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2019-4-15

“(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

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.

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.

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.

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