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2016-9-12

Danny Gray White

Danny Gray White, 61, of Emporia passed away on September 10, 2016. He was preceded in death by his parents, George and Roberta White. He is survived by his sister, Donna White Massey (Buck); his brothers, Randy White (Janet), Donnie White (Sara), and Ronald White (Frances); his nieces and nephews, Carly Krolak, Lindsay Bradley, Brooke White, Corey White, Carter White, Ty White, Alec White, Patricia White, and Ronnie White and many close friends. Danny was a graduate of Virginia Tech, President of White’s Shoe Store, Officer of Village View, and a member of Emporia Rotary. A funeral service will be held 1pm, Tuesday, at Echols Funeral Home Chapel followed by interment in Greensville Memorial Cemetery. A celebration of life will be held at Village View immediately following the interment. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Village View, c/o Nancy Ferguson, 108 State Street, Emporia, VA 23847. Condolences may be sent to www.Echolsfuneralhome.com

Answering the Call

By Dr. Al Roberts

On the morning of September 11, 2001, nineteen people carried out suicide attacks against targets within the United States. Two airplanes smashed into the twin towers of New York City’s World Trade Center and another plunged into the Pentagon. A fourth plane crashed in Pennsylvania without reaching its intended target. More than 3,000 people, including hundreds of police officers and firefighters, were killed during the assaults.

According to a report by the 9/11 Commission that investigated the horrifying events, casualties at the World Trade Center “were very high among first responders who stayed in danger as they tried to save lives.” The report goes on to note that ultimately, “all but approximately one hundred of the thousands of civilians who worked below the impact zone escaped, often with help from the emergency responders.”

In honor of the bravery and courage with which men and women faced these strikes against our national security, the U.S. Congress passed bipartisan legislation in 2009 designating September 11 as a National Day of Service and Remembrance. By instituting a tradition of charitable service, the commemoration redirects memories of destruction toward the establishment of hope. It encourages people to show respect to the victims, survivors, and first responders by promoting goodwill and unity. The declaration calls people to work together through service motivated by the desire to make the world a better place.

Our nation’s first responders include a diverse range of dedicated individuals who place their duties and responsibilities ahead of their own personal regard. They are professionals and volunteers; they are our nation’s first line of defense. The National First Responders Organization defines a first responder in this way: “Any individual who runs toward an event rather than the other way.”

In order to perform their duties, first responders must be well-equipped. They face day-to-day dangers and handle large scale crises. Being prepared includes undergoing readiness training, maintaining mental and physical capabilities, and being able to deploy safety technologies to meet emergency needs. Because they are such skilled leaders, first responders often serve as role models within their communities.

Southside Virginia Community College takes pride in the part we play in providing instruction and credentialing for people who embrace these vital responsibilities. We offer Associate degrees, Certificate programs, and Career Studies Certificates in the fields of Administration of Justice, Emergency Medical Services, and Fire Science Technology. In addition, we offer CPR and first aid training classes.

If you yearn to answer the call to service, I invite you to visit SVCC’s website (www.southside.edu) or call SVCC at 888-220-7822. Admissions personnel can help you to learn about the training opportunities that will qualify you to join the elite cadre of first responders.

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.

A library card is the coolest card – September is Library Card Sign-up Month

Today’s libraries are about more than books. They are creative educational spaces for learners from birth to high school and beyond. September is Library Card Sign-up Month, a time when the Meherrin Regional Library System joins with the American Library Association and public libraries nationwide to make sure that every student has the most import school supply of all – a free library card.

Librarians provide important resources to families whose children are at the earliest stages of development, by teaching parents and caregivers the components of early literacy which help children develop the basic tools for school readiness. As of 2010, libraries in the United States offered more than 2.3 million children’s programs, which account for nearly two thirds of all library programming.

Older students can access high-speed Internet, digital tools and the opportunity to work with trained professionals on how to use them. Librarians provide guided training in digital media and grow digital literacy skills. Libraries also provide equity of access to digital tools and media, which has become increasingly important in high-poverty areas where students are less likely to have a computer or internet access in the home. 

Libraries are also a training ground for students of all ages to expand their knowledge and explore creative pursuits. The development of makerspaces is just one way libraries are seeking to meet this demand, ranging from low-tech, hands-on engineering opportunities for children and teens using toys and kits to the incorporation of high-tech tools like laser cutters and 3D printers.

Resources at the Brunswick County Library and Richardson Memorial Library are available to anyone who has a library card. Students can turn to the library for materials, programs and knowledgeable library staff that support academic achievement.

For more information on how to sign up for a library card, visit the Brunswick County Library in Lawrenceville, or the Richardson Memorial Library in Emporia, or visit the library online at www.meherrinlib.org.

WARNER, COLLINS INTRODUCE BIPARTISAN LEGISLATION TO ASSIST SMALL BUSINESSES IN OFFERING RETIREMENT PLANS TO EMPLOYEES

~ Only 22 percent of workers at small firms currently have access to a workplace savings plan or pension ~

WASHINGTON—U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), a member of the Senate Finance Committee, and Susan Collins (R-ME), the Chairman of the Senate Aging Committee, have introduced bipartisan legislation that would reduce duplicative filing costs for small businesses looking to offer retirement plans to their employees and sole-proprietors.

“Increasing access to workplace retirement plans is a crucial step in providing a secure retirement to millions of Americans,” said Sen. Warner. “When workers have access to a retirement plan through their employer, nearly 80 percent choose to participate – compared to just 10 percent who do without access through their employers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As the nature of work continues to change, I am pleased to introduce this bipartisan legislation with Senator Collins to make it easier for small businesses to offer this important benefit to their employees.”

“Americans simply aren’t saving enough to be able to afford a comfortable retirement. In fact, the Center for Retirement Research estimates that there is an estimated $7.7 trillion gap between what Americans have saved for retirement and what they will actually need,” said Sen. Collins.  “We know that when employers provide their employees with access to retirement plans, approximately 80 percent of them contribute.  Our legislation will help promote retirement security by making it easier and less expensive for small businesses to establish retirement plans, increasing their accessibility to employees and helping to ensure that those who worked hard for decades do not spend their retirement in poverty.”

A 2016 report by the Pew Charitable Trusts found that only 22 percent of workers at small firms have access to a workplace savings plan or pension, compared to 74 percent at firms with 500 or more employees. For smaller employers, offering a retirement plan can be expensive and complex.

S. 3307 directs the Department of Labor (DOL) and the Treasury Department to allow employers and sole-proprietors participating in retirement plans administered the same way to file a single aggregated Form 5500, a required annual return that provides important compliance information to DOL and Treasury.

Under current law, despite sharing a common administrative framework, each individual plan is still required to file a separate Form 5500 to satisfy reporting requirements under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and the Internal Revenue Code. S. 3307 will eliminate duplicative reporting by plan administrators, which will reduce costs for small businesses that maintain retirement plans. To file an aggregated Form 5500, the retirement plans would need to have the same trustee, fiduciary, plan administrator, plan year and investment menu.

To provide DOL and Treasury time to implement this change, the proposal has an effective date of no later than January 1, 2020. A copy of the legislative text is available here.

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