neighboring Kentucky and North Carolina. Both states have been eyeing hemp as an economic driver for several years.

    In 2019, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture approved 1,035 applications to cultivate up to 42,086 acres of industrial hemp, as well as 2.9 million square feet of greenhouse space for hemp cultivation.

    North Carolina has 634 licensed farmers growing hemp on about 8,000 acres and 3.4 million square feet of greenhouse space.

    Grizzard said the next step for hemp in Virginia is still up in the air. He said the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services must submit a plan to the U.S. Department of Agriculture “because the USDA has taken over all states’ hemp programs.”

    “As long we’re there to fight, battle and voice our opinions as farmers and business owners, we need to stick together and figure out what we need,” he said.

    Grizzard and other farmers are concerned about regulations that could stifle their production and overall business model.

    “They could come up with some crazy laws that go against everything we’re doing,” he said. “You never know — there’s always that chance.”

    One of the Southern Virginia Hemp Co.’s most popular products is hemp extract oil — cannabidiol. CBD by itself does not cause a “high,” but it has gained popularity as a treatment for a wide range of ailments.

    According to Peter Grinspoon, contributing editor of Harvard Health Publishing, CBD has been used to treat chronic pain as well as some diseases that more familiar medicines have failed to help or significantly alleviate.

    “CBD has been touted for a wide variety of health issues, but the strongest scientific evidence is for its effectiveness in treating some of the cruelest childhood epilepsy syndromes, such as Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome,” Grinspoon wrote in a blog post last year.

    “CBD is commonly used to address anxiety, and for patients who suffer through the misery of insomnia, studies suggest that CBD may help with both falling asleep and staying asleep.”

    As Grinspoon notes, a lot of the support for CBD comes from testimonials and anecdotal evidence. There has been a lack of formal medical research because CBD supplements are not approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration.

    CDB is the second most active ingredient in cannabis after tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the principal psychoactive constituent. Hemp also contains a small amount of THC — but not enough to produce a “high.”

    Marketing CBD could just be scratching the surface in regard to medicinal components of the hemp plant.

    Now that derivatives of hemp are legal, other cannabinoids besides CBD can be extracted from the plant as long they remain below the 0.3% THC threshold, Grizzard said. These other chemical extracts include cannabigerol, cannabinol and cannabichromene.

    “Every single plant we grow has a different profile. They all have different cannabinoids in them,” Grizzard said.

    “Some of them are higher in CBD; some have high CBG, CBN, CBC. There are a lot of different chemicals in that plant. There’s a lot of unknown of what these chemicals do for people.”

    The Southern Virginia Hemp Co. hopes to find whether different cannabinoids help with specific ailments. Whether a flash in the pan or the sign of a new wave of medicine, CBD and hemp products have gained popularity over the past couple of years.

    “It’s the doctors, the pharmacists, the physical therapists — they’re giving recommendations to people to take this stuff,” Grizzard said. “It’s not me.”

  2. Hate Crimes in Virginia Jump Almost by Half

    By Jayla Marie McNeill and Ben Burstein, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND — Virginia recorded more than 200 hate crimes in 2017 — up nearly 50% from the previous year, according to the latest data from the Virginia State Police.

    That surge, along with the neo-Nazi rally that left a counterprotester dead in Charlottesville two years ago, prompted state Attorney General Mark Herring to propose legislation to address the problem. However, all of the bills died in this year’s General Assembly.

    The FBI defines a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.”

    According to data from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, 7,175 hate crimes were reported across the U.S. in 2017. About 60% of those crimes were related to race, 21% to religion and 16% to sexual orientation.

    In Virginia, hate crimes jumped from 137 in 2016 to 202 the following year, according to the Virginia State Police. Virginia had more hate crimes in 2017 than during any year since 2008.

    Of the 202 hate crimes committed in 2017:

    §  89 (44%) were racially motivated

    §  44 (22%) were religiously motivated

    §  38 (19%) were related to sexual orientation,

    §  20 (10%) were related to ethnicity

    §  11 (5%) were motivated by bias against disability

    Herring has been concerned about the issue for several years. In 2016, he launched his “No Hate VA” initiative, which included creating a website and holding discussion groups across the state to address the rise in hate crimes.

    “I’m putting these ideas forward and convening these roundtables because it’s time for action,” Herring stated in a press release.

    “I will do everything I can and work with anyone who wants to ensure that all Virginians are protected from hate and violence, no matter what they look like, how they worship, where they come from, or who they love.”

    In August 2017, a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville turned deadly after James Alex Fields Jr. drove his car into a crowd of counterdemonstrators, injuring dozens of people and killing Heather Heyer. Herring then amped up his fight against hate crimes and white supremacist groups.

    In 2018 and again this year, Herring called on the General Assembly to pass laws dealing with hate crimes. His 2019 legislative agendaincluded:

    §  Updating Virginia’s definition of “hate crime” by adding gender and sexual orientation.

    §  Allowing the attorney general to prosecute hate crimes across multiple jurisdictions.

    §  Prohibiting paramilitary activity such as “drilling, parading, or marching with any firearm or explosive or incendiary device.”

    §  Banning firearms from public events.

    §  Banning firearms from individuals who have been convicted of a hate crime.

    Virginia defines a hate crime as “any legal act directed against any persons or property because of those persons’ race, religion or national origin.”

    Unlike the federal definition, Virginia’s definition of a hate crime does not include gender, sexual orientation or gender identity. (In its annual statistics, the Virginia State Police categorize offenses according to the federal definition.)

    Legislation to expand Virginia’s definition of a hate crime was carried by Sen. Barbara Favola, D-Arlington. SB 1375 was killed in the Senate Courts of Justice Committee on an 8-6 party-line vote, with Republicans voting against the bill.

    Democratic Sens. Louise Lucas of Portsmouth and Creigh Deeds of Bath County sponsored the legislation to prohibit paramilitary activity.SB 1210 sought to charge individuals with a Class 5 felony if “a person is guilty of unlawful paramilitary activity if such person assembles with another person with the intent of intimidating any person or group of persons by drilling, parading, or marching with any firearm or explosive or incendiary device or any components or combination thereof.”

    The bill cleared the Senate Courts of Justice Committee on a 7-6 vote but died in the Senate Finance Committee.

    In all, 10 bills before the General Assembly this year attempted to address hate crimes. Seven of the bills were defeated in the House of Delegates and three in the Senate.

    For example, two identical bills were introduced to let local governments prohibit firearms at public events: HB 1956 by Del. David Toscano, D-Charlottesville, and SB 1473 by Deeds. Both measures aimed to authorize “any locality by ordinance to prohibit the possession or carrying of firearms, ammunition, or components or any combination thereof in a public space during a permitted event or an event that would otherwise require a permit.”

    Both bills died in their chamber of origin.

    Despite the lack of legislative action, advocacy groups across Virginia are working to help victims of hate crimes. Assistance ranges from counseling to lawyer referrals.

    Herring’s “No Hate VA” includes resources for victims of hate crimes as well as advice on how to report a crime.

    The website encourages victims to immediately report hate crimes to the police and to their local FBI office. The FBI has an online form at https://tips.fbi.gov

    A Run-in with Hate: One Man’s Story

    What started as a normal evening hanging out with friends took a quick turn for Richmond resident Phillip Sampson. As Sampson was walking down the street with a friend, a stranger approached. Sampson, who describes himself as having an outgoing personality, went to greet the passerby with a friendly “Hello!”

    Before the words came out, Sampson was struck across the chest with a fist to his shoulder, knocking him back, while slurs were shouted at him.

    “Expletives start flying out, and he starts cursing at me and yelling, and I’m like ‘what is going on?’” Sampson said.

    The individual, who Sampson later found out is his friend’s brother, continued to yell at him and his friend before trying to break into the friend’s car. Still in shock over the situation, Sampson went to sit in his car and wait for the police to arrive.

    Sampson identifies as gay and believes that was the motive behind the incidents. Having never been in this type of situation before, he was relieved when police arrived within minutes.

    He said the two officers who arrived handled the situation professionally and took time to make sure he was OK. After telling the police what happened, Sampson said he was surprised by the compassion and genuine concern expressed by the officers.

    “They walked me through what my options were and provided contact information so that I could reach out if I needed anything,” Sampson said.

    He considers himself lucky that he was not seriously hurt but feels others in similar situations might not be as fortunate.

    Sampson said that he did not need to utilize any victim resources, but he is glad to know that they are available to others.

    “I was happy to see what was available to me had I needed them,” he said. “It’s comforting to know that there is help out there for those who really need it.”

  3. White Supremacy Movements Spark Rise In Religion-based Hate

    By Saffeya Ahmed, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND — Vandals spray-painted 19 swastikas on the walls of the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia last October. A young woman leaving a mosque with her friends in Sterling, Virginia, after nightly prayers in the summer of 2017 was raped and killed. Someone scrawled “F*** God & Allah” across a Farmville mosque in October 2017. Later that year, a Fairfax teacher pulled off a Muslim student’s hijab in front of her class.

    “These events aren’t isolated,” said Samuel J. West, a doctoral student of social psychology and neuroscience at Virginia Commonwealth University. “They’re happening in conjunction with a well-documented rise of activity of the white power movement and white supremacist organizations.”

    In Virginia, hate crimes include illegal, criminal or violent acts committed against a person or property on the basis of race, religion or ethnicity. But often, such offenses are not classified as hate crimes. Because it’s hard to assess intent, it’s rare to be charged with a hate crime.

    “The bar is pretty high for that conviction of ‘hate crime,’” said West, whose research focuses on the development of aggressive behavior across populations. “You not only have to be proven guilty of intent, but you also have to be proven of a specific kind of intent … not only are you the one who attacked them, you attacked them because they’re queer or black or Muslim.”

    Tangible forms of intent for religiously based hate crimes can be anything from social media posts expressing hatred for the specific targeted group to verbal slurs yelled when committing the hate crime.

    But if intent can’t be proved, offenses that may involve bias aren’t considered hate crimes. A case in point: In Chapel Hill, North Carolina, in 2015, three Muslims were shot dead by a white man in their apartment over an argument about a parking spot in the complex. The case was classified as a parking dispute.

    West said classifying acts like the Chapel Hill shooting as a parking dispute are a reflection of the nation’s judiciary system.

    “The U.S. legal system is absolutely created by white men,” West said. “And it certainly makes sense that it would favor them, especially in these cases.”

    Because of how hard it is to prove intent, several episodes of religiously motivated violence are often labeled “bias incidents” by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim advocacy group that collects data on religiously motivated hate actions and crimes.

    “Not only are incidents like those increasing, but the violent nature of those incidents is also increasing,” said Zainab Arain, CAIR research and advocacy manager.

    In its 2018 Civil Rights Report, CAIR found nearly 2,600 anti-Muslim-based bias incidents in 2017 — a 17% increase from the previous year. Almost half of those took place within the first three months of the year.

    That rise parallels a 23% national increase in religiously motivated hate crimes against any religious group — the second-highest number of hate crimes based on religion. The highest number of religiously motivated hate crimes was recorded in 2001, following the 9/11 attacks.

    Virginia State Police recorded 44 religion-based hate crimes in 2017, the latest year for which data are available. That was almost double the 23 religion-based hate crime the previous year.

    Of the 44 offenses in 2017, half were anti-Jewish, and eight were classified as anti-Muslim. White men were the largest group of offenders for all hate crimes in Virginia.

    Arain said the number of hate crimes is likely higher than what reports show for two reasons: underreporting due to fear of retaliation and inaccuracy of FBI data.

    “The FBI does collect it only from law enforcement agencies, and law enforcement agencies are not required to report it to the FBI,” Arain said. “Many law enforcement agencies don’t event collect hate crime data in their own municipalities.”

    As hate crimes and bias incidents on the basis of religion sharply increase, Arain said, a few factors are at play.

    “This across-the-board rise in nativist movements is playing a role in increasing religious discrimination and religious-based hate crimes,” she said, mentioning a slew of nativist campaigns around the world, including the Chinese cleansing of Uighur Muslims.

    When it comes to the U.S., Arain said she considers President Donald Trump a “white supremacist.” She said his election has contributed to rising hate.

    “That emboldens people who share the same beliefs or ideas and have similar biases and prejudices to act out on their ideas and commit and perpetrate these hate crimes targeting various religious minorities,” she said.

    In conjunction with rising hate-fueled violence, domestic hate groups have also increased. There are more than 1,000 hate groups in the U.S. — the most the nation has seen more than in two decades — according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Thirty-nine of those groups call Virginia home.

    West called these groups “terrorist organizations.”

    Hate crimes and acts of terror do overlap. There is, however, one characteristic that separates the two.

    “A hate crime doesn’t have to be politically motivated,” said David Webber, assistant professor in VCU’s Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs. “But an act of terrorism does.”

    While there isn’t a standard definition of “terrorism,” the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations defines it as “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.” Recent incidents like the mosque attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand, and the church bombings in Sri Lanka are classified as acts of terror since they were fueled by political motives.

    Hate crimes are also punishable by law, while domestic acts of terror are not. International acts of terror in the U.S. or by U.S. citizens, however, are punishable under U.S. law — for example, pledging allegiance to ISIS or al-Shabaab.

    Webber referenced the car attack at the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville as an example of domestic terrorism labeled and punished as a different crime. An avowed neo-Nazi, James Alex Fields Jr. was convicted of murder for driving into a group of counterprotesters and killing Heather Heyer.

    “When he used his car to kill that person in Charlottesville, he was never charged with an act of terrorism,” Webber said. “Even though by a definition of terrorism, he was involved in an act of political violence for political reasons, and he killed someone for it. We call that an act of terrorism.”

    But since acts of domestic terrorism aren’t punishable by law in the U.S., Webber said, Fields was charged with a hate crime. On March 27, Fields pleaded guilty to 29 counts of hate crimes — one resulting in Heyer’s death and 28 in connection with injuries to other people.

    Both hate crimes and acts of terror are forms of aggression. But aggression is not always expressed as physical violence.

    “There are many forms of aggression,” said West, a doctoral student who researches the topic. “You’ve got your run-of-the-mill physical violence, your verbal aggression … then you get into ‘mark your territory’ with things like instrumental violence or relational violence.”

    Simple examples of instrumental violence on the basis of religion would be vandalizing the side of a mosque or defacing a Jewish cemetery.

    “Most people are not very violent and don’t really like to be unless someone has provoked them or attacked them or offended them in some way,” West said. “That phenomena (of violence and aggression) is one that is so inconsistent with much of human nature.”

    But there are reasons why people are drawn to acting out aggressively.

    Webber, who researches violent extremism, identifies three key factors why individuals are drawn toward extreme violence and hate-fueled aggression: needs, narratives and networks — “the three N’s” as he calls them.

    “People become extremists because they’re striving to fulfill an important psychological need that is universal for all of us,” he said. “The need to feel significant, to feel like you’re valued, to feel like you’re respected.”

    Webber said people drawn to extreme violence — whether it be a hate crime, terrorist attack or another form — see an aspect of “heroism” in their actions. This is amplified by the ease of creating communities through social media, he said.

    “You used to have to meet with people secretly, talk to them or they have to find a poster on the street,” Webber said. “Now, they can log online and see everything. It expands your reach, the potential recruitment pool that you have. You can put information up and people can read it instantly. And you can draw people into a cause really quickly.”

    Recruitment for hate groups outside of social media still exists. White supremacist propaganda — in the form of leaflets handed out on college campuses, flyers, rallies and other events — increased 182% in 2018, according to research conducted by the Anti-Defamation League.

    Adding to the hate targeted at specific religious groups is how news outlets portray members of these communities.

    “A large contributing factor is likely the negative coverage in the media of certain religious groups,” said Raha Batts, imam of Masjid Ash-Shura in Norfolk, Virginia.

    Batts said Western media outlets portray Islam as a “religion of terror.”

    West said media bias likely plays a significant role in the dehumanizing of certain outgroups.

    “Individuals of different races are treated much differently by the news media,” he said. “A more heinous crime could be committed by a white person, and those [news] articles often are quick to refer to mental illness as being the primary motivation or a primary factor at play.”

    But if the perpetrators of violence are non-white, the media raise the specter of terrorism and ties to extremist groups, West said.

    Batts is no stranger to bias incidents. A few years ago, he and his family stayed in a hotel in Norfolk before moving to the area permanently. After checking into the hotel, his wife passed a group of men who Batts said had been drinking outside of the building.

    “One of them was terribly angry at just the sight of my wife,” Batts said. His wife dresses in niqab, a full-length veil that covers her face. “He began acting kind of erratic. He had a beer bottle, and he slammed the beer bottle on the ground.”

    The other men stopped him from approaching his wife, Batts said. But she felt the hostility.

    “They were military guys, and they served in Afghanistan together,” Batts said. “This particular person, he had a problem with Muslims.”

    Batts said negative media coverage played a role in the bias incident he and his wife experienced.

    “I spoke to the young man for some time,” Batts said. “Just explained to him that we’re not terrorists, we’re not anti-America. We’re not your enemy.”

    Other faith leaders have recognized the spike in hate crimes and acts of terror against their communities.

    “Hate crimes have always committed against us; it’s just a fact of being a Jew,” said Rabbi David Spinrad of the Beth El Hebrew Congregation in Alexandria, Virginia. “It’s not a new phenomenon.”

    Nearly 60% of hate crimes perpetrated across the U.S. in 2017 were anti-Jewish, according to a report by the Anti-Defamation League. Between 2016 and 2017, anti-Jewish hate crimes rose by 57%.

    On Saturday, authorities said, a man with an assault rifle opened fire in a synagogue in a suburb of San Diego, California, killing one person and wounding three. The man has also been charged with arson at a nearby mosque.

    Spinrad said interfaith dialogue and solidarity is the best combatant to rising hate.

    “This is big — this has so much momentum,” Spinrad said. “The importance of the relationship of American Jews and American Muslims … I can’t overstate that it is huge. They’re coming for you, and they’re coming for me.”

    Amid negative news coverage of the Muslim community, Batts echoed Spinrad’s thoughts on interfaith dialogue and building community.

    “It’s our job,” Batts said. “We can coexist with one another, and we can work together. There will be certain things that you believe that I don’t necessarily believe. But we can still be good to one another, we can still be kind to one another. We all have the same goals in mind.”

  4. Community College Philanthropists Honored with 2019 Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy

    Joining Microsoft representative, Anthony Putorek, Senior Lead Workforce Development Program Manager, at the Leadership in Philanthropy Luncheon were (left to right), Kelly Arnold, SVCC Apprenticeship Coordinator, Dr. Al Roberts, SVCC President, Dr. Glenn DuBois, VCCS Chancellor, Mr. Putorek, Jeanette Putorek and Dr. Chad Patton, SVCC Dean of Career & Occupational Technology.

    Richmond – The Virginia Community College System and Chancellor Glenn DuBois has presented Microsoft represented by Anthony Putorek, Senior Lead Workforce Development Program Manager,  of Boydton, Virginia, with the 14th Annual Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy. Microsoft was nominated for the award by Southside Virginia Community College.

    Mr. Putorek was recognized along with two dozen other individuals, families, and businesses from around Virginia for their exceptional support of Virginia’s Community Colleges. The awards were presented at a luncheon sponsored by the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education in Richmond on Tuesday, April 16th, 2019. As part of the award, each college will be given funds for the Commonwealth Legacy Scholarship, to be named in honor of the college’s 2019 Chancellor’s Award recipient.

    Now in its 14th year, the Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy recognizes outstanding leaders who have helped support Virginia’s Community Colleges and their respective foundations. This year, among those to be honored are four members of VCCS faculty, all of whom have made contributions that have helped their colleges and their students grow. This year’s class of distinguished philanthropy leaders has contributed a combined total of more than $18 million dollars to Virginia’s Community Colleges.

    Microsoft’s corporate mission is to empower every person and organization to achieve more.  SVCC is a direct benefactor of the company’s efforts through a partnership that includes the donation of data center equipment, the establishment of a scholarship program, and ongoing externships for students.

    According to SVCC president Dr. Al Roberts, “This relationship with Microsoft has become a driving force for SVCC’s fastest growing information technology program.  Microsoft’s generosity extends beyond hardware and financial donations to include personal interest in student success.  The company’s employees tutor, coach, advise, and mentor, fulfilling their mission in our community.”

     

     

    Donald Graham, keynote speaker and Chairman of the Board at Graham Holdings Company and Co-Founder of TheDream.US, spoke about the importance of Virginia’s Community Colleges and the ways that the philanthropists have contributed to the Commonwealth.

    “We are in this room today to tell you, whether you work for one of the colleges or have given to one of the colleges, that what you are doing is absolutely right,” Graham said during his remarks. “I am so proud of this crowd for what you’re doing, and I hope you are proud of yourselves and your fellow donors and of the leaders and teachers at the community colleges you serve.

    Recipients of the 2019 Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy:

     

    • BLUE RIDGE: Dr. and Mrs. Kenneth D. Bowman
    • CENTRAL VIRGINIA: Donna Schewel Clark Charitable Lead Annuity Trust
    • DABNEY S. LANCASTER: Stephen and Donna Vaughn
    • DANVILLE: Danville Kiwanis Club Foundation, Lions Club of Danville Foundation
    • EASTERN SHORE: Tom and Page Young*
    • GERMANNA: Mary Jane Pitts O’Neill
    • J SARGEANT REYNOLDS: Mitchell F. Haddon and Sabine Neumann
    • JOHN TYLER: Amsted Industries
    • LORD FAIRFAX: The Jenkins Family – Russell, Elta Rae, Rodney and Karen
    • MOUNTAIN EMPIRE: Ralph T. and Shirley M. Fisher
    • NEW RIVER: Dr. and Mrs. Lee Wheeler
    • NORTHERN VIRGINIA: Dr. Glenn Fatzinger
    • PATRICK HENRY: The Harvest Foundation
    • PAUL D CAMP: Charles R. Henderson, Jr., Bank of America Foundation     
    • PIEDMONT: H. Gordon* and Mary Beth Smyth
    • RAPPAHANNOCK: Rick and Sue Farmar
    • SOUTHSIDE VA: Microsoft                               
    • SOUTHWEST VA: Mary W. Lawson
    • THOMAS NELSON: Newport News Shipbuilding
    • TIDEWATER: Stanley Black & Decker
    • VIRGINIA HIGHLANDS: David and Schéry Collins
    • VIRGINIA WESTERN: Maury and Shiela Strauss Family
    • WYTHEVILLE:  Floyd and Hilda Jonas
    • VFCCE: The Petters Family Foundation

     

    *honored posthumously

    •  
  5. William E. Ivey, III

    Visitation Memorial Service

    Saturday May 4, 2019, 2:00 pm

    J. M. WHITE FUNERAL HOME

    60 Zeb Robinson Rd

    Henderson, N. C. 27536

     

    Saturday May 4, 2019, 1:00 pm

    J. M. WHITE FUNERAL HOME

    60 Zeb Robinson Rd

    Henderson, N. C. 27536

    HENDERSON-William Edward Ivey, III, age 37, a resident of 140 Dabney Woods Lane, passed away on Thursday, April 25, 2019.  Born on May 8, 1981 in Petersburg, VA, he was the son of William Edward "Buck" Ivey, Jr. of Emporia, VA and Sherry Taylor Fraunfelter of Jarratt, VA.  He proudly served his country in the United States Army serving in Korea and Iraq.   He was a Correctional Officer at the Federal Bureau of Prisons in Butner. Will was a devoted husband and father, loved to travel, and was an avid bow hunter and fisherman.

    A memorial service will be held Saturday, May 4, 2019 at 2 pm in the J. M. White Funeral Home Chapel by Pastor Ken Thrasher.

    He is survived by his wife, Shannon Lucy Ivey of the home; his daughter, Kristen Michele Ivey of the home; one sister, Melissa Harrison of Jarratt, VA ; his step-mother, Anita Ivey of Emporia, VA; two step sisters, Kelli Powell of Skippers, VA and Amanda Temple of Emporia, VA and families; several nieces and nephews; his father-in-law,

    David Lucy of Dolphin, VA; mother-in-law, Sandra Griffin of Blackstone, VA; brother-in-law Shawn Lucy of Emporia, VA; sister-in-law, Crystal Redd of Coats, NC and families; and special friends, Daniel Thrasher and Steve Lewis.   

    The family will receive friends prior to the service on Saturday from 1 until 2 pm and immediately following the service at J. M. White Funeral Home.  At other times they will be at the home.

    In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Wounded Warrior Project, PO Box 758517, Topeka, Kansas, 666-75-8517.

  6. CSI: Career Scene Investigation 2019

    Special Summer Camp for Middle School Students

    South Hill—No, we’re not investigating crime scenes, we’re exploring the world of health care.  Area Middle School students in Mecklenburg, Lunenburg and Brunswick Counties will have the opportunity to attend a unique program at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital in South Hill that will introduce them to a broad range of health careers.

    A special, one-week, summer camp has been planned for the last week in July entitled, “CSI: Career Scene Investigation” and will focus on the many exciting career opportunities that are available in health care.  Partnering with Southside Virginia Community College, and thanks to VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital, fifteen middle school students who have an interest in a health career will be chosen to attend this summer health care camp during the week of July 29 to August 2.  

    The camp will be offered at no charge to students.  During this week-long camp, students will spend time with staff from many clinical areas and have “hands-on” opportunities.  They will learn how to apply casts and splints, take x-rays, learn about monitoring the heart, spend time in the Emergency Department, dress in scrubs and see the Operating Rooms, learn how to suture, work with Rehabilitation therapists and much, much more!  The week will be fun, interactive, and exciting for the students and VCU CMH staff.

    “We are very pleased to offer to area students this excellent opportunity to learn about the world of healthcare,” said Hazel Willis, RN, BSN, Education Department Manager for VCU-CMH.  “The program will offer a variety of activities that will allow students to observe and interact with health care professionals in their work environment and gain valuable insight into health care careers.  We want to provide a positive learning experience for students and encourage teens to explore health care careers.”

    According to Mrs. Willis, health care careers are the fastest growing, and will be the most in demand careers for the future. Rapid technological and scientific advances in the medical field, along with a large aging population, have created high demand for health care professionals.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the growth rate of new jobs in the health care professions will be twice the rate of job growth in non-healthcare professions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also predicts a need for 5.3 million health care workers to fill job openings created by departures and new positions in the next five years.

    During the middle school years is the ideal time to reach students and introduce them to career ideas so they can begin to plan a curriculum that includes the necessary sciences and other required courses.

    A total of fifteen students from the Middle Schools with at least a C average will be selected to attend the camp from applications that include a short essay about why they want to attend the camp, and from teacher/guidance counselor recommendations.  Breakfast and lunch will be provided daily for the students.  Transportation to and from VCU Health -CMH will be the responsibility of the student’s parents.  Students will receive a backpack with supplies and a CSI: Career Scene Investigation T-shirt.  Parents will be invited to attend a special graduation ceremony at the conclusion of the week.

    Applications for the camp may be obtained through each school’s guidance counselor or online at www.vcu-cmh.org.  For more information, or for an application, please call Hazel Willis in the Education Department at CMH at (434) 584-5438. 

  7. Demystifying Munchausen’s Syndrome by Proxy

    By Serena Fischer, Capital News Service

    Recent programs such as Hulu’s “The Act” and the HBO documentary “Mommy Dead and Dearest” have introduced audiences to a dangerous and often overlooked phenomenon: Munchausen’s syndrome by proxy.

    It is a mental health problem in which a caregiver causes an illness or injury to a vulnerable person – often a child. The disorder is difficult to diagnose and treat. Here are key facts about Munchausen syndrome by proxy, or MSBP.

    What is it?

    The symptoms of MSBP manifest as child or elder abuse, depending on the circumstances. Officials at the National Institutes of Health describe MSBP as “a special form of child abuse in which an adult repeatedly produces symptoms of illness in a person under his/her care.”

    Health professionals distinguish MSBP from Munchausen syndrome, a condition in which people intentionally harm themselves or purposely self-induce illness to satisfy a desire to be cared for. With MSBP, the perpetrator (often a mother) will inflict such symptoms on a child or elder as a way to inspire sympathy from others.

    The methods used to garner such attention from others can range from simple lies about an illness to actual physical harm — even poisoning — of the victim.

    Health officials say the victim may have been initially healthy but face the risk of becoming seriously ill or even dying in the care of someone with MSBP.

    Studies cited by the NIH report a mortality rate between 6% and 10% for MSBP victims, making it one of the “most lethal forms of abuse.”

    The current medical term for such an illness is Factitious Disorder Imposed on Another, although it is more commonly referred to as MSBP. The phenomenon is relatively rare in the U.S. — making up just 1,000 of the approximately 2.5 million cases of child abuse reported annually.

    Health experts said it is notoriously difficult to identify and properly treat Munchausen’s syndrome by proxy. People with the disorder are known to be great liars and master manipulators.

    One method they use is to alter medical tests and results to make it seem as if the person in their care is sicker than they truly are. People with MSBP can get away with this, health experts say, because they often are familiar with medical terms and concepts.

    This could explain why many cases of abuse caused by people with MSBP can go undetected by medical staff and law enforcement for long periods of time.

    Online organizations such as the Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy Survivor Support and Awareness Group on Facebook provide those affected by MSBP with a community to vent and to heal.

    Cases in Virginia

    Two cases of MSBP involving young mothers in Virginia have been publicized in recent years. In both instances, the perpetrator was arrested on child abuse charges.

    One case involved a 23-year-old woman whose 3-year-old son was being treated in 2016 at the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters in Norfolk for “ongoing medical issues.”

    The woman was arrested after video surveillance from her son’s room showed the young mother allegedly detaching medical equipment being used to give the boy vital medicine. The judge overseeing her case said there was reason to believe the woman gave doctors false information about her child’s medical records.

    Earlier this year, 29-year-old Elizabeth Malone admitted to purposely poisoning her 5-year-old son with syringes of her own blood while he was being treated at Inova Fairfax Hospital last spring. She said she did so because she “liked the way staff responded to him once he was bleeding.” Video footage from a security camera shows Malone injecting blood into her son’s IV line and tracheostomy tube.

    Had she not been caught, according to doctors, it is likely that her child would have died from the injections, which resulted in high fevers and infections. Malone, who has two other children, will be sentenced in July.

    Gypsy Rose Blanchard: Stranger than Fiction

    Such an illness may seem too bizarre to be true, but the disorder can result in major consequences, for both the caregiver and patient. No case may demonstrate this better than the conviction of Gypsy Rose Blanchard for the murder of her mother Dee Dee.

    The Blanchards, who lived in Greene County, Missouri, were the subject of “The Act” and “Mommy Dead and Dearest.”

    Dee Dee Blanchard’s MSBP was reportedly so severe that she forced her daughter Gypsy to use a wheelchair, despite knowing that the girl could walk without difficulty.

    Dee Dee lied to Gypsy about her age, telling her she was 14 when she was actually 18 or 19. She also told doctors Gypsy had the mental capacity of a 7-year-old. This allowed the mother to keep Gypsy under her control for as long as possible.

    Dee Dee reportedly used manipulation and medical jargon to keep her daughter powerless. She shaved Gypsy’s head and told her, and others, that she had leukemia. As a young girl, Gypsy’s salivary glands were removed at the insistence of her mother, and the child required a feeding tube.

    Dee Dee also made Gypsy use a breathing machine while she slept. This combination of feigned illnesses rendered Gypsy a hostage in her own home.

    After conspiring with a man she met online named Nicholas Godejohn, the two came up with a plan to murder Dee Dee. Godejohn stabbed Dee Dee to death before the pair fled to his Wisconsin home and were soon tracked down by the police.

    Godejohn was found guilty of first-degree murder in 2018. He will spend the rest of his life in prison.

    Gypsy pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in 2016. She was sentenced to 10 years in prison and will be eligible for parole in 2024.

  8. 6 Businesses Win Funds to Address Coastal Flooding

    By Kal Weinstein and Owen FitzGerald, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND — Six businesses will receive $1.5 million in funding as part of the first RISE Coastal Community Resilience Challenge.

    With the winning funds, the businesses will create innovative technologies, services and workforce development programs to help communities along Virginia’s coastlines adapt to impending climate change.

    The winners, which will receive between $160,000 and $310,000, were chosen from a pool of 51 applicants, Gov. Ralph Northam announced last week.

    “As we continue to look at new ways to address the growing challenge of extreme weather events and sea level rise,” Northam said, “these six businesses will be leading the charge to develop, test and demonstrate cutting-edge products and tangible solutions to improve the resilience of our coastal communities and mitigate the growing risks to Virginians, especially in our Hampton Roads region.”

    In 2017, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded Virginia $120.5 million through the National Disaster Resilience Competition for solutions to combat sea-level rise in the Hampton Roads region. From that award, HUD provided $5.25 for the creation of RISE, a Norfolk-based nonprofit that provides resources and practical solutions for businesses in coastal communities.

    The Coastal Community Resilience Challenge is the first initiative created by RISE. It received $1.5 million from the Resilience Innovation Fund.

    RISE’s executive director, Paul Robinson, understands the magnitude of the work the organization is doing.

    “Massive infrastructure projects take years and billions of dollars,” Robinson said. “By developing the Hampton Roads region as a hub of resilience innovation for entrepreneurs, we can accelerate investment in affordable and scalable solutions and establish Hampton Roads as ground zero for the resilience economy.”

    Last November, Northam issued an executive order aimed at improving Virginia’s resilience to sea-level rise. It seeks to limit the harmful impacts of flooding, extreme weather events and wildfires.

    Virginia officials have called the executive order one of the most significant actions by any state to improve resilience and provide protection and relief for natural disasters.

    Adm. Ann Phillips, a special assistant to the governor for coastal adaptation and protection, praised the efforts of the RISE organization.

    “Thanks to the hard work and success of RISE, these six entrepreneurs bring creative solutions across a range of today’s needs for our coastal communities, which will help make us more resilient as we prepare for our climate-changed future,” Phillips said.

    RISE will continue to work with the six businesses, two of which will relocate from out of state to the Hampton Roads area.

    The winners of the Coastal Community Resilience Challenge are:

    • Building Resilience Solutions, which will work on alternative flood resilience retrofit methods for older and historic structures against various flooding conditions.
    • Constructis Energy, which will facilitate the patenting of technology that harnesses kinetic energy from traffic to provide power to services that clear flooded roadways.
    • GROW Oyster Reefs, which will work on oyster reef restoration. This would improve the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay and help combat flooding by creating an organic seawall.
    • InfraSGA, which will build urban retrofit bio-retention systems that will decrease stormwater flooding while reducing design, construction, operation and maintenance costs.
    • Landscape Resilience Partnership, which will expedite the adoption of green infrastructure through the growth of its workforce training program. Its goal is ensuring that Hampton Roads has a network of skilled workers to design, install and maintain nature-based solutions.
    • Resilient Enterprise Solutions, which will provide financing, insurance and home-raising as a single source. In addition, the company will establish the Home Raising Training Academy in Hampton Roads.

    More information about the winners and the next competition cycle can be found at www.riseresilience.org.

  9. "Pass the Patience"

    Now patience hath no young boy
    at least so I've been told
    yet patience may be the last remain
    when like me; you do get old.
     
    Yes patience for at least to try
    doing things you done well before
    then there's patience just to move around
    for it now takes a while more.
     
    Patience with all of your friendships
    for those once close; may now seem strange
    yes during the length of time gone by
    some of them did also change.
     
    Have patience with your aches and pains
    that may follow you each day
    your strength and body of the past
    has no quarantee to stay.
     
    Always be patient with those around you
    for the most don't understand
    yet one day they'll be in your boat
    and rowing with one hand.
     
                             - Roy E. Schepp
  10. Virginia Coastal Towns Brace for Rising Sea Level

    By Kal Weinstein and Owen FitzGerald, Capital News Service

    WACHAPREAGUE, Va. — The tide is high, but this seaside town is holding on.

    As the owner and operator of Seaside Eco-tours, Capt. Meriwether Payne ferries passengers from the Wachapreague Town Marina to the barrier islands just beyond the marshes of the shoreline village. The nature surrounding Virginia’s Eastern Shore is the heart of her business, but the rising sea level and the resulting increase in coastal flooding are threatening Payne’s excursions.

    “There seems to be more and more days when we have to walk through water to get to the dock or have to move to a dock other than the town marina to pick up customers,” Payne said.

    The Nature Conservancy of Virginia hosted a community event last month to discuss the impacts of sea-level rise in Accomack County, which encompasses the northern half of Virginia’s Eastern Shore and the approximately 200 residents of Wachapreague. At the meeting, Payne said it’s difficult getting customers to her boat during high tide.

    Residents heard from the Accomack-Northampton Planning District Commission and staff from the Nature Conservancy, who spoke about planning for and responding to climate change. However, some on the Eastern Shore are skeptical about the severity of the issue.

    “You will find that there are a large percentage of people on the shore that do not think anything is going to affect them in their lifetime — particularly older folks,” Payne said.

    The effects of these environmental hazards are apparent more than ever on Tangier Island, which sits in the Chesapeake Bay. It has lost 67 percent of its landmass since 1850, with much of the remaining landmass expected to be underwater within the next 50 years, forcing residents to abandon their homes.

    Cedar Island, in the Atlantic Ocean just off the coast of Wachapreague, is one of many barrier islands guarding the coasts of Virginia. It is a frequent destination on Payne’s tours.

    For decades, the island housed dozens of residents who built homes on the land. But like Tangier, the sea slowly claimed the beaches and surrounding marshland. Some homes were lost as well. Other homeowners took it upon themselves to uproot their houses and move them inland where they would be safe. The last house was removed from the island in 2015.

    Also residing in Wachapreague is the Eastern Shore Laboratory of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. The lab acts as a station for teaching as well as a site for research. While it exists primarily to study coastal ecology and marine life, the scientists there are well aware of the changes going on around them.

    Richard Snyder, the lab’s director and an Eastern Shore resident, said the rise in sea level is nothing new for coastal areas of Virginia.

    “Sea level has never been static. It’s always been going up and down,” Snyder said. “Now, it’s just matter of how well we adapt to it.”

    The institute is changing in response to the rise in sea level, much like the residents of Cedar Island. They’re in the beginning stages of a building campaign that would move a number of administrative and research buildings inland to an area known as the “Wachapreague Highlands” because it is slightly more elevated than the surrounding area. Other buildings will be lifted and placed on stilts so they can withstand flooding that threatens their foundations.

    In 2012, VIMS completed the new Seawater Laboratory in Wachapreague. With an eye toward the future, the lab was built to withstand a 13-foot storm surge. Snyder said it’s the safest building in hundreds of miles during a flood.

    Snyder acknowledged that building and development in areas that are likely to be affected by flooding and sea-level rise are still occurring at an alarming rate. While some people are preparing for the worst, others are not as mindful.

    “We need to be planning, and we need to be addressing these issues,” Snyder said. “But there are people going the exact opposite direction — still promoting building and investment in infrastructure in areas that in 50 years may not be viable.”

    Everyone has a stake in the issue — even if they don’t own property on the coast.

    “Now we have backed and invested in development in areas that flood by providing federal flood insurance,” Snyder said. “And we all now are on the hook for billions of dollars of infrastructure that’s at risk because the government has supported it and allowed loans and development in areas where honestly, we probably should never have built.”

    Besides VIMS, other researchers are tracking environmental changes. They include a federal project called the U.S. Global Change Research Program.

    The program recently issued its Climate Science Special Report. The study shows that globally, sea level has risen roughly 7-8 inches since 1900, with about 3 inches occurring since 1993. The report projects that sea level will rise an additional 4 to 8 inches by 2030.

    Recent projections from the VIMS Center for Coastal Resources Management approximate a possible “extreme” sea-level rise on the Eastern Shore between 4.5 and 7 feet by the year 2100. That is three to four times the expected global average.

    Of the roughly 15,000 homes in Accomack County, officials estimate that more than 7,700 are less than 5 feet above sea level and are therefore at a greater risk of flooding. Nearly $900 million worth of property — including churches, schools and medical facilities — are also in the range of the estimated extreme sea-level rise, according to an analysis by Climate Central, a nonprofit research group funded by private foundations.

    In 2017, Virginia received a $120.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to combat sea-level rise in Hampton Roads. The funds helped create a nonprofit group called RISE, dedicated to solving environmental problems facing coastal communities.

    Last week, Gov. Ralph Northam announced $1.5 million in funding for six winners of the first RISE Coastal Community Resilience Challenge. The winners will use the money to develop innovative products, services and workforce development programs designed to aid communities in adapting to climate change.

    “The commonwealth is well-positioned to create and implement innovative adaptive concepts that will ensure the viability and economic vitality of coastal areas for future generations,” Northam said.

    Citizens like Snyder and Payne remain optimistic in the face of not only rising waters but also skepticism many Americans have voiced about climate change.

    “I think you’ve got a lot of people that don’t believe it,” Payne said. “Fortunately, my boat floats on top of whatever the sea level rises to.”

  11. Campaign to End Plastic Straw Use Comes to VCU

    By Jasmine Cruz, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND — As national discussion swirls around the environmental impact of plastic, a group at Virginia Commonwealth University recently launched a campaign hoping to end plastic straw use on campus.

    Dr. Ching-Yu Huang, an instructor in the VCU Department of Biology, brought the “Kick the Straw” campaign to campus. Her husband, Dr. Justin Ellis, previously started the campaign at Longwood University, where he is a faculty member and assistant director of Clean Virginia Waterways.

    “Faculty can tell you what to do, but if [the] student doesn’t have the motivation to do that, it’s not going to work,” Huang said. Her students are leading the project, though she remains present for questions and assistance.

    The campaign has partnered with Simply Straws, a California-based company that manufactures reusable straws.

    Huang hopes people will establish lifelong habits by making a small change in their daily lives, such as refusing to use plastic straws.

    “Our world has become accustomed to using plastic straws in exchange for a minimal convenience,” said Katherine Peterman, a VCU student helping lead Kick the Straw. Peterman wrote over email that the campaign is to educate people about sustainability and to become aware of the waste they create.

    VCU is the third Virginia university to join the Simply Straws Pledge Against Plastic Straws Campus Challenge. Old Dominion University and Longwood also are participating in the campaign.

    According to the Simply Straws website, the Campus Challenge pairs the company with schools and asks students to pledge to stop using plastic straws. The campaign includes K-12 schools as well as colleges and universities. There is a prize of 100 custom-etched glass straws to the school that has the most pledges by the end of April.

    When a student pledges, Simply Straws sends them a free glass straw. Over a person’s lifetime, the use of a reusable straw prevents 30,000 straws from ending up in a landfill or waterways, according to the company.

    Clean Virginia Waterways sponsors events to remove litter from rivers and beaches, Ellis noted.

    “Most years, since we’ve been working with citizens … straws is consistently in the top 10 items that we find during those cleanups,” Ellis said.

    He said Aramark, a food-service and facility management company serving more than 5 million students, including those at Longwood and VCU, gave 500 metal straws as gifts to commuters who bought a meal plan.

    Aramark and Ellis are currently working together to end the use of plastic straws at Longwood campus dining locations, either by everyone carrying a reusable straw or cafeterias offering paper straws.

    Ellis said the Aramark director told him Longwood could be free of plastic straws by next fall. In 2018, Aramark announced a single-use plastic reduction strategy that included phasing out plastic straws and stirrers. The food-service giant predicted its efforts would create a 60% decrease in plastic straws by 2020.

    All of VCU’s 20-plus dining locations provide plastic straws.

    “Our campaign will eventually try to get VCU food vendors on board,” Peterman said. She said campaign members have reached out to local businesses that offer alternatives, such as paper and corn straws, to receive guidance on how to get other businesses to participate.

    Kick the Straw campaign events take place throughout the month. The next event is Party for the Planet, which will be held Saturday at Historic Tredegar, 500 Tredegar St.

    To take the pledge not to use plastic straws, visit the VCU registration pagehttps://simplystraws.com/pages/VCU.

  12. Global Expert Panel Discusses Worldwide Politics

    By Benjamin West, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND — Experts from around the world gathered for a panel discussion at Virginia Commonwealth University to educate the public about the strengths and weaknesses of worldwide election systems, their similarities and differences to U.S. political procedures, and thoughts on the betterment of global democracy.

    “Electoral Systems Around the World” hosted four speakers who were from or had extensive knowledge about countries such as Uruguay, South Africa, Zambia and Colombia. The panel took place in VCU’s Globe Building, an experimental hybrid of both residential and educational facilities.

    The speakers at Wednesday’s event were:

    • Lefate MaKunyane of Johannesburg, South Africa, a Humphrey Fellow, or visiting scholar, whose studies of interest include youth development programs, gender-based violence and mental health and substance use prevention.
    • Marcelo Martoy of Montevideo, Uruguay, a Humphrey Fellow and legal advisor to the National Drug Board of the Presidency of the Republic of Uruguay, where he is helping to redirect money confiscated from drug trafficking back into the community in the form of substance abuse prevention, education and other civic programs.
    • Sombo Chunda of Zambia, a government doctoral student, and former country manager in Zambia with Diakonia, a Swedish nonprofit humanitarian organization. Her interests and areas of study include democracy, economic development, gender equality and conflict resolution.
    • Michael A. Paarlberg, a VCU political science assistant professor and expert on Latin American politics. His research interests include immigration and labor law.

    To open, the speakers each outlined the generalities of their country’s political system. Some results were standard and uniform: All of the countries have five-year political cycles. Voters consist of both men and women who are 18 years or older. No country has monetary or property ownership restrictions.

    There are some stark differences among the countries represented by the panel. While most of the discussed counties have low voter turnout, at or around 50%, Martoy revealed that, because of its mandatory voter laws, Uruguay recently saw a national election with more than 90% of citizens participating.

    In Uruguay, according to Martoy, nonvoters not only face a fine, but they also are denied registration for public schools, and public workers cannot receive some payments, among other things.

    Following country-by-country breakdowns, the speakers outlined unique characteristics of their political systems, garnered from their research.

    MaKunyane spoke of the movement to change the South African constitution to “address the imbalances of the past” when the white minority drove black people from large swaths of land — an imbalance that he said is still felt today.

    There is rising tension even in the U.S., where MaKunyane said Fox News has been framing the issue as a lynching of white people. And young people, generations removed from Nelson Mandela, are becoming increasingly militant, he said.

    “Unfortunately, if we don’t address this challenge, it’s going to turn into a serious civil war,” he said.

    Paarlberg spoke about voter fraud, an issue often vehemently discussed by the U.S. public during election season, and how some countries deal with it. He said that in Colombia, election authorities count up the number of people who voted and the number of ballots in the box. When there is a discrepancy, they take out the extra number of ballots at random and burn them on the spot.

    Chunda, who has devoted much time and effort toward including women in Zambia’s politics, spoke at length about the systematic challenges women face when approaching candidacy.

    “The system is structured to favor men,” she said.

    Chunda has worked with nonprofits urging Zambia’s political parties to devote 50% of their ticket to women, though she stressed that it is institutional inequalities — such as lack of education and exclusive child-rearing roles — that truly bar women from the podium.

    Ultimately, the panel was asked what they thought of the U.S. political system.

    “My personal impression is that the United States has many contradictions,” Martoy said.

    He pointed to institutions such as democracy, freedom of the press and civil rights as positive examples, but also mentioned voter disenfranchisement, gerrymandering and disproportional influence of large corporations — sentiments echoed by most of the panel.

    The consensus was that listening and learning about politics on a global scale will help combat systemic injustices — and even unite seemingly distant people.

    “I think that there’s need for civic education even here in the U.S.,” Chunda said.

  13. VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital Earns ACR Accreditation

    VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital has been awarded a three-year term of accreditation in mammography as the result of a recent review by the American College of Radiology (ACR). Mammography is a specific type of imaging test that uses a low-dose X-ray system to examine breasts. A mammography exam, called a mammogram, is used to aid in the early detection and diagnosis of breast diseases in women.

    "The ACR performs a thorough evaluation of our policies, staff qualifications, interpretations, image quality, and equipment performance,” said Wendy Lenhart, Radiology Director. “Our accredited status gives our referring providers and patients the assurance that our Breast Imaging program at CMH is top notch."

    The mammography department has been accredited since 1994, Lenhart said.

    The ACR gold seal of accreditation represents the highest level of image quality and patient safety. It is awarded only to facilities meeting ACR Practice Parameters and Technical Standards after a peer-review evaluation by board-certified physicians and medical physicists who are experts in the field. Image quality, personnel qualifications, adequacy of facility equipment, quality control procedures and quality assurance programs are assessed. The findings are reported to the ACR Committee on Accreditation, which subsequently provides the practice with a comprehensive report that can be used for continuous practice improvement.

    The ACR, founded in 1924, is a professional medical society dedicated to serving patients and society by empowering radiology professionals to advance the practice, science and professions of radiological care. The College serves more than 37,000 diagnostic/interventional radiologists, radiation oncologists, nuclear medicine physicians, and medical physicists with programs focusing on the practice of medical imaging and radiation oncology and the delivery of comprehensive health care services.

  14. Correctional Officers Honored at 11th Annual Banquet

    Southside Virginia Community College recently hosted the 11th Annual Corrections Awards Banquet at the Christanna Campus in Alberta to recognize Officer and Employee of the year from area correctional facilities.  The event was sponsored by Lawrenceville Correctional Center and the guest speaker was Mr. Harold W. Clarke, Director of the Virginia Department of Corrections.  Those receiving recognition are (Front Row, Left to Right) Officer Shelyne Smith of Lunenburg Correctional, Christine Watkins of Lunenburg Correctional, Shelia Booker of Diillwyn Correctional, Officer Daphne Andrews of Lawrenceville Correctional, Officer Myesha Gaines of Buckingham Correctional, Officer Michael Boone of Deerfield Correctional, Lt. Ronald Gallimore of Halifax Correctional, Lt. Aaron Benny of Greenville Correctional, Officer Milicent Clayton of Nottoway Correctional and Dr. Alfonzo Seward, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at SVCC and (Back Row, L to RO)Tiffany Robinson of Lawrenceville Correctional, Officer Edward Tolbert of Dillwyn Correctional, Sandra Garner-Coleman of Halifax Correctional, Linda Peete-Pierce of Greensville Correctional, Veesa Gough of Buckingham Correctional, Destiny Johnson of Nottoway Correctional.  Those who were unable to attend are Officer Jennifer Ksor and Dennis Yohe or Baskerville Correctional and Sandra Banty of Deerfield Correctional.

  15. Your Personal Guide to Richmond’s Thrift Shop Scene

    By Arianna Coghill, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND — Many consumers are turning to thrifting as an eco-friendly alternative to shopping at the mall.

    Numerous resale boutiques and thrift shops have popped up in the Richmond area over the past few years, giving people more options than ever. With warm weather creeping upon us, now is an opportune time to update your summer wardrobe.

    From Short Pump to Midlothian to Carytown, here are a few of the area’s many thrift shops.

    If you’re looking for a place that has all the latest fashions for half the price, look no further than Rumors Boutique and 723 W. Broad St. Rumors has a blend of modern and vintage-style clothing, carrying everything from the Instagram-famous brand Fashion Nova to authentic pieces straight from the 1980s.

    When it comes to sustainability, the store no longer hands out plastic bags to customers. Rumors even sells metal drinking straws that have become increasingly popular in the past year.

    Buffalo Exchange is perhaps the newest addition to Richmond’s thrift store lineup, having opened in August. The chain was started in Tucson, Arizona, in 1974 and now has over 50 locations across 21 states.

    The Buffalo Exchange at 3140 W. Cary St. is its first in Virginia. When it comes to style, the store's options are a bit more vintage-inspired than Rumors’. If that’s your brand of strawberry jam, go for it.

    If you’re looking for something more on the refined, less grunge side, Ashby is the place for you. If you enjoy brands like ASOS and Free People, then Ashby at 3010 W. Cary St. might be your perfect match. It was voted one of the best clothing consignment/resale stores and best women's boutiques by readers of Richmond Magazine in 2018.

    If you’re looking for something on the more mature side, try Ashby’s sister store, Clementine at 3118 W. Cary St. While Ashby is more directed at younger, more casual demographic, Clementine feels chicer, selling designer brands such as Chanel and Lululemon. With springtime in full swing, bright pastel colors and bold prints are very much in style. If that’s what you’re searching for, Clementine will have you covered.

    Uptown Cheapskate, like Buffalo Exchange, is a nationwide chain. It began in 2009 in Utah and eventually spread across the country. The company has two locations in RVA: at 1403 Huguenot Road in Midlothian and at 4338 Pouncey Tract Road in Short Pump. If you enjoy Urban Outfitters, Uptown Cheapskate is a good match. Plus, Uptown claims its clothes are as much as 70 percent cheaper than mall prices.

  16. SVCC FBLA Members Compete at State Leadership Conference

    Southside Virginia Community College students Janet Wilson(Right) of Farmville and Kimberly Solomon(Left) of South Hill are in the Administrative Support Technology program. These students attended the FBLA-Phi Beta Lambda State Leadership Conference in Glen Allen on April 6, 2019 and competed against students from two- and four-year colleges across the state. Wilson placed first in Computer Applications. Solomon placed first in Administrative Technology and third in Business Communications. 

    In addition to the competitions, the students and advisers participated in informative and engaging workshops on topics that included Keys to Getting the Job You Really Want, Emotional Intelligence, and Beyond Networking. 

    Students were accompanied by PBL advisers, Crystal Jones and Elizabeth Burns.

  17. Richmond Growing Faster Than State and Nation, New Data Shows

    By Jayla Marie McNeill, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND — So far this decade, the city of Richmond has increased in population more than neighboring suburban counties — and at twice the growth rate of the state and nation, according to population estimates released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

    Since 2010, Richmond’s population has grown 12% — adding almost 24,500 people. The increase is due to the birth rate (the city had about 8,600 more births than deaths) as well as people moving to Richmond from parts of the U.S. (almost 10,200) and from other countries (about 5,400).

    Of the 133 counties and cities in Virginia, only 12 have grown more than Richmond has this decade. Richmond has grown more than Chesterfield County (10.2%), Hanover County (7.4%) and Henrico County (7.3%).

    The population of the Richmond metropolitan statistical area — which consists of Richmond, 13 counties from Amelia to New Kent, and the cities of Petersburg, Hopewell and Colonial Heights — increased 8.1% since 2010. In 2018, the area’s population topped 1.3 million, according to the Census Bureau’s estimates.

    The Richmond region is the nation’s 44th most populous metropolitan area — up from 45th in 2010. In recent years, the Richmond area edged past the Louisville/Jefferson County metro area in Kentucky and Indiana.

    Virginia’s overall population has increased by 6.5% this decade. It has surpassed 8.5 million — up more than 500,000 since 2010.

    The entire U.S. population is about 327.2 million — an increase of 6% this decade.

    Loudoun County is the fastest-growing locality in Virginia. Its population has jumped more than 30%, to almost 407,000, since 2010.

    Nationwide, only 19 counties have grown more than Loudoun County this decade, the data showed.

    Other fast-growing localities in Virginia are Manassas Park and New Kent County (up 21.5% since 2010), Fredericksburg (20.5%) and Falls Church (20.3%).

    While the population is growing in Northern Virginia and the Richmond area, that is not the case in other areas of Virginia. In the western and southern regions of the commonwealth, the population has dropped significantly:

    • The City of Emporia, 11 miles north of the North Carolina line, has had a population decrease of about 800 people or 13.6% — the greatest percentage loss in the state this decade.
    • Buchanan County, bordering West Virginia and Kentucky, lost almost 2,900 residents — an 11.9% decrease.
    • Tazewell County, also in southwestern Virginia, saw its population drop by more than 4,200 residents, or 9.3%.

    All in all, the Census Bureau’s data showed that 72 localities in Virginia gained population and 61 lost population since 2010.

    The bureau conducts a national census every 10 years; it is getting ready to do a headcount in April 2020. In addition, the agency issues population estimates every year. The estimates are based on a variety of sources, including surveys and tax data.

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

    Chris is presented the SVRMC Employee of the Quarter award.  Pictured, from left, are: Wilson Thomas, CEO, Chris Avent, Peggy Dunn, Director of Surgical Services and Susan Williams, CNO.

    Emporia, VA – Chris Avent has been named the Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center (SVRMC) Employee of the Quarter. Mr. Avent, who works as a Certified Central Sterile Technician in SVRMC’s Surgical Services Department, has been employed at SVRMC since June 1978.

    Each quarter employees are nominated for demonstrating excellence in any or all of ten Standards of Behavior.  Mr. Avent’s nomination included the following statement: “Chris has a sense of ownership and takes pride in his department.  This is evidenced by successful Joint Commission surveys and the numerous compliments from surveyors about Chris’ work. He shows a commitment to his co-workers by jumping into help when necessary and is responsive when assistance is needed. Chris has a positive attitude and is an asset to the facility.”

    As SVRMC’s Employee of the Quarter, Mr. Avent received a certificate of recognition, balloons, cookies to share with his co-workers, a cash award, and a chance to be selected as SVRMC’s 2019 Employee of the Year.

    Chris is presented the SVRMC Employee of the Quarter award.  Pictured, from left, are: Wilson Thomas, CEO, Chris Avent, Peggy Dunn, Director of Surgical Services and Susan Williams, CNO.

  19. Muriel Johnson Doyle

    Graveside Service

    11:00 A.M. Wednesday, April 24, 2019

    Emporia Cemetery

     

    Muriel Johnson Doyle, 98, died Saturday, April 20, 2019.

    A Virginia native, Muriel was the daughter of the late Lloyd Turner Johnson and Annie Bell Gray Johnson. She was a retired homemaker and a longtime member of Main Street Baptist Church. In addition to her parents she was preceded in death by her husband; Larry Doyle Jr., two daughters; Martha Woodbury and Mary Virginia Doyle, a grandson; Larry Wesson, and two sisters.

    Muriel is survived by her two daughters; Judy Gibson and her husband Roger and Sue Creswell and her husband Benny, three sisters; Eleanor Gill, Nancy Johnson and Iris Royster, grandchildren; Tony Wesson, Katherine Gibson, Beth Boyter, Adam Temple, nine Great Grandchildren and two Great Great Grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews.

    Graveside services will be at 11:00 A.M. Wednesday, April 24, 2019 in Emporia Cemetery with Dr. Rick Hurst officiating.

    Online condolences may be left at echolsfuneralhome.com.

  20. Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center Offers Imaging Technology with Hometown Quality Care

        

        

        

    Emporia, VA – The imaging department at Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center (SVRMC) has radiology equipment you’d find in a big city hospital but offers quick appointment scheduling and hometown quality care you’d expect in a small town. Imaging services provide preventive care and diagnosis of diseases including cancer, acute injury and disorders of the bone and muscle. Onsite technology includes digital radiology, nuclear medicine, mammography, computed tomography (CT) and ultrasound with mobile magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) available on specific days of the week.

    Part of the success of the department is due to the long-time leadership of Pamela Low, RT, the director of Imaging since 1979. Through her leadership, SVRMC achieved and continues to earn American College of Radiology Mammography accreditation – the only ACR accredited facility in the Emporia area. She has received multiple Manager of the Year awards.

    When asked about her favorite part of the job, Pam says, “I enjoy taking care of the community where I was born and raised. I love taking care of seniors and developing relationships with patients who come back each year. We’re just a big family around here.”

    To make an appointment have your physician fax an order to (434) 348-4964. To find a provider near you, visit our physician directory at SVRMC.com.

  21. Virginia Trails Nation in Placing Foster Children With Relatives

    By Caitlin Morris, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND — Only 7% of Virginia’s foster children are placed with relatives, according to a new study — well below the national average of 32%.

    The Annie E. Casey Foundation tracked changes in foster care in each state from 2007 to 2017. For Virginia, the data snapshot contained some good news: There were fewer children in foster care, and fewer foster children were placed in group homes.

    But many experts say that ideally, foster children should be placed with relatives — and on that measure, Virginia did not make any progress over the 10 years.

    “We want for children to have a family that is their family forever — whether it’s their family of origin or if their foster family turns into an adoptive home,” said Allison Gilbreath, a policy analyst at Voices for Virginia’s Children, a nonprofit advocacy program.

    Over the 10-year period, Virginia was successful in decreasing the percentage of foster children in group homes from 23% to 17%. That means more children have been fostered in family settings — but just not with their own relatives. The data also shows that older youth are more likely to be in group homes.

    Virginia was also successful in reducing the number of children entering foster care. In 2007, there were 7,665, compared with 4,795 in 2017.

    “While we have reduced the number of children overall in foster care, black children in particular continue to be overrepresented both in family-based settings, but also particularly in group homes,” Gilbreath said. “We really need to spend some time and energy in the state and figure out what we can do that will specifically get at the racial inequities in the foster care system.”

    This year’s Virginia General Assembly passed SB 1339 to bring Virginia in compliance with federal foster care regulations, including the federal Family First Prevention Services Act enacted in 2018. The act encourages states to keep children in family-based settings by redirecting federal funds to support services for at-risk children and their caregivers.

    Virginia’s new law also aims to increase the number of children placed with family members by notifying relatives when a child enters foster care.

    Voices for Virginia’s Children joined the Annie E. Casey Foundation in calling on child welfare systems to shift resources from group placements to family settings.

    “They feel more loved and protected, and it’s a more normal experience for that child,” Gilbreath said. “But also, they’re more likely to achieve permanency that way, and that’s what we really want for kids.”

    The organizations contend that the support system for other foster children and caregivers should also be available to relatives who take in children. This includes financial support and access to mental health support. Often, family members take in a child through what is known as kinship diversion, meaning they take in a child without using the foster system and don’t receive the same support as caregivers in the foster program.

    The children’s advocacy groups also called for expansion of kinship navigator programs. These programs aim to help relative caregivers navigate the complex child welfare system. Under the Family First Prevention Services Act, additional federal funds have been made available for kinship navigator programs.

    “Virginia has already started to take advantage of these funds but could adopt the programs statewide,” Voices for Virginia’s Children stated in a press release.

    The organization and the Annie E. Casey Foundation also asked for increased access to services that would help stabilize families. By aligning legislation with the Family First Prevention Services Act, funds will be accessible for family support services to prevent at-risk children from entering the foster system.

    “It’s going to provide the first-ever opportunity to have money used to prevent entry into foster care,” Gilbreath said. This funding will go toward programs that offer mental health support for the child and the caregivers, substance abuse treatment and in-home training in parenting skills for the family.

    “If we were able to step in and provide that family support — we’d be able to make that family successful,” Gilbreath said.

  22. Higher Limits Now Available on USDA Farm Loans

    2018 Farm Bill Increases Limits and Makes Other Changes to Farm Loans

    WASHINGTON, April 12, 2019 – Higher limits are now available for borrowers interested in USDA’s farm loans, which help agricultural producers purchase farms or cover operating expenses. The 2018 Farm Bill increased the amount that producers can borrow through direct and guaranteed loans available through USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) and made changes to other loans, such as microloans and emergency loans.

    “As natural disasters, trade disruptions, and persistent pressure on commodity prices continue to impact agricultural operations, farm loans become increasingly important to farmers and ranchers,” FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce said. “The 2018 Farm Bill provides increased loan limits and more flexibility to farm loans, which gives producers more access to credit when they need it most.”

    Key changes include:

    • The Direct Operating Loan limit increased from $300,000 to $400,000, and the Guaranteed Operating Loan limit increased from $ 1.429 million to $1.75 million. Operating loans help producers pay for normal operating expenses, including machinery and equipment, seed, livestock feed, and more.
    • The Direct Farm Ownership Loan limit increased from $300,000 to $600,000, and the Guaranteed Farm Ownership Loan limit increased from $1.429 million to $1.75 million. Farm ownership loans help producers become owner-operators of family farms as well as improve and expand current operations.
    • Producers can now receive both a $50,000 Farm Ownership Microloan and a $50,000 Operating Microloan. Previously, microloans were limited to a combined $50,000. Microloans provide flexible access to credit for small, beginning, niche, and non-traditional farm operations.
    • Producers who previously received debt forgiveness as part of an approved FSA restructuring plan are now eligible to apply for emergency loans. Previously, these producers were ineligible.
    • Beginning and socially disadvantaged producers can now receive up to a 95 percent guarantee against the loss of principal and interest on a loan, up from 90 percent.

    About Farm Loans

    Direct farm loans, which include microloans and emergency loans, are financed and serviced by FSA, while guaranteed farm loans are financed and serviced by commercial lenders. For guaranteed loans, FSA provides a guarantee against possible financial loss of principal and interest.

    For more information on FSA farm loans, visit www.fsa.usda.gov or contact your local USDA service center.

    USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.

  23. Helen Frances Horne

    April 29, 1923 - April 19, 2019

    Visitation Services

    Wednesday, April 24th, 1:00 pm

    High Hills Baptist Church

    215 South Halifax Road
    Jarratt, Virginia

    Wednesday, April 24th, 2:00 pm

    High Hills Baptist Church

    215 South Halifax Road
    Jarratt, Virginia

    Helen Frances Horne, 95, of Jarratt, Virginia died Friday, April 19, 2019 at Manorhouse Assisted Living, Henrico, Virginia. Helen was a lifelong resident of Jarratt and was a member of High Hills Baptist Church her entire life. She was born on April 29, 1923.

    Helen was the youngest child of Jasper Person Horne and Helen Rochette Grigg Horne. She was preceded in death by her parents and her seven siblings; Daisy Horne Finney (Jarratt), Humphrey Horne (Emporia), Richard “Dick” Horne (Jarratt), Josiah B. Horne (Bluefield,WV), Lucy Horne Woodruff, (Rocky Mt. NC), Mamie Horne Briley (Jarratt), and Jasper (Sam) P. Horne Jr (Richmond). Nieces and nephews who predeceased her were Virginia Finney (Jarratt), Dorothy Finney Hall (Jarratt), David A.Woodruff (Wilmington NC) and Robert Woodruff (Jarratt). She is survived by two nieces, Elizabeth Horne Thomas (Midlothian), Patricia Horne Dresser (Vienna) and one nephew, J.P. (Jack) Horne III (Richmond).

    A graduate of Jarratt High School, Helen joined the Home Telephone Company where she later became a Training Specialist that allowed her to be assigned to many localities throughout Virginia. She retired from Contel of Virginia (formally, Home Telephone Co) with 37 years of service. Helen has remained close to her company friends and met with them often at various events. She loved to travel, toured this country and others on wide ranging trips and developed a new group of highly regarding friends. Helen was a meticulous artist of significant repute. Her paintings and handwork are broadly represented in the community. She was in demand for commissioned paintings in oil as well.

    As she grew older, care was provided by her nieces and nephew as well as many friends, for which she was grateful. Of special note is the immediate family of the late Bob Woodruff, specifically his wife, Mary, and their children who were Helen’s principal caregivers. Helen will be remembered for her quick wit and sense of humor which will be sorely missed by all who knew her. Dr. Andy Brockelman, will conduct the service 2 p.m. Wednesday, April 24th at High Hills Baptist Church, followed by interment in the church cemetery. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service in the fellowship hall. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be the charity of your choice.

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

  24. VCU School of Nursing opens accelerated path to a bachelors to Rappahannock and Southside Virginia Community Colleges

    RICHMOND, Va. (April 16, 2019) — The Virginia Commonwealth University School of Nursing has partnered with Southside Virginia Community College and Rappahannock Community College to offer accelerated coursework to registered nurses who are students at both community colleges, providing them a faster path to obtaining a bachelor’s degree. Students will be enrolled concurrently at VCU and their respective community colleges.

    “We’re looking forward to offering SVCC and RCC nursing students a more efficient path to earn a bachelor’s of science degree in nursing, which subsequently will help to increase the number of baccalaureate-prepared RNs in Virginia’s health care workforce,” said Jean Giddens, Ph.D., dean of the VCU School of Nursing.

    The partnerships are in line with a national push to enhance academic progression for nurses. In 2010, the Institute of Medicine released “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health” report, which recommended that 80 percent of the nursing workforce be educated at a baccalaureate degree in nursing or higher by 2020. Reduction in medication errors, lower mortality rates and positive patient outcomes are linked to nurses being educated at baccalaureate and higher degree levels, according to a recent position statement by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. 

    Enrollment will open on May 1 to nursing students at both community colleges and classes will start in fall 2019. Enrolled students will complete six credits of baccalaureate courses during their last year at either community college and subsequently complete the remaining credits online through the VCU School of Nursing.

    Both VCU and SVCC aim to increase the number of baccalaureate-prepared nurses who might seek employment at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital in South Hill, Virginia, and other health care facilities in Southside Virginia, said Michelle Edmonds, DNP, dean of nursing, allied health and natural sciences at Southside Virginia Community College.

    “This partnership brings world-class baccalaureate education to the communities of Southside Virginia,” Edmonds said. “Additionally, the partnership will increase the number of baccalaureate-prepared registered nurses to Southside Virginia. I am certain that SVCC and VCU will together advance the health of this region.”

    The agreement with Rappahannock Community College will provide nursing students in eastern Virginia with more extensive educational opportunities, said Ellen Koehler, an associate professor of nursing for Rappahannock Community College.

    “This concurrent enrollment agreement with VCU School of Nursing is an extraordinary opportunity for the students of the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula region,” Koehler said. “This affords our students the opportunity to enhance their career goals toward a bachelor’s degree in nursing from a prestigious school that values advancing the profession of nursing.”

  25. Think Tank Warns Against Raising Cigarette Taxes

    By Andrew Gionfriddo, Capital News Service

     

    RICHMOND -- A new study says local cigarette taxes have adverse effects on low-income citizens and small business owners and rarely raise as much money as government officials project.

    The Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy released the study, which was funded by Philip Morris USA, as the Richmond City Council considers Mayor Levar Stoney’s proposal to impose a local cigarette tax of 50 cents per pack.

    “Raising cigarette taxes is not a ‘cure-all’ for resolving budget problems,” said Michael W. Thompson, the institute’s chairman. He said the study found:

    • Over the years after raising cigarette taxes, jurisdictions rarely meet their revenue projections.

    • While it is common for the tax increase to produce more income for the locality in the first year, the income tends to decrease in following years.

    • When cigarette taxes increase, convenience stores and smaller grocery stores see their overall sales on non-tobacco items decrease.

    Virginia imposes a cigarette excise tax of 1.5 cents on each cigarette, equating to 30 cents per pack and $3 per carton. Over 90 localities in the commonwealth impose a local cigarette tax.

    Stoney said a tax of 50 cents per pack on cigarettes would yield $3 million a year in additional revenue for the city budget. His proposed levy is between the 22-cents-per-pack tax in Ashland and the $1.26-per-pack tax in Alexandria.

    Councilman Parker Agelasto proposed an 80-cents-a-pack cigarette tax last year that did not pass, and which the mayor did not support.

    “The counties surrounding Richmond have not changed their cigarette taxes so they will be the big winners if City Council adds 50 cents to a pack of cigarettes,” Thompson wrote in a column in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

    Henrico and Chesterfield County do not currently impose a local cigarette tax.

    Thompson said the tax increase would hinder small businesses in multiple ways.

    “Smokers will seek out the best prices for cigarettes, and those will be found a few blocks away in Henrico or Chesterfield counties,” Thompson said.

    The Thomas Jefferson Institute’s report cites 2014 data from the National Association of Convenience Stores, drawn from over 3,400 shopping visits to such businesses.

    Management Science Associates, a database management company, estimated tobacco was the fourth most often purchased item, with tobacco purchases made on 21% of the visits, according to the report.

    The study showed that cigarette smokers visit convenience stores more frequently than nonsmokers and are more likely to buy products such as gasoline and beverages.

    Thompson testified before the City Council last year when it was considering raising the cigarette tax.

    “I gave them the documents and made my pitch, and they said, ‘Thank you very much -- we’ll read it later.’ They’re disparaging the small guy.”

    The Thomas Jefferson Institute says its data also shows lower-income citizens suffer the most from the tax increase.

    Using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the institute noted that households earning less than $10,000 per year in the South spend 5.8 percent of their income on tobacco, while households in the same region earning more than $70,000 annually spend only .26 percent of their income on tobacco products. That’s $580 versus $182, respectively.

    The Virginia Department of Health study, “Virginia Adult Tobacco Survey 2016-2017,” determined that in Virginia, “the greatest percentage of smokers earn the least amount of money.”

    Some local business owners have mixed feelings about the cigarette tax increase.

    R.E. Watkinson, owner of Lombardy Market in Richmond, said he is not against raising the tax.

    “Of course it’s part of the business, but I don’t want my grandparents or other kids smoking,” Watkinson said.

    Watkinson does not think the tax would affect the habits of people who already smoke. “People who are addicted are still going to smoke,” he said.

    Watkinson said that when he opened his store, cigarettes accounted for about half of all sales. Now, he estimates they make up around 10%.

    He said he believes the cigarette tax would slow down the rate of new smokers. Smoking as a whole has been decreasing nationally, but not in Virginia.

    The commonwealth’s relationship with tobacco dates to colonial times. Altria and its Philip Morris USA subsidiary, which produces Marlboro and other cigarette brands, is based in Henrico County.

    “Tobacco is such a huge part of Richmond’s history and economy,” said Stephen Hader, a senior fellow with the Thomas Jefferson Institute. “I think Richmond adopting a tobacco tax would have some symbolic impact as well.”

    Despite its long history with tobacco, Virginia has been at the forefront of a national push to decrease teenage usage of vaping and tobacco products.

    On July 1, Virginia will raise from 18 to 21 the legal age to purchase tobacco and nicotine products.

    More than 10 other states have adopted or plan to enact similar laws, according to tobaccofreekids.org.

    E-cigarettes such as Juul are currently not taxed by the city or state.

  26. New Telephone Numbers for the Emporia Police Department

     

    The Emporia Police Department has changed several of its telephone numbers. Please use the numbers below to replace any numbers you are currently using. Even though some older numbers may still be working now, they will eventually be removed.

    • 911 Communications Center Non-Emergency number:

    434-634-7320

    • Emporia Police Administrative Offices:

    434-634-2121

    As always, please use 911 for all emergency calls.

  27. Citizens Expand Efforts to Preserve Historically Black College’s History

    By Arianna Coghill, Capital News Service

    LAWRENCEVILLE, Va. — “Challenge by choice” was the motto of Saint Paul’s College, which closed in 2013 because of financial problems and declining student enrollment.

    Now the citizens of Lawrenceville are living up to that motto — by taking up the challenge of collecting and preserving artifacts documenting the 125-year history of the historically black college.

    Lawrenceville residents and other supporters of Saint Paul’s College have opened a museum to showcase the memorabilia — including an original copy of “Adventure in Faith,” an autobiography written by the Rev. James Solomon Russell, who was born enslaved, became an Episcopal priest and founded the school in 1888.

    The year-old museum has been such a success that it is ready to expand to a new location.

    “We’re trying to create a place that could be a home to the alumni and that they can identify with,” said Bobby Conner, vice chairman of the project.

    Conversations about how to keep the college’s memory alive began in 2012 — the year before the school shut its doors.

    “We saw the writing was on the wall,” said Sylvia Allen, a member of the conservation effort. Thus the James Solomon Russell-Saint Paul’s College Museum and Archives was born.

    James Grimstead is the museum’s chairman and director. He and Conner discussed the idea with Saint Paul’s for a year before officials decided to discontinue the school.

    Because there was much uncertainty about whether the college would remain open, Conner was hesitant to raise the subject — but he knew that it was important.

    “What could’ve happened is that the university could’ve closed on June 30 (2013) and the creditors could’ve come on July 1,” Conner said. “If the creditors would’ve got involved, this museum would’ve never have happened.”

    The school, which was on the National Register of Historic Places, was founded as Saint Paul Normal and Industrial School and then became Saint Paul’s Polytechnic Institute in 1941. The name was changed in 1957 to Saint Paul’s College to reflect its liberal arts curriculum.

        

    The college’s demise followed pressure from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, which revoked Saint Paul’s accreditation because of “lack of financial stability” and other reasons.

    The nonprofit museum opened last April in downtown Lawrenceville, a town of about 1,400 people in Brunswick County, which borders North Carolina. It quickly filled with artifacts dating to the late 1800s. They range from a 1922 college guestbook to a 1973 student newspaper and include decades-old class photos, sports trophies and banners.

    According to Grimstead and Conner, if they had not rescued these artifacts, the mementos likely would have remained in the campus’ abandoned buildings, which have weathered over time. Problems like mold would have seriously damaged many of the items.

        

        

    Several alumni such as former professional basketball player Antwain Smith have visited the museum — not only to travel down memory lane but also to reflect on the classes before them.

    Teya Whitehead, who graduated from Saint Paul’s College in 1998, was devastated when she first heard that the school was closing. She still finds it to be a difficult pill to swallow.

    But with the establishment of the museum, the happy memories of her college days will stay preserved.

    “My favorite memory was the overall camaraderie that we had together. Many of my lifelong friends are still in contact with me today,” Whitehead said. “The school was a very family-oriented environment.”

    With the sheer amount of memorabilia, the museum’s current location has become cramped. There are plans to move the museum to the former Saint Paul’s College Student Center, which now serves as the Brunswick County Conference Center. The grand reopening is scheduled for Aug. 10.

    “I never imagined while moving that stuff that we’d be where we are today,” Conner said. “I was just getting it off campus to protect it.”

  28. Attorney General Mark Herring supports bill to make D.C. the 51st state

    By Kal Weinstein, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND -- Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring is urging support for federal legislation to make Washington, D.C., the 51st state.

    Herring joined 19 other state attorneys general -- all Democrats -- in issuing a “first-of-a-kind” statement in favor of the idea.

    The statement was issued Monday just ahead of D.C.’s April 16 Emancipation Day celebration. It cited the holiday as a reminder of limits on the District’s freedom and autonomy.

    “The District’s over 700,000 residents work hard, raise families and pay the highest federal taxes per capita, and yet they are deprived of the fundamental right to participate meaningfully in our representative democracy,” the statement read.

    U.S. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, the nonvoting delegate representing D.C. in Congress, introduced H.R 51 in January. More than 200 House members are  co-sponsoring the proposal.

    Holmes has previously introduced legislation to make D.C. a state; however, this marks the first time that state attorneys general across the country have united to support the idea.

    “The District’s residents deserve equal voting rights and autonomy under the law. We support Statehood for the District of Columbia and urge passage of H.R. 51 to accomplish this goal,” the statement read.

    In the statement, Herring announced he is pleased to stand beside Karl Racine, the attorney general for D.C., and 18 other state attorneys general to support the initiative.

    “Washington, D.C., already acts as an important state in so many ways, and it is well past time that their contributions to our country are reflected in statehood,” Herring said. “District residents are hardworking, taxpaying Americans who deserve to have their voices heard and their votes counted.”

    Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has also expressed support for Holmes’ proposal.

    “Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton has been a tireless voice on this important issue, and her introduction of H.R. 51 is a critical step in righting this historic wrong,” Pelosi said.

    U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, head of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, has pledged to hold a hearing on the bill later this year. If it passes, D.C.’s addition as a state would add two senators and one representative with full voting rights to Congress.

    Those who oppose the nation’s capital earning its statehood argue that it would inherently create a conflict of interest for legislators who serve in D.C. to represent constituents back home in their respective states. In the Federalist Papers, James Madison stated that if D.C. were to become a state, its voting members would wield higher power than other states through its proximity to Congress.

    In 1971, passage of the 23rd Amendment gave members of the District votes in the electoral college. If renewed support fails to pass H.R. 51 when it comes up for a hearing later this year, the federal government will continue to maintain jurisdiction over the capital city, just as it has since its founding in 1790.

  29. Care Bags for Chemo

     

     

     

     

     

    Teresa Collins, Director of Oncology; Julie Smith; Penny Evans, Independent Director of Thirty-One Gifts; Sep Evans, Carleen Wells, Mary Edmonds; and Ronnie Wells.

    An incredible outpouring of community support shattered a fundraiser’s goal this year.

    In the Chemo/Radiation Care Bag Fundraiser’s third year, care bags were purchased, filled with items, and delivered to the Hendrick Cancer and Rehab Center for their patients.

    Penny Evans, Independent Director of Thirty-One Gifts, hoped to get 131 bags this year, but ended up with 305.

    Evans said she started the fundraiser in honor of her friend Shelley Mayer, who was diagnosed with cancer. Today, Mayer is cancer free.

    Members of the community purchased bags for $29, and Evans used the commission of these sales to purchase additional items to go inside.

    Teresa Collins, RN, BSN, OCN and Director of Oncology, provided guidance on the needed items for patients, and each of the 305 bags was filled with a pocket planner, chap stick, tissues, socks, hand sanitizer, and candy.

    Also placed in each bag was a pen and paper set donated by Touchstone Bank and Mary Kay hand creams, donated by Tanya Baskerville, Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant.

    A number of community members assisted with filling each bag and delivering them to the center.

    Evans was especially appreciative of her husband’s, Sep Evans, help and support, in addition to the community who made this fundraiser the most successful year yet.

    Tags: 

  30. Horse Racing Returns as Gaming Parlors Open in Virginia

    By Emma Gauthier, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND, Va. -- Horses soon will race again at Colonial Downs, and Virginians will be able to bet on them and play slots-style machines in a casino-like setting at four other locations across the commonwealth.

    The Colonial Downs Group will resume horse racing at its track in New Kent County and offer off-track betting at the other sites under the brand Rosie’s Gaming Emporium.

    The New Kent County racetrack, between Richmond and Williamsburg, closed in 2014. Colonial Downs plans to resume horse racing there in August.

    But before then, Virginians will have a chance to gamble -- on historical horse racing gaming machines at the Rosie’s Gaming Emporium locations. The slots-style machines allow players to bet on horses from past races and also bet against other opponents.

    The Colonial Downs Group is set to open a Rosie’s at the New Kent County track on April 23. The company will also open gaming parlors in Richmond, Hampton, Chesapeake and the Roanoke County town of Vinton by the end of 2019.

    Rosie’s will generate $25 million in state taxes annually and create 800 jobs statewide, according to Colonial Downs spokesman Mark Hubbard. The Richmond location will employ about 150 people and open in June.

    Mayor Levar Stoney has endorsed the venture, which will be in South-Central Richmond.

    “We’ve had tremendous support from Mayor Stoney and city leaders,” Hubbard said. “The community in the 9th District is excited about us opening soon, and we’re very excited about bringing a new form of entertainment and fun to Richmond.”

    The five Rosie’s facilities will include a total of 3,000 historical horse racing gaming machines. The bets feed into a collective pool that players can win, with various purses.

    “The revenues that we generate through the machines will help fund purses at the race track and a portion of the revenues will go to the horse racing industry,” Hubbard said.

    The collective purse falls under a type of gambling known as pari-mutuel betting. This type of gaming machine was created in Kentucky to revitalize the horse industry and generate revenue year-round, Hubbard said.

    Using the machines, players select three horses (the winners of historical horse races), place a bet and then watch an animated re-enactment of the horses competing. The company calls the machines a “competitive substitute for traditional casino style games.”

    The launch of Rosie’s Gaming Emporium coincides with a push in the General Assembly to allow casinos in the commonwealth.

    On March 21, Gov. Ralph Northam signed into law a bill that may eventually loosen the reins on casino gambling. SB 1126, sponsored by Sen. L. Louise Lucas, D-Portsmouth, calls for a study of casino gaming in the state, which must be completed by Dec. 1.

    Going forward, localities would be required to pass a referendum to allow casino gaming. The Virginia Lottery Board would regulate the casinos. The board cannot issue any gaming licenses before July 1, 2020.

    The new law also gives the Virginia Racing Commission control of racing with pari-mutuel wagering.

    The Colonial Downs Group will participate in the study, Hubbard said.

    Many Virginians are excited by the idea of casino gambling, but some organizations are worried about a negative impact on communities.

    The Virginia Council on Problem Gambling believes that more people will develop gambling-related problems when given more opportunities to gamble.

    “As our legislators seek to expand gambling in Virginia, they need to do so responsibly by first assessing the risks and rewards, which hopefully the gambling study the governor is calling for will in part provide, and also setting up safeguards to protect the public from harm,” said the council’s president, Carolyn Hawley.

    The Family Foundation, a nonprofit Christian organization, has similiar reservations and also believes that crime increases near casinos. The Colonial Downs Group believes its gaming centers will improve quality of life and possibly decrease crime.

    The Rosie’s in Richmond will replace a vacant Kmart lot off Midlothian Turnpike near Chippenham Parkway. Police regularly patrol the area because of crime, Hubbard said.

    “We’re going to add a lot of lighting, surveillance and people coming and going, which will deter criminals,” Hubbard said. “When you bring a fun, lively, very well-lit and secure entertainment facility, that disperses crime.”

  31. Dr. Thomas Guirkin Is VCU Health CMH’s New VP Of Medical Affairs

    Good ole’ southern charm is easily recognized, but not easily duplicated. The new Vice President of Medical Affairs at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital recognized that charm at CMH and knew he had found a home.

    “I was impressed by the sense of community I found here,” Tom Guirkin, Jr. MD, said about him landing in Southside Virginia.

    A Richmond native, Dr. Guirkin has spent the past 12 years preparing for his role at VP of MA at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital.

    "I had been moving from position to position, slowly building my fund of knowledge in order to promote public health. That being said, I really am a small town person,” “I found CMH to be a very good fit for me in that respect.” Over the past 12 years, I have worked in some organizations that were not necessarily the most collaborative of workplaces. I am of the opinion that you can be cordial and collaborative at work and accomplish your goals. I see that type of atmosphere at CMH.”

    Scott Burnette, CEO of CMH said, “We conducted a national search and had several very qualified candidates.  We were fortunate to be able to recruit Dr. Guirkin to our team.  His training and experience will be a great asset as we continue our efforts to grow services and expand our abilities to treat more patients close to home.”

    Dr. Guirkin explained his job at CMH as being not just an administrator or physician but also a resource for the community as a whole.

    “I want to be working with doctors, nurses, finance, the lab – pretty much everyone to make things happen, to better meet the needs of our patients and their families, but also help meet the needs of the employees here at CMH,” he said.

    Dr. Guirkin has an impressive resume and deep Virginia ties. He is a 1999 Summa Cum Laude graduate of VCU with a major in biology and a focus in chemistry. He then attended the Medical College of Virginia, graduating in 2003. From 2003 through 2006, Dr. Guirkin was at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington D.C. where he completed his internship and residency.

    “I loved D.C.,” he said of his time at Georgetown and his first job after residency at Mount Vernon Internal Medicine in Alexandria, VA.

    After Mount Vernon Internal Medicine, Dr. Guirkin headed back to Richmond where he provided inpatient medical services at Saint Mary’s, a Bon Secour Hospital on a full time basis. While doing his primary practice in the hospital, he continued to maintain his outpatient skills by practicing urgent care and primary care services at Patient First. While at Saint Mary’s, he had his first foray into the business, quality and management sides of medicine when he worked at Intercede Health as an order optimizer consultant.

    “I had played with the thought during medical school about getting a Master’s Degree in Business Administration,” he said. “I got my first exposure to process improvement and strategic leadership at St. Mary’s Hospital in Richmond and decided to go ahead and pursue my MBA.”

    While he was attending business school, Dr. Guirkin worked for James River Hospitalist Group in Richmond.

    “That was the start of working seven days a week for two straight years,” he said. “Except for a couple of holidays off, I was working all day, every day between my job and business school.” Dr. Guirkin was providing hospitalist support for Chippenham and Johnston-Willis while attending graduate school at VCU.

    Following his graduation from business school, Dr. Guirkin began to look for a position that allowed him to utilize all of his expertise. He was offered two different administrative positions but declined these due to their not allowing him to continue practicing medicine. It was at this time he was introduced to the Saint Francis Health System in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This finally afforded him the opportunity to grow as a manager yet continue to practice medicine.

    “Saint Francis is a large health system with six hospitals in the Tulsa metro region and I was overseeing a large 60 FTE (Full Time Equivalent) hospitalist group and during my time there it grew to 85 FTEs. It was there I honed my management skills.  I was mentored by a fantastic doctor – Mark Frost, Senior Vice President on many aspects of quality management.”

    The original plan was for Dr. Guirkin to eventually move into a more senior role, but providence had other ideas, he said. “I got a chance email from VCU and decided to take a look,” he said. “And it was exactly what I was looking for. I really appreciate the people here and it’s just a great fit for us. I was impressed that CMH maintained its identity during the affiliation with VCU Health. All the names on all the rooms showed me that this was the type of place I wanted to be.”

    CMH ran a capital campaign where community members could donate and have naming rights to various rooms in the new hospital and C.A.R.E. Building.

    “I will be seeing patients on a limited basis here at CMH,” he said. “Not exactly sure at this point what that looks like, but it was important to me to maintain that aspect of care.”

    He also wants to find unique ways to bring medical care to the communities CMH services.

    “I’m big on preventive medicine and wanting to make sure everyone has access to care,” he said.

    Dr. Guirkin wanted to be closer to his parents who still reside in Richmond.

    Dr. Guirkin and spouse Brian Sharp have two four-legged children a pug name Samantha and a Belgium Mallonois named Tucker. In his spare time, he enjoys running, reading and working in the yard.

  32. Springtime in Paris From SVCC Chorus

    The acclaimed Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC) Chorus, is bringing “Springtime in Paris” with Harpist, Winifred Garrett to Southside Virginia on Sunday, April 28th at 3:00 PM at the South Hill Presbyterian Church at 914 N. Mecklenburg Ave, South Hill, VA 23970. Admission is free.

    The Chorus of the Southside Virginia Community College is fully supported by SVCC, your local community college, and its Foundation. SVCC realizes the value of bringing quality choral music to you in Southside Virginia. Because of the valuable support of the SVCC Foundation, harpist Winifred Garrett from Durham, NC will be performing this Spring with flutes, Dee Pinnell and Laurel Sciortino, both from Boydton. This exceptional concert will be offered at South Hill Presbyterian Church’s accessible space at no cost to you.

    Winifred Garrett last played with the SVCC Chorus in December 2015. She is a noted harpist from Durham where she teaches and performs within a full concert and recital schedule. With a career of over thirty years, Winifred has had the privilege of being the first African American harpist to grace the stage in countless performance venues and settings. The Founder/Artistic Director of “The Harp Studio” based in Durham, North Carolina, highlights from her performance career includes appearances with Stevie Wonder at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City, performing with Marvin Gaye at Radio City Music Hall, playing the wedding of singer/actress Whitney Houston, and performing with the Boys Choir of Harlem and for the Dance Theater of Harlem. She continues to maintain a heavy performance schedule and is the Principal Harpist for the Fayetteville Symphony. She presently plays for the Umstead Hotel and Spa, one of the prestigious four star/five diamond hotels of North Carolina.

    “Springtime in Paris” features a Romantic selection of music for Harp, Chorus, Piano and Flutes with a French accent, composed by Gabriel Fauré, Aaron Copland, and even a Claude Debussy harp solo. Fresh arrangements of, “Angel Band”, tunes by George Gershwin and Irving Berlin, “Goin’ Home” by Antonin Dvořák, popular love songs,  and music from “Les Miserablés”, are just a sampling of the repertoire to be presented on April 28.

    The SVCC Chorus has been under the direction of Carol Henderson of Buffalo Junction since 2014. And through the support of pianist Sally Tharrington of Boydton, and the inclusion of its great singers, the chorus is growing in vocal beauty. Rehearsals are conveniently located at the crossroads of Highway 58, Route 1, and Interstate 85 at the South Hill Presbyterian Church. The chorus, now 42 members, continues to attract new singers from the surrounding Southside areas. Rehearsals for Fall 2019 will begin on the Sunday following Labor Day, September 8th at 6:00 PM at South Hill Presbyterian Church.

    Thorough continued support by SVCC and its Foundation, we are looking forward to plans for 2019-20 season which include brass and carols for Holiday Concerts 2019,  and  a special presentation of  Handel’s MessiahPart 2 with chamber orchestra for Spring 2020. For more information on the SVCC Chorus: NEW! visit:www. southside.edu/svcc-chorus

    The SVCC Chorus promises to bring you a concert of excellence and beauty,…and what better inspiration than with music of the classical harp and music from France! Presented on Sunday, April 28, 2019 at 3:00 PM at South Hill Presbyterian Church, fully accessible, the concert includes a reception. Church lot parking is available, and also, across the street at Benchmark Bank and the neighboring parking lot. You are invited to bring your families, friends and neighbors for “Springtime in Paris”!

  33. VIRGINIA STATE POLICE CAPTAIN EARNS LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD FOR 25-YEARS OF DEDICATED & INNOVATIVE PUBLIC SAFETY EFFORTS

    RICHMOND – Virginia State Police Capt. Tricia W. Powers is the 2019 recipient of the esteemed Mid-Atlantic Association of Women in Law Enforcement’s (MAAWLE) “Lifetime Achievement Award.” Powers (center) was recognized this week at the 33rd Annual MAAWLE Conference in Poconos, Penn. 

    “Throughout her 25-year law enforcement career, Captain Powers has consistently distinguished herself through outstanding accomplishments, leadership and contributions not only to the Virginia State Police, but to the nation,” said Col. Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “With a proven record of success, through partnership, engagement and communication, Captain Powers has embraced new challenges and continues to exceed expectations and provide deliverables that have enhanced the overall capabilities of the Virginia State Police. We are excited for her to be selected for this prestigious and most deserving recognition.”

    Powers began her career with the Virginia State Police (VSP) on Nov. 1, 1993. During the course of her career, she has worked as a special agent in the Department’s Drug Enforcement Section and Fugitive Apprehension Unit. During these assignments, she also achieved the DEA Site Safety Officer Certification for meth lab processing/investigations and acted as the lead investigator on several methamphetamine lab investigations in the Tidewater area. As first sergeant, she supervised and directed investigations for the Insurance Fraud and Auto Theft programs within the Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s (BCI) Chesapeake Field Office.  Later she served as the Area 32 Commander in the Norfolk/Virginia Beach area and supervised the third busiest VSP Area Office in the state within the Bureau of Field Operations (BFO).

    Upon her appointment to lieutenant, she transferred to the VSP Bureau of Field Operations (BFO) Richmond Field Division. In September 2016, she was promoted to her current rank of captain and became the commander of the Criminal Justice Information Services Division (CJIS). The CJIS Division is in charge of the Central Criminal Records Exchange (CCRE), Virginia Criminal Information Network (VCIN), Live Scan, IBR/UCR annual crime report, Sex Offender Registry, Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) and the Firearms Transaction Center (FTC).  Powers oversees approximately 250 sworn and civilian personnel assigned to the CJIS Division.

    She is a 2012 graduate of the FBI National Academy and she is currently First Vice President on the Board of Directors, FBI National Academy Associates Virginia Chapter.  She also represents Virginia as the FBI CJIS Systems Officer (CSO) and is responsible for the administration of the CJIS network with CJIS System Agencies (CSA). 

    The MAAWLE Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to a law enforcement professional with at least 15 years of experience, who has distinguished herself through outstanding accomplishments and contributions spanning her career in law enforcement. MAAWLE is a professional organization of law enforcement officers and individuals promoting women in law enforcement working or residing within the states of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington, DC.

  34. Dr. Quentin R. Johnson Hired as the Next President Southside Virginia Community College

    RICHMOND– Dr. Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges, announced today that Dr. Quentin R. Johnson, currently of Mooresville, North Carolina, will become the next president of Southside Virginia Community College. He will assume the role at the beginning of July. Johnson’s selection marks the end of national search that attracted 81 applicants.

    “Quentin Johnson brings to the table a strong student services background, and a deep understanding of the needs of nontraditional students – a group that we need to focus on,” said Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges. “And he believes deeply in what we do. In fact, his son is currently attending one of our community colleges.”

    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 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.

    "After a thorough and fruitful search process, our board is delighted that Dr. Quentin Johnson will be the next president of Southside Virginia Community College.  He brings an energy and insight that will prove to be invaluable in taking SVCC to the next level of service in our communities," said Betsy Sharrett, chair of the Southside Virginia Community College local board.

    Johnson will 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.

    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.

  35. “(Weather)-2 (Farmers)-1”

    One can wager on your favorite team
    and there might be times you win
    yet if you bet on the weather
    your chances are real thin.
     
    Yes the weather changes often
    leaving many farmers sick
    it matters not the crop abundance
    if the fields are too slick.
     
    It’s a challenge for most of them
    needing rain when it is dry
    then when it’s time to harvest
    it’s too wet to even try.
     
    One must give the farmers credit
    for all the obstacles they face
    each and every year they enter
    but only a few will win the race.
     
    Farmers never know the ending
    though all may start quite well
    yes from day to day and year to year
    the weather casts its spell.
     
    Now the farmer is the backbone
    of the good ole U.S.A.
    yet the government and the weather
    determines what he does every day.
     
                             - Roy E. Schepp
  36. Edith Christine Ferguson

    Visitation Services

    Tuesday, April 16, 1:00 pm

    Echols Funeral Home

    815 Brunswick Ave

    Emporia, VA

    Tuesday, April 16, 2:00 pm

    Echols Funeral Home

    815 Brunswick Ave

    Emporia, VA

    Edith Christine Ferguson, 95, died Thursday April 11, 2019 after a brief illness.

    A native of Brunswick County, she was born January 27, 1924 to the late Edward Esua “Teso” Wrenn and Allie Richard Hobbs Wrenn. In addition to her parents she was preceded in death by her beloved husband Marshall Jackson Ferguson, four brothers and three sisters.

    A Homemaker’s Homemaker, she was an accomplished seamstress, making dance costumes for her children and others. Christine excelled at housekeeping, cooking, gardening, canning, freezing, making pickles, jams and jellies and needlework. She was a longtime active member of Main Street Methodist Church where she was instrumental in the creation of Chrismons for the church Christmas tree. She assisted with Girl Scouting for many years and chaperoned while her late husband drove the bus for the Greensville County High School Band.

    Christine is survived by her daughters; Joyce Potter and her husband Robert of Charleston, SC, and Bonnie Ferguson of Florence, Alabama, a sister Marjorie Wrenn Sheppard of Portsmouth, VA, grandchildren; Wendy Gordon and her husband Ken of Midlothian, VA and Tracy Edgerton and her husband Todd of Crozet, VA, great grandsons; Julien, Simon, and Marshall Gaudet, and Potter and Alton Edgerton.

    Funeral Services will be held Tuesday April 16, 2019 in the Chapel of Echols Funeral Home at 2:00 P.M. with Rev. Tom Durrance officiating. Entombment will follow at Greensville Memorial Cemetery. The family will receive friends at the Funeral Home from 1:00 P.M. until Service time.

    Online condolences may be left at echolsfuneralhome.com.

  37. Brunswick Academy Career Day

    The Brunswick Academy PTO hosted a Career Fair for our Viking students on Tuesday, April 9, 2019.  The day was designed for our 3rd through 12th grade students to learn about the job possibilities in today's world.  Professionals in attendance were an Archaeologist, Engineer, Electrician, Welder, Nurse, Dentist, Physical Therapist, Banker, Author, Pharmacist, Teacher, Attorney, and many more.  We thank all of them for coming and being part it.  To conclude the day, the VCU Health Med Vac Team landed on the football field.  It was a great and informative day that was enjoyed by all. 

    Picture 2 - Loretta Bottoms and Kerrie Combs of Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center, showing students a "glitter bug" hand washing demonstration.

    Picture 3 - Amanda Lipscomb, Pharmacist at Walmart in Emporia, speaks to students.

    Picture 4 - Brunswick Academy Fifth Graders enjoyed the presentation from Jessie Doyle at BSV.

    Picture 5 - Author, Houston T. Kidd reads his book, "Willow the Water Bear" to the Brunswick Academy PreSchool Class.

    Picture 6 - The VCU Health Med Vac Team talks to B.A. High School students.

  38. Let’s Get REAL about Education for Inmates

    By Dr. Al Roberts

    I believe in the transformative power of education.

    Earlier generations considered high school completion the key to success. Many viewed postsecondary education an extravagance because folks with high school diplomas could secure good-paying jobs. Today, that is no longer the case. Finding a job with family-sustaining wages often requires education beyond high school, whether it be the completion of a certificate program, the attainment of industry-recognized credentials, or earning an Associate’s or higher academic degree.

    When it comes to recognizing the benefits of education, incarcerated people are often overlooked. This lapse may be counterproductive. A study completed earlier this year by the Vera Institute of Justice and the Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality revealed that inmates who received college-level education were much more able to reenter communities successfully upon release. The report concluded, “Expanding access to postsecondary education in prison is likely to reduce recidivism rates, resulting in a decrease in incarceration costs across states of $365.8 million per year.”

    Lisa Hudson, Coordinator of SVCC’s Campus Within Walls program, has seen compelling evidence regarding the value of education for inmates. “Our prison college program not only benefits Virginia and makes fiscal sense, it also positively impacts our students. We believe that human beings have value and are capable of making positive life changes. We know that 95% of people in prison will eventually be released.  In Virginia, the 13,000 people released annually from prison represent an opportunity.  Through college classes, we prepare incarcerated Virginians to reenter our communities as educated, employable, and taxpaying neighbors.”

    Accessing postsecondary education in prison can pose a challenge, however. Individuals with substantial financial need often receive Pell Grant assistance, but in 1994, federal lawmakers instituted a ban on Pell Grants for inmates. Without funds for tuition, the number of education programs available to people behind bars plummeted. A recent trial program, the Second Chance Pell Experimental Sites Initiative, lifted the ban on Pell Grant eligibility among incarcerated populations at 67 sites across the nation. Data indicate that when inmates access higher education in prison, they are 43 percent less likely to reoffend after release when compared with inmates lacking a similar opportunity.

    The 116th Congress is preparing to consider the legislation “Restoring Education And Learning (REAL) Act of 2019” to reinstate Pell Grant eligibility for incarcerated individuals. Because education is one of the best and most cost-effective means of helping former inmates avoid a subsequent term behind bars, its potential is as REAL as its name.

    Education remains key in efforts to transform lives, families, communities, and the local economy. SVCC remains committed to the belief that all people should have educational opportunities, and that includes the incarcerated people in our service region.

    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.

  39. ATTORNEY GENERAL MARK HERRING HONORS VICTIMS’ ADVOCATES FROM AROUND THE COMMONWEALTH

    ~ AG Herring presented awards to six honorees at the 3rd annual Unsung Heroes Awards ceremony this afternoon ~

    RICHMOND (April 11, 2019) – This afternoon, Attorney General Mark R. Herring commemorated National Crime Victims’ Rights Week by honoring six victims’ advocates at the third annual Unsung Heroes Awards ceremony in Richmond. The Unsung Heroes Awards honor Virginians who have dedicated themselves to serving victims and fighting for their rights.

    “Today, we are honoring the men and women who have dedicated their time and efforts to victims’ services, but who too often go un-thanked, with theUnsung Heroes Award,” said Attorney General Herring. “These kind, generous Virginians have put in countless hours to make sure that victims know they have someone to turn to when they may feel lost or alone. Each person honored today has provided unmeasurable comfort and support to victims or survivors during their darkest time. It is my honor to recognize these incredible men and women today and thank them for their crucial work.”

    Below are the recipients of this year’s Unsung Heroes Awards:

    Lalita Brim-Poindexter, Attorney, Poindexter Law LLC

    Lalita Brim-Poindexter is the attorney/owner of Poindexter Law, LLC in Southwest Virginia. She has been in the legal field for 15 years and began her career as an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney in Roanoke City, where she prosecuted crimes against children and victims of domestic violence.  Now, she devotes her work to assisting victims with protective orders and in child custody disputes. She is also a certified Guardian ad litem for children. Over the past year, she has volunteered for TAP (Total Action for Progress), providing legal consultations and pro bono services. She has also partnered with TAP and the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance as part of their Project for the Empowerment of Survivors (PES) to ensure that victims in the Roanoke Valley obtain adequate and affordable representation for civil and family law cases when they need it. 

    Steve W. Edwards, Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney for Isle of Wight County

    Steve Edwards is Deputy Commonwealth Attorney for Isle of Wight County. He has prosecuted crimes against children and sexual assault cases for over 20 years. Along with his daughter, Ashley, he has conducted training programs and demonstrations using horses to teach effective means of communication with severely traumatized witnesses and victims. These sessions are available to law enforcement, prosecutors, social workers, victim witness advocates, guidance counselors and all others whose occupation brings them into contact with people who have suffered brutal trauma. He often brings victims out to his farm to interact with the horses as part of trial preparation. As Executive Director of Gwaltney Frontier Farm, a non-profit equine breed conservation program, he has conducted free weekly sessions working with horses for inpatient PTSD survivors from the Hampton Veterans Hospital.

    Anita Gonzalez, Founder, Peninsula Families United Together

    Originally from Brooklyn, New York, Anita relocated to Virginia in 2014 with her family to escape crime and gangs, only to have her 17-year-old son, Jermell Hayes, shot and killed in 2016. Following this tragedy, Anita saw opportunity and wanted to work to promote healing and curb the violence by turning towards advocacy and connecting with the Catalyst Effect. She talked with leaders involved with the Pastors’ Dialogue on Racism, Poverty and Violence, where she had served on a panel with other mothers of murdered children, and launched “Peninsula Families United Together”, a support group of mothers that meets monthly to help participants work through trauma, forgiveness, accountability and restorative justice. The group works to provide a network for families, responding quickly to offer support during times of tragedy and has met with local law enforcement, prosecutors, faith leaders, funeral homes and human service providers. They are also engaged in outreach and speaking engagements throughout the community to help curb violence and to reach out to others.

    Carly Mee, Senior Staff Attorney, SurvJustice

    Carly Mee is an attorney who provides direct legal assistance to survivors in the campus, civil, and criminal systems. She has represented many survivors in Title IX campus hearings since joining SurvJustice in 2016 and has significantly increased the rate of success for survivors in campus proceedings. In 2017, she also assisted international law firm Steptoe & Johnson in establishing a historic new victim-advocate privilege in federal court. Carly also serves as a liaison to the American Bar Association Commission on Domestic & Sexual Violence. As an undergraduate at Occidental College, she spoke publicly about her own experience of reporting sexual violence and went on to co-found the Oxy Sexual Assault Coalition with other students and professors.

    Brad Roop, Detective, Washington County Sheriff’s Office

    Brad is a native of Radford, VA and currently serves as the Crimes Against Children Detective for the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. Brad began his law enforcement career 21 years ago after being honorably discharged from the United States Air Force. Early in his career, Brad realized that he possessed a passion for helping children and saw the need for someone to specialize in the investigation of crimes against them. Brad is a graduate of the Virginia Forensic Science Academy and was trained as a Child Forensic Interviewer at the National Children’s Advocacy Center. He has received extensive training related to child abuse investigations, child physical abuse reconstruction techniques and perpetrator behaviors. His specialized skills, passion and dedication have aided in bringing countless children to safety and their abusers to justice.

    Kristina Vadas, Victim Services Programs Manager, Department of Criminal Justice Services

    Kristina Vadas is the manager of the Victims Services Team at the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), where she provides oversight of all Victims Services initiatives and monitors victim-related legislation, conducts studies, and promotes best practices in service delivery for victims of crime. Kristina represents DCJS on statewide committees and task forces that address human trafficking, underserved victims of crime, services for victims of sexual and intimate partner violence, and other related issues. Previously, Kristina served as the Sexual Assault Program Coordinator for DCJS, where she managed the statewide sexual assault victim services programs, including the Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence Grant Program (SADVGP) and the Sexual Assault Services Program (SASP). She provided technical assistance, consultation, and training to victim advocates, law enforcement, prosecutors, and others requesting information and resources on sexual assault. She also developed resources, policies, and procedures to improve services to sexual assault victims, including those related to Sexual Assault Response Teams (SARTs). 

  40. Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center Announces New Chief Nursing Officer

    Emporia, VA - Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center (SVRMC) is pleased to announce Susan Williams, BSN, MBA/HCM, as Chief Nursing Officer. She joins SVRMC from The Villages Regional Hospital (TVRH), a 307 bed hospital in The Villages, Florida. Williams started her career at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and brings diverse leadership experience from her numerous administrative nursing roles at acute care hospitals in Tampa, Orlando and Miami. “SVRMC is focused on the needs of patients, community and staff members and I’m excited to be part of this collaborative team,” Williams said.

    During her career as Administrative Director of Nursing at TVRH, she implemented plans that increased patient satisfaction by 30%. She also made significant impacts on hospital-wide throughput initiatives, staff recruitment, and service line development such as Critical Care, Orthopedics and Wound Care programs. In her role she also led TVRH’s Stroke re-Accreditation and Chest Pain Accreditation. Williams states that, “It is my goal, as well as all other staff at SVRMC, to provide top quality, compassionate care.”

    Williams has been instrumental in creating multidisciplinary teams of providers and staff to ensure communication within her facilities. She is deeply committed to building relationships and working together with all stakeholders to ensure the highest quality of care and service.

    She earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Tennessee State University and a Master of Business Administration in Health Care Management from the University of Phoenix. She has received numerous awards and accolades from Nursing Who’s Who and Advance for Nurses. Williams and husband Bruce were high school sweethearts and are looking forward to exploring Emporia with their grandson, Elijah.

  41. GO Virginia Region 3 announces successful project award for GO TEC

    Up to $4.9 Million to be awarded to broaden the talent pipeline in Southern and Southwest Virginia

    GO TEC (Great Opportunities in Technology & Engineering Careers), a workforce development approach in Southern and Southwestern Virginia, was awarded the largest grant to date from the GO Virginia Competitive Funding pool. The investment by GO Virginia is matched 1-to-1by support from over 15 local partners.

    Workforce training will be provided by seven higher education institutions to address current and future market demand in areas such as precision machining, welding, IT/cyber security, advanced materials and robotics, automation and mechatronics. At the foundational level, K-12 systems are creating Career Connection Labs that introduce middle school students to these in-demand occupationsand then connect their training opportunities to high school and ultimately to higher education institutions. And at the policy level, businesses will be included on the leadership board.

    The GO Virginia State Board approved an investment of up to $4.9 million in the GO TEC project Tuesday morning. The "hub and spoke" workforce delivery system focuses on occupations that have been identified asin-demand in GO Virginia Regions 1, 3 and 4, an area that encompasses many of Virginia’s rural southern counties stretching from Wythe County to Greensville County. For businesses, GO TEC will answer a market need with  a strong pipeline of skilled workers that can support the job requirements of both existing and new employers.

    "It is exciting to see the breadth and depth of regional collaboration among education partners for economic development results that will occur through this unique partnership," Region 3 GO Virginia Council Chairman Charles Majors said. "We are even more pleased that the State GO Virginia Board concurred with our recommendation to support this unique talent development model. We know that the collective work of seven educational partners, in conjunction with the K-12 systems in Southern and Southwestern Virginia, will create a strong tool for talent retention, business retention, and business attraction."

    The GO TEC project leverages existing mastery-level training expertise in seven higher education partners: Southside Virginia Community College, Danville Community College, Patrick Henry Community College, Wytheville Community College, the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center in South Boston, the New College Institute in Martinsville, and the Institute for Advanced Learning & Research in Danville. Each of these partners contributes an element of the career paths identified as areas of critical need in the Regions 1, 3 and 4's Growth & Diversification Plans.

    "I am exceptionally pleased with the level of support from localities and organizations across the regions," said Region 3 Vice-Chairman Randy Lail. "Creative thinking, and building impactful partnerships is the way that rural Virginia can successfully create healthy economies, and this is an example of rural leadership in action."

    GO TEC expands existing outcomes that began with a pilot pre-GO Virginia initiative based at Danville Community College and the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research in 2016.The success of that launch resulted in approval for the first Phase 1 investment by GO Virginia in 2018 when the Region 3 Council was authorized to invest its Per Capita funds. That scale-up wasdesigned to increase the geographic reach of the program, increase the Career Connection labs, and develop the curriculum. 

    This 2019 expansion of GO TEC gives economic developers in Regions 1, 3 and 4 both a stronger workforce system, and more effective marketing message to use in their business attraction efforts.This grant will continue to expand the regional brand of workforce training and increase the number of K-12 divisions that will house Career Connection Labs.

    "GO TEC is an example of the types of effective partnerships that the Regions seek to build through the GO Virginia program," said Julie Brown, interim director of the GO TEC team. "We are excited that our team of higher education partners identified this opportunity and that we were able to demonstrate to the leaders of GO Virginia that GO TEC can successfully scale-up to create an extensive talent marketing message for these three regions."

  42. Virginia student-athletes receive further concussion protection

    By Andrew Gionfriddo, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND --  A new state law will require Virginia schools to regularly update their policies on educating coaches, student-athletes and parents about concussions and on when student-athletes can return to play after suffering such an injury.

    Under the law, which takes effect July 1, the Virginia Board of Education must collaborate with brain-injury and other experts to biennially update state guidelines on policies related to concussions. Using those guidelines, local school boards then must revise their policies and procedures on how to handle suspected concussions received by student-athletes.

    The law is the result of House Bill 1930, which was sponsored by Del. Richard “Dickie” Bell, R-Staunton, and passed unanimously by the General Assembly.

    “Concussions can be a serious medical concern and should not be taken lightly,” Bell said. “It is critical that we keep our guidelines up to date to ensure that we protect the health and well-being of our student-athletes, and that is what HB 1930 aims to do.”

    Gov. Ralph Northam signed the legislation into law on Feb. 22, saying it builds on efforts he advocated when he served in the Virginia Senate in 2013.

    “As a state senator, I introduced and passed legislation directing the Board of Education to develop these guidelines and requiring local school divisions to create policies for identifying and handling suspected concussions,” Northam said.

    “Del. Bell’s legislation will strengthen this practice by requiring the board’s guidelines and divisions’ procedures to be updated biennially, which will help account for new research and enhanced knowledge.”

    Among the stakeholders working with the Board of Education are the Virginia High School League, the Virginia Department of Health and the Brain Injury Association of Virginia.

    “We are fortunate to have open lines of communication and the ability to share feedback with one another,” said Chris Robinson, assistant director for athletics for the VHSL.

    He said that over the past decade, there has been “a heightened awareness of the inherent long-term effects of head injury have increased.”

    “This has created the need to change many rule codes to protect athletes at all levels from these types of injuries,” Robinson said.

    An estimated 1.6 million to 3.8 million sports-and recreation-related concussions occur each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Brain Injury Research Institute says high school athletes who suffer a concussion are three times more likely to suffer a second.

    Football accounts for more than 60 percent of concussions suffered in organized high school sports.

    Sports leagues at the professional, collegiate and high school levels have already taken strides in improving safety measures and helmet technology for contact sports to mitigate concussions. Some experts say rule changes in certain sports might be the next step in protecting players.

    Patrick Bowdring, 23, who is majoring in interdisciplinary studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, said he received more than one concussion while playing lacrosse at West Potomac High School in Fairfax County.

    Bowdring said student-athletes should take such injuries seriously -- and make sure they have fully recovered before resuming their sport.

    “Your brain and your future are so much more important,” he said. “If I were to go back, I would have sat out even longer. It’s your life; it will have an effect on you

  43. USDA Announces Buy-Up Coverage Availability and New Service Fees for Noninsured Crop Coverage Policies

    Changes apply Beginning April 8, 2019

    WASHINGTON, April 8, 2019 – USDA’sFarm Service Agency (FSA) today announced that higher levels of coverage will be offered through the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP), a popular safety et program, beginning April 8, 2019. The 2018 Farm Bill also increased service fees and made other changes to the program, including service fee waivers for qualified military veterans interested in obtaining NAP coverage.  

    "When other insurance coverage is not an option, NAP is a valuable risk mitigation tool for farmers and ranchers,” said FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce. “In agriculture, losses from natural disasters are a matter of when, not if, and having a NAP policy provides a little peace of mind.” 

    NAP provides financial assistance to producers of commercial crops for which insurance coverage is not available in order to protect against natural disasters that result in lower yields or crop losses, or prevent crop planting.    

    NAP Buy-Up Coverage Option

    The 2018 Farm Bill reinstates higher levels of coverage, from 50 to 65 percent of expected production in 5 percent increments, at 100 percent of the average market price. Producers of organics and crops marketed directly to consumers also may exercise the “buy-up” option to obtain NAP coverage of 100 percent of the average market price at the coverage levels of between 50 and 65 percent of expected production. NAP basic coverage is available at 55 percent of the average market price for crop losses that exceed 50 percent of expected production.    

    Producers have a one-time opportunity until May 24, 2019, to obtain buy-up coverage for 2019 or 2020 eligible crops for which the NAP application closing date has passed.    

    Buy-up coverage is not available for crops intended for grazing. 

    NAP Service Fees

    For all coverage levels, the new NAP service fee is the lesser of $325 per crop or $825 per producer per county, not to exceed a total of $1,950 for a producer with farming interests in multiple counties.  These amounts reflect a $75 service fee increase for crop, county or multi-county coverage.  The fee increases apply to obtaining NAP coverage on crops on or after April 8, 2019. 

    NAP Enhancements for Qualified Military Veterans

    The 2018 Farm Bill NAP amendments specify that qualified veteran farmers or ranchers are now eligible for a service fee waiver and premium reduction, if the NAP applicant meets certain eligibility criteria.  

    Beginning, limited resource and targeted underserved farmers or ranchers remain eligible for a waiver of NAP service fees and premium reduction when they file form CCC-860, “Socially Disadvantaged, Limited Resource and Beginning Farmer or Rancher Certification.” 

    For NAP application, eligibility and related program information, visit www.fsa.usda.gov/napor contact your local USDA Service Center.  To locate your local FSA office, visit www.farmers.gov.  

    USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.

  44. Virginia State Police Department’s K9 Gunner received donation of body armor

    Virginia State Police Department’s K9 Gunner’s has received a bullet and stab protective vest thanks to a charitable donation from non-profit organization Vested Interest in K9s, Inc.  K9 Gunner’s vest is sponsored by Margie Bandas of Richmond VA and is embroidered with the sentiment “In honor of Nicolas Castrinos, Richmond VA”

    Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. is a 501c (3) charity located in East Taunton, MA whose mission is to provide bullet and stab protective vests and other assistance to dogs of law enforcement and related agencies throughout the United States. The non-profit was established in 2009 to assist law enforcement agencies with this potentially lifesaving body armor for their four-legged K9 officers. Since its inception, Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. provided over 3,300 protective vests in 50 states, through private and corporate donations, at a cost of over $5.7 million dollars.

    The program is open to dogs actively employed in the U.S. with law enforcement or related agencies who are certified and at least 20 months of age. New K9 graduates, as well as K9s with expired vests, are eligible to participate.

    The donation to provide one protective vest for a law enforcement K9 is $950.00. Each vest has a value between $1,744 – $2,283, and a five-year warranty and an average weight of 4-5 lbs. There is an estimated 30,000 law enforcement K9s throughout the United States. For more information or to learn about volunteer opportunities, please call 508-824-6978. Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. provides information, lists events, and accepts tax-deductible donations of any denomination at www.vik9s.org or mailed to P.O. Box 9 East Taunton, MA 02718.

  45. Northam Signs Proclamation Recognizing Victims of Violent Crimes

    By Owen FitzGerald, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND — Gov. Ralph Northam signed a proclamation Tuesday declaring April 7-13 as Crime Victims’ Rights Week. Northam emphasized that it is important to treat crime victims with fairness, dignity and respect.

    “We have come a long way in understanding the needs of victims since Virginia’s Code was amended to include victims’ rights in 1995,” Northam said. “Victim advocates make it possible for those affected by crime to begin healing, and Crime Victims’ Rights Week is a tremendous opportunity to recognize the important work of the dedicated professionals that serve victims of crime, helping them to access critical support and reclaim their lives.”

    Northam, joined by Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian J. Moran, signed the proclamation at an event sponsored by the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services. DCJS provides more than $60 million in funding and technical support to 420 crime victims projects and agencies across Virginia.

    Crime Victims’ Rights Week was established in 1981 to raise awareness of the needs of crime victims and to honor those working to assist them. This year’s theme — Honoring Our Past, Creating Hope for the Future — was chosen to recognize the progress being made in serving victims, and to thank those who have worked for years to help victims of crime.

    Smaller victim assistance programs and advocacy groups work with larger organizations to expand public awareness of crime victims’ rights and available services. Those organizations include the Virginia Department of Health, the Virginia Department of Social Services, the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, the Virginia Victims Fund, the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance, and the Virginia Victim Assistance Network.

    “We continue to strive for an innovative and collaborative approach to support victims of crime in our communities,” Moran said. “Partnerships among victim advocates, public safety, and community organizations are essential to ensure the complex needs of victims are met.”

    Additional information about victims’ services is available on the DCJS website at www.dcjs.virginia.gov.

  46. Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center Earns ACR Mammography Accreditation

    Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center (SVRMC) Mammography Department has been awarded a three-year term of accreditation in mammography as the result of a recent review by the American College of Radiology (ACR). Mammography is a specific type of imaging test that uses a low-dose X-ray system to examine breasts. A mammogram is used to aid in the early detection and diagnosis of breast diseases in women.

    The ACR gold seal of accreditation represents the highest level of image quality and patient safety. It is awarded only to facilities meeting ACR Practice Parameters and Technical Standards after a peer-review evaluation by board-certified physicians and medical physicists who are experts in the field. Image quality, personnel qualifications, adequacy of facility equipment, quality control procedures and quality assurance programs are assessed. The findings are reported to the ACR Committee on Accreditation, which subsequently provides the practice with a comprehensive report that can be used for continuous practice improvement.

    Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers among women. SVRMC provides helpful services to educate women on breast health, encourages self-exams and routine screenings. CEO Wilson Thomas explains, “We utilize imaging technology that may detect breast cancer at the earliest stages, when treatment can be most effective. The combination of caring technologists and imaging technology allows us to deliver quality care.”

    SVRMC offers digital imaging technology for mammograms. With digital technology, radiologists can zoom in on particular areas or change brightness or contrast for even greater visibility, and results can be read immediately. It offers numerous benefits to women, including:

    • Improved accuracy of screening exams, especially for women with dense breast tissue
    • Less radiation exposure
    • Greater image quality, reducing the need for repeat exams

    For more information, please contact the Mammography Quality Assurance Technologist at (434) 348-4836. To make an appointment, please have your physician’s office call Central Scheduling at (434) 348-4470.

  47. Making a Difference Every Day

    When you are working with people who are literally fighting for their life, motivation is plentiful. That type of setting allows you to leave work each day feeling like you made a difference. It is a workplace that is exciting to Teresa Collins, RN.

    Teresa has been named the new Director of Oncology at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital.

    It is a position she feels prepared for. Teresa has been the clinical coordinator for the Oncology Department since 2013.

    Although she is leaving her day-to-day interactions with patients as a nurse and clinical coordinator, Teresa has not forgotten the importance of her team’s work.

    “We have a huddle (staff meeting) every morning,” she said. “And I like to do leadership rounding as often as possible, I want any new patients who come in to either the medical oncology side or the radiation therapy side to know that we are working with them. I want them to know who all can help them with their journey.”

    Teresa is replacing Mary Hardin, RN, who became the Vice President of Patient Care Services at CMH in November. Teresa had been serving as interim director of the Oncology Department since Mary’s promotion.

    “I had the opportunity to work with Mary, first as a treatment nurse beginning in 2011 and then as Clinical Coordinator beginning in 2013,” Teresa said. “Having her just a phone call away is comforting.”

    Teresa enjoys the more cerebral aspects of her new job as director.

    “I like the problem solving and critical thinking that needs to happen as a director,” she said. “I want to always be improving things for our patients and for our staff. It’s a way I can continue to have an impact on the care we deliver. We have a great group of caring individuals in the Hendrick Cancer & Rehab Center and the Solari Radiation Therapy Center. We have outstanding providers who care deeply for our patients and their families.”

    Teresa stressed the level of care in the CMH Oncology Department is comparable to any hospital in the region, regardless of size.  But she also thinks the size at VCU Health CMH has distinct advantages.

    “We have the ability to change quickly here,” she said. “And that is important because in cancer care, things change sometimes daily. There are always new treatment options and therapies. Our staff embraces that change while still caring deeply for our patients. It makes CMH a very special place.”

    Teresa graduated LPN school (Southside Virginia Community College-SVCC) in 2002 and immediately started working at CMH in Med/Surg and telemetry. After becoming an RN in 2006, she worked as a charge nurse on West Wing at the old CMH, as well as a recovery room nurse, and nurse recruiter before moving to the oncology department.

    Teresa has her BSN from Chamberlain College of Nursing and is also now working on her MSN at Chamberlain College. She is a certified Oncology nurse and has received the Alice Tudor Professional Nurse Award twice during her tenure at CMH, in 2013 and in 2018.

    Teresa, a Lunenburg County native, and her husband, Robert, have three children:  Nicholas, 21, who will be a VCU grad in May; Aylor, 11, a fifth grader at South Hill Elementary; and Cooper, 5, a kindergartener as South Hill.

  48. George Thomas Delbridge, Sr.

    Visitation Services

    1:30 PM, April 14, 2019

    Liberty PH Church

    1468 American Legion Rd.
    Roanoke Rapids, NC

    3 PM, April 14, 2019

    Liberty PH Church

    1468 American Legion Rd.
    Roanoke Rapids, NC

    George Thomas Delbridge Sr., 81, of Gaston, North Carolina, formerly of Emporia, Va. Passed away Friday April 5, 2019 at Vidant Medical Center.  He was preceded in death by his mom, dad, and two siblings.

    Thomas is survived by his wife of 59 years Alice Patrick Delbridge of Gaston; his children Wanda Brown of Lake Gaston, and her two daughters Amanda Yarborough of Roanoke Rapids and Amber Keeter and husband AJ, of Knightdale, NC; Tommy Delbridge. Jr. and wife Gail  of Augusta, Ga, and their children Tommy Delbridge and wife Amanda of Greenville, TN, Elaine Martinez of Albuquerque, NM, James Delbridge, and wife Ashley, of Pineville, LA, Brandon Delbridge of Augusta, Ga, and Samantha Brown and husband Marcus, of Las Vegas, NV, Joseph Delbridge of Midlothian, Va; and Doris Delbridge and daughters Megan of Roanoke Rapids, two sisters Molly Harrup of Emporia, VA, and Brenda Romines and husband Olin, of Franklin, VA, Christine Williams of Sidney, OH. Fifteen great grandchildren, multiple nieces, nephew and cousins.

    A memorial service will be held 3 PM, April 14, 2019 at Liberty PH Church, 1468 American Legion Rd. The family will receive friends from 1:30 to 2:30 PM prior to service at church.

    In lieu of flowers make monetary donations to Hockaday Funeral Service, 507 US Hwy 158, Roanoke Rapids, NC, 27870.

  49. Fairy God Mothers Work Their Magic

     

    Jackson-Feild Behavioral Health Services (JFBHS) is a non-profit behavioral health organization serving adolescent children with severe mental health disorders. Founded in 1855, JFBHS serves more than 100 children annually

    For the past thirteen years Collegiate School students have collected and provided prom outfits to residents through The Fairy Godmother Project. Their mission is to provide a high school prom experience for children whose circumstances would prevent them attending a high school prom.

    Throughout the year, Collegiate School students collect donated prom attire and conducted fund raisers to purchase supplemental items such as shoes and accessories. 

    On Saturday, March 30, 2019, was the “shopping day” for the girls of JFBHS. Collegiate students were able to transform the JFBHS gymnasium into a boutique filled with six racks of prom dresses. Three tables were lined with shoes, an accessory station and even a table for the girls to pick out their make-up.

    The gym was filled with laughter and excitement as residents had smiles from ear to ear on their faces after their successful “shopping experience”. The Collegiate students helped the find the right ensemble that will make them feel and look good at the upcoming prom. The student’s generosity and kindness was much appreciated by both children and staff.

  50. Panther Prep Day is Apri 16, 2019

    Panther Prep Advising Day is coming back to Southside Virginia.   This event, sponsored by Southside Virginia Community College, will be held Tuesday, April 16, 2019 at various locations.  This is a chance for students to meet their advisors, register for classes, learn about all the programs and services the college has to offer.

    Event hours at Christanna Campus in Alberta, John H. Daniel Campus in Keysville,  Southern Virginia Higher Education Center in South Boston, Estes Community Center in Chase City, and  Lake Country Advanced Knowledge Center in South Hill are from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.

    The Southside Virginia Education Center in Emporia will host the event from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m.

    For more information on the event, call 434 736 2022. 

  51. CBD and THC-A Oil Dispensaries Set to Open Across Virginia

    By Ben Burstein, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND -- Virginians with a doctor’s recommendation soon will have access to CBD and THC-A oil dispensaries throughout the state. The Virginia Board of Pharmacy has approved five companies to open the dispensaries -- one in each of the commonwealth’s five health service areas.

    The dispensaries will provide CBD and THC-A oils to approved patients only. The Board of Pharmacy met in private to review 51 applicants before selecting five: PharmaCann, Dalitso, Dharma Pharmaceuticals, Green Leaf Medical and Columbia Care. Background checks will be conducted before each company receives a license.

    There are no scheduled opening dates for the dispensaries, but it's possible they could be operational by winter.

    "Under the terms of their conditional approval, they all have to be open by the end of 2019," said Diane Powers, director of communications for the Virginia Department of Health Professions. The companies do not have to operate on any other specific timeline.

    The dispensaries will offer welcome relief to patients suffering from a range of health problems, according to medical cannabis advocates. Legislation passed in 2018 allows medical practitioners to issue a certification for CBD or TCH-A oils for patients who would benefit from such substances. Dispensaries are only able to provide up to a 90-day supply at a time.

    Stephanie Anderson of Richmond is considering CBD oil as an alternative treatment for her son's ADHD. She wanted her son to have safe and legal access to CBD products.

    "I've been hesitant to try CBD from online sources, so the idea of having in-state pharmaceutical processors puts my mind at ease," she said.

    PharmaCann, founded in 2014, currently operates medical marijuana facilities in five other states and is licensed to operate in three more. Its dispensary will be in Staunton in Health Service Area I, which stretches from Fredericksburg to the Shenandoah Valley.

    Dalitso is a Virginia-based company that will specialize in the production of CBD and THC-A oils. It is in the process of obtaining approval to open a processing facility in Prince William County. Dalitso will open a dispensary in Manassas, which will serve Health Service Area II, including Fairfax and Alexandria.

    Dharma Pharmaceuticals will open its dispensary in Bristol, covering  Health Service Area III, which encompasses southwest Virginia. Dharma is an international producer of medications for hepatitis, cancer and other diseases.

    Green Leaf Medical will set up its dispensary in the Swansboro neighborhood in city of Richmond, serving the surrounding area south to Emporia in Health Service Area IV. Green Leaf is a producer of CBD and THC-A oils, along with other medical marijuana products available in almost 30 locations in Maryland.

    Columbia Care will be based in Portsmouth and provide CBD and THC-A oils in Health Service Area V to residents in the Tidewater area to the Eastern Shore. Columbia Care is an international cannabis-focused health-care company with locations in 13 states, Puerto Rico and the Mediterranean nation of Malta.

    Each dispensary submitted a $10,000 application fee and must pay an additional $10,000 per year to renew its license.

  52. Heated Debate at City Council

    The April 2nd meeting of the Emporia City Council started with the usual agenda items. The only difference at this meeting was that Council Member Woody Harris asked that one item be removed from the bills not paid. The item in question was an invoice from Troutman Sanders for $1,016.20. The expense wan incurred when other members of City Council had questions about the appointment of Marva Dunn to the School Board. The motion to not pay said invoice carried.

    There was no other discussion about the minutes, bills or reports and the agenda was approved.

    City Council presented a resolution to Thelma Adkins-Riley for her work in Civil Rights, a photo and story will follow at a later date.

    Shawn Nicholson, of Crater Workforce Development Board (http://www.craterworkforce.org/) made a presentation on some new workforce programs in the City.  Shion Fenty was also involved in the presentation. Ms Fenty is the representative in charge of the Emporia Center.

    The program – P.O.W.E.R. (Promoting Outstanding Work Ethics & Responsibility) is available to young people age 17-24 who may have impediments to entering the workforce. The program targets 11th and 12th graders, High School Graduates, Dropouts, GED Students and people who have a criminal record.

    Services offered through the P.O.W.E.R. program include job search assistance, Paid Job Training, GED preparation, work readiness skills, a financial education and more. The program also offers career exploration and planning with individual assessments to help participants determine a career path. In addition, there are support services and follow-ups.

    The program was created and is funded thanks to the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. There are centers in Emporia and Petersburg.

    For those interested in more information, the Emporia Center is located at 1300 Greensville County Circle, Suite C and may be reached at (434)632-0935.

    A presentation was also made with information on the upcoming U. S. Census. Shirley Gilliam made a presentation that stressed the importance of counting all of our citizens. The Census occurs once every ten years, and is the basis for nearly all federal funding, representation to the U. S. House of Representatives and is the basis for redistricting, at all levels - local, state and federal.

    City Council also approved a 180 day extension of the Electronic Gaming Machine Moratorium, giving the City Manager, Commonwealth’s Attorney and others time to formulate a plan on how to deal with the machines going forward.

    Council Member Harris made a motion for an Operation Rule for City Council. This rule would require all expenditures made by members of City Council or officers/employees of the city to gain approval from the Council before any funds are committed or spent. Council Member Yolanda Hines suggested that the item be tabled so that it could be discussed further and the procedures of other localities could be explored.

    In the Public Comments, Jesse O’Neary asked that the City Council consider bringing back the Pork Festival, in cooperation with Greensville County. This festival was good for the City and County, and is “too old for us to get rid of, so let’s fall in love with it.”

    Debra Brown addressed the vote to not pay a bill. She stated that the bill should be paid and was only incurred because the City’s attorney “can’t read or comprehend” the code. She also added that “you knew that you violated the code four years ago and turned around and violated it again in December;” in reference to the appointment of Marva Dunn to the School board. It is the opinion of Troutman Sanders that the appointment was unlawful.

    Melvin Hines also rose to address City Council, saying that it is a “waste of time to talk about not paying this law firm,” and calling the actions of City Council “nonsense and a waste of time. You’ll pay now or pay later.”

    After the public comments, City Council recessed into closed session to discuss “a matter involving the acquisition of real property for public purposes because discussing in an open session would adversely affect our bargaining position.”

    After the closed session (Editor’s Note-I stayed to see if there would be any information about the real property as this has been a closed session item at several meetings, but no action was taken on whatever was discussed in closed session) Council Member Carol Mercer made a motion to reconsider a previous action taken by City Council.

    Council Member Mercer moved to reconsider the removal of the Troutman Sanders invoice from the rest of the bills and not paying it. The motion was seconded by Council Member Hines.

    After the motion was seconded, Council Member Harris objected to allowing Council Member Hines to second the motion, believing that only a member of the prevailing side could second a motion to reconsider. A copy of Robert’s Rules of Order was found, at Council Member Harris’ urging, and the rule was looked up. According to Robert’s Rules of Order, any member of a voting body may second a motion to reconsider.

    On a vote of 4-3, the motion to reconsider was carried.

    Another motion was required to take action on payment of the invoice, and that action carried, also on a vote of 4-3. The Troutman Sanders invoice will be paid with the rest of the bills presented to City Council.

    The motion to reconsider was the most drama-filled portion of the meeting.

    During the discussion of the invoice from Troutman Sanders, the Mayor pointed out that thousands of dollars were spent on phone calls to the law firm when Council Member Harris’ wife applied for a job. This prompted a “point of personal privilege,” during which he accused the Mayor of throwing “another stick of dynamite” on the fire.

    Mayor Mary Person told Council Member Harris that she would not be bullied. Council Member Harris stated that he thought that some bulling had taken place during the recess – implying that Council Member Mercer was forced into making the motion to reconsider.

    This discussion became heated at times, and at one point, Council Member Harris raised his voice at the Mayor. The Mayor showed some frustration, but she did not respond to Council Member Harris in-kind.

    Council Member Harris also stated that it was his belief that the contract with Troutman Sanders only allowed questions from the City Attorney or City Manager, as opposed to any member of Council being able to call and run up a bill. City Manager William Johnson stated that there was no contract.

  53. Jackson-Feild Makes Presentation to Placement Professionals

    Jackson-Field’s, Donna Creasy, presented information regarding Neurofeedback to a symposium of professionals who are tasked with finding the most appropriate and effective treatment for their locality’s youth with emotional and behavioral issues. The topic was Neurofeedback and its utilization in residential treatment

    There was a keen  interest on the part of these professionals regarding Neurofeedback and its effectiveness in treating specific disorders including substance abuse. Neurofeedback is an evidence-based practice that uses electroencephalography or EEG to map brain activity.

    The goal is for youth to understand their brain functioning and gain control over their thoughts and behaviors. They learn how to connect stimuli which are undesirable that associate with negative thoughts and emotions such as depression, anxiety, impulsivity, etc. They learn how to manage these thoughts and feelings and control and improve their behaviors.

    Jackson-Feild has used Neurofeedback as an effective treatment intervention for over twenty years.  It is the only nonprofit organization in Virginia that uses it. Jackson-Feild does not receive any reimbursement for this service. JFBHS believes so strongly in this intervention since it has been so effective that it raises funds to cover this expense.

    Ms. Creasy’ s presentation was very well received and participants walked away with a new appreciation and understanding about the importance Neurofeedback could make in helping their youth.

  54. Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Manish Patel Set To Open New Office in Emporia

    Emporia, VA – Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center (SVRMC) is pleased to announce that Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Manish Patel is will be seeing patients at Six Doctors Drive, Emporia, VA 23847 starting Monday April 15th. Call 757-562-7301 to make an appointment. Dr. Patel says, “There’s a significant need for orthopedic care in Emporia. By coming to Emporia this will provide local access for those who cannot travel long distances for their treatment.”

    Most recently Dr. Patel has gained notoriety for a muscle sparing total knee replacement procedure he has dubbed “The Jiffy Knee.” This procedure may mean less pain and a faster recovery for patients. During traditional knee replacement procedures, muscles are cut to replace the knee. Dr. Patel does not cut the muscle during his procedures. Instead he is able to move the tendon and muscle to the side and replace the knee joint. By not cutting muscle or tendon, patients have experienced less pain and shorter recovery times. This also means that Dr. Patel is able to help patients manage pain without the prescribing opioids. “The most rewarding thing about what I do is being able to provide pain relief and mobility to patients,” says Dr. Patel.

    Board certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Dr. Patel specializes in diagnosis and treatment of shoulder, elbow and knee disorders along with emphasis on sports medicine and arthroscopy of these joints. He also treats various hand, foot and ankle conditions along with traumatic injuries. He offers the latest in non-invasive medical and rehabilitative techniques as well as solutions such as joint fluid therapy and arthroscopic surgery. His philosophy of medicine is that he treats every patient as a person and treats them how he would want his family member to be treated if seen by another orthopedic surgeon.

    Dr. Patel has advanced fellowship training in sports medicine and arthroscopy principles which he uses for patients of all ages whether or not they play sports. He works closely with parents, trainers and coaches to provide safe and rewarding experiences for athletes. He also focuses on preventive measures for injuries related to sports.

    He received his medical degree from the Medical College of Pennsylvania Hahnemann University School of Medicine in Philadelphia, Pa. He completed his orthopedic surgery residency at Temple University Hospital, in Philadelphia, Pa., and his arthroscopy and sports medicine fellowship at Mississippi Sports Medicine and Orthopaedic Center, in Jackson, Miss. He is a member of the American Medical Association, American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine and Arthroscopy Association of North America.

    SVRMC offers a wide range of orthopedic care to treat patients in and around Emporia. This includes joint replacements, sports medicine, arthritis care and advanced rehabilitation services. From diagnosing your pain or injury to providing treatment, therapy and surgery, SVRMC’s team is here for you.

    To make an appointment with Dr. Patel call 757-562-7301.

    Southampton Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine Center - Emporia

    Six Doctors Drive
    Emporia, VA 23847
    757-562-7301
  55. Truck Driver Training Classes

    Southside Virginia Community College is offering Truck Driver Training in May at locations in Emporia, Virginia and South Boston, Virginia.  The Emporia class will begin May 6, 2019.  Classes run for six weeks.  The South Boston class begins May 13, 2019.

    For information, call Susan Early at 434-292-3101.

  56. State Health Officials Take Steps to Ban Conversion Therapy

    By Jayla Marie McNeill, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND -- The Virginia Board of Psychology has issued a letter of guidance stating that conversion therapy should be considered a violation of standard practices -- which LGBTQ advocates hope is a major step toward halting the practice.  

    Conversion therapy, which aims to change the sexual orientation, gender expression or identity of LGBTQ individuals, has been banned in several states across the U.S. but is still legal in Virginia.

    The current debate to outlaw conversion therapy goes back to the state Capitol. In recent years, Democratic lawmakers have proposed bills to outlaw the practice, but the legislation repeatedly died in the Republican-controlled General Assembly. As a result, state agencies are taking the matter into their own hands.

    Several of the Virginia licensing and regulatory boards that form the Department of Health Professions are working to end conversion therapy on minors by licensed professionals.

    The Virginia Board of Psychology released a guidance document in January that states practicing conversion therapy could result in “a finding of misconduct and disciplinary action against the licensee or registrant.” The board also opened an online forum in February for public comments. That forum, which closed on March 20, received over 500 responses, with a vast majority in favor of the ban.

    The Board of Counseling is still currently accepting public comments on a similar document in an online forum open until April 17.

    “Conversion therapy is a disgusting practice which seeks to invalidate the LGBTQ community,” stated Zachary Whitten, a proponent of the ban, in the online forum. “I see no way Virginia can proclaim itself an inclusive commonwealth . . . if it allows such a horrifying and undignified practice.”

    LGBTQ advocates also support the ban and claim that such therapy inflicts psychological

    harm on minors -- even leading to depression and suicide.

    “Virginia law already prohibits discredited and unsafe practices by licensed therapists,” stated Equality Virginia, an advocacy group working on behalf of the LGBTQ community in Virginia. “The guidance will curb harmful practices known to produce lifelong damage to those who are subjected to them and help ensure the health and safety of LGBTQ youth.”

    Fifteen states and Washington, D.C. have implemented regulations and licensing restriction against conversion therapy.

    The Virginia Catholic Conference does not support the proposed ban, claiming it exceeds governmental authority by giving the board “sweeping authority to sanction counselors’ speech and engage in unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination.”

    The VCC also argues that the ban violates First Amendment rights and undermines traditional family roles.

    Jeff Caruso, executive director of the Virginia Catholic Conference, contends that “parents are closest to their children’s challenges.”

    “They know their unique needs and are in best position to identify solutions. ... Just as parents must give consent for over-the-counter medications, field trips, and extracurricular activities, they have the constitutional right to guide mental health care for their children,” Caruso stated.

    Many national health and medical associations have dismissed the practice as ineffective and damaging to the health of LGBTQ youth. In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from a list of mental illnesses.

    According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, conversion therapies “lack scientific credibility and clinical utility” and could “increase [the] risk of causing or exacerbating mental health condition in the very youth they purport to treat.”

    Almost a year ago, the Virginia Academy of Clinical Psychologists submitted a statement to the Virginia Board of Psychology, which stated that “conversion therapy should be considered as a violation of standards of practice in that rendering such services is considered to have real potential of jeopardizing the health and well-being of patients.”

  57. First Citizen’s Bank Donates $5,000 to VCU Health CMH Foundation

    South Hill – First Citizens Bank representatives Cindy Thomas, Tammy Manning and Dean Marion present Ken Kurz, Director of Marketing & Development for VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital, a check for $5,000.  The money donated is part of a $25,000 pledge First Citizens Bank made during the 2016-2017 Health Care For Life Capital Campaign.  Donations for the Capital Campaign are still being accepted, for more information call (434) 447-0855. That campaign helped pay for the C.A.R.E. Building that houses most VCU Health CMH Physician Clinics, Administration, Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehab and the Education Department. For their pledge, First Citizens named the Mammography Suite inside the new hospital.

  58. Helen Harvey Bass

    January 25, 1926-April 2, 2019

    Visitation Services

    6-8 pm, Thursday, April 4

    Owen Funeral Hime

    303 Halifax Road
    Jarratt, Virginia

    12 Noon, Friday, April 5

    Zion Baptist Church

    974 Zion Church Road
    Skippers, Virginia

    Helen Harvey Bass, 93, of Skippers, widow of Walter F. Bass, passed away Tuesday, April 2, 2019. She is survived by her son, Clarence E. Bass of Skippers, VA; two daughters, Gail B. Veliky and husband, Wayne of Jarratt, VA and Joanne B. Callaway and husband, Larry of Powhatan, VA; five grandchildren, Shannon Phelps and husband, Chad of Jarratt, VA, Jennifer Askew and husband, Ryan of Stoughton, WI, Heather Knicely of Charleston, SC, Brandon Callaway and wife, Shaina of Chesterfield, VA and Brittany Callaway of Richmond, VA; six great-grandchildren, Amber Defibaugh of Starkville, MS, Jackson Knicely of Mars Hill, NC, Madison Phelps of Skippers, Cameron Phelps of Jarratt and Logan and Nicholas Callaway of Chesterfield, VA; great-great-grandson, Martin Padgett of Starkville, MS; step-grandson, Mason Colley and wife, Lori, and step-great-grandson, Trevor Colley, all of of Raven, VA.

    The family will receive friends 6-8 p.m. Thursday, April 4 at Owen Funeral Home, 303 S. Halifax Rd, Jarratt, Virginia. The funeral service will be held 12 noon, Friday, April 5 at Zion Baptist Church, 974 Zion Church Rd., Skippers, VA. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions be made to Greensville Volunteer Rescue Squad or to Jarratt Volunteer Fire Department.

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

  59. Ada King Newsome

    October 27, 1926-April 2, 2019

    Graveside Service Celebration of Life

    11 am, Saturday, April 6

    Greensville Memorial Cemetery

    Saturday, April 6, Folowing Graveside Service

    Victory Fellowship Church - Social Hall

    Ada King Newsome, 92, widow of Moses L. Newsome, gained her angel wings Tuesday, April 2, 2019. She now is with her Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and has joined her loved ones that left her behind. She was preceded in death a brother, Edward King; and sisters Amelia Harris

    She is survived by son, Howard Boney and wife, Virginia daughter, Barbara Allen and devoted and loving son-in-law, Gerald Allen; son, Jimmy Boney and wife, Lelia; step-daughter, Connie Moore and devoted and loving son-in-law, Hubert Moore; stepson. Larry Newsome and wife, Carolyn; grandchildren, Wayne Boney, Michael Boney and wife, Mary, Brent Boney and wife, Britany, Brad Boney, Lisa Crickenberger and husband, Josh; step-grandchildren, Larry Newsome, Jr. and wife, Karen; great-grandchildren, Megan Peterson, Tiffany Spenla and husband, Ian, Matthew Boney, Mckaley Boney, Haylee Boney, Courtney Boney, Daniel Boney (Caitlin Rose), Lyndsee, Josh, Emma and Ryan Crickenberger; Owen and Paisley Boney; great-grandson, Zachary, step-great-granddaughter, Mattie Newsome and great-great granddaughters, Ivey and Evie Spenla; two sisters, Sallie Allgood and Lucille Taylor; numerous nieces and nephews; special and loving friend, Maria Ferguson. She is also survived by her beloved furbaby, Angel and grand–furbabies, Tiny, Spitzy and Ellie May.

    The funeral service will be held graveside 11 a.m. Saturday, April 6 at Greensville Memorial Cemetery. The family will receive friends at a Celebration of Life visitation immediately following the service at Victory Fellowship Church social hall. Mrs. Newsome loved people, especially her family and her church family. She will be remembered for her bright and cheery smile, her generous spirit and devotion to her church. She had requested that her funeral not be a sad occasion, that people attending dress casually and allow a chance for them to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions be made to Victory Fellowship Church or to the American Cancer

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

     

  60. SVCC Nursing Programs Tops In State According to RegisteredNursing.org

    RegisteredNursing.org has just released its list of 2019 Best RN Programs in Virginia, and Southside Virginia Community College's RN programs have been ranked among of the best in Virginia! 

    The Christanna Campus program was ranked #3, while the South Boston and Daniel Campus programs were ranked #8 and #9, out of 62 RN programs assessed.

    Nursing programs were assessed on several factors which represent how well a program supports students towards licensure and beyond.

    Dr. Michelle Edmonds, SVCC Dean of Nursing, Allied Health, and Natural Sciences, said, “This designation is certainly an honor.  It validates all the hard work our faculty and staff do to insure student success.  Our program is very rigorous and this clearly demonstrates our success.”

    According to the website RegisteredNursing.org, “Graduates from Southside Virginia Community College in Alberta, Virginia are given five core values throughout the education process including patient-centered care, professional identity, nursing judgement, collaboration and safe and effective care.  These values are what makes the graduates an exceptional addition to the nursing field.”  Christanna Campus scored 97.63 out of 100.

    The site also stated, “Southside Virginia Community College’s South Boston campus offers and ADN degree to prepare students for a career in registered nursing. The curriculum includes coursework and clinical learning experiences arranged within the community to give students a complete nursing education.”  The South Boston overall score was 95.55.

    And this was noted about the final site, “Southside Virginia Community College’s John H. Daniel campus in Keysivlle offers students an exceptional Associate of Applied Science nursing program.  The dedicated faculty guide students to deftly perform the duties of a registered nurse with confidence.”  Their score was 95.32.

    For information on the program at SVCC, contact Rebecca Laben, Health Sciences Counselor, at 434 736 2214.

  61. Walk In My Shoes Takes Positive Steps

    Emily Lucy, an oncology clinical nurse, and Sarah Fox, senior medical laboratory technician discover time-saving steps as part of VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital’s Walk In My Shoes program.

    An ongoing shadowing program that provides staff at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital opportunities to work alongside other departments has already brought about time saving procedural changes in health care.

    Departments within a hospital tend to have their own unique culture of technical skills, terminology, and workflow practices.

    Christina Duke, Laboratory Department Director at VCU Health CMH, said the program emerged following an employee satisfaction survey. In that survey, employees felt there was an opportunity for better communication between departments.

    “We speak lab,” Duke said. “We may not speak nurse.”

    A subcommittee was formed this past December allowing representatives from various departments to meet and share ideas on where improvements could be made. The “Walk In My Shoes” program was born after Christina Duke shared the idea with clinical practice.

    It didn’t take long before interdepartmental shadowing gained results.

    Sarah Fox, Senior Medical Laboratory Technician, and Emily Lucy, an Oncology Clinical Nurse, together came up with an idea that has reduced the laboratory processing time for oncology patients who are waiting for treatment by 10 minutes.

    Traditionally, a blood sample would be drawn from an oncology patient and then sent to the lab for the processing to begin. The lab has a series of steps to perform with each sample, requiring sanitizing between each step.

    “You do not want any contamination,” Duke said. “It is very meticulous because you are multiplying DNA.”

    The first step is to spin the sample after it is received, which takes about 10 minutes. The instrument then reads the sample, taking an additional 30-40 minutes to run.

    “We saw an opportunity where we could spin the blood sample while waiting for the courier, saving those 10 minutes of testing time in the lab,” Fox said.

    Lucy added, “Anything to speed our patients’ time along in the clinic and to make their day a little better.”

    Other advantages of the program have surfaced.

     “Staff members are able to see the perspective of other departments and see how busy they are,” Duke said.

    As an example, the emergency department learned why analyzing a flu test took so long. “You don’t understand someone else’s role until you see it,” she said, again emphasizing that there are several steps in the process in addition to sanitizing between each to avoid contamination and allow for accurate results.

    In many ways, the program has improved communication between departments and has helped develop a greater respect for each department’s role in the hospital.

    An opportunity for continued growth in teamwork is vital for relationships and success in health care, according to Duke.

    “It has made people feel more comfortable to bring up an idea or issues without feeling judgement,” Duke said.

    Duke said she interviewed Lucy after a two hour walk within the laboratory department. Likewise she said she encourages a reflective conversation when laboratory employees visit other departments.

    “I like to see the outside perspective,” she said.

    The committee continues to meet on a monthly basis to discuss ways departments can continue to partner with one another.

  62. An Open Letter About Cancer Care in Emporia from SVRMC

    Dear Emporia residents and our surrounding communities,

    I would like to let you know about a change of medical services offered in our facility.

    Changes in regulations make us unable to renew the lease for hospital space used by VCU Massey Cancer Center (MCV Associated Physicians'). VCU Massey Cancer Center's last day of service at SVRMC will be April 19, 2019.

    VCU Massey Cancer Center has stated that they do not have the resources to ensure a sustainable model for patient care in Emporia independent from SVRMC. We understand the importance of local access to these services, so SVRMC is currently working with regional oncology institutions to gauge their interest in providing cancer care to our community.

    SVRMC is available to help existing patients to access quality cancer care in other locations. Southside Regional Medical Center offers high-quality cancer care in Petersburg five days a week with hematology, medical and radiation oncology care. Their oncology team is happy to assist you with scheduling and transportation. The contact information for each of these locations is listed below should you decide to schedule on your own.

    SVRMC is pleased to have had a long standing relationship with Massey. It is our sincerest hope that our patients will be able to find the care they need until a new partnership is built to provide cancer care in our community.

    Sincerely,

    Wilson Thomas

    Chief Executive Officer Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center

    Contacts:

    Southside Regional Medical Center 804-431-1100 - medical oncology 804-765-5850 - radiation oncology 804-765-6113 - Cancer Nurse Navigator, Penny Nunnally

    VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital 434-774-2417 - medical oncology 434-774-2481 - radiation oncology 804-828-5116 - new patient coordinators

     

  63. Virginia Preparing for 75th Anniversary of D-Day

    By Emily Holter, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND — The National D-Day Memorial is gearing up for the 75th anniversary of D-Day, an amphibious invasion considered the largest and most successful in history — and often cited as a turning point in World War II.

    The celebration will begin on Tuesday, June 4, and end on Sunday, June 9.

    Several events lined up throughout the week include a reception showcasing artwork drawn by soldiers during the war, aerial tributes flown by vintage planes, live footage from the joint ceremony in Normandy, concerts and a parade.

    All events will take place in Bedford, about 140 miles west of Richmond. The National D-Day Memorial was erected there in honor of American D-Day veterans, including the 19 young men from Bedford who died during the invasion.

    “Right now, we’re 65 days away but you know, who’s counting?” said April Cheek-Messier, president of the National D-Day Memorial.

    The organization has been planning for the anniversary for more than two years and has put $800,000 into the celebration.

    “I know for me, I’m extremely excited for this,” said Kirk Cox, speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates.

    Cheek-Messier pointed out the magnitude of the event and said that every Allied nation during the war will send representatives. About 15,000 people are expected to attend.

    Of the 16 million Americans who served in the military in World War II, fewer than 500,000 are still alive, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Cheek-Messier said she would be thrilled to have 50 to 75 veterans in attendance.

    The upcoming festivities were discussed at a meeting Tuesday of the Virginia World War I and World War II Commemoration Commission. Cox chairs the commission, which includes state legislators and veterans.

    The panel was created by the General Assembly to mark the 100th anniversary of World War I and the 75th anniversary of World War II.

    At the commission’s meeting, officials also highlighted recent activities such as:

    §  The Profiles of Honor Mobile Tour, which has been bringing an interactive exhibit of World War II artifacts to museums, libraries and historic sites throughout Virginia.

    §  “Operation: Digitization,” an effort to scan family photographs or historical artifacts so they can be featured on the commission’s website.

    Rusty Nix, the communications manager at Virginia Tourism Corp., said the scanning program is advantageous because the public can access archival information never seen before and people can still hold on to their families memories.

    “So far, we have done over 4,600 scans,” Nix said. “We’ve had incredible outreach.”

  64. Jackson-Feild Promotes Tiffany Moses

    Jackson-Feild is pleased to announce that Tiffany Moses has been promoted to the Residential Coordinator position plays a key role in our residential program. She will coordinate the daily activities of Gwaltney Cottage. She will directly supervise to staff and residents to ensure that each child’s daily treatment plan and goals are being met.

    The Residential Coordinator ensures that each staff members training is up to date, manages staff schedules, that staff are up-to-date with case management responsibilities,  supplies and equipment is available and maintained and ensures that children receive the best possible services and care possible.

    Ms. Moses has helping children since 2003 severing in a variety of settings in Maryland and South Carolina. She joined the Jackson-Feild team in March 2018 as a residential counselor and has performed well in this position.

    She has earned the respect and apprciation of our children and her peers. We look forward to her service in this new capacity.              

  65. Play Golf to Help Jackson-Feild’s Children

    Register/Donate or Sponsor with these links.

    If you are a golfer and want to help mentally ill children please make plans to play in Jackson-Feild’s 24th annual golf tournament on May 6th.

    Funds raised from this event will be used to purchase special psychiatric furniture which is safe and durable for five cottage’s bedrooms.

    The tournament will be held at the Country  Club at the Highlands in Chesterfield County. Lunch is served at noon and the shotgun start begins at 1:00.

    Jackson-Feild’s mission is to provide high-quality mental health services to children who have suffered severe emotional trauma heal and restore wellness so that they can return home.

    If you would like to enter a team or would like to play yourself please contact Terron Watkins at 804-354-6929 or email him at twatkins@jacksonfeild.org to enter or go to Jackson-Feild’s website (www.jacksonfeild.org).

  66. Community Baccalaureate Service Planned for June

    The Greensville-Emporia Ministerial Association will be hosting a Community Baccalaureate Service, tentatively scheduled for Sunday, June 9 at 7 p.m. in the Greensville Elementary School Auditorium. This community service is for ALL graduating high school seniors, regardless of where they attend school: private, public, home-schooled, or Christian school.

    Baccalaureate services have traditionally been held for high school and college students, in conjunction with their graduation services. The baccalaureate is sometimes held the night before graduation, but it is often on the previous Sunday. Attendance is voluntary.

    Local public schools have not held a baccalaureate in several decades.

    The baccalaureate is a religious service and will feature Christian songs and/or hymns, and prayers. There will be a guest speaker or speakers who will deliver a Biblical message of encouragement and inspiration for the graduates.

    GEMA would like to invite all high school seniors who live in the Emporia-Greensville community, regardless of church affiliation, to participate. Formal invitation letters will be sent to all local and area schools. You do not have to register to participate, nor be a member of a church: simply arrive at the school by 6:30 p.m.

    If a student’s school has its own baccalaureate, he/she is still welcome to come to the community service. Our goal is unity in Christ among all people in our community.

    Graduates are asked to wear a white dress shirt, blouse or dress. There will be no distinction among schools. GEMA would like to have all participating students assemble and march in together, then sit together regardless of school affiliation.

    The theme of the baccalaureate will be “The 9/11 Generation.” Most of this year’s graduates were born in 2001, the year of the 9/11 attacks. Their world has been changed and will be forever different as a result of that day.

    A full program with speakers will be announced later this spring.

    Many schools, both public and private, have gotten away from holding baccalaureate services in recent years. GEMA wants to restore this important event as a way to bring our community together, and to let our graduates know that the Christian community loves them and supports them.

    Attendance and participation in this baccalaureate service is entirely voluntary; no participants are sponsored by or endorsed by any government agency; no government funds will be used nor will they be accepted for this service. All expenses are being paid with voluntary contributions by individual citizens and/or the Greensville-Emporia Ministerial Association. Any participation by public school employees or other government officials is voluntary and is done as private citizens.

    Anyone wishing to make a donation or needing more information can contact Ed Conner at (434) 637-2879.

    GEMA began holding Fifth Sunday Community Revivals last year. The theme for GEMA’s community efforts is “Unity in Christ,” based on Psalm 133. GEMA includes churches of all denominations and races and tries to hold events at a neutral location (Greensville Elementary) instead of at individual churches.

  67. Officials Seek to Attract Grocery Stories to ‘Food Deserts’

    By Caitlin Morris, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND — Reflecting national concerns over “food deserts,” federal and state lawmakers Monday called for legislation to help people in low-income neighborhoods get better access to fresh vegetables and other healthy foods.

    The officials discussed food insecurity at a town-hall-style meeting at the Peter Paul Development Center in Richmond’s East End, where poverty is high and full-fledged grocery stores are scarce.

    In 2019 in America, “nobody should go to bed hungry at night,” said U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, who hosted the meeting.

    “Too often, what we have are communities — urban and rural — where there may be a corner store, but you walk in to that corner store, and you may have large volumes of food, but it’s not healthy food.”

    Warner was joined by members of the Virginia General Assembly and Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, as well as by staff members of U.S. Rep. Donald McEachin of Richmond. About 60 residents also attended the meeting.

    Warner and McEachin, both Democrats, are co-sponsoring federal legislation called the Healthy Food Access for All Americans Act. It would provide tax credits and grants to grocery stores, food banks and other organizations that provide healthy foods in underserved communities. Entities would undergo a certification process to qualify for financial assistance.

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that 37 million Americans live in food deserts. In urban areas, individuals are considered to be living in a food desert if they must travel more than one mile to buy affordable, healthy food. In rural areas, it is considered a food desert if access is 10 miles away.

    Under the proposed HFAAA, businesses would apply for certification as Special Access Food Providers. A certified store that opens in a food desert could receive a one-time 15% tax credit. Businesses that have been remodeled or rehabilitated to qualify as grocery stores would receive a one-time tax credit of 10%.

    To meet these qualifications, at least 35% of a store’s products must be fresh produce, poultry, dairy and deli items.

    Under the HFAAA, grants would be awarded to food banks to cover 15% of the costs of building a permanent structure in a food desert. “Temporary access merchants,” such as nonprofit farmers markets and some food banks, could receive grants for up to 10% their annual operating cost.

    State legislators in Virginia have also been pushing to address food insecurity. During this year’s legislative session, a bill to provide funding for the construction, rehabilitation and expansion of grocery stores unanimously passed in the Senate but died in the House of Delegates.

    SB 999, sponsored by Republican Sen. Bill Stanley of Franklin and Democratic Sen. Rosalyn Dance of Petersburg, would have established the Virginia Grocery Investment Fund and provided $5 million to help approved food providers in underserved communities.

    Warner complimented Democratic Dels. Delores McQuinn of Richmond and Lamont Bagby of Henrico for their efforts as well.

    “Delores and Lamont and others have been trying to move this issue forward with a series of Virginia-based initiatives,” Warner said. “What Donald (McEachin) and I have tried to do at the federal level is to say, ‘How can we as a federal government provide some additional assistance?’”

    Like SB 999 at the Virginia Capitol, the HFAAA before Congress has bipartisan support. Republican Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas is also sponsoring the act.

    Richmond residents at Monday’s discussion agreed that work must be done to address food insecurity in Virginia, but many expressed concerns about how the HFAAA would affect the community.

    Individuals said they fear that offering incentives to open grocery stores in underserved neighborhoods would lead to gentrification as wealthier people move in and poorer residents are pushed out. Development in disadvantaged communities could lead to higher rents and the loss of small businesses.

    Warner said he wants to make sure residents are protected from negative impacts. He said he hopes to “see if there’s a way in my legislation to give recipients an extra benefit if they live in the community.”

  68. "Looking Past the Problem

    I read an article the other day
    that should open up some eyes
    explaining why you can’t blame motorists
    for each pedestrian that dies.
     
    Now all of us have problems
    no matter what we say
    yet laws have to be written
    for each one to obey.
     
    Using cell phone is a car or truck
    you still have some control
    still steering a bicycle with just one hand
    hit a bump and away you go.
     
    Now Pedestrians pop out from the side of the highway
    so very much like deer
    you don’t know which way they’re headed
    until you are quite near.
     
    Very seldom do they look both ways
    to check if all is clear
    no most enter the highway; with their head down
    and a cell phone in their ear!
     
                             - Roy E. Schepp
  69. Cancer Care in Emporia

    By E. Brent Perkins, M.D., Ph.D., hematologist-oncologist at VCU Massey Cancer Center

    More than 20 years ago, VCU Massey Cancer Center founded the Rural Cancer Outreach Program to provide state-of-the-art oncology care in areas of rural Virginia identified by high cancer rates and with limited resources and poor access to oncology care. In Emporia, Massey’s Rural Cancer Outreach Program partnered with the community hospital, Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center (SVRMC), to staff a cancer clinic.

    For the last two decades, one or two doctors and one nurse traveled once per week from Massey in Richmond to SVRMC in Emporia. Most recently, that has been nurse practitioner Kevin Brigle and me. We evaluated patients with new diagnoses of cancer, provided follow-up to patients on treatment, made referrals for radiation therapy where appropriate and consulted with local physicians about the care of their patients.

    The program was designed to enable the primary doctors to care for their patients when the outreach doctors were back in Richmond. The outreach clinic operated daily, administering chemotherapy, transfusions and monitoring pain under the supervision of the local physicians and nurses.

    The goals of the program were to provide as much care as possible within the community; teach physicians and nurses living and serving in this community about the care of cancer patients; and bring advanced treatment through clinical trials.

    VCU Massey Cancer Center’s (MCV Associated Physicians’) lease at Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center (SVRMC) has since expired, and Massey was not offered the option to renew it. I regret to share that as of April 19, 2019, Massey will no longer practice at SVRMC.

    While Massey would like to remain in Emporia as a cancer care provider, resources are not available to ensure a sustainable model for patient care that is independent from SVRMC. The Outreach Program was designed to operate in partnership with them.

    To continue cancer care with Massey, we can offer local patients an appointment with another Massey provider at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital (CMH) in South Hill. Oncology physicians at VCU Health CMH are part of Massey Cancer Center, are well qualified and compassionate and will be able to continue to provide Emporia-area patients with high-quality cancer care. A fully operational clinic is offered five days a week there with hematology, medical and radiation oncology care. Additionally, Massey is assessing the transportation needs of existing Emporia-area patients and will work with them individually to assist them with their transition of care.

    Our providers at Massey’s clinics in the Richmond area are available for referrals and appointments as well. Southside Regional Medical Center, which is not affiliated with VCU Massey, also offers high-quality cancer care in Petersburg that patients may find convenient.

    Furthermore, Massey Cancer Center will continue to serve the Emporia and surrounding communities with health education, screening and prevention programs through our Cancer Research and Resource Center in Lawrenceville.

    It has been my sincere pleasure to serve this community and to get to know many of you. I will miss spending time in Emporia each week. If my team and I can be of assistance to you, please call us at (804) 628-1918. 

  70. April is National Social Security Month

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

    It’s National Social Security Month and this year we’re highlighting some of the time-saving features of the my Social Security account. Once you create an account, you’ll see that we already have your work history and secure information to estimate what you could receive once you start collecting benefits.  With your personal my Social Security account, you can also:

    o    Request a replacement Social Security card;

    o    Set up or change direct deposit;

    o    Get a proof of income letter;

    o    Change your address;

    o    Check the status of your Social Security application; and

    o    Get a Social Security 1099 form (SSA-1099).

    For over 80 years, Social Security has worked to meet the changing needs of the American public. Today, you can apply for retirement, disability, and Medicare benefits online, as well as take care of other business.

    Knowledge is power. You care about your friends’ and family’s future, so encourage them to create a my Social Security account. Celebrate National Social Security Month by learning what you can do online anytime, anywhere at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

  71. Winter realizes a digital dream at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital

    How fun is it to get to be on Facebook, Twitter, and the Internet all day long and get paid to do it?

    Jason Winter will tell you it’s a blast.  Winter is the new Digital Marketing Specialist at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital and his job focuses on the promotion and marketing of VCU Health CMH in all ways digital.

    “I get to bring my years of experience in website design, graphic design and videography to the exciting world of health care,” he said. “And specifically to VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital. I enjoy how the job combines my interests and past experience.”

    Winter explained that his new position is designed to lead the development of VCU Health CMH’s digital marketing content and exploration of online channels to reach an even broader audience than CMH’s current market footprint.

    “We understand that the digital world is expanding,” said Ken Kurz, director of marketing and development for VCU Health CMH. “Jason brings such a wealth of experience to us. We thought he was the perfect fit for this newly created position. We are expecting great things from him in regard to reaching folks in new and exciting ways.”

    Winter comes to VCU Health CMH from the Mecklenburg County Public School System. He worked for the schools system for nearly 13 years with the last half of his tenure serving as an Instructional Technology Resources teacher in the school’s technology department.

    He also taught middle school and high school English during his time with the schools.

    Winter received a bachelor’s of arts degree from Virginia Tech in 2004 and a master’s of science degree from N.C. State in 2007.

    Winter and his wife, Melanie, have two daughters, JoBeth and Sue. Winter enjoys gardening and travel during his non-work time.

  72. Clary’s Cool Job Keeps Her Down On The Farm

    Bridgette Clary’s job is cool because it allowed her to follow her heart into farming, something she was raised on and dearly loves. She started her new job on March 6 and is the Virginia Territory Sales Representative for Zeigler's Distributor, Lebanon, Pennsylvania.

    “I am responsible for overseeing existing accounts and generating new sales for my territory. Zeigler's is a family-owned pet food and supply distributor that distributes several high- quality brands,” she said.

    An SVCC alumnus with an Associate of Applied Sciences with specialization in Agribusiness, she said, “When I first started college I was on a totally different career path than Agribusiness, but growing up on the farm and being involved with it my whole life, eventually my heart led me 'home'.”

    She notes that she grew up on her great grandparent’s farm near Alberta where they raised beef cattle, tobacco and small grains. She spent her childhood on the farm and her parents often had to beg her to come home. This is also where she was introduced to cattle or ‘moo cows’ and continues her love of raising these animals.

    “I currently live on a beef cattle and small grain farm with my fiancé, David, where we breed and raise Sim/Angus and Black Angus cattle along with wheat and soybeans. When I'm not working or showing dogs, I enjoy spending my time riding my horses and working cattle,” she said.

    After her graduation from SVCC, Clary continued to work in the agriculture field with a sales job at E.E. Vaughan and Sons in Lawrenceville and, with animals, at Brunswick Veterinary Clinic in Lawrenceville.

    “My biggest piece of advice to any new student, or any student for that matter, would be to never give up on your dreams. It was important for me to be able to study the field I wanted to major in and remain close to home on the farm,” she said. 

    “I compete in AKC dog shows across the country all throughout the year and being able to remain close to home and study my field of choice while being home on the weekends to attend shows was ideal. I have been involved with competition hunting and showing Coonhounds since I was 13 and currently raise, breed and handle national winning UKC and AKC registered Treeing Walker and Bluetick Coonhounds,” she noted.

    About her advisor and AGR instructor,  Dr. Dixie Watts Dalton, clary said she was a huge part of her success at SVCC.

    “I will forever be grateful to her and SVCC for offering such an amazing program,” she said.   

    In the future, continuing her education in anything that is agriculturally based is very important.  Her goal is to continue to be actively involved with the agriculture field through her current job and any future job as well as to continue to produce and raise beef cattle.

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