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2019-4-19

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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.”

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.

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.

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