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Seven Day Forecast for Emporia, Virginia
 

April 2017

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"One Breath Away"

Just a breath away without knowing
The fate you may soon deplore
One breath away without knowing
If the Lord wil give you more.
 
I was found in this very condition
Though not knowing really why
Yes I couldn't find that second breath
No matter How I'd try.
 
Well they found a blockage in my heart
And knew this would relate
Yet more important were my heart values
Some pumping early and others late.
 
They shipped me out of town reall fast
It was neerly in the night
The senic scenes one often sees
Were from my view of flight.
 
I was told it would be easy
For so many had went on before
Yet don't believe for a minute
Until you're in and out that door.
 
Nine days of laying
In some contorted way
That easy bit that i waas told
I'm reminded of each day.
 
Now blessed was the surgeon
and to have the good Lord standing by
Yet I falied my religious conviction
For each day I would ask why!
 
Roy E. Schepp
 

Greensville County High School Qualifies for Statewide Economics and Personal Finance Competition

 

Greensville County High School will compete in The Governor’s Challenge in Economics and Personal Finance, a rigorous statewide competition to be held Wednesday, April 26th at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond. 

The area high school was a high scorer in the Personal Finance division, and will test their knowledge against several other teams from across the state at the day-long competition.  Team members Summer Jones, Cassandra Robinson, Arianna Edwards, and Dawson Butler; taught by Corutney Moseley, earned an invitation to the championship round following an online competition conducted by the Virginia Council on Economic Education (VCEE) in association with the Office of Governor Terry McAuliffe.  VCEE is a nonprofit public-private partnership focused on enhancing economics and financial education in grades K-12.  Regional winners in each division and other high scoring teams were invited to participate in the “live” championship challenge, according to VCEE Executive Director Daniel Mortensen.

VCEE’s Mortensen explains that The Challenge brings classroom concepts to life for students.  “Learning about economics and how it relates to their lives helps students realize they already participate in the global economy,” Mortensen states.  “Applying these concepts leads to more informed buying and saving decisions on the part of students. They make better choices when planning for their future, including college and job choices.”

The Governor’s Challenge will take place in the VCU Student Commons, 907 Floyd Avenue in Richmond, beginning at 10am with championship rounds and awards beginning at 11:35am.

“We greatly appreciate the financial support provided by lead sponsor Capital One and the Virginia Credit Union,” said Mortensen.  “Without it the Challenge would not be possible.  We also greatly appreciate the teachers who make it possible for students to participate and the extra effort on their part.”

 

Franklin H. Myrick

Franklin H. Myrick, 84, of Emporia, passed away Sunday, April 23, 2017. He was the son of the late Walter S. and Maggie B. Myrick. He was also preceded in death by his eight brothers and sisters. Mr. Myrick is survived by his wife, Dorothy Myrick; two sons, Homer Myrick and wife, Janie and Joseph Myrick and wife, Deborah; three daughters, Lillian Jones and husband, Raleigh, Agnes Whitehead and husband, Jimmie and Rhonda Myrick Popa and husband, Philip; eleven grandchildren; fifteen great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews. The family will receive friends 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, April 26 at Owen Funeral Home, 303 S. Halifax Rd, Jarratt, Virginia where the funeral service will be held 11 a.m. Thursday, April 27. Interment will follow at Greensville Memorial Cemetery. Online condolences may be shared with the family at www.owenfh.com

Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center Staff Participate in National Nutrition Month

Emporia, VA – During the month of March, Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center (SVRMC) staff participated in National Nutrition Month. March has been marked annually as National Nutrition Month by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. This campaign is designed to educate and place attention on the importance of making informed food choices and participating in physical activities. SVRMC participants had the opportunity to wear their favorite jeans for either a $5.00 donation or a donation of 5 canned goods. These donations were given to the Samaritan Helping Hands Home, Inc. Through these efforts, SVRMC staff raised a total of $160.00 and collected 8 boxes of food that will benefit this organization and those in need.

CENSUS OF AGRICULTURE COUNTDOWN BEGINS FOR AMERICA’S FARMERS AND RANCHERS

WASHINGTON, March 16, 2017 – America’s farmers and ranchers will soon have the opportunity to strongly represent agriculture in their communities and industry by taking part in the 2017 Census of Agriculture. Conducted every five years by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the census, to be mailed at the end of this year, is a complete count of all U.S. farms, ranches, and those who operate them.

“The Census of Agriculture remains the only source of uniform, comprehensive, and impartial agriculture data for every county in the nation,” said NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer. “As such, census results are relied upon heavily by those who serve farmers and rural communities, including federal, state and local governments, agribusinesses, trade associations, extension educators, researchers, and farmers and ranchers themselves.”

The Census of Agriculture highlights land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, income and expenditures, and other topics. The 2012 Census of Agriculture revealed that over three million farmers operated more than two million farms, spanning over 914 million acres. This was a four percent decrease in the number of U.S. farms from the previous census in 2007. However, agriculture sales, income, and expenses increased between 2007 and 2012. This telling information and thousands of other agriculture statistics are a direct result of responses to the Census of Agriculture.

“Today, when data are so important, there is strength in numbers,” said Hamer. “For farmers and ranchers, participation in the 2017 Census of Agriculture is their voice, their future, and their opportunity to shape American agriculture – its policies, services and assistance programs – for years to come.”

Producers who are new to farming or did not receive a Census of Agriculture in 2012 still have time to sign up to receive the 2017 Census of Agriculture report form by visiting www.agcensus.usda.gov and clicking on the ‘Make Sure You Are Counted’ button through June. NASS defines a farm as any place from which $1,000 or more of agricultural products were produced and sold, or normally would have been sold, during the census year (2017).

For more information about the 2017 Census of Agriculture and to see how census data are used, visit www.agcensus.usda.gov or call (800) 727-9540. 

CSI: Career Scene Investigation

Special Summer Camp for Middle School Students

South Hill—No, we’re not investigating crime scenes, we’re exploring the world of health care.  Area middle school students in Mecklenburg, Lunenburg and Brunswick Counties will have the opportunity to attend a unique program at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital in South Hill that will introduce them to a broad range of health careers. 

A special, one-week, summer camp has been planned for the last week in July entitled, “CSI: Career Scene Investigation” and will focus on the many exciting career opportunities that are available in health care.  Partnering with Southside Virginia Community College, VCU Health CMH will choose fifteen middle school students who have an interest in a health career to attend this summer health care camp during the week of  – July 24th  – July 28th.   

The camp will be offered at no charge to students.  During this week-long camp, students will spend time with staff from many clinical areas and have “hands-on” opportunities.  They will learn how to apply casts and splints, take x-rays, learn about monitoring the heart, spend time in the Emergency Department, dress in scrubs, see the operating rooms, learn how to suture, work with Rehabilitation Therapists and much, much more!  The week will be fun, interactive and exciting for students and VCU Health CMH staff. 

“We are very pleased to offer to area students this excellent opportunity to learn about the world of health care,” said Hazel Willis, RN, BSN, Education Department Manager for VCU Health CMH.  “The program will offer a variety of activities that will allow students to observe and interact with health care professionals in their work environment and gain valuable insight into health care careers.  We want to provide a positive learning experience for students and encourage teens to explore health care careers.”

According to Mrs. Willis, health care careers are the fastest growing, and will be the most in demand careers for the future. Rapid technological and scientific advances in the medical field, along with a large agingpopulation have created high demand for health care professionals.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the growth rate of new jobs in health care professions will be twice the rate of job growth in non-health care professions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also predicts a need for 5.3 million health care workers to fill job openings created by departures and new positions in the next five years.

The middle school years are the ideal time to reach students and introduce them to career ideas so they can begin to plan a curriculum that includes the necessary sciences and other required courses. 

A total of fifteen students from local middle schools with at least a “C” average will be selected to attend the camp from applications that include a short essay about why they want to attend the camp, and from teacher/guidance counselor recommendations.  Breakfast and lunch will be provided daily for the students.  Transportation to and from VCU Health CMH will be the responsibility of the students’ parents.  Students will receive a backpack with supplies and a CSI: Career Scene Investigation T-shirt.  Parents will be invited to attend a special graduation ceremony at the conclusion of the week.

Applications for the camp may be obtained through each school’s guidance counselor, online by visiting vcuhealth.org, from VCU Health CMH’s Education Department or Human Resources.  For more information or for an application, please call Hazel Willis at (434) 447-3151, Ext. 3376.  

A Poem for the Poet

Our friend Roy E. Schepp is a bit under the weather, and while we pray for a speedy recovery, a reader offered this poem for Roy:

Hope that your heart
Gets fixed good as new
Cause no one writes poems
Quite like you

WELDING COMING TO NEW LAB LOCATED IN GREENSVILLE COUNTY

A career in welding is within reach!  A Welding Skills Certification Program is being offered in Greensville County through Southside Virginia Community College Workforce Development.  The classes begin May 1, 2017 at the Southside Virginia Education Center located at 1300 Greensville County Circle, Emporia, Virginia.  The facility recently opened a brand new, state-of-the-art welding lab.

This class will utilize the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) Curriculum and offers four credentials for successful completion.  The class meets Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., and ends July 19, 2017.   Scholarships are available through the Workforce Credential Grant and other sources.  In-State Tuition is $3,700 and Out-of-State Tuition is $10,900. Credentials earned include NCCER Core, NCCER Welding Level I, NCCER Welding Level II and OSHA 10.

For information, contact Debra Smiley at 434 917 3746 or email debra.smiley@southside.edu

Job Fair Returning to SOUTHSIDE VIRGINIA EDUCATION CENTER in 2017

Job Fair is returning to Southside Virginia Education Center on Thursday, April 27, 2017.  The event is sponsored by Southside Virginia Community College, Crater Regional Workforce and Lakes Media:  WPTM 102.3, WWDW 107.7, WTRG 97.9, WSMY 14000 “All Sports” 995 JAMS, WDLZ 98.3 

The event is free and open to the public and will be held at SVEC at 1300 Greensville Country Circle, Emporia, VA from 2 to 4:30 p.m.  Those with proof of WorkKeys CRC can gain entrance at 1:45 p.m.  Be sure to dress to impress, bring copies of your resume, a photo ID and copy of WorkKeys Career Readiness Certificate (CRC).  Companies are: 

Ameristaff, State Farm Insurance, chase City Health and Rehab, Avon, Greensville Correctional, AmeriCare Plus, Penmack, American Industrial heat, Envoy of Lawrenceville, Community Outreach Family Services, Department of Social Services, Colonial life, Plexus, Personal Touch Home CAre, Walmart, Commonwealth Home Health Inc, Georgia Pacific, Armor Correctional Health Services, Emporia-Virginia Employment Commission, Virginia Department of Corrections, Total Image Solutions, Humana, B Bugg Inc, Greensville County Public Schools, Emporia Police Department, Virginia State Police, Personal Touch Home Care Services, Melvil L Davis Oil Company, Smithfield-Hog Production Department, Waverly Health Rehabilitation Center.

For employers interested in registering, contact Angela McClintock at angela.mcclintock@southside.edu or 434-949-1026

Carrol E. Dunn, Jr

Carrol E. Dunn, Jr., 83, of Yale, passed away Wednesday, April 19, 2017. He was the son of the late Carrol E. and Lillian H. Dunn. A Virginia Army National Guard veteran, he was an avid turkey hunter and pilot. He was a charter member of Joyner Gray Yale Ruritan Club and a lifelong member of Antioch Baptist Church. Carrol, Jr. is survived by his wife, Vivian Owen Dunn; two sons, Chris Dunn and wife, Shannon and Doug Dunn and wife, Penny; six grandchildren, Tyler, Emily, Ashtyn, Holden, Olivia and Benjamin and a number of nieces and nephews.  The family will receive friends 6-8 p.m. Friday, April 21 at Owen Funeral Home, 303 S. Halifax Rd, Jarratt, Virginia where the funeral service will be held 2 p.m. Saturday, April 22. Interment will follow at Antioch Baptist Church Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Antioch Baptist Church. Online condolences may be shared with the family at www.owenfh.com

SBA Working Capital Loans Available in Virginia

Following Secretary of Agriculture Disaster Declaration for Hurricane Matthew, Drought and Excessive Heat in 2016

ATLANTA - The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced today that federal Economic Injury Disaster Loans are available to small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and private nonprofit organizations located in Virginia as a result of Hurricane Matthew, drought and excessive heat from June 29 through Oct. 7, 2016.

The SBA’s disaster declaration includes the following counties and independent cities: Brunswick, Dinwiddie, Emporia City, Greensville, Southampton and Sussex in Virginia.

Under this declaration, the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program is available to eligible

farm-related and nonfarm-related entities that suffered financial losses as a direct result of this disaster.  With the exception of aquaculture enterprises, SBA cannot provide disaster loans to agricultural producers, farmers, or ranchers. Nurseries are eligible to apply for economic injury disaster loans for losses caused by drought conditions.     

 The loan amount can be up to $2 million with interest rates of 2.625 percent for private nonprofit organizations and 4 percent for small businesses, with terms up to 30 years.  The SBA determines eligibility based on the size of the applicant, type of activity and its financial resources.  Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.  These working capital loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that could have been paid had the disaster not occurred.  The loans are not intended to replace lost sales or profits.

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.

Disaster loan information and application forms may also be obtained by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by sending an email to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.  Loan applications can be downloaded from the SBA’s website at www.sba.gov/disaster.  Completed applications should be mailed to:          U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155. 

Completed loan applications must be returned to SBA no later than Dec. 12, 2017.

 

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For more information about the SBA’s Disaster Loan Program, visit our website at www.sba.gov/disaster.

Virginia Youth to Learn Safe Driving Skills at VSP Driver Training Complex; Train as Youth Leaders for Summer Leadership Retreat

Salem, VA – Members of Youth of Virginia Speak Out About Traffic Safety’s (YOVASO) Youth Advisory Council (YAC), along with college-level Regional Trainers and students selected to serve as youth leaders for the YOVASO Summer Leadership Retreat will participate in a special training session at the Virginia State Police Driver Training Complex in Blackstone, Virginia on April 22 and 23. Day one of the training will include a classroom session on vehicle operations including an overview of defensive driving skills, causative factors in vehicle crashes, vehicle maintenance, off road recovery and skid control, and nighttime driving skills. The first day will also include outdoor driver training exercises as students will get behind the wheel with VSP driving instructors to learn advanced driving skills in skid control, braking techniques for accident avoidance, backing skills, parallel parking, shuffle steering, off road recovery, and a four corners exercise.

The two-day training session will help students improve their own driving skills as well as share the information they learned with other young drivers during YOVASO programs and training sessions in their schools and communities.

“This training offers YOVASO’s Youth Leaders a unique opportunity to learn important life saving driving skills from certified VSP driving instructors,” said Sarah Westphal, YOVASO Marketing and Training Specialist. “Not only do teens review vehicle operations, but go behind the wheel to experience real world training exercises that enable them to increase their knowledge and skills to be safe on the roadway.”

In addition to the special driver training lessons, the students will also be preparing to serve as youth leaders for the YOVASO Summer Leadership Retreat on June 19-22 at James Madison University.  On day two of the training, students will participate in sessions on leadership skills, team building, ice breakers and other topics to prepare them for this important task.

VSP troopers in attendance who will be working security for the retreat will have their own training on day two as well. The trooper component will include a security overview; outline roles, responsibilities, and assignments for the retreat; and training for use of YOVASO’s interactive ScanEd Program and VSP’s Distracted Driving Simulator Program.  

“VSP is excited to be working with YOVASO to help train youth across the Commonwealth to be traffic safety advocates in their schools and communities,” said VSP Sgt. Robert H. Campbell Jr. and Security Director for the 2017 YOVASO Summer Leadership Retreat. “In order to see the number of teen car crash injuries and fatalities go down, we must invest in our youth and continue educating them on the importance of being a safe passenger and driver.”

This engaging and exciting weekend will also feature an evening cookout social and glow stick game on Saturday, April 22 to give the student leaders and troopers an opportunity to get to know one another.

VCU Health CMH Team Member of the Month

(Left to Right) W. Scott Burnette, CEO, VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital presented Patricia (Patti) Turczany, Physical Therapist, the VCU Health CMH STAR Service Team Member of the Month Award for March.  There to congratulate Patti was Donna Jarrell, Rehab Director and Todd Howell, Vice President of Professional Services.

Patti has been employed at VCU Health CMH for three and a half years.  Her dedication and work ethic are just two of the qualities that make her a wonderful asset to VCU Health CMH.  The nomination form submitted on her behalf stated, “Patti has been my life line over the last seven months.  I experienced a back injury that left me with a bad limp and numbness in my leg.  Patti has helped me to understand what happened and what I had to do to recover.  Prior to seeing Patti, I saw three other therapist in our area that did not have the right experience or knowledge to deal with my injury.  Through word of mouth from prior patients that had worked with Patti, I was able to find her and choose her to help me.  Her expertise, her education level and her ongoing commitment to further her education is outstanding.  Within two weeks of working with Patti, I began to feel like my old self again and when I felt like giving up she supported me during emotional ups and downs and explained that even though recovery would be slow, I would recover over the next 1-2 years.  Her reputation is outstanding; not only her education and ability as a Physical Therapist, but her kindness, her ability to encourage you and her ability to provide you with the emotional support you need to overcome your disabilities.  Patti represents and always shows a commitment to excellence in all she does, as an employee, as a patient advocate, as a provider, as a coworker and as a member of our community.  We are beyond lucky to have her here at VCU Health CMH taking care of us.”

In addition to the award certificate, Patti 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. 

Meet the men running for Governor

Megan Schiffres, Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Virginia will elect a new governor this year.

The governor’s position is one of great power and influence, as the current officeholder, Terry McAuliffe, has demonstrated by breaking the record for most vetoes in Virginia history.

However, during the last gubernatorial race in 2014, the voter turnout was less than 42 percent, compared with 72 percent during last year’s presidential election.

While not as publicized as the presidential campaign, the governor’s race will have just as much, if not more, influence over the everyday lives of Virginians. That’s why it’s important to stay informed about who is running and what they stand for.

The state Democratic and Republican parties will each hold a primary on June 13 to choose a nominee for governor. The general election will be Nov. 7.

Here is a brief summary of each candidate’s qualifications. We also have developed a quiz to help determine which candidate best reflects your political views.

Democrats

     

Democrats Ralph Northam and Tom Perriello

Ralph Northam is lieutenant governor of Virginia and a pediatric neurologist at the Children’s Specialty Group in Norfolk. He served in the U.S. Army and as state senator for the 6th Senate District, before joining McAuliffe’s gubernatorial ticket in 2013. Northam hopes to continue the work he started with McAuliffe and is focusing his campaign on economic progress. He said his priorities are affordable health care and education and has introduced a plan to make community colleges and workforce training free for what he calls “new-collar” jobs in high-demand fields like health care, cybersecurity and skilled construction trades.

Tom Perriello, a former congressman, is a lawyer whose early career focused on prosecuting atrocities in Africa. He was special adviser to the prosecution of the Special Court for Sierra Leone and served as special envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo under the Obama administration. Perriello’s campaign has focused on his resistance to what he calls the hateful politics of President Trump. He has proposed a plan to make community college debt-free for two years. Perriello has been endorsed by former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, a U.S. senator from Vermont.

Republicans

          

Republicans Ed Gillespie, Corey Stewart and Frank Wagner

Ed Gillespie is a political strategist and former chair of the Republican National Committee. He is deeply connected in both national and Virginia politics and has spent his career working for high-profile Republicans including presidential candidate John Kasich, George W. Bush and former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell. He served as counselor to President Bush during Bush’s second term of office, co-founded a bipartisan lobbying firm and in 2014 narrowly lost a bid for Virginia’s U.S. Senate seat to Democratic incumbent Mark Warner. Gillespie vows to pursue “timeless conservative principles,” including a 10 percent cut in state income tax rates.

Corey Stewart is a self-proclaimed “Trump before Trump was Trump.” He co-chaired Virginia’s Trump for President campaign and currently chairs the Board of Supervisors in Prince William County, where he implemented “the nation’s toughest crackdown on illegal immigration” and helped remove local fees for getting a concealed weapons permit. Stewart said he is running for governor “to take back Virginia from the establishment and political elites in Richmond.” An international trade attorney, he has vowed to protect Confederate monuments such as statues of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. “I’m proud to be next to the Confederate flag,” he said.

Frank Wagner portrays himself as the only Republican candidate who “has built multiple successful, manufacturing businesses in Virginia” and has significant legislative experience. Wagner has represented the 7th Senate District (Virginia Beach and Norfolk) since 2002 and was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates from 1992-2001. He is a Navy veteran and until recently owned two ship repair firms. Wagner supports reducing regulations on businesses and wants to focus on career technical education for high school students and college affordability. A top priority for him is infrastructure development, including transportation projects to create jobs and reduce traffic congestion in Virginia.

 

Editor's Note: This story, which originally sent by the Capital News Service on Monday, erred in listing Emmanuel Peter as a candidate for the Republican nomination for governor; he did not make the ballot for the primary. The CNS deleted that information from the article and adjusted the quiz.

Online Quiz: How well do you know Virginia's official emblems?

Career Exploration

By Dr. Al Roberts

How many children have been asked the question, "What do you want to do when you grow up?" Some want to fight fires, some want to help people overcome diseases and disabilities, and some want to teach. Some have aspirations to play professional sports or to travel in outer space. Although a few may follow one career path without deviation, many change their minds frequently.

Visiting places of employment provides a unique educational experience that encourages young people to think about their vocational goals and the preparation that may be required to pursue opportunities.

Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work is a nationwide program that encourages parents and other mentors to help children make connections between school learning and workplace activities. This annual observance falls on the fourth Thursday of April, which will be April 27 this year.

The Virginia Education Wizard (available online at vawizard.org) is another resource that can open the door to a wide range of career exploration possibilities. Tools available on the website enable young people and others to assess their skills, interests, and values and see how they align with a variety of potential paths. The site also offers information about the education and training requirements of different careers. One interesting area enables visitors to answer questions about envisioned lifestyles to discover the annual salaries required to sustain different ways of living.

Summer camp programs also provide school-aged children opportunities to supplement classroom learning with hands-on activities. Local schools, along with youth development, faith-based, and mentoring organizations, offer programs across a broad spectrum of options that include science, nature, academics, and fitness. Here at Southside Virginia Community College, we offer summer camps to provide young people participatory experiences that enable them to explore cutting edge topics and technologies, such as 3D printing and robotics.

For today's young people, it's never too early to explore ideas about potential future careers, but it's also never too late. The question, "What do you want to do?" doesn't disappear at childhood's end. 

Career planning is an activity for everyone. According to a 2015 survey conducted the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people who were born between 1957 and 1964 held an average of 11.7 jobs between the ages of 18 and 48. While some changes may have represented steps along a single pathway, many involved switching careers entirely. Veterans returning to civilian life, unemployed and underemployed workers, and people with evolving interests and needs were all among those who made significant changes in career trajectories.

If you have questions about exploring career options, for yourself or for a child, contact SVCC at 434-949-1000. Our team of academic and workforce advisors can help you discover an exciting path to the future.

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.

State budget targets localities in fiscal distress

By Amy Lee, Capital News Service

RICHMOND –While a study for local government finances was canned this past legislative session, the new state budget has revived the focus on fiscal stress in Virginia cities and counties.

Motivated by the city of Petersburg’s financial crisis, Sen. Emmett Hanger, R-Augusta County, filed a bill to study the fiscal stress of local governments during the 2017 session. SJ 278 proposed the creation of a joint subcommittee to review local and state tax systems, as well as reforms to promote economic assistance and cooperation between regions.

Ultimately, the bill was rejected in the House Finance Committee as members deferred consideration of tax reform for next year’s longer session.

However, the state budget adopted this February has already begun to enact two fiscal stress preventive measures originally introduced in Hanger’s bill.

“Currently, there is no statutory authority for the Commission on Local Government to intervene in a fiscally stressed locality, and the state does not currently have any authority to assist a locality financially,” said Sen. Rosalyn Dance, D- Petersburg, who co-sponsored the fiscal stress bill.

To escalate state intervention, the budget has set guidelines for state officials to identify and help alleviate signs of financial stress to prevent a more severe crisis. A workgroup established by the auditor of public accounts will determine an early warning system for identifying fiscal stress. The system would consider such criteria as a local government’s expenditure reports and budget information.

Local governments that demonstrate fiscal distress will be notified and may request a comprehensive review of their finances by the state. After review, the state is expected to draft an ‘action plan’ detailing purpose, duration, and the anticipated resources required for the intervention. The governor also has the option to channel up to $500,000 from the general fund toward relief efforts for the local government in need.

The new state budget also called for the creation of a Joint Subcommittee on Local Government Fiscal Stress, with members drawn from the Senate Finance Committee and the House Appropriations and House Finance committees. The subcommittee will study local and state financial practices such as regional cooperation and service consolidation, taxing authority, local responsibilities in state programs, and root causes of fiscal stress.

“It is important to have someone who can speak to first-hand experience dealing with issues of local government fiscal stress,” said Del. Lashrecse Aird, D-Petersburg, a member of the Appropriations Committee. “This insight will be essential in forming effective solutions that will be sustainable long-term.”

While all states hold limited authority to intervene in struggling localities, the level of involvement they actually play in fiscally stressed communities varies greatly. For Virginia, the new budget aims to widen the commonwealth’s powers to intervene, as well as more effectively spot fiscal red flags in an area.

“Prior to now, Virginia had no mechanism to track, measure, or address fiscal stress in localities,” Aird said. “Petersburg’s situation is not unique, and it is encouraging that proactive measures are now being taken to guard against future issues. This is essential to ensuring that Virginia’s economy remains strong and that all communities can share in our commonwealth’s success.”

You have until Tuesday to file federal taxes

By Haley Winn, Capital News Service

Usually, April 15 is the filing deadline hanging over the heads of U.S. taxpayers. But this year, Americans have been granted a slight reprieve: They have until April 18 – this Tuesday – to submit their federal income taxes.

By law, individual tax returns are typically due on April 15. But when that falls on a weekend or holiday, as it does this year, the deadline is automatically extended.

In this case, it has been extended to Tuesday because Monday is a holiday in Washington, D.C.: That’s when the district observes Emancipation Day, the anniversary of the signing of the Compensated Emancipation Act by President Abraham Lincoln in 1862.

The Internal Revenue Service offers a number of tips for people still working on filing their 2016 federal taxes. These tipscan help taxpayers avoid errors and ensure that refunds are received as quickly as possible.

Last-minute filers who still need more time have the option to request a tax-filing extension to avoid late-filing penalties. While this gives taxpayers more time to file their federal taxes, it does not give them more time to pay what they owe.

State taxes are still due as scheduled on May 1. The Virginia Department of Taxation has online advicefor filing state returns.

In 2014, the most recent year for which the IRS has provided data, Virginians filed nearly 3.9 million individual federal tax returns. The total amount of income reported was about $284 billion – or approximately $73,000 per return.

In Virginia, the average income per return ranged from less than $35,000 in Petersburg and Emporia to more than $130,000 in Falls Church and Goochland County.

 

Charles “Charlie” Lee Phipps

Charles “Charlie” Lee Phipps, age 84, of Lawrenceville, VA passed away April 12, 2017.  He is the son of the late Rufus and Helen Pearson Phipps and is preceded in death by his brothers, Marvin Phipps and Otis Phipps; his sister, Bernice Singleton; and long time companion, Georgia V. Revis. He is survived by his daughters, Bridgette M. Phipps (Frankie) of Jacksonville, FL and Starr M. Phipps of Lawrenceville; his sons, Dwight V. Phipps (Jacqueline)  of Fort Myers, FL and Vaughn L. Phipps (Linda) of Greensboro, N.C.; his sisters, Evelyn Collins (Perry) of Hampton, VA, Maurice Grahm (Thomas) of Hampton, VA, Velma Phipps of Emporia, VA, Helen A. Robinson (Bill) of South Hill, VA, Claudette Lundy of Emporia, VA; a special niece, Marcia James (Dennis) of Norfolk, VA; a host of nieces and nephews; his sister-in-law, Nannie Mae Powell (John) of Lawrenceville, VA; his brother-in-law, Amos Singleton (Bernice) of Lawrenceville, VA; his adopted son, Woodrow Wilson of Hampton, VA; his grandchildren, Mark David Phipps and Sheena Phipps; five great grandchildren; a special great uncle, Elbert Green of New Jersey; and a special friend, William Jones, Jr. of Lawrenceville.  The family will receive friends at the home of Starr Phipps on Thursday evening.   A memorial service will be held 2:00 p.m., Friday, April 21, 2017 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 14951 Governor Harrison Pkwy., Lawrenceville, VA  23868.  Memorial contributions may be made to Brunswick Literacy Council, P.O. Box 891, Lawrenceville, VA  23868. Williams Funeral Home, Lawrenceville will be handling the arrangements.

Walmart Partners with Local Community Colleges on Workforce Credentials

RICHMOND – The Virginia Foundation for Community College Education (VFCCE) has partnered with one of the nation’s largest retailers to respond to a growing need in the local labor market.

Thanks to a generous $80,000 grant from Walmart, the VFCCE is pledging to help hundreds of Richmond-area community college students pay for their certification exams.

The students targeted for assistance through the Workforce Credential Award initiative have completed their studies in a high-demand field like manufacturing, IT, or healthcare but may not be able to afford the cost of the certification exam (average cost of $200). The lack of certification delays their entry into the workforce.

The target population for the initiative are students at J. Sargeant Reynolds and John Tyler Community Colleges who have completed an industry-recognized and approved credit workforce training program but lack the financial resources to pay for the required certification exam.

Awards will be made on a first-come, first-served basis. The grant is expected to fund certification exams for an estimated 360 students. It is projected that 90% of the students who participate in the program will pass the exam and immediately enter the workforce in the Greater Richmond area.

Dr. Sharon Morrissey, vice chancellor for academic services & research, Dr. Gary Rhodes, president, J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, Glenn DuBois, chancellor, Peter Johnson, Walmart market manager (north Richmond), Dennis Dickson, Walmart market manager (south Richmond), Robert Davis, Walmart regional general manager, Dr. Ted Raspiller, president, John Tyler Community College.

National Healthcare Decisions Day Set for April 19th

South Hill –VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital along with other national, state and community organizations, are leading a massive effort to highlight the importance of advance health care decision-making—an effort that has culminated in the formal designation of Wednesday, April 19, 2017 as National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD).

As a participating organization, VCU Health CMH is providing information and tools for the public to talk about their wishes with family, friends and health care providers, and execute written advance directives (health care power of attorney and living will) in accordance with Virginia state laws. 

Specifically, on April 19, from 9:00AM to 2:00PM, VCU Health CMH is welcoming the public throughout the day at the hospital’s main lobby, with free information about advance care planning and advance directive forms.  Come by and learn how you can protect your health care choices and wishes in the event that you are unable to speak for yourself.  For more information, contact Tammy House at (434) 447-3151 ext. 3730 or visit www.nationalhealthcaredecisionsday.org.

Mary’s Café Serves Up Great Food and Service

Several times a year, staff members at Jackson-Feild Behavioral Health Services (JFBHS) are invited to a special lunch at Mary’s Café.

Supervised by Mary Griffith and Shemille Dennis, on April 6 the students in the food occupations class at JFBHS prepared and served a restaurant-caliber lunch of French onion soup, steak, steamed broccoli, mashed potatoes, and strawberry-topped cheesecake.  Not only did the students plan and prepare the meal, they also performed the duties of host/hostess, and wait staff.

In the food occupations class, students learn everything about the food service business from ordering food and supplies to preparing and serving, accepting reservations by phone, fulfilling the role of wait staff, and cleaning the dining and kitchen areas. Students are also taught resume-writing skills and job-interviewing techniques.

The lessons taught by Griffith and Dennis are invaluable to the students.  While Mary’s Café is not open to the general public, the staff members who participated reported that the service was excellent and the meal was as good as any prepared in a commercial restaurant.

Dr. Paul Weidman Joins VCU Health CMH

South Hill – VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital in South Hill would like to welcome Dr. Paul Weidman to our family of health care providers.  Dr. Weidman specializes in Family Medicine.

Dr. Weidman comes to VCU Health CMH with more than 16 years of medical experience and most recently operated his own family practice in St. Clairsville, Ohio.  He also has experience as a Medical Director for Amedisys Hospice in West Virginia. 

Dr. Weidman received his medical degree from West Virginia University School of Medicine in Morgantown, West Virginia.  He completed his residency in family practice at Wheeling Hospital in Wheeling, West Virginia.  He is board certified by the American Board of Family Practice.

He is married and has five children.  In his spare time he enjoys spending time with family, his five (four rescued) dogs, bird-watching, fishing and astronomy. 

Dr. Weidman is currently working at CMH Family Care Center located at 420 Durant Street in South Hill.  He is currently accepting new patients; to schedule an appointment call (434) 584-0046.

Dr. Weidman joins Dr. Rebecca Kirker, Pediatrician, and Teresa Parham, Nurse Practitioner at CMH Family Care Center where they offer complete health care for every member of the family.  To view a full list of services visit:  cmhfamilycarecenter.org

Southside Regional Medical Center Professional Schools Waives Application Fee for Military

Colonial Heights, VA– For those interested in a healthcare career, Southside Regional Medical Center Professional Schools (SRMCPS) waives the $70 application fee for military and their dependents. In order to process the credit to their account, the applicant must be able to provide a valid military ID card.

Dana Swales took advantage of the waived application fee and is a current nursing student at SRMCPS. Upon her husband’s retirement from Fort Lee, they discussed the possibility of her returning to school to follow her dream of becoming a nurse. Dana had visited many of the various nursing programs in the local area. She states, “I ultimately decided on SRMC as it just felt right to me.” Since her enrollment in the program, she discovered that the class size is relatively small which lends to more one-on-one instruction, and faculty members not only encourage you to succeed but are always available to ensure you receive the additional help that you may need. She also states, “The program is as difficult as it should be, but it’s fully worth the hard work!”

The school is open to any individual 18 years of age or older. Individuals under the age of 18 may be admitted if they are a high school graduate or if they possess a GED or high school equivalent. Students must meet the required program pre-requisites and have graduated from a regionally accredited high school, state-recognized home school or the equivalent.

Upon completion of meeting specific program education requirements, students will receive an Associate Degree for their program of study: Diagnostic Medical Sonography, Nursing or Radiation Sciences. Following graduation, students are eligible to take national board exams. “In 2016, all three programs achieved 100% pass rates on national board exams. We are so proud of our students,” states Cynthia Parsons, Vice President of the Professional Schools.

SRMCPS, located at 430 Clairmont Court, Suite 200, in Colonial Heights, is comprised of three academic programs: Nursing, Radiation Sciences and Diagnostic Medical Sonography. The schools have a technologically advanced, 24,000 square foot campus that includes spacious classrooms with audio/video capabilities, a computer lab, SmartBoards, Wi-Fi, a nursing simulation lab with mannequins, two radiography labs and a sonography lab. Since its founding in 1895, the Professional Schools has graduated thousands of students who have made many remarkable and valuable contributions to the communities in which they live and work. SRMCPS is accredited by several organizations and certified to operate by The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV). Southside Regional Medical Center is owned in part by physicians. For more information about the Professional Schools, please visit SRMConline.com/ProfessionalSchools or contact the school at 804-765-5800.

Mrs. Clyde M. Daniels

Mrs. Clyde M. Daniels, 87, of Emporia, widow of Charles R. Chuck” Daniels, passed away Sunday, April 9, 2017. She was preceded in death by two brothers, Robert “Pudding, Jr.” Matthews and Glenn Thomas Matthews and a sister, Mary Lynn Norsworthy. Mrs. Daniels is survived by a son, Charles R. “Todd” Daniels, Jr.; two daughters, Leslie Jo Lee and Terri Lynn Link and husband, Wayne; seven grandchildren, twelve great-grandchildren and a great-great-granddaughter; three sisters, Virginia Lee Harrell, Patricia Ann Moseley and Louise Matthews “Sister” Allen and a number of nieces and nephews. The funeral service will be held 2 p.m. Thursday, April 13 at Owen Funeral Home, 303 S. Halifax Rd, Jarratt, Virginia where the family will receive friends one hour prior to the service.  Interment in Greensville Memorial Cemetery.  Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society. Online condolences may be shared with the family at www.owenfh.com

VCU Health CMH Makes List of Healthgrades Top Hospitals for Patient Safety

South Hill- VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital was named as one of the top hospitals in the nation for patient safety according to a list released by Healthgrades.  This is the third consecutive year that VCU Health CMH has made this list. 

Each hospital on the list is given the distinction as a Healthgrades 2017 Patient Safety Excellence Award recipient. 

This distinction places an elite group of hospital recipients within the top 10% of all hospitals evaluated for their superior performance in safeguarding patients from serious, potentially preventable complications during their hospital stays. Patient Safety Excellence Award recipients were determined by evaluating the occurrence of observed incidents and expected performance for 13 Patient Safety Indicators as defined by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

“The 2017 Patient Safety Excellence Award that CMH received is due to the dedication and commitment on the part of all members of the CMH team.  I am proud of their continued commitment toward making CMH one of the safest hospitals in the Commonwealth and in the country,” said W. Scott Burnette, CEO, VCU Health CMH.

In total, 460 hospitals (21 in Virginia) received the award this year, representing the top 10 percent of facilities in the nation.  VCU Health CMH was the only hospital in the southern Virginia region to earn this distinction.

Healthgrades said 134,568 patient safety events could have been avoided if all hospitals performed like the winners did.

Healthgrades is the leading online resource for comprehensive information about physicians and hospitals. Today, more than one million people a day use the Healthgrades website to search, compare and connect with hospitals and physicians based on the most important measures when selecting a healthcare provider: experience, hospital quality and patient satisfaction. For more information about Healthgrades, visit www.healthgrades.com.

Platt Urges Democrats to get behind McEachin K-12 Education Bill

“63 years after we outlawed unequal facilities, the average Virginia child is going to an obsolete K-12 facility according to national standards. This isn’t the equality we should be looking for!”

Great Falls, Virginia -- Democrat Susan Platt, a candidate for Lt. Governor in the June 13 primary, called on fellow Democrats “to get behind the potentially game-changing K-12 facility legislation being championed by Democratic Congressman Don McEachin.” The measure, H.R. 922 (a bill introduced in the House of Representatives last February), almost certainly “is the best hope in Virginia history to enable localities to afford modernizing their oldest, undated facilities, a pre-requisite to the equal educational opportunity that Dr. King wanted for our children, that Democrats have long promised the working families of Virginia” said Platt.

In 2013, then Governor Robert McDonnell order the state’s first-ever K-12 facility review. He found the results shocking. Besides obsolete nature of the average facility, upwards of 40% of Virginia’s K-12 buildings were sufficiently aged to be considered as “historic” structures under federal and state law.

McEachin’s legislation addresses an unintended anti-education bias in federal law. In 1986, Republican President Ronald Reagan and Democratic House Speaker “Tip” O’Neill created the “federal rehabilitation tax credit.” It incentivized modernization of buildings sufficiently aged to qualify as historic under the law. But the IRS code contained unappreciated legalese buried in arcane bureaucratese.

Platt said the Trump Hotel project in Washington provides an easily understood explanation. The Trump Organization modernized a government owned building – the old DC Post Office – into a new Hotel use pursuant to a long-term lease. This enabled the project to take advantage of beneficial “federal rehabilitation tax credit” financing. However, because a local K-12 facility modernization project aims to keep the same use – a local school – it runs afoul of the so-called “prior use” rule. The “prior use” rule says this financing is barred when the post-modernization usage remains the same.

“This seeming little rule has a huge anti-education impact” said Platt. “Based on current law, it can drive up local school modernization costs by upwards of 33% or possibly even more here in Virginia depending on the particular circumstances of a project.”

From academia to Main Street, the 40,000 federal rehabilitation tax credit financed projects around the country have been widely praised.

“Every dollar saved in local construction costs is a dollar available to improve local instruction without raising local taxes or incurring more local debt.”

Platt pointed out that the Congressional Black Caucus presented Don’s bill to President Trump at their meeting last month.” “Dean Rozell of the George Mason School of Public Policy wrote an article on it, I recommend it to everyone.”

Platt applauded Congressman McEachin for his efforts.

“Education is the great equalizer, that’s what Dr. King said and he was so right,” pointed out Platt.

“Democratic leaders, and thus who want to be Democratic leaders, need to publicly support and get behind Don.”

The Brown decision was in 1954. After 63 years, “I think the children of Virginia have waited long enough” declared Platt.

Williamsville Wellness Introduces Innovative Program to Treat Addiction

~Lifesaving online addiction treatment program is the first of its kind in the country~

Richmond, VA (April 7, 2017)– Williamsville Wellness, a Richmond-based addiction treatment program is proud to announce the launch of smartIOP, the first online intensive outpatient program (IOP) for drug and alcohol abuse licensed by the state of Virginia. The new online IOP is a new feature of their full comprehensive, holistic treatment program for adults with alcohol and other substance-related addictions.

“The mission of Williamsville Wellness is to provide holistic, individualized treatment that offers hope and recovery for those addicted to alcohol and/or other drugs.” comments Robert Cabaniss, Founder and Executive Director of Williamsville Wellness.

SmartIOPis the only online IOP for alcohol and drug addiction licensed by the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services. On average, the program can be completed in 6 to 12 weeks.

“To be successful in the treatment of and recovery from addiction, we must make therapy effective, efficient and convenient to live a normal life.” comments Cabaniss.

With ten years of experience in addiction recovery programs, Williamsville Wellness has the most intense one-on-one therapy program, offering 15+ individual sessions a week plus 18 hours of group education, and participation in on and off-site 12-step and SMART recovery meetings every week. IOPs are recognized by the courts and insurance companies as being more effective than outpatient therapy alone. Judges often use IOPs in sentencing to reduce the chance of another conviction and many addicts can benefit from an IOP before trying a 30-day rehabilitation program. Addiction treatment programs can now be covered by Medicaid.

“With more people dying from overdoses than car accidents and the rise in alcoholism across the state, the time is now for our community to help those with addictions get the treatment needed stop using and start living.” says Cabaniss. For more information, please visit: www.WilliamsvilleWellness.com.  

About Williamsville Wellness: Williamsville Wellness is a unique treatment center designed for men and women suffering from compulsive gambling, alcoholism, or drug abuse. Williamsville Wellness provides clients with the essential tools to achieve and maintain abstinence and recovery as well as restore healthy functioning with a sense of balance and well-being. Licensed by the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services for treatment of Gambling Addiction, Chemical Dependency, & Impulse Control Disorders.

Free Movie Screening of “Being Mortal”

Bestselling author, Dr. Atul Gwande

SOUTH HILL, VA– CMH Community Hospice of VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital is hosting a free movie screening of the PBS Frontline film “Being Mortal” on Thursday, April 20th at 6:00PM in the CMH Education Center auditorium.

The documentary film is based on the New York Times best-selling book “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End” by Atul Gwande, MD.  The film explores the hopes of patients and families facing terminal illness and their relationships with the physicians who treat them.

To register or for more information please call:  434-447-3151 ext. 3454.

CMH Community Hospice is a not-for-profit agency committed to caring for individuals dealing with chronic illness, facing the end of life or grieving the loss of loved ones. Hospice offers comprehensive hospice and palliative care, emotional counseling, spiritual support and other services to the people of Mecklenburg, Brunswick, Lunenburg and Nottoway Counties without regard for race, age, faith, diagnosis or ability to pay.

Josephine Allen Covington

Josephine Allen Covington, 85, widow of Gordon Covington, passed away, Friday, April 7, 2017. She is survived by her daughter, Jo Gale Covington, goddaughter, Nancy Turner and husband, Joey and their children, Debra, Dwayne and Robbie and their children, Allysa, Jamison and Mallory; one sister, Esther Allen and numerous nieces and nephews. The funeral service will be held graveside 2 p.m. Sunday, April 9, 2017 at Fountain Creek Baptist Church Cemetery. The family will receive friends in the church social hall following the service. Online condolences may be shared with the family at www.owenfh.com

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