2020-10-13

Letter to the Editor - GO VOTE!

Dear Editor:

There is nothing more ominous or straight forward that can be said other than:

GO VOTE!

As a citizen of the United States of America, we have an obligation in our Constitution and duty to our nation, family and fellow citizens to exercise our right to VOTE!  

In history some of our ancestors were enslaved and were counted as three-fifths of a person and couldn’t VOTE, some were never allowed to vote because of their sex - they were women, yet others were charged poll taxes or asked to play the guessing game of gum drops in a jar before they were allowed to VOTE, if at all.  While others made the ultimate commitment – they died and were beaten so that ALL of us could participate in free and open elections.

If you will be 18 on or before Election Day – go register to VOTE!  If you have registered but have not exercised your right to VOTE in years – check your registration and register again, if need be, to VOTE!  If you have moved from your previous address go now and update your address so that you will be able to VOTE!  If you have never registered to VOTE and you finally realize that this election is THE most important election of your lifetime, which it is, go register and then VOTE!!!

Be a significant part of history – for the first time in the history of the Commonwealth we are allowed to VOTE early!  Early voting started on September 18th and will end on October 31st. If you want to be counted but don’t want to be in the crowds come Election Day take this opportunity to go by your respective Voter Registrar’s office either in the County at Government Building,1781 Greensville County Circle, Emporia or in the City at the Municipal Building, 201 South Main Street, Emporia during hours of operation and VOTE!

You may still request an Absentee Ballot with no excuse necessary by Friday, October 23rd. Your ballot may be mailed back to the Registrar’s Office or you may drop it off in person to avoid the rush!  If you should not feel comfortable having someone to witness your Absentee Ballot Envelope you are permitted to return it without a witness’ signature during this election due to COVID-19.

If you feel nostalgic and are compelled to VOTE in person on Election Day you may still do so!  The polls open at 6:00 a.m. and close at 7:00 p.m. however, remember to mask up and keep your social distance to protect the Election Officials, fellow citizens and yourself most of all!

As Chair of the Emporia-Greensville Democratic Committee, I implore you to cast your VOTE for a well-qualified and most experienced team!  This year we have incumbents Mark Warner for the United States Senate and Donald McEachin for the United States House of Representatives!  At the top of our superior ticket we have Joe Biden and Kamala Harris!  Our team of Leaders will protect Social Security and Medicare while rebuilding our economy and creating and attracting jobs here in Virginia while they will work with public health experts to defeat COVID-19.  In their efforts to continue to work hard for us they will seek to expand access to healthcare and lower prescription drug costs – much needed help for a healthy and industrious middle class!

Our candidates are hard working and will continue to fight to put our Nation, State, County and City in the forefront! They know that we work hard and they will work even harder to return our Country to be the envy of the world!

And on the Constitutional Amendments, VOTE NO on Number 1 and YES on Number 2!

For an Emporia-Greensville Dems Sample ballot please go to our Facebook page at “Emporia Greensville Democratic Committee”.  Feel free to refer to our committee’s sample ballots and use it as a guide when you VOTE!!!

If you should need a ride to the polls or have questions please, do not hesitate to contact us through our Facebook page or call 434.634.5499.

VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! – It can’t be said enough!!!

Thank you,

George E. Morrison, 111

George E. Morrison, III, Chair

Emporia-Greensville Democrats

(Editor's Note: Your letters may not always reflect the views of Emporia News. Letters to the Editor may be sent to news@emporianews.com and must include your name. Letters that may be considered inflamitory in nature will not be published. Do not include profanity, racial ephitets, lewd, demeaning or disparaging comments. Letters may be edited for space, clarity and/or grammar.)

VCU Health CMH Team Member of the Month for September 2020

Hannah Conway, Occupational Therapy Assistant

W. Scott Burnette, CEO, VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital presented Hannah Conway, Occupational Therapy Assistant, the VCU Health CMH STAR Service Team Member of the Month Award for September.  There to congratulate Hannah was Todd Howell, Vice President of Professional Services, Donna Jarrell, Director of Rehab Services and Mike Simmons, Respiratory Manager.

Hannah has been employed at VCU Health CMH for two years.  The nomination form submitted on her behalf stated, “Hannah is such a caring team member.  She willingly stayed late to help with patients without a hint of frustration, only smiles and warmth.  She went above and beyond to make sure I was safe when seeing patients.  She is a selfless team player and I can’t thank her enough.

When asked what words of wisdom she would give other employees, Hannah stated, “If you can spend a little extra time with a patient to meet their needs it can really make their day."  Hannah also added, “CMH is a great place to work, everyone works together so well as a team.” 

In addition to the “star” award, Hannah received a STAR Service lapel pin, letter of commendation from Administration, a $40 gift certificate, and a parking place of her choice for the month.

Hannah currently resides in Brodnax, VA.

SBA and Treasury Announce Simpler PPP Forgiveness for Loans of $50,000 or Less

WASHINGTONThe U.S. Small Business Administration, in consultation with the Treasury Department, today released a simpler loan forgiveness application for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans of $50,000 or less. This action streamlines the PPP forgiveness process to provide financial and administrative relief to America’s smallest businesses while also ensuring sound stewardship of taxpayer dollars.

“The PPP has provided 5.2 million loans worth $525 billion to American small businesses, providing critical economic relief and supporting more than 51 million jobs,” said Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin.  “Today’s action streamlines the forgiveness process for PPP borrowers with loans of $50,000 or less and thousands of PPP lenders who worked around the clock to process loans quickly,” he continued.  “We are committed to making the PPP forgiveness process as simple as possible while also protecting against fraud and misuse of funds.  We continue to favor additional legislation to further simplify the forgiveness process.”

“Nothing will stop the Trump Administration from supporting great American businesses and our great American workers. The Paycheck Protection Program has been an overwhelming success and served as a historic lifeline to America’s hurting small businesses and tens of millions of workers. The new form introduced today demonstrates our relentless commitment to using every tool in our toolbelt to help small businesses and the banks that have participated in this program,” said Administrator Jovita Carranza. “We are continuing to ensure that small businesses are supported as they recover.”

SBA and Treasury have also eased the burden on PPP lenders, allowing lenders to process forgiveness applications more swiftly.  

SBA began approving PPP forgiveness applications and remitting forgiveness payments to PPP lenders for PPP borrowers on October 2, 2020.  SBA will continue to process all PPP forgiveness applications in an expeditious manner.

Click here to view the simpler loan forgiveness application.

Click here to view the instructions for completing the simpler loan forgiveness application.

Click here to view the Interim Final Rule on the simpler forgiveness process for loans of $50,000 or less.

Transferrable Success

By Quentin R. Johnson, Ph.D.

Every October, the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students celebrates National Transfer Student Week. This year Southside Virginia Community College will participate with a Virtual Transfer Fair, which will run October 19–23, 2020.

Plans are underway for an informative, participatory event that can be experienced through socially distant conditions. Institutions to which SVCC students frequently transfer will provide informational videos and have personnel available for scheduled meetings using Zoom video conferencing technology. Students will be able to attend through in-person options at SVCC’s two main campuses or from their homes.

For many students, time spent at SVCC represents a first and foundational step in a longer postsecondary academic journey. At the end of the 2018-19 school year, more than 150 students transferred from SVCC to four-year institutions. Nearly 100 had earned an Associate’s degree, awarding them credit for two full years of academic achievement. Other students focused on earning specific credits that enabled them to skip prerequisites and be better prepared for success in advanced coursework.

About two-thirds of transferring SVCC graduates head to one of Virginia’s public four-year institutions. Popular destinations include Old Dominion University, Longwood University, Virginia State University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia Tech, University of Virginia, and James Madison University. Other students prefer private, nonprofit institutions, such as Liberty University and Mary Baldwin University. To ensure students’ future successes, SVCC maintains transfer and guaranteed admissions agreements with more than 30 of Virginia’s colleges and universities.

The Agribusiness program, established by Dr. Dixie Dalton, Dean of Humanities, Social Sciences and Business, provides an example transfer pathway. Dr. Dalton recently talked with sisters Dottie and Cassie Long, who completed Associate of Arts and Sciences degrees with an emphasis in Agribusiness and then transferred to Virginia Tech, where they went on to earn bachelors’ degrees in Animal Science.

Cassie told Dr. Dalton, “One of the best decisions I made in my college career was enrolling at SVCC with plans to transfer to Virginia Tech. I say this because my experience at SVCC helped me transition into college smoothly, complete general education classes in a smaller setting, and focus solely on Animal and Poultry Sciences courses while at VT.”

Dottie reported a similar experience, “Completing my first two years at SVCC helped me transition into the college life. I enjoyed the smaller class sizes at SVCC, then jumped right into my major at VT. Also, having a good advisor in my corner that helped me take the classes I needed to transfer helped a lot.”

Dottie and Cassie now work managing Long’s Farm Supply in Brookneal, a family-owned store that meets the needs of local farmers and homeowners. Cassie is also pursuing graduate studies and may eventually become a high school agriculture teacher.

Like these sisters, all students who start their academic journeys at SVCC before transferring to a four-year institution can benefit from SVCC’s outstanding student support, advising, and financial aid services. They can also save money because the annual tuition bill at SVCC comes to half or one-third of the tuition at public four-year institutions. Furthermore, by beginning an academic journey close to home, students and their families save on the added costs of room and board.

For more information about SVCC’s transfer programs and the Virtual Transfer Fair, contact Matt Dunn, Career and Transfer Counselor, by phone at 434-736-2020 or by email at matt.dunn@southside.edu.

Dr. Quentin R. Johnson 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 quentin.johnson@southside.edu.

Virginia voter registration continues to climb as deadline looms

By Sam Fowler, Capital News Service

RICHMOND, Va. -- The deadline to register to vote in Virginia is Tuesday, Oct. 13, and organizations and government officials continue to remind people to register by the deadline. 

Gov. Ralph Northam encouraged residents to register to vote before the deadline, and said in a statement Friday that it has never been easier to vote. The statement coincides with Virginia’s annual High School Student Voter Registration Week. 

This year over 1 million absentee ballots have been requested, Andrea Gaines, director of community relations at the Virginia Department of Elections, said in an email. Around 370,000 absentee ballots have been returned as of Thursday, Gaines said. 

Early, in-person voting has also yielded a large turnout. More than 420,000 people have voted in-person as of Oct. 8.

“It is the largest turnout we have seen at this time of year in Virginia,” Gaines said.

This is the first year there has been no-excuse absentee voting and a 45-day early voting period. The General Assembly recently passed a host of voting reform bills to allow for these changes. 

Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond is spreading the message to vote through VCU Votes, a class that coordinates voter engagement events and educates students and faculty members about voting.

“Our messages emphasize that registering to vote is easy,” Nicole O’Donnell, an assistant professor in public relations who teaches the class said in an email. “It should take less than five minutes of your time.”

VCU Votes has reached thousands of individuals through social media. Students are excited to vote, and they are well versed and knowledgeable about politics, O’Donnell said.

Getting students to register to vote has not been a problem at VCU, Jacqueline Smith-Mason, senior associate dean at VCU and co-chair of VCU Votes Advisory Council said in an email. However, she encourages people to check the Virginia Department of Elections website to ensure they’re registered to vote.

“It would be disappointing to think that you are registered to vote and later learn that your application was not processed,” Smith-Mason said.

Problems can arise if students renew or update their license with their home address, according to Adam Lockett, a VCU student who volunteers with Virginia21, which aims to drive civic engagement among college students. That updated information is sent to a registrar in the student’s home district, but the student may have planned to vote where their university is located.

Lockett said that students who renewed their driver's license in the past year should verify their address at the Department of Elections website before the registration deadline.

VCU Votes has arranged a number of events, including film screenings and registration drives. There are still two drives left. One will take place Oct. 12 at the Hunton Student Center on the MCV campus while the other will occur Oct. 13 at the Stuart C. Siegel Center.

Nationwide initiatives such as National Voter Registration Day, which occurred Sept. 22, broke new ground. An estimated 1.5 million people registered to vote nationally during the event this year, the largest number of registrations since the campaign started in 2012, according to the organization’s website. Celebrities got involved to help the cause trend on Twitter with #NationalVoterRegistrationDay. 

A record number of over 5.8 million Virginians have registered to vote as of Aug. 31, when looking at records that go back to 1976. Over 5.5 million voters were registered in the 2016 presidential election year, and turnout that year hit 72%. 

Individuals can register to vote through the state elections website or by mailing in a registration form, which must be postmarked by Oct. 13.

Other upcoming deadlines include Oct. 23 to request an absentee ballot by mail, or Oct. 31 to request an absentee ballot in person. All absentee ballots must be postmarked on or before Election Day and received by noon on the third day after the election.

 

 

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