2020-8-14

House Advances MARCUS Alert Bill

By Andrew Ringle, Capital News Service

RICHMOND, Va. -- The House of Delegates approved a bill Thursday that would create teams of mental health service providers and peer recovery specialists to accompany police officers responding to individual crises.

House Bill 5043, introduced by Del. Jeffrey Bourne, D-Richmond, was approved by a vote of 57-39. The legislation needs passage from the state Senate and a signature from Gov. Ralph Northam to become law. 

“This was brought about by a tragedy,” Bourne said.

Dubbed the mental health awareness response and community understanding services (MARCUS) alert system, Bourne’s proposal references the death of a Black man who was shot and killed during an encounter with the Richmond Police Department in 2018.

Marcus-David Peters, a 24-year-old high school biology teacher and Virginia Commonwealth University alumnus, was shot and killed by a Richmond Police officer as he charged the officer after a taser was deployed. Peters was unarmed and his family said he was experiencing a mental health crisis.

“It’s horrific to watch,” Bourne said about police body camera footage of the incident.

Bourne’s bill would require the Virginia Behavioral Health and Developmental Services and Criminal Justice Services departments to work together to create evidence-based training programs for the care teams and to develop a plan by June 1, 2021 for statewide implementation.

Del. Carrie Coyner, R-Chesterfield, said she supports the end goal of the proposal but is concerned it will endanger more people without a slower rollout and because mental health resources are “stretched thin.”

Coyner said she is “very emotional” about the issue after growing up with an aunt who suffered from intellectual disabilities and who attempted suicide multiple times. She said while over time, “mental health providers did everything they could,” her family ultimately had to call 911 for the police’s help.

“If we had to wait longer for someone to arrive, she may not have been with us still,” Coyner said.

Del. Michael Mullin, D-Newport News, said he appreciated Coyner’s words and understands the concern for public safety. However, Mullin — an assistant commonwealth’s attorney for Hampton — said the state has “criminalized mental health issues.”

“So much of the work we have been doing today and in the days preceding this has been to reverse 30 years of overcriminalization,” Mullin said. “This bill does a small step in making sure that individuals who are in crisis are not treated as criminals.”

Princess Blanding, Peters’ sister, recently testified during the bill’s hearing before the House Public Safety Committee. She said her brother “absolutely deserved help, not death” on the day of his fatal shooting.

“When a person’s kidneys stop functioning properly, they receive dialysis if needed,” Blanding said. “When a person’s heart stops functioning properly, they receive bypass surgery if needed. But the brain is the only major organ that, when it stops functioning properly, we demonize, we incarcerate, and in the case of so many Black people, death is the final answer.”

Blanding has spoken at multiple demonstrations in Richmond since protests sparked by the death of George Floyd began in late May, demanding the city fully fund the alert system as well as establish a civilian review board to investigate allegations of police misconduct.

Senate Bill 5038, introduced by Sen. Jeremy McPike, D-Woodbridge, also seeks to establish an alert system. It still needs to pass the Senate before moving to the House of Delegates.

SBA Announces Registration for National Small Business Week Virtual Conference September 22-24

WASHINGTON –As part of National Small Business Week, the U.S. Small Business Administration and cosponsors will host all events virtually. This year’s National Small Business Week, September 22-24, 2020, includes numerous educational panels providing retooling and innovative practices for entrepreneurs as our nation’s small businesses look to pivot and recover, contributing to a stronger economy.

The National Small Business Week event schedule includes three days recognizing America’s outstanding entrepreneurs, shining a spotlight on the nation’s 30 million small businesses across the country, including national award winners, and naming of the 2020 National Small Business Person of the Year.

Details and registration information are posted on https://www.sba.gov/NSBW. 

The SBA Virginia-Richmond District Office is happy and proud to announce George Nyfeler, owner of Nyfeler Associates, as the 2020 Small Business Person of the Year for the state. 

“We will recognize Mr. Nyfeler on September 23rd. He is an owner who cares about his employees supporting their success and his community,” said VA-Richmond District Director Carl Knoblock.

“Also, a thanks to Mike King, host of “On The Mic with MikeRVA,” for having the SBA appear on the show every Wednesday and hosting our NSBW event.,” said Knoblock.

Radio Show: “SBA Wednesday-NSBW” Event with “On The Mic with MikeRVA”

Date: 9/23/2020 Time: 1:00pm-2:00pm Tune-In/Viewing: WJFN-"On The MIC With MIKE RVA" 100.5/92.7 FM/820 AM

Listen Live: Click Here

Facebook Live: Click Here

William Hunter Greene is the Brunswick Academy Student of the Month for Septmeber 2020

Brunswick Academy is proud to announce Brunswick County’s Chamber of Commerce Student of the Month for September:  William Hunter Greene. Hunter, a Senior at Brunswick Academy, is the son of Kevin and Diane Greene. In addition to earning an Honors diploma, Hunter is currently enrolled in four dual enrollment college courses. Hunter is a member of Brunswick Academy’s chapter of the National Honor Society and also serves as the Co-Philanthropic Chair of the Brunswick Academy Latin Club. Also, Hunter volunteers his time as the Co-Head of the Tech Crew for the BA Theatre. During the summer of his Junior year, Hunter attended the distinguished Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Seminar at James Madison University.  Currently, Hunter participates in his church’s youth group and enjoys playing soccer with his friends. He has visited Virginia Tech, the University of Virginia, North Carolina State University, and James Madison University to tour their engineering departments. Ultimately, he hopes to attend Virginia Tech to study electrical engineering.

 

Social Security - 85 Years of Serving People Like You

By Jacqueline Weisgarber, Social Security Public Affairs Specialist in Richmond, Virginia

We take pride in having provided vital benefits and services to this great nationfor 85 years.  America has a diverse population with a variety of needs.  With our diverse population in mind, we’ve created webpages that speak directly to groups of people who may need information about our programs and services.  These pages are easy to share with friends and family or on social media.  Here are just a few that might speak to you or someone you love.

We proudly serve wounded warriors and veterans.  They made sacrifices to preserve the freedoms Americans treasure.  Many of them do not know they might be entitled to disability benefits from Social Security.  Share our resources with them to make sure they get the benefits they deserve. www.ssa.gov/people/veterans.

Social Security plays an important role in providing economic security for women.  Nearly 55 percent of the people receiving Social Security benefits are women.  With longer life expectancies than men, women tend to live more years in retirement and have a greater chance of exhausting other sources of income.  A woman who is 65 years old today can expect to live, on average, until about 87, while a 65-year-old man can expect to live, on average, until about 84.  Also, women often have lower lifetime earnings than men, which usually means lower benefits.  Women need to plan early and wisely for retirement and we’re here to provide valuable information to help.  Share this page with someone who needs this information and may need help planning for their golden years. www.ssa.gov/people/women.

Do you know someone who is just starting their career?  Now is the best time for them to start preparing for retirement.  The sooner they begin to save, the more they’ll have at retirement.  Share this page with a young worker you know. www.ssa.gov/people/earlycareer.

These are just a few webpages that are tailored to a specific group’s needs.  If you didn’t see your own, check out our People Like Me home page at www.ssa.gov/people.

Virginia Companies Increase Exports through Commonwealth’s Two-Year Business Acceleration Program

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that 10 companies across the Commonwealth have graduated from the Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s (VEDP) Virginia Leaders in Export Trade (VALET) Program. VALET, which now has over 300 graduated companies, assists Virginia exporters that have firmly established domestic operations and are committed to international exporting as a growth strategy.

“Lending its proven, extensive set of resources to Virginia exporters, the VALET Program positions companies to thrive in the global marketplace,” said Governor Northam. “This program continues to be an important catalyst for driving export sales and private sector investment—and the Commonwealth’s economy is stronger as a result. We congratulate these 10 Virginia companies on the success they have achieved in the last two years, and their commitment to international growth during these unprecedented and challenging times.” 

The graduating companies are:

  • Dynamis, Inc., Fairfax County
  • FoxGuard Solutions, Inc., Montgomery County
  • Huntington Ingalls Industries Technical Solutions Division, City of Virginia Beach
  • Innerspec Technologies, Inc., Bedford County
  • Line Power, City of Bristol
  • New Ravenna Acquisition LLC, Northampton County
  • Parabon NanoLabs, Inc., Fairfax County
  • Spectra Quest Inc., Henrico County
  • STR Software Company, Chesterfield County
  • SYNEXXUS Inc., Arlington County
     

VALET is a two-year international business acceleration program that provides participating companies with international sales plan development services, assistance from a team of experienced international service providers, international business meetings with potential partners, educational events, and customized market research. There are currently 45 companies participating in the VALET program. More information on the VALET Program is available here.

“Virginia is one of the most competitive states in the nation for exporting, and VEDP’s International Trade team contributed greatly to our standing,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “From Bristol to the Eastern Shore, it’s exciting to see such a diverse group of companies across the Commonwealth working to grow their international sales, which will bring jobs and capital investment in Virginia.”

“VEDP is committed to assisting Virginia companies in growing their international sales, which is more important than ever in this time of economic recovery,” said VEDP President and CEO Stephen Moret. “We are proud of the continued success of the VALET program and its participants, who not only experience sales growth while in the program, but also learn valuable lessons about pursuing international sales that they can carry forward. The impact of the jobs and investments these companies contribute in every region of the Commonwealth cannot be overstated.”

Virginia exports over $35 billion in goods and services annually. Exports of the Commonwealth’s products and services are critical to growth, supporting more than 257,000 jobs and generating $2 billion in annual tax revenue. VEDP offers numerous programs to assist Virginia companies with selling into the global marketplace and has a network of international market research consultants covering more than 70 countries around the globe.

SBA Announces New Reduced 504 Loan Debenture Rates

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Small Business Administration announced the updated interest rates for the 504 Loan Program offered by Certified Development Companies (CDC). Small businesses can now apply for the lowest interest rates since July 2018 as the program is now allowing 20 and 25-year interest rates at 2.214% and 2.269%, respectively.

“These are very encouraging terms and very supportive of our nation’s goal to bounce-back from COVID-19,” said William Manger, SBA Chief of Staff and Associate Administrator for the Office of Capital Access.  “CDCs” are the driving force behind the 504 Loan Program. The longer terms and low interest rates support and encourage entrepreneurs to step outside of the box and look at real investments. We are pleased that the 504 Loan Program continues to show double-digit year-over-year growth, especially in these extraordinary times.”

Small businesses looking for information on how to expand their business’s real estate or improve their working capital should visit: https://www.sba.gov/brand/assets/sba/sba-lenders/504-Loan-Fact-Sheet-Borrower-Version.pdf

The 504 Loan Program is an SBA business loan program authorized under Title V of the Small Business Investment Act of 1958, 15 U.S.C. 695 et seq.  The core mission of the 504 Loan Program is to provide long-term financing to small businesses for the purchase or improvement of land, buildings, and major equipment, to facilitate the creation or retention of jobs and to support local economic development.  Under the 504 Loan Program, loans are made in conjunction with private sector lenders to small businesses by CDCs, which are certified and regulated by the SBA to promote economic development within their community.

For questions about the 504 Loan Program, please contact:

Linda Reilly
Chief, 504 Loan Program
202-205-9949
Linda.reilly@sba.gov(link sends e-mail)       

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