Kate Minerva Ammons Bishop

November 08, 1924 - June 15, 2020

Kate Minerva Ammons Bishop died quietly in her sleep on June 15, at the Eugene Bloom Retirement Center where she had been a resident of 9 years.

Being the fourth child of twelve children, Mrs. Bishop was born on November 8, 1924, in Jackson County, North Carolina, to Richard and Ruth Ammons.
Shortly after high school she married her husband, Thomas Bishop, and together they had 8 children. Kate Bishop became a dedicated homemaker and a talented cook who was known for her ability to make the tastiest meals out of the most meager ingredients.  Her homemade biscuits and savory greenbeans brought her children home long after they had started families of their own.
Preceded by her husband of 66 years, one daughter Wanda Sue, and one son Donald Lee, Mrs. Bishop is survived by her sister, Alice Aikens of Yorktown VA, Daughter Kitty Ervin of Freeman, VA, son, Tommy Bishop of Carrsville, VA, Clara Mullinax of Cleveland, GA, Linda Hiles of Louisville, KY, David Bishop of FLA, and Rita Ganz of Makakilo, HI. Her family includes ten grandchildren, fifteen great-grandchildren, and six great-great grandchildren.
A private graveside service will be held Friday, June 19 at Williamsburg Memorial Park.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions be made to St Jude Children’s Research Hospital (www.stjude.org.)
Online condolences may be shared with the family at www.owenfh.com.

New Laws Making it Easier to Vote Take Effect July First

RICHMOND, VA—The Virginia House Democratic Caucus eagerly anticipate their new laws making voting more accessible and equitable in the Commonwealth, many of which go into effect on July 1, 2020. These pieces of legislation include creating a permanent absentee vote-by-mail program, removing the excuse requirement for absentee voting, enacting same-day registration, establishing Election Day as a state holiday, expanding the voting ID law to include certain non-photo IDs, making voter registration applications available at high schools and colleges, authorizing automatic voter registration, and providing voting materials in multiple languages for non English-speaking citizens. 
"There is nothing more fundamental to the country than the right of citizens to choose their leaders. This session, we made historic progress in expanding the right to vote in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Onerous and restrictive voting laws have a disproportionately harmful effect on African Americans and people of color,” said Virginia Speaker of the House Eileen Filler-Corn. "I am so proud we made important strides toward making Virginia more equitable by, among other measures, removing the requirement that a Virginian must present photo identification to vote, legalizing 45 days of no-excuse absentee voting, and finally replacing the 'Lee-Jackson Day' state holiday with one that truly represents who we are as Virginians and Americans, Election Day."
In 2018, Virginia was named the second hardest state to vote in by a Northern Illinois University study, which “analyzed the impact of 33 different variables dealing with registration and voting laws” then ranked states based on “the time and effort it took to vote in each presidential election year from 1996 through 2016.” House Democrats dismantled many of these problems this year. 
The Washington Post’s Editorial Board condemned the Commonwealth’s ballot access limitations in a January 29, 2020 editorial, stating that past General Assembly majorities “opted to suppress turnout by minorities, low-income residents and younger voters” to avoid “virtually nonexistent voter fraud” which “in the state is about as common as a unicorn with a ukulele.” The editorial also criticized Virginia’s voter photo-ID law, noting the “plain fact that the law’s real-world effect is to disproportionately impede ballot access for black voters, who are more likely to lack photo IDs required for in-person voting.”
“In the 2020 legislative session, House Democrats overturned some of the darkest chapters of the Commonwealth’s history, including remnants of painful times when segments of our citizenry were blocked from voting,” said House Democratic Majority Leader Charniele Herring, who carried HB 1 allowing Virginia voters to request an absentee ballot without requiring an excuse. “Although the days of Jim Crow are over, many of our current voting laws still disproportionately hurt the populations who had to fight for recognition of their right to vote—people of color, women, young adults, and the less financially secure. I am inspired by the determination and creativity shown by our Caucus to address this systemic imbalance.”
During the 2019 elections, House Democrats campaigned for wider voting access as a way to defend the inalienable worth of every Virginian, especially those who have been continually overlooked. To better the lives of all Virginians, our candidates pledged to complete the ratification process for the Equal Rights Amendment, implement gun-violence-prevention measures, create stronger legal protections against discrimination, and remove the criminal penalty for simple marijuana possession. A blue wave swept Virginia last November, with 2.9 million Virginia voters giving Democrats the majority of the General Assembly for the first time in more than 20 years. As a result, the 2020 legislative session brought historic change to the Commonwealth, showing the power voters have at the ballot box.
“Restrictions at the polls that burden voters due to baseless fear-mongering make it unnecessarily difficult to vote. Legislators should help their constituents access the polls, not restrict them,” said House Democratic Caucus Chair Rip Sullivan, the patron of HB 213 which allows students to use their out-of-state college ID cards as voting identification. “HB 213, along with several other House bills expanding voting rights, clears a more accessible path for eligible voters to shape the future of their communities, the Commonwealth, and the country.”
Here is a summary of the House Democrats’ voting rights bills enacted during the 2020 legislative session; new laws become effective on July 1 unless otherwise noted below:
  • HB 1 - Under current law, Virginia voters are required to provide one of several allowed excuses to vote prior to election day. HB 1 allows Virginia voters to request and vote with an absentee ballot, by mail or in person, without having to specify a reason. The bill was carried by House Democratic Majority Leader Charniele Herring.
  • HB 19 broadens the types of identification a voter can use to include certain items that do not show a photo of the voter. The bill makes it a felony to falsely sign an affirmation of one’s identity in order to vote. Delegate Joe Lindsey carried HB 19.
  • HB 108 establishes Election Day as a state holiday and removes Lee-Jackson Day from the list of state holidays. This measure aims to increase voting accessibility to a large segment of voters in the Commonwealth. Delegate Joe Lindsey also served as the patron of the bill.
  • HB 201 will implement same-day registration, allowing voters to register to vote on Election Day. The bill aims to help voters who move more frequently—younger voters, low-income voters, and people of color— and those who do not have reliable transportation, allowing a person to register and vote in just one trip. Virginia law currently sets a registration deadline 21 days before an election. Delegate Hala Ayala introduced the bill. The implementation of this bill is delayed until October 1, 2022.
  • HB 207 will provide a special application for any voter to receive an absentee ballot in all elections that they are eligible to vote in. This will allow voters to permanently “vote by mail” without having to fill out separate absentee ballot requests several times a year to vote by mail in various elections. As in the case of HB 1, this measure also removes the requirement that the voter provide a reason for voting absentee. Delegate Schuyler VanValkenburg patroned HB 207. The bill becomes effective on July 1, 2021.
  • HB 213 extends the ability for students to use their school photo-ID cards from any college or university within the United States or U.S. territories as identification for voting in Virginia. Currently, only in-state college ID cards are accepted. The bill was sponsored by House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rip Sullivan.
  • HB 232 requires the Virginia Department of Elections to make voter registration forms available at public and private colleges and universities, as well as educational nonprofit organizations. Delegate Rodney Willett patroned HB 232.
  • HB 235 clarifies and improves the process by which the Department of Motor Vehicles offers U.S. citizens age 17 or older the opportunity to automatically register to vote when acquiring or updating a Virginia driver's license or identification card. The process, which includes an opt-out provision, is intended to ensure that persons eligible to vote are more easily able to register. Delegate Joshua Cole carried this bill.
  • HB 238 authorizes counting any absentee ballot that arrives at the registrar’s office by noon on the third day after the election, which is postmarked on or before the date of the election. HB 238 was sponsored by Delegate Mark Sickles.
  • HB 239 adjusts the deadline to apply for an absentee ballot by mail to eleven days before the election, including applications from members of the military and citizens living abroad, and adds the same adjustment for emergency applications and absentee ballots for voters who become hospitalized or incapacitated. Delegate Sickles also carried this bill.
  • HB 241 removes the requirement for a person seeking protected voter status to file a complaint with a magistrate or law enforcement in cases where the applicant is fearful of their safety or has been stalked. The requirement for a signed written statement from the applicant remains in place. Del. Sickles introduced HB 241.
  • HB 242 allows voters to apply for an absentee ballot late if an emergency caused them to miss the absentee application deadline or will leave them unable to vote on election day. Delegate Sickles served as the patron for this bill as well.
  • HB 872 adds an exception to ensure that persons confined due to an upcoming trial or due to a misdemeanor conviction, who would otherwise be required to vote in person due to registering to vote via mail, are able to vote via absentee ballot. Delegate Jeffrey Bourne introduced this legislation.
  • HB 1210 requires the Department of Elections and local registrars to provide voting and election materials in languages other than English, to aid immigrant and Native American citizens who do not speak English adequately enough to participate in the electoral process. The additional languages required will be determined by Census data, percentage and number of language minority communities in the locality, and consideration of Native American reservations nearby. Delegate Kathy Tran served as the patron for HB 1210, which goes into effect on September 1, 2021.
  • HB 1491 requires public high schools to provide voting-age students with access to voter registration information and applications, or access to Virginia’s online voter registration using a school-owned device, during school hours. This legislation was patroned by Delegate Nancy Guy.

Governor Northam Provides Guidance for Reopening Higher Education Institutions

Virginia’s public and private degree-granting institutions to develop plans to bring students back to campus, resume in-person instruction

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today issued guidance for Virginia public and private higher education institutions as they develop plans to safely reopen their campuses and resume in-person instruction. This guidance document was developed by the Office of the Secretary of Education, the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, and the Virginia Department of Health, and was informed by guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Governor is directing all of Virginia’s colleges and universities to create detailed reopening plans that demonstrate compliance with this new guidance.

“Virginia has one of the best and most diverse systems of higher education in the nation and each institution will take on this challenge in a way that meets their unique mission, location, circumstances, and student bodies,” said Governor Northam. “A safe, responsible reopening of Virginia’s college and university campuses is critical, especially for students who depend on our campus communities to provide valuable resources that they do not have access to at home.”

Secretary of Education Atif Qarni held 35 strategy sessions with diverse groups of education stakeholders between May 29 and June 8 to gather their recommendations on how different reopening scenarios would impact their respective roles. Secretary Qarni, Deputy Secretary Fran Bradford, and staff from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) engaged 800 individuals in these conversations, and heard a wide range of perspectives including parents, students, faculty, student affairs specialists, college access program staff, and more.

“At their best, Virginia higher education institutions are engines of economic and social mobility for the students they serve and the communities they are embedded in,” said Secretary of Education Atif Qarni. “Virginia’s colleges and universities create space for dialogue about hard issues and promote new ideas that are critical to moving the Commonwealth forward. For all of this to be possible, students, faculty, staff, and families alike need to know that our institutions are prioritizing the health and safety of campus communities. Transparency and accountability is critical in this process.”

Virginia’s higher education reopening guidance is among the first in the nation, and is one of the most comprehensive accounts of criteria that should be considered when reopening a college or university campus. The document requires institutions to meet certain public health conditions in order to reopen their campuses, and to develop plans to address the following considerations:

  • Repopulation of the campus
  • Monitoring health conditions to detect infection
  • Containment to prevent spread of the disease when detected
  • Shutdown considerations if necessitated by severe conditions and/or public health guidance

For more information, read the guidance document available here. This document is also available in SpanishChineseKoreanVietnameseArabic, and Tagalog.

“With this robust guidance document, Virginia’s public and private colleges and universities can begin the hard work necessary to reopen their campuses,” said Peter Blake, Director of SCHEV. “While life at our colleges and universities will change, the energy, creativity and commitment shown by faculty and staff ensures that the learning experience will not be sacrificed. SCHEV stands ready to support institutions in developing strategies to serve students more effectively, without sacrificing the highest public health standards.”

Institutions must submit comprehensive reopening plans SCHEV, who will review their plans for compliance to relevant guidelines. Plans may need to be updated as guidance evolves, especially in the areas of testing, contact tracing, and symptom tracking. Institutions are encouraged to post their reopening plans publicly.

Upcoming Auction Could Be Record Breaker

Attendees should wear masks, adhere to COVID-19 guidelines

EMPORIA, VA – An upcoming auction at Emporia Storage could produce a record number of units for sale, marking the most ever auctioned in the city in a single day.

The treasure hunt is on as Emporia Storage has a unit auction scheduled at its three facilities in the city beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 27, 2020. Several climate-controlled units are expected to be included. A common thought among seasoned storage unit buyers is that climate-controlled units can contain higher-quality items that the owner felt deserved weather protection. While, that cannot be guaranteed in this auction, it is often true.

The auction will begin at Emporia Storage office headquarters at 315 West Atlantic Street, Emporia, VA 23847, then move to the units at 623 South Main Street across from 7-11 and finish up at its third location on East Atlantic Street across from Georgia Pacific.

Those attending should adhere to current government guidelines regarding COVID-19 by wearing masks and practicing distancing.

Multiple units will be auctioned. The exact number of units will not be available until the day before the auction, but current trends are predicting several dozen. During this cash only sale, the belongings of delinquent storage units are auctioned to the highest bidder to recoup the loss of rental fees.

Gates open at 9 a.m. for registration. The auction begins at 10 a.m. Bidders will be given a few minutes to look at the units once they are opened. In this absolute auction, units will be sold "as is, where is" and contents must be removed by the winning bidder by 6 p.m. that day. A 15% buyers’ premium will apply. Please bring your own masks and locks, as you are responsible for security of your units upon winning the bid.

The auction will be conducted by Carla Cash Harris, Emporia, Va., (434) 594-4406, VA License # 2907004352, a member of the Virginia Auctioneers Association. For more information, call Carla or Emporia Storage at (434) 634-2919.

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