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2018-2-21

Aubrey Neil Temple

Aubrey Neil Temple of Emporia, died February 20, 2018. He was the son of the late Johnnie Mercer Temple and Olivia Clyde Ferguson Temple. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife Sarah Klugel Temple.

He was the General Manager of Sadler Travel Plaza for 40 years and a member of Calvary Baptist Church. He is survived by two sons, Aubrey Neil Temple, Jr. (Nancy) of Emporia and Thomas M. Temple, Sr. of Emporia; brother, Glenn Temple (Arlene) of Valdosta, GA; four grandchildren, Thomas Mason Temple, Jr.(Amanda) of Emporia, Star Temple Nienaber (Brent) of Denver, CO, Nicholas Evan Temple (Margaret) of Emporia, and Jonathan Eli Temple (fiancé Brittanie Jones) of Emporia; seven great grandchildren, Cassidy, Nicholas, Gracey, Sarah Breelyn, Easton Neil, Naomi, and Eli.

A memorial service will be held at Calvary Baptist Church on Friday, February 23, 2018 at 1:00 P.M. with Rev. Andy Cain and Rev. Brad Barbour officiating. Family will receive visitors on Thursday, February 22, 2018 from 6:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. at the residence of Aubrey Neil Temple, Jr., 312 Miles Circle, Emporia, VA 23847.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Greensville Volunteer Rescue Squad, 513 South Main Street, Emporia, VA.

Online condolences may be made at www.echolsfuneralhome.com.

Sherry Woodruff Gay

Sherry Woodruff Gay, 55, of Emporia, passed away Sunday, February 18, 2018. She was the daughter of the late Cecil and Lilly Woodruff. She is survived by her husband, William Richard Gay; son, Christopher Michael Gay and fiancée , Amanda Candice Harris; two grandsons, Christopher Michael Gay, Jr. and Jace Alexander Gay and a brother, Albert Cecil Woodruff, Jr. “Bo”.
The family will receive friends 1-2 p.m. Saturday, February 24 at Owen Funeral Home, 303 S. Halifax Rd., Jarratt, Virginia. In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions be made to the funeral home to assist with final expenses. Online condolences may be shared with the family at www.owenfh.com.

Comcast Completes Upgrades in Emporia

X1 On Demand: Browse thousands of On Demand TV shows, movies and more across X1

Recently Comcast custoemrs in Emporia got letters in the mail with news that we would all need to replace our cable boxes and cable modems. This letter was the first notice that long needed upgrades were coming to Emporia (and Greensville County)

It has been a few months since those letters were received, and all of us with Comcast service got to change the boxes. In that time you may have noticed new channels and services. If you opted to sign up for the HD package, you have noticed that there are many more choices there.

Comcast has completed the network enhancements and now offers an all-digital platform in Emporia.  Local residents now have access to more than 70 new HD channels (including all local broadcasters – WTVR/CBS HD, WRIC/ABC HD, WWBT/NBC HD, WRLH/FOX HD, WUPV/CW HD and WCVE/PBS HD – NBC Sports HD, ESPN HD, NFL Network HD, Bravo HD and HBO HD, among others); the latest selection of On Demand movies, TV shows and more; faster Internet speeds (the speed of Comcast’s popular Blast! internet service increased from 150 to 200 Mbps, at no additional cost); and Comcast’s X1 platform.

 

Voice Remote: Speak and see – we’re constantly adding new commands to the voice remote, include “Restart this program (if you happen to jump in during the middle of show or movie) and “what song is playing?” (X1 will analyze and provide artist/song names for any tune from a TV show, movie or even commercial)

X1 uses IP technology and the cloud to integrate the world’s largest collection of video with social media features and an expanding selection of interactive tailed-for-TV apps (Netflix, YouTube, Pandora,  iHeartRadio, Twitter, Facebook, sports, weather, traffic and more), as well as web content, smart search and voice technology and personalization tools – all in one easy-to-navigate, modern viewing experience.

Outside the home, Xfinity Internet customers have complimentary access to nearly 18 million Wi-Fi hotspots nationwide, including dozens of outdoor hotspots in the Emporia area along Main Street near shopping destinations and restaurants; at the Emporia Shopping Center; along Atlantic Street; and near the Greensville County High School.

“We are proud to continue investing in our network to bring our customers in Emporia more choice and more speed,” said Mary McLaughlin, Senior Vice President of Comcast’s Beltway Region.  “All of our services are designed to work together, making it easier than ever for our customers to stay connected to the things they love. Combined with our recent launches of Xfinity Mobile and Xfinity xFi, and our partnerships with Netflix, Pandora and You Tube on our X1 platform, we’re continuing to add significant value for customers across our product portfolio.”

YouTube on X1: Access to apps like YouTube, Netflix, iHeartRadio and Pandora right on X1.

Editor's Note: In the spirit of full disclosure, I have been a Comcast Customer since the company started operating in Emporia; before that, I was an Adelphia customer. I use my Comcast high speed internet to connect to the server where Emporia News is hosted. I also utilize the wi-fi hotspots, and can stay coneted to wi-fi on my phone along most of Main Street.

Two Bills May Save Babies’ Lives

By Katie Bashista, Capital News Service

RICHMOND — On July 1, Tennessee added a rare genetic disorder called MPS I to its newborn screening program. On July 13, Ruby Kate Leonard, whose parents live in Russell County, Virginia, was born in Bristol, Tennessee. Nine days after that, Ruby Kate’s parents received a call that she tested positive for MPS I. Treatment for the infant began immediately.

Had Ruby Kate been born in Russell County, early detection and treatment would not have been possible — because Virginia does not test for MPS I. When state Del. Todd Pillion, a Republican whose House district includes Russell County, heard Ruby Kate’s story, he introduced a bill to rectify the situation.

HB 1174 would add MPS I and Pompe disease, another rare genetic disorder, to Virginia’s newborn screening program. On Monday, the Senate joined the House in passing a version of the bill. The two chambers still must work out minor differences before the legislation goes to Gov. Ralph Northam to be signed into law.

The law would be welcome news to Ruby Kate’s family.

“We had heard of the disease, but we didn’t really know what it was,” said Ashley Keene, Ruby Kate’s mother. “She’s the first baby in Tennessee to be diagnosed with the disease through the new screening program.”

MPS I is caused by a gene mutation that prevents cells from breaking down glycosaminoglycans, which leads to cell, tissue and organ damage. Pompe disease is a result of a buildup of glycogen in the body’s cells that impairs muscles and organs, including the heart. Early detection of these disorders is crucial in saving babies’ lives.

Other conditions also require immediate attention. Del. Terry Austin, R-Botetourt, introduced HB 1362 after a baby boy in his district died after being diagnosed with a condition called MCADD too late. Since he was born on a Saturday and labs are closed on the weekends, the test results didn’t come in until the following Monday and the baby didn’t make it. The bill asks The Division of Consolidated Services and any other contracted labs by the Department of Health to screen newborns and children for time-critical disorders seven days a week.

“Had the labs been open on weekends the child would’ve been healthy,” Austin said.

A Senate Education and Health subcommittee approved HB 1362 on Tuesday. Monday’s Senate approval of HB 1174 included a substitute saying the bill can go into effect so long as funds are appropriated for it.

“This legislation will move Virginia in the right direction to make this critically important early detection possible, which is a crucial first step toward better health outcomes and lower long-term health costs,” Pillion said in a press release.

Ruby Kate has been receiving treatment at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., since September and has recently recovered from a fever. The family is now dealing with possible complications with her kidneys, according to the Ruby Kate’s Fight Facebook page.

“In the midst of everything we’re going through it’s just nice to know that this could help other babies like Ruby Kate,” Keene said.

Delegate Aims to Rein in ‘Predatory Loans,’ to No Avail

By Siona Peterous, Capital News Service

RICHMOND – “You’re pre-approved!” CashNetUSA, a Chicago-based company, exclaimed in a letter to Alexandria resident Mark Levine. “$1,000 is waiting!” Smaller print at the bottom of the solicitation noted that the annual interest rate would be 299 percent. As a result, the interest on a $1,000 loan, repaid over a year with monthly payments of $268, would total $2,213.

Levine wasn’t just any name on CashNetUSA’s direct-mail list. He’s also a state delegate. In his weekly newsletter to constituents, he said the interest on the loan would be far higher than the company’s figures. Surprised and outraged by the ad, he introduced a bill this legislative session to ban high-interest loans.

“If someone needs money in an emergency, then they shouldn’t have to be straddled with obscene debt for years,” Levine said. “I would love to see how many people actually are able to pay back these offensive interest rates – because the goal of these predatory loans isn’t to get people to pay them back in full; it’s to make sure they are declaring bankruptcy so the company can get everything they own.”

A CashNetUSA spokesperson disputed Levine’s characterization, saying that it is not the company’s practice to file proofs of claim against consumers in bankruptcy in Virginia and that its product is an unsecured credit offering regardless.

According to the National Consumer Law Center, Virginia is one of four states that do not regulate interest rates and borrowing requirements on open-credit loans offered by in-store or online lenders.

Dana Wiggins, director of outreach and consumer advocacy at the Virginia Poverty Law Center, said open-credit loans, which critics call predatory loans, do not take into account a borrower’s ability to repay. These loans typically have fee costs and interest rates of more than 100 percent, she said.

House Bill 404, introduced by Levine, a Democrat, in January, sought to cap the interest rate at 36 percent and give borrowers up to 25 days to pay back their loan before it would accrue interest. The bill was co-sponsored by Republican Dels. Gordon Helsel of Poquoson and David Yancey of Newport News and Democratic Dels. Paul Krizek and Kathleen Murphy, both of Fairfax.

However, the measure died last week in the House Commerce and Labor Committee after a subcommittee voted 6-2along party lines to kill it. Robert Baratta, representing the lender Check Into Cash Inc., spoke in opposition to the bill at the subcommittee’s meeting, saying it would hurt consumers by limiting their options for borrowing money.

In recent years, Virginia has cracked down on payday loans, forbidding them from charging more than 36 percent annual interest.

“I still feel like 36 percent is still too high,” Levine said. “But at least then, borrowers have a chance to pay these loans back. Because right now, if anyone were to take one of these (open-credit) loans out, my advice to them would be for them to declare bankruptcy the next day.”

According to Wiggins, the problem regulating high-interest loans can be traced to 1998 when Virginia first allowed payday loans to operate in the state.

“It’s like regulatory whack-a-mole,” Wiggins said. “Every time you put a restriction on them, these companies morph their product to be just enough different and just outside the law that’s trying to rein them in, so that they end up getting around that state statute and then another statute.”

Attorney General Mark Herring has been working on the issue of predatory loans since 2014.

“Virginians who resort to Internet loans are often exploited by their own circumstances – in need of money for groceries, rent, or car repairs,” Herring said in a press release after settling a case against a Las Vegas-based internet lending company, Mr. Amazing Loans, in October.

The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has received more than 1,270 complaints about CashNetUSA or its parent company, Enova International. Complainants said the company had raised its interest rates, sought extra payments, threatened legal action against borrowers and made fraudulent claims of debt owed.

However, the CashNetUSA spokesperson said most of the claims were the result of fraud or criminal activity by fake debt collectors.

Wiggins said it’s possible to create government regulations that allow lenders to make a profit and protect borrowers from unscrupulous practices. She said Arkansas, North Carolina and other states have done so.

Officials at the Virginia Poverty Law Center were not surprised that Levine’s bill died in committee.

“We didn’t necessarily work with him or ask for him to put the bill in,” Wiggins said. “But not because we don’t agree with the policy itself – but because there is no political will to make that happen in the General Assembly.”

Citizen Groups Voice Concerns Over Medicaid Expansion

By Ryan Persaud, Capital News Service

RICHMOND – A few days after the Republican-controlled House of Delegates reached a bipartisan compromise on Medicaid expansion, both conservative and progressive citizen groups are voicing their concerns.

The proposal, HB 338, would require “able-bodied adult” individuals seeking Medicaid to fulfill a work requirement – to pursue training, employment, education, or “other community engagement opportunities” – in order to obtain health care coverage. The work requirement would not apply to children, or to adults who are over 65, have certain disabilities or are the primary caregiver for a dependent.

The Family Foundation, a Richmond-based grassroots conservative organization, urged residents in a blog post on Tuesday to contact their delegates and voice their opposition to the notion of expanding Medicaid.

“After eight years of holding the line and refusing to ‘take the bait’ for a massive federal power grab, corresponding spikes in healthcare costs, and virtually guaranteed new tax liabilities for hardworking Virginians, the House plan would now capitulate to the specious promise of ‘free money’ from the federal government to pay for healthcare,” the post said.

The organization acknowledged that more Virginians will receive care under the plan but argued that it would come at a cost to taxpayers. “While tax increases may not be immediate, they are inevitable if this policy goes through,” the post said.

Progress Virginia, a liberal advocacy organization, also spoke out against the proposal, but for different reasons. It argued that while the House plan to expand Medicaid is a step in the right direction, the work requirement is a cause for concern.

“From the outset, we have opposed attempts to put punitive barriers between Virginians and access to care,” the organization stated in a press release on Sunday. “We have serious reservations about language in the House budget that puts financial restrictions on families’ access to care, premises access to care on the ability to find a good-paying job, or locks our friends and neighbors out of access.”

In a blog post, Progress Virginia argued that work requirements are ineffective and ultimately make health care harder to obtain. The organization also urged progressives to contact their delegates in support of a “clean Medicaid expansion” – Medicaid expansion without the work requirement.

“People have to be healthy in order to work, but that isn’t possible when they don’t have health insurance and can’t see a doctor when they need to,” Progress Virginia said. “Work requirements don’t create jobs or raise wages – they put onerous and punitive requirements between our friends and neighbors and the healthcare they need.”

Gov. Ralph Northam said that while he supports a more “straightforward” expansion of Medicaid, he is willing to compromise with Republicans.

“I respect the priorities of the House majority and I am encouraged by and supportive of our work together to bring about a new ‘Virginia Way’ on Medicaid,” Northam said in a statement on Sunday.

“I look forward to working with the House and Senate to finalize this proposal, ensure its passage and pursue an implementation plan that will provide the benefits of expanded coverage to Virginia families.”

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