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April 2017

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Gov. McAuliffe keeps a perfect veto record

By Julie Rothey, Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Terry McAuliffe not only set a record for the number of bills vetoed by a Virginia governor. He also has a perfect record for the number of vetoes sustained.

Republicans in the General Assembly failed to override any of the 40 vetoes that the Democratic governor issued on bills passed during this year’s legislative session, including measures that sought to increase voting requirements and make it easier to carry concealed weapons.

During his four years in office, McAuliffe has vetoed a total of 111 bills – more than any of his predecessors. None of them have been overturned, Susan Swecker, chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Virginia, noted.

“Whether he is fighting for the rights of women, immigrants, or the LGBT community, Governor McAuliffe has promised to keep Virginia open and welcoming for all its citizens. Thanks to the Democrats who fought to sustain his vetoes, he was able to keep that promise,” Swecker said in a statement.

“With the help of Democrats in the General Assembly, the Governor has formed a wall of reason to protect Virginians from harmful legislation that would hurt our economy and working families.”

Republicans see it differently. They say McAuliffe and Democratic legislators have shunned bipartisanship and blocked common-sense legislation that would prevent voter fraud and let Virginians defend themselves.

For example, McAuliffe vetoed SB 1299, which would have allowed Virginians who are under a protective order to carry a concealed handgun while they wait for their concealed weapon permit to be issued. McAuliffe said, “The bill perpetuates the dangerous fiction that the victims of domestic violence will be safer by arming themselves. It would inject firearms into a volatile domestic violence situation, making that situation less safe, not more.”

On Wednesday, the General Assembly reconvened to consider the governor’s vetoes and legislative recommendations.

The Senate voted 23-17 in favor of overriding McAuliffe’s veto of SB 1299, with Democratic Sens. Chap Petersen of Fairfax and Lynwood Lewis of Accomack County joining the 21 Republican senators in voting yes. However, it takes 27 votes – a two-thirds majority – to override a veto in the Senate.

The bill’s sponsor – Sen. Jill Vogel, R-Winchester – was disappointed. She said the bill would have “allowed law-abiding victims of domestic violence, stalking and sexual abuse to carry concealed weapons on an emergency basis so they are not left defenseless while waiting carry permit paperwork. Many other states have passed similar emergency provisions and victims’ lives have been protected. “

Legislators also sustained McAuliffe’s vetoes of bills that would have required more identification for in-person and absentee voting and increased scrutiny of registration lists. Republicans said such measures would make it harder for people to vote illegally. McAuliffe said that voter fraud has not been a problem, that the bills could prevent qualified people from voting and that the legislation would put a financial burden on local governments.

In addition to the vetoes, the governor sent 85 bills back to the assembly with recommendations. More than 80 percent of the recommendations were accepted.

However, the General Assembly rejected McAuliffe’s recommendations to expand Medicaid and to reinstate a law limiting handgun purchases to one per month in Virginia.

“I remain disappointed that Republicans chose to block our efforts to expand Medicaid and reinstate the one-handgun-per-month rule,” McAuliffe said after Wednesday’s session. “Both proposals are common-sense measures that would save lives in Virginia.”

April is National Alcohol Awareness Month

This April is Alcohol Awareness Month.  Founded and sponsored by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) since 1987, this year’s theme is: “Talk Early, Talk Often: Parents Can Make a Difference in Teen Alcohol Use.”

No other substance is more widely used and abused by America’s youth than alcohol, making alcoholism and alcohol-related problems the number one public health problem in the United States.

It is important to know that parents play a significant role in preventing and reducing the incidence of underage alcohol and drug use.  Fostering healthy and responsible attitudes, talking openly and honestly, encouraging supportive relationships, and showing children that their opinions and decisions matter, are all ways to help prevent the use of alcohol and drugs.

In fact, research has shown that kids who have conversations with their parents and learn a lot about the dangers of alcohol and drug use are 50% less likely to use alcohol and drugs than those who don’t have such conversations.

It can be challenging to develop the communication skills needed to talk with your children about drinking and drugs, but it will be well worth the effort you put into it, as you get to know your children a little better and help them build the coping skills they need to handle the anger, stress, peer pressure, loneliness and disappointment that are part of being an adolescent.

So, let’s get started.  We can’t afford to wait any longer.  For more information about alcohol education, services & treatment, contact District 19 Community Services Board at (804)862-8002.

VCU Health CMH to Offer Babysitting Training Course

SOUTH HILL --The Health & Wellness Department of VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital in South Hill will offer the Smartkids 101 Babysitting Training Course this summer.

The Smartkids 101 is a Babysitting Training Course especially designed for students age 11 to 14.  It teaches essential child care skills needed for responsible babysitters caring for infants, toddlers and older children.

The class will include child and infant safety, poison control, CPR, first aid and basic child care skills.  At the end of the class students will receive a babysitting certificate, and be certified in American Heart-Heart Savers CPR and First aid.  Students will also be taught to react in an emergency situation and know who to call.  Students will learn about the babysitting business, build self-esteem and learn skills that will last a lifetime.

This one day, 8-hour course will be taught in the VCU Health CMH Education Center at 125 Buena Vista Circle in South Hill from 8:00AM to 4:15PM on the following dates- May 31, June 19 & 30 and July 14.  The class is free but limited to 10 participants. To register for one of these courses, please contact the Health & Wellness department at 434-774-2541. These classes fill up quickly, so call today!

Certified Welders

The students pictured here earned the State Level AWS (American Welding Society) Welding Certification while still enrolled at GCHS! 

Pictured from left to right: CTE Director, LaMeka Harrison; students, Joshua Vaughan, Tyler Prince, and Hunter Cifers; Welding Instructor, Jerry Brown.

GOP rejects governor’s bid to expand Medicaid

By Maura Mazurowski, Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe blasted Republican legislators Wednesday after they rejected his budget amendment to expand Medicaid in Virginia.

“Virginia Republicans block #Medicaid expansion once again,” McAuliffe tweeted after the General Assembly reconvened to consider legislation that the governor vetoed or wanted amended.

“400k Virginians remain w/o healthcare. We’re losing $6.6mil every day,” McAuliffe wrote after the GOP-controlled House of Delegates rebuffed his Medicaid proposal.

McAuliffe and other Democrats reiterated their call for Medicaid expansion after the U.S. House of Representatives last month failed to reach an agreement on repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act.

That federal law, also known as Obamacare, encouraged states to expand Medicaid, the health coverage program for low-income Americans.

The proposed amendment would have given McAuliffe the authority in October to direct the Department of Medical Assistance Services to expand Medicaid if the Affordable Care Act is still in place. State officials say the expansion would cover about 400,000 low-income Virginians.

Every year since he was elected in 2013, McAuliffe has advocated expanding Medicaid. And every year, Republican lawmakers have voted against the idea.

“We rejected expansion in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and again in 2017 because it was the wrong policy for the commonwealth,” the GOP House leadership said in a statement Wednesday. “The lack of action in Washington has not changed that and in fact, the uncertainty of federal health policy underscores the need to be cautious over the long term.”

Under the Affordable Care Act, states can expand Medicaid to cover people making up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, or about $16,640 for an individual. About half of the 31 states that accepted Medicaid expansion have Republican governors. Earlier in the session, Del. Jimmie Massie, R-Henrico, outlined the Republicans’ position on the issue.

“Our Republican caucus believes in minimal government, in government doing only what it must,” Massie said.

He said Medicaid is the largest entitlement program in the state and costs are rising.

“As such, we cannot prudently responsibly expand such an entitlement program at this time,” Massie said. “We must reform it and look for the Virginia way. And that is exactly what we’re doing in this house.”

Delegate Massie has since announced his resignation from the Virginia House of Delegates.

Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, a practicing pediatric neurologist, pushed for McAuliffe’s proposed amendment just before the veto session began Wednesday.

“We need to do the right thing here in Virginia. We need to go upstairs, both in the House and the Senate, and pass the governor’s amendment to move forward with Medicaid expansion,” Northam said.

Liberal organizations like Progress Virginia were angered by the GOP’s decision on the matter.

“Health care is a basic human right. It is beyond outrageous that House Republicans have prioritized petty partisan politics over real human lives by refusing to expand Medicaid,” Anna Scholl, executive director of Progress Virginia, said in a press release. “These politicians should look in the eyes of individuals they’ve denied health care access and explain their vote.”

The issue is likely to remain contentious as McAuliffe finishes his term and Virginia elects a new governor in November. Northam is competing with former U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello for the Democratic nomination. Three candidates are seeking the Republican nomination: Ed Gillespie, former chairman of the Republican National Committee; state Sen. Frank Wagner of Virginia Beach; and Corey Stewart, who chairs the Prince William Board of County Supervisors.

“I will continue to fight for access to quality and affordable healthcare for all Virginians along with the Governor and our administration,” Northam said in a statement.

Southside Regional Medical Center Accepting Applications for Summer Junior Volunteer Program

PETERSBURG, VA  – Southside Regional Medical Center (SRMC) is currently accepting applications for the 2017 Junior Volunteer Program.  Applications can be picked up at the Welcome Center in SRMC’s main lobby or downloaded at SRMConline.com/community under “Volunteering” and must be returned no later than April 28. Teens must be at least 14 years old and show proof of age if they are selected for the program. Junior Volunteers will be required to submit to a drug screening and TB test.

The Summer Junior Volunteer Program will take place June 21– August 03, 2017.

Junior Volunteers will be assigned to work in specific departments within SRMC.  For additional information, contact Lisa Mason, Manager, Volunteer & Support Services, at 804-765-5786 or at lisa_mason@chs.net.

Lawmakers blast Trump budget that would cut Chesapeake Bay cleanup

Photo by TOM HAUSMAN      

By BRIANA THOMAS,  Maryland Capital News Service

WASHINGTON - Lawmakers from states surrounding the Chesapeake Bay on Wednesday expressed bipartisan criticism of President Donald Trump’s proposal to end federal support for cleaning up Chesapeake Bay.

“The president’s budget that would zero out the Chesapeake Bay Program is outrageous,” Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin, a Democrat, said at a Capitol Hill meeting with members of the Choose Clean Water Coalition. “It’s dead on arrival.”

Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Va., said cutting investments for the bay clean up will not help the economy.

“Our Chesapeake Bay is an economic engine and the cleaner it is the more it produces economically,” he said.

The nonprofit coalition hosted its fifth annual lobbying day, centered around saving the federally funded Chesapeake Bay Program after Trump last month proposed a “skinny budget” thatwould eliminate the $73 million bay restoration project.

The Environmental Protection Agency provides the program with monetary support to restore the bay’s ecosystem and reduce pollution.

Started in 1983, the program is conducted under a six-state partnership with Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York and the District of Columbia.

Advocates from each state attended the meeting with lawmakers.

“We know how important the Chesapeake Bay is for the entire region,” said Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md. “We are going to fight harder and harder and harder.”

Ruppersberger said the bay generates more than $1 trillion annually and the restoration of oysters, tributaries and streams is a project that needs to be continued.

The bay is a source of drinking water for 75 percent of the region’s 17 million residents, according to the Choose Clean Water Coalition.

The Chesapeake also is the largest estuary in the United States serving as aplace for recreational water activities, as well as a workplace for the commercial fishing and crabbing industry.

Made up of 225 local, state, and national groups, the Choose Clean Water Coalition has been advocating for a healthy Chesapeake watershed since 2009.

“The Coalition will work to continue to push back on the president’s proposed budget, and secure the essential funding that is necessary to return clean water to the Chesapeake Bay,” coalition spokeswoman Kristin Reilly said in a statement Wednesday.

Members of the House and Senate said they were pleased to have bipartisan support for clean water.

“The Chesapeake Bay is the perfect thing to come together around and serve energetically,” said Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, last year’s Democratic vice presidential nominee.

He said everyone has to work together to make sure checks and balances are implemented.

“We have an EPA administrator who doesn’t accept science. If you don’t accept climate science, it’s a fair question to ask if you accept science,” Kaine said, referring to Scott Pruitt, head of the EPA.

Trump signed an executive order last week to shut downthe Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, a program aimed at reducing climate change by cutting carbon emissions from power plants.

“We are faced with a tough budget battle, but an attitude from the EPA that says we can ignore science,” Kaine said.

The bay is a valuable natural resource and if Trump wants more jobs, then he should work to rehabilitate the bay, Wittman said.

The congressman said he was deeply concerned about Trump’s budget plan and wrote a letter to the administration asking to restore resources to the bay.

Wittman wants more money to help revitalize wetlands.

“Our wetlands are the nursery for everything that lives in those ecosystems...mother nature is the sponge that absorbs what man puts in it,” he said.

Brunswick Academy Theatre presents Shrek The Musical

Brunswick Academy Theatre presents Shrek The Musical on Friday, April 7th at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, April 8th at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 9th at 3:00 p.m. in the B.A. Gymnasium.  Tickets are on sale NOW - Adult tickets are $12.00 and Student tickets are $8.00  Don't miss this fun show and talented cast of students.  A great outing for the entire family! Call Kristine Thompson at 434-848-2220 for more information.

VSU Offers Free Workshop on Raising Fish in Pond Cages

The Aquaculture Program at Virginia State University has scheduled a fish cage-building workshop on April 27 from 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. at VSU’s Randolph Farm, located at 4415 River Road, Ettrick.

Free and open to the public, the workshop is designed for anyone with a farm pond who is interested raising fish in cages for profit or personal consumption. 

Participants will learn the basics of cage aquaculture and construct a fish cage. Cage-building materials will be provided but participants are encouraged to bring leather gloves, tin snips, a tape measure, cutting pliers and protective goggles.

Registration is limited to 20 and is available on a first-come, first-served basis. To register, visit VSU's Cooperative Extension events calendar at www.ext.vsu.edu. For more information or for persons with a disability who desire assistive devices, services or other accommodations to participate in this activity, please contact Debra B. Jones at dbjones@vsu.edu  or call (804) 524-5496/ TDD (800) 828-1120 during business hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. to discuss accommodations no later than five days prior to the event.

Extension is a joint program of Virginia Tech, Virginia State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and state and local governments.  Virginia Cooperative Extension programs and employment are open to all, regardless of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, veteran status, or any other basis protected by law.  An equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.  Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating.  Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie,  Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.

Dr. Cynthia Austin Joins VCU Health CMH

South Hill – VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital in South Hill would like to welcome Dr. Cynthia Austin to our family of health care providers.  Dr. Austin specializes in Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Dr. Cynthia Austin is a Board Certified OB/GYN who has devoted her career to providing the best and most complete OB/GYN care for her patients for more than 20 years. She earned a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree from Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Virginia and completed her internship and residency training at Franklin Square Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, where she served as Chief Resident. She was a partner in health for hundreds of women as a top OB/GYN at one of Northern Virginia’s leading health maintenance organizations(HMOs).

During her 18 plus years of practice, Dr. Austin obtained her Masters of Public Health (MPH) degree in Public Health Management from the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University and  went on to complete the Healthcare Executives Leadership Curriculum at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.   She is a community faculty at Eastern Virginia Medical School and a member of several professional organizations including the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Dr. Austin is passionate about women’s health.  She believes a healthy woman promotes a healthier household, community and world.  She is married and a mother of five children.  In her free time she enjoys reading, teaching, and medical missions.   She is bilingual and enjoys engaging with people from around the world.

Dr. Austin is currently working at CMH Women’s Health Services located at 420 Bracey Lane in South Hill.  She is currently accepting new patients; to schedule an appointment call (434) 447-7765.

Dr. Austin along with Terry Wooten, Certified Nurse-Midwife provide a complete range of personalized and preventive gynecologic care to women at every stage of life.  To view a full list of services visit:  cmhwomenshealthservices.org

SBA Administrator Honors Nation’s Top Small Businesses

Winners to be formally recognized in Washington, D.C. on April 30 – May 1

RICHMOND– Administrator Linda McMahon, the head of the U.S. Small Business Administration, announces Corliss Udoema, President and CEO of Contract Solutions, Inc.  

“It is my honor and distinct pleasure to announce the 54 winners from across the U.S. and its territories,” McMahon said. “These small business owners define entrepreneurial spirit and best represent the 28 million small businesses that are the backbone and economic engine for today’s economy. I look forward to welcoming the winners to Washington next month when they are officially honored for their achievements.”

Contract Solutions, Inc. is 8(a) and economically-disadvantaged women-owned small business that provides professional support services to a wide array of federal and state government agencies and private sector clients. 

All of the winners have been invited to attend ceremonies in Washington, D.C on April 30 – May 1 where they will be honored with their individual award along with recognition of the three runners-up and the naming of the 2017 National Small Business Person of the Year. 

Each year since 1963, the president has issued a proclamation calling for the celebration of National Small Business Week.  National Small Business Week is set as the first week in May, and this year the dates are April 30 – May 6 with national events planned in Washington, D.C., New York City, Indianapolis, Dallas and Fresno, Calif.

Beck’s Cool Job Let’s Her Work From Home

Shanetta Beck has a cool job because she is doing what she loves to do.  Beck is owner of her own business, Baskets by Occasion.  She started this as a cottage industry on a part time basis and now has transformed her hobby into a prosperous business.

Beck, who lives in Emporia, is a graduate of Southside Virginia Community College with an Associate’s degree in Criminal Justice.  She fondly remembers her mentors from her student years at SVCC, especially Dr. Al Roberts who is now President and Trooper Ron Posey who taught some of her classes. 

When she attended SVCC, she was working as a Corrections Officer and the degree she worked towards helped her with on-the-job promotions. 

In her mid-twenties when she returned to school, Beck also already had children.  She wanted to go to college to encourage them to succeed in life.

“I feel good that I got an SVCC education,” she said and is still involved with the college by using the Longwood Small Business Development Center that comes to the Southside Virginia Education Center in Greensville County and through participation in the Pink Power Celebration at Christanna Campus.

A breast cancer survivor, Beck is adamant in her support of breast cancer awareness and fund raising for the cause.  Only 35 years old when her cancer was discovered, Beck has been in cure mode for the past four years.  One reason she likes having her own business is she can pace herself; her treatment for the disease took a toll on her energy level.  But, with her enthusiasm for her career and her personality, she seems pretty energetic.

She works closely with the Emporia-Greensville Chamber of Commerce and networks with others there to promote her business.  She offers baskets that are custom made for all occasions including weddings, babies, birthdays, holidays, she plans children’s parties and makes welcome baskets and dipped treats and fruits.  Her shop, located in a tiny house in her yard, is brimming with baskets, filled pocketbooks and other ideas for any occasion.

Her enthusiasm for her creations is contagious.  She is in her happy place while tucked amongst the many completed baskets and gift items in her shop.  

Assembly reconvenes Wednesday for ‘veto session’

By SaraRose Martin, Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Legislators will return to the state Capitol on Wednesday to consider 39 bills that Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe vetoed during the General Assembly’s 2017 session.

To override a veto, the Republican-controlled Assembly must muster a two-thirds majority in both the House and the Senate. Because the Democrats hold 34 seats in the House and 19 in the Senate, McAuliffe should have the votes to sustain his vetoes.

Legislators will vote on the governor’s vetoes of legislation covering a range of topics, including whether to impose more requirements on voter registration, restrict absentee voting and expand access to handguns.

McAuliffe vetoed a record 40 bills during the legislative session that ended Feb. 25. On the session’s final day, the General Assembly dealt with one of the vetoes – McAuliffe’s rejection of HB 2264, which would have cut off state funds for Planned Parenthood and other groups that provide abortions. The veto was sustained by a 62-33 vote in the House.

McAuliffe warned at the beginning of the session that he would veto any social-issue bills that he believed may harm the rights of women or the LGBTQ community. Republican leaders in the House have said that McAuliffe has reneged on his pledge to be bipartisan and that his office has been “the most disengaged administration we have worked with.”

Among legislation vetoed are six education-related bills, such as SB 1283, which would allow the state Board of Education to create regional charter schools without the permission of local school boards.

McAuliffe also vetoed bills to allow a freestanding agency to offer online education programs to Virginia students (HB 1400) and to require schools to notify parents of sexually explicit material (HB 2191). McAuliffe said these bills collectively would “undermine” the state’s public schools.

The governor also rejected legislation to expand access to weapons. He vetoed HB 1582, which would allow 18-year-old active members of the military to apply for concealed handgun permits, and SB 1347, which would allow concealed carry of a switchblade knife.

McAuliffe also turned down bills that Republicans say would prevent voter fraud but the governor said would be obstacles to voting. They included SB 1581, which would require voter registrars to verify with the Social Security Administration that the name, date of birth and Social Security number of voter registration applications. Another vetoed bill, SB 1253, would require electronic poll books to contain photo identification of registered voters.

Lawmakers will also consider recommendations that McAuliffe made to 74 bills. Notably, the governor has proposed an amendment to the state budget (HB 1500) that would allow him to expand Medicaid, an optional provision of the federal Affordable Care Act. McAuliffe said this has become an urgent issue since Congress rejected President Donald Trump’s efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act last month.

Virginians in the coverage gap held a press conference Monday to urge legislators to vote for Medicaid expansion. This expansion would mean 400,000 Virginians who don’t currently qualify for Medicaid but can’t afford health insurance will be able to get covered.

“Republicans no longer have an excuse for not passing Medicaid expansion in Virginia,” said Anna Scholl, executive director of Progress Virginia. “All Virginians deserve to be able to see a doctor when they need one, regardless of income.”

Republican leaders said that their opposition remains the smart move and that they will reject McAuliffe’s proposed budget amendment. They fear that if Virginia expands Medicaid, the state will get stuck with the bills in the future.

Agenda for Wednesday’s reconvened session

McAuliffe vetoed 40 bills from the 2017 legislative session. The General Assembly will take up 39 of those vetoes during Wednesday’s session. They are:

     

Bill number

Description

Sponsor

HB1394

Franchisees; status thereof and its employees as employees of the franchisor.

Head

HB1400

Virginia Virtual School Board; established, report.

Bell, Richard P.

HB1428

Absentee voting; photo identification required with application.

Fowler

HB1432

Switchblade knife; exception to carry concealed.

Ware

HB1468

Incarcerated persons, certain; compliance with detainers, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Marshall, R.G.

HB1578

Students who receive home instruction; participation in interscholastic programs (Tebow Bill).

Bell, Robert B.

HB1582

Concealed handgun permits; age requirement for persons on active military duty.

Campbell

HB1596

Virginia Public Procurement Act; public works contracts, prevailing wage provisions.

Webert

HB1605

Virginia Parental Choice Education Savings Accounts; established, report.

LaRock

HB1753

Local government; prohibiting certain practice requiring contractors to provide compensation, etc.

Davis

HB1790

Administrative Process Act; development and periodic review of regulations, report.

Lingamfelter

HB1836

Spotsylvania Parkway; VDOT to maintain a certain segment beginning in 2020.

Orrock

HB1852

Concealed handguns; protective orders.

Gilbert

HB1853

Victims of domestic violence, etc.; firearms safety or training course.

Gilbert

HB2000

Sanctuary policies; prohibited.

Poindexter

HB2002

Refugee and immigrant resettlements; reports to Department of Social Services.

Poindexter

HB2025

Religious freedom; solemnization of marriage.

Freitas

HB2077

Emergency Services and Disaster Law of 2000; reference to firearms, emergency shelter.

Wilt

HB2092

Application for public assistance; eligibility, review of records.

LaRock

HB2191

School boards; procedures for handling sexually explicit instructional materials, etc.

Landes

HB2198

Coal tax; limits aggregate amount of credits that may be allocated or claimed for employment, etc.

Kilgore

HB2207

Food stamp program; requests for replacement of electronic benefit transfer card.

Robinson

HB2342

Public schools; Board of Education shall only establish regional charter school divisions.

Landes

HB2343

Voter registration list maintenance; voters identified as having duplicate registrations.

Bell, Robert B.

HB2411

Health insurance; reinstating pre-Affordable Care Act provisions.

Byron

SB865

Furnishing certain weapons to minor; exemption.

Stuart

SB872

Absentee voting; applications and ballots; photo identification required.

Chase

SB1105

Registered voters and persons voting; reports of persons voting at elections.

Obenshain

SB1240

Virginia Virtual School Board; established, report.

Dunnavant

SB1253

Voter identification; photograph contained in electronic pollbook.

Obenshain

SB1283

Public schools; Board of Education shall only establish regional charter school divisions.

Obenshain

SB1299

Concealed handguns; protective orders.

Vogel

SB1300

Victims of domestic violence, etc.; firearms safety or training course.

Vogel

SB1324

Religious freedom; definitions, marriage solemnization, participation, and beliefs.

Carrico

SB1347

Switchblade knife; person may carry concealed, exception.

Reeves

SB1362

Concealed weapons; nonduty status active military personnel may carry.

Black

SB1455

Voter registration; monetary payments for registering for another.

Black

SB1470

Coal tax; limits aggregate amount of credits that may be allocated or claimed for employment, etc.

Chafin

SB1581

Voter registration; verification of social security numbers.

Peake

     

On the last day of the regular session, the House tried but failed to override the veto of one bill:

     

HB2264

Department of Health; restrictions on expenditure of funds related to abortions and family planning.

Cline

     

 

On Wednesday, lawmakers also will consider recommendations that McAuliffe made to 74 bills. The most important is the budget bill (HB 1500). Other legislation cover topics ranging from education and health care to tow trucks and government transparency.

     

Bill number

Description

Sponsor

HB1411

Privately retained counsel; rules and regulations, client’s failure to pay.

Albo

HB1491

Background checks; exceptions, sponsored living and shared residential service providers.

Hope

HB1500

Budget Bill.

Jones

HB1525

Driver’s licenses; revocation or suspension, laws of other jurisdictions.

Albo

HB1532

Fire Programs Fund.

Wright

HB1539

Virginia Freedom of Information Act; public access to records of public bodies.

LeMunyon

HB1663

Northern Va. Community College, et al.; computer science training, etc., for public school teachers.

Greason

HB1671

Natural gas utilities; qualified projects, investments in eligible infrastructure.

Morefield

HB1691

Widewater Beach Subdivision; DCR to convey certain real property.

Dudenhefer

HB1708

Standards of Accreditation; industry certification credentials obtained by high school students.

Filler-Corn

HB1721

Community Colleges, State Board for; reduced rate tuition and mandatory fee charges.

Anderson

HB1791

Conspiracy, incitement, etc., to riot; penalty when against public safety personnel.

Lingamfelter

HB1829

Teacher licensure; certification or training in emergency first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Dudenhefer

HB1846

Death certificates; filing.

Cox

HB1851

Assault and battery against a family or household member; deferred disposition, waiver of appeal.

Gilbert

HB1854

Conflicts of Interests Acts, State & Local Government & General Assembly, lobbyist; filing.

Gilbert

HB1855

Court-ordered restitution; form order, enforcement, noncompliance, etc.

Bell, Robert B.

HB1856

Restitution; supervised probation.

Bell, Robert B.

HB1960

Tow truck drivers and towing and recovery operators; civil penalty for improper towing.

Hugo

HB2014

Standards of quality; biennial review by Board of Education.

Keam

HB2016

Electric personal delivery devices; operation on sidewalks and shared-use paths.

Villanueva

HB2017

Virginia Public Procurement Act; bid, performance, and payment bonds, waiver by localities.

Villanueva

HB2026

Property and bulk property carriers; regulation, combines authorities.

Villanueva

HB2053

Direct primary care agreements; the Commonwealth’s insurance laws do not apply.

Landes

HB2101

Health care providers; data collection.

Byron

HB2105

Investment of Public Funds Act; investment of funds in Virginia Investment Pool Trust Fund.

Byron

HB2149

Aircraft; defines ‘unmanned aircraft’ and requires aircraft to be registered with Dept. of Aviation.

Knight

HB2163

Buprenorphine without naloxone; prescription limitation.

Pillion

HB2168

Virginia Coal Train Heritage Authority; established.

Pillion

HB2201

Failure to drive on right side of highways or observe traffic lanes; increases penalties.

O’Quinn

HB2245

Virginia Research Investment Committee; expands role of Committee.

Jones

HB2289

Divorce or dissolution of marriage; award of life insurance.

Leftwich

HB2297

Oyster planting grounds; Marine Resources Commission to post.

Miyares

HB2324

Jurors; payment by prepaid debit card or card account.

Yost

HB2336

Law-enforcement officer; report of officer involved in accident.

Miller

HB2367

Virginia Port Authority; removal of members on Board of Commissioners.

Lindsey

HB2383

Combined sewer overflow outfalls; DEQ to identify owner of outfall discharging into Chesapeake Bay.

Lingamfelter

HB2386

Unpaid court fines, etc.; increases grace period for collection.

Loupassi

HB2390

Renewable energy power purchase agreements; expands pilot program.

Kilgore

HB2442

Collection fees, local; an ordinance for collection of overdue accounts.

Ingram

HB2471

Virginia Economic Development Partnership Authority; membership, powers and duties.

Jones

SB800

Direct primary care agreements; the Commonwealth’s insurance laws do not apply.

Stanley

SB812

Asbestos, Lead, and Home Inspectors, Board for; home inspections, required statement.

Marsden

SB854

Unpaid court fines, etc.; increases grace period for collection.

Stanley

SB864

Electoral board appointments; chief judge of the judicial circuit or his designee make appointment.

Stuart

SB898

Combined sewer overflow outfalls; DEQ to identify owner of outfall discharging into Chesapeake Bay.

Stuart

SB962

Sales and use tax; nexus for out-of-state businesses.

Hanger

SB1008

Barrier crimes; clarifies individual crimes, criminal history records checks.

Hanger

SB1023

Concealed handgun permits; sharing of information.

Stuart

SB1073

Bridgewater, Town of; amending charter, sets out various powers typically exercised by towns, etc.

Obenshain

SB1102

FOIA; records of completed unattended death investigations, definition, mandatory disclosure.

Surovell

SB1116

Public school employees, certain; assistance with student insulin pumps by register nurse, etc.

McPike

SB1178

Buprenorphine without naloxone; prescription limitation.

Chafin

SB1239

Child day programs; exemptions from licensure, certification of preschool or nursery school program.

Hanger

SB1258

Virginia Solar Energy Development and Energy Storage Authority; increases membership.

Ebbin

SB1282

Wireless communications infrastructure; procedure for approved by localities.

McDougle

SB1284

Court-ordered restitution; form order, enforcement, noncompliance, etc.

Obenshain

SB1285

Restitution; supervised probation.

Obenshain

SB1296

County food and beverage tax; referendum.

Vogel

SB1303

Voter registration; deadline for registration by electronic means.

Vogel

SB1312

Conflicts of Interests Acts, State & Local Government & General Assembly, lobbyist; filing.

Norment

SB1315

Foster care; possession of firearm.

Carrico

SB1364

Property and bulk property carriers; regulation, combines authorities.

Newman

SB1371

Virginia Research Investment Committee; expands role of Committee.

Saslaw

SB1398

Coal combustion residuals unit; closure permit, assessments required.

Surovell

SB1415

Virginia Port Authority; removal of members on Board of Commissioners.

Spruill

SB1416

Investment of Public Funds Act; investment of funds in Virginia Investment Pool Trust Fund.

Newman

SB1418

Electric utilities; costs of pumped hydroelectricity generation and storage facilities.

Chafin

SB1486

Law-enforcement officer; report of officer involved in accident.

Stuart

SB1492

Water utilities; retail rates of affiliated utilities, definitions, etc.

Stuart

SB1493

Northern Va. Community College, et al.; computer science training, etc., for public school teachers.

McClellan

SB1574

Virginia Economic Development Partnership Authority; membership, powers and duties.

Ruff

 

Endorsed by Sanders, Perriello campaigns in Richmond

By Tyler Hammel, Capital News Service

RICHMOND – In his bid for the Democratic nomination for governor, Tom Perriello says he would make community college free, raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour and confront the Trump administration over its policies on immigration and other issues.

Perriello – who has won an endorsement from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders – discussed those topics Monday night at a town-hall style meeting at Virginia Union University in Richmond.

Promising to combat President Donald Trump’s administration and help create a “community of conscience,” the Charlottesville native received consistent applause from the crowd.

He touted his support of the Affordable Care Act when he served in the U.S. Congress in 2009-11. Trump, who succeeded Barrack Obama as president in January, has vowed to repeal and replace the ACA. Perriello gave credit to demonstrations such as the Women’s March on Washington for preventing that from happening.

“Five months ago, people could have curled up on the couch and cried, and I’m sure all of us did. But instead, people decided to say, ‘No, this isn’t who we are as a commonwealth; this is not something we are going to stand by passively and watch,’” Perriello said. “Because of these efforts, because of the marches, because of the protests, because of the stories, today the Affordable Care Act remains in place.”

Perriello also discussed his hope to provide free community college to Virginia residents, calling it a good investment. He said trickle-down economics – the notion that tax cuts for the wealthy will generate benefits for poorer people – doesn’t work.

“What the evidence does show you is when you actually increase wages and invest in people, then you do get growth locally, and more growth for small business,” Perriello said. “This is not something we’re doing out of the goodness of our hearts. We’re doing this because it’s a good investment strategy.”

A big part of Perriello’s speech was establishing himself as a viable candidate in the race for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

Perriello announced his candidacy in January, when it appeared that Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam would be uncontested in seeking the nomination.

Perriello encouraged supporters to knock on doors and volunteer on his behalf to spread the word about his campaign. That was a critical strategy at the time: Only one in five Virginians even knew his name, according to a poll published in February by the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University.

Last week, a survey by the center showed that Perriello and Northam were tied: Each had support from 26 percent of Democratic-leaning voters; almost half of the people polled were undecided.

At the event at Virginia Union University, Perriello had few critical things to say about Northam. Instead, he mentioned issues on which the two candidates agreed – but Perriellosaid he was the first to take those positions.

“We came out and led the way on standing up for a $15-an-hour minimum wage. A few weeks later, we saw Ralph and others court that decision,” Perriello said. “Same thing with criminal justice reform and debt-free community college. I think what we need right now is someone who’s actually leading a policy agenda.”

Perriello echoes many of the positions that Sanders espoused during his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination last year. On Tuesday, Sanders issued a statement endorsing Perriello.

“We need to elect progressives at every level of government if we are going to beat back the dangerous agenda of the Trump Administration and its Republican allies,” the statement said. “Tom is committed to fighting the rigged economy and income inequality. He was the first major statewide candidate in Virginia to run on a $15 minimum wage and the first to say two years of community college should be tuition-free.”

Perriello will face off against Northam in the Democratic primary election on June 13. Northam has the support of outgoing Gov. Terry McAuliffe and most Democrats in the Virginia General Assembly and the state’s congressional delegation.

On the Republican side, three candidates are vying for the GOP nomination for governor: Ed Gillespie, former chairman of the Republican National Committee; state Sen. Frank Wagner of Virginia Beach; and Corey Stewart, who chairs the Prince William Board of County Supervisors.

The 44th Annual Virginia Pork Festival

The 44th Annual Virginia Pork Festival will be held on Wednesday June 14th, 2017 from 4PM to 8PM. This year we have 4 bands that will include The Embers, Strictly Bizzness, Soul Attractions, and the Feature Attraction Band. Food will include  Minced Barbecue, Pit Cooked Barbecue, Barbecued Spareribs, Barbecued Boston Butt, Barbecued Loin Chops, Grilled Loin Chops, Sausage Biscuits, Pork Burgers, Sausage Burgers, Bologna Steak Burgers, Italian Sausage, Pork Meatballs , BLTs, Hot Dogs, Chitterlings, Pigs Feet, & Souse.Sides will include Black Eyed Peas & Stewed Tomatoes, Pork & Beans,  Hushpuppies, & French Fried Sweet Potatoes. Desserts will include Banana Pudding & Strawberry Shortcake. Soft drinks, Water, Tea, Anheuser-Busch Family Beers, and a Liquor Bar will be included. This event is a fundraiser for several non profit organizations in the Southside Virginia community. It is one of the largest single day festivals on the East Coast and grows every year with attendance and events. We have vendor space available at the festival for most businesses, with approval, and they can put there products and services in front of thousands of people. If you can ad this event to your calendars, we would certainly appreciate it! Tickets are available online at www.VaPorkFestival.com and are $35 per ticket.

Emporia Storage Auction Entices Treasure Hunters on April 8

Tips on how to buy at auction

EMPORIA, Va. -- 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 April 8, rain or shine.

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

"The popularity of hit TV shows like 'Storage Wars' has really heightened interest in storage unit auctions. There's such mystery. You never know what you're going to find," said auctioneer Carla Harris, known to Richmond radio listeners and TV audiences as "Carla Cash."

Harris offers the following suggestions on what to look for and how to buy a unit at a storage auction:

  • Are items covered in dust? This could indicate that the contents have been there for a long time and that the previous owner considered them worth storing and saving.
  • Is it detailed? Look for ornate carvings, paint, finishes, etchings and scroll work. This could mean the piece is an antique or of fine quality.
  • Are there boxes? This is especially true of jewelry boxes, safes, and metal lock boxes. Boxes may contain hidden treasures that someone felt the need to protect by putting it in a storage unit.
  • Is there a lot of clutter? Don’t be discouraged by this. Yes, you may have to weed through quite a bit of things you don’t want, but you never know what might be hiding underneath those piles or clothes or trash bags.
  • Is it wood? Solid wood furniture is not produced as much as it once was, thus possibly making it more collectible and valuable to some.
  • Is this a potential Pinterest project? Look for furniture that can be painted, refinished and upcycled to suit your style. Your new favorite coffee table or china hutch could be inside a unit waiting for a fresh coat of paint and your imagination.
  • Are items wrapped in newspaper, bubble wrap or some sort of cover? This could indicate something fragile, valuable or collectible that the previous owner considered worth protecting.
  • Can I sell it? There’s truth to the phrase, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Perhaps a unit holds only a few things you want for yourself. You may be able to turn the rest into cash.

Several dozen units are expected to be sold at the April 8 auction. During this cash only sale, the belongings of delinquent storage units are auctioned to the highest bidder to recoup the loss of rental fees.

 

"Anything could be in a unit. We have people come from all over Virginia and even other states to check out what's inside," said Boyce Adams, owner of Emporia Storage.

 

Gates open at 9 a.m. for registration. The auction begins at 10 a.m. 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 buyers’ premium will apply.

 

The auction will be conducted by Carla 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, and visit facebook.com/thatcarlacash for more terms and conditions. 

Transform your ideas about the library: celebrate National Library Week April 9-15

The Meherrin Regional Library System joins libraries in schools, campuses and communities nationwide in celebrating the many ways libraries are transforming their communities every day through the services and invaluable expertise they offer.

April 9-15 is National Library Week, a time to highlight the changing role of libraries, librarians, and library workers.  Libraries aren’t only a place of quiet study, but also creative and engaging community centers where people can collaborate using new technologies.

Libraries of all types are evolving to meet the needs of the communities they serve. Elected officials, small business owners, students, and the public at large depend upon libraries and the resources they offer to address the needs of their communities. By providing such resources as e-books and computer assistance, materials for English-language learners, programs for job seekers, or a safe haven in times of crisis, libraries and librarians transform their communities.

The Meherrin Regional Library System is transforming by providing computers, printers, WIFI, and copy services in addition to the books, movies, and magazines available to check out. The library offers weekly storytimes and Summer Reading Programs, as well as meeting room spaces. The Meherrin Regional Library’s friendly staff is there to guide and assist the library patrons who visit each day.

Libraries also offer something unique to their communities - the expertise of individual librarians. Librarians assist patrons in using increasingly complex technology and sorting through the potentially overwhelming mass of information bombarding today’s digital society. This is especially crucial when access to reliable and trustworthy data is more important than ever.

First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April. 

 

To learn more about your local library, visit the Brunswick County Library, Lawrenceville or the Richardson Memorial Library, Emporia or the library’s Web site at www.meherrinlib.org.

Greensville Schools to host Child Find

Greensville County Public Schools will sponsor Child Find on Friday, April 28, 2017 from 10 am until 5 pm at Greensville Elementary School.

Child Find is registration for Head Start or Virginia Preschool Initiative.

Head Start is a federal preschool program which provides comprehensive services and learning experiences to prepare children for Kindergarten and move families toward self-sufficiency. The program also operates in compliance with IDEA to include children with special needs. All Head Start services are free to children and families.

The Virginia Preschool Initiative, established in 1995, distributes state funds to schools and community based organizations to provide quality preschool program for at-risk four-year-olds. The program offers full day Pre-kindergarten, parent involvement, child health and social services, and transportation to families with four-year-olds at risk of school failure.

Parents of all children who are or will be four years old on or before September 30th and are residents of Emporia or Greensville County are encouraged to attend. There will be NO TESTING. Children do NOT need to attend!

To apply, you must bring your child’s OFFICIAL birth certificate (NOT a hospital certificate), immunization record, PROOF of residency (for example: a current water/electric bill with YOUR name and address) and, because of NEW state guidelines, verification of household income (for example: paystub, W-2, Medicaid card, TANF, SNAP, WIC, SSI).

 

 

 

Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC) Chorus Presents the 2017 Spring Concert

 

EVENT:

“American Homeland”

Spring Concert

Songs of American Values: faith, courage, beauty, hope and love.

 

Southside Virginia Community College Chorus

Directed by Carol Henderson

Accompanied by Sally Tharrington

DATE:

Sunday, April 23, 2017

TIME:

 7:00 P.M.

PLACE:

South Hill Presbyterian Church

914 Mecklenburg Ave. South Hill, VA  23970

ADMISSION: Free - Sponsored by Southside Virginia Community College

The “American Homeland” 2017 Spring Concert will offer songs of American Values: faith, courage, beauty, hope and love. Beginning with the solo, American Anthem by Gene Scheer, sung by soprano Betty Edwards with Sally Tharrington at the piano. This song reminds us of “the dream of a nation where freedom would endure.” How this nation is built on the gifts of each generation and the “quiet acts of dignity” that fortify “the soul of a nation that never dies.”

Judy Kemp, past Director of the SVCC Chorus for 15 years, will play with Sally in a unique piano duet accompaniment arranged by Mark Hayes of the traditional American song Hark, I Hear the Harps Eternal. Judy is the current Program Chair and Vice-President of the South Hill Music Club of the National Federation of Music Clubs.

Proudly featured in the SVCC Chorus concert, is a new hymn text written by one of the chorus’ members, Rev. Dr. Stephen DeOrnellas, Blessed Is The Nation Whose God Is The Lord. Sung to the Irish tune, Slane and based on Psalm 33:12, we pray for new hearts, wise love, and Christ-like courage. Stephen is the Pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Baskerville.

Other musical highlights by the SVCC Chorus include the Appalachian song, Down to the River to Pray; the new spiritual Order My Steps ( In Your Word), written by Glenn Burleigh and recorded by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, 1996; and from the 60’s, Pete Seeger’s Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season). In Over the Rainbow, the classic, award-winning song from the “Wizard of OZ”, why can’t we fly like the bluebirds, and have our troubles melt away in the clouds?

The men of the SVCC chorus sing The Quest: The Impossible Dream, the quintessential song of the search for the unattainable, from the “Man of LaMancha.” In Stained Glass, a new song by Joseph Martin and Heather Sorenson, the Artist’s hand picks up the shattered, scattered, broken pieces of our life. “Who would have known that God would make art from glass stained and broken, from lives torn apart.” Also included is the simple truth found in that Sunday school favorite: Jesus Loves Me, arranged by Fred Bock with Debussy’s Clair de Lune.  The favorite of church, community and school choirs across the country: Let There Be Peace on Earth closes out the program of beautiful tunes that lift up the values of our “American Homeland.”

Singers this spring in SVCC Chorus are from the surrounding communities and include:

Elizabeth Allgood, Dan Araway, Nancy Bradshaw, Robert Bradshaw, Stephen DeOrnellas, Betty Edwards, Jo Ann Farnsworh, Lloyd Farnsworth, Martha Feagan, Tim Feagan, Mary Hardin, Megan Henry, Patricia Jutz, Becky Laben, John Laben, Kelli Lewis, Jimmy Martin, Judy Moody, Pat Moyles, Louise Ogburn, Guy Pealer, Janie Pealer, Laura Jane Rash, Norma Robertson, Walter Smyre, Jimmie Soyars, Nancy Turner, Debbie Wilson, and Margie Wollenberg. 

Southside Virginia Community College is proud to sponsor and present the SVCC Chorus in a concert for our “American Homeland.” Please bring your friends, neighbors and families for an inspirational Spring evening of music at South Hill Presbyterian Church on Sunday, April 23rd at 7:00 PM. Free admission.

For information regarding joining the SVCC Community Chorus, please contact Nancy Turner at Nancy.Turner@southside.edu or Louise.Ogburn@southside.edu.  

‘My illness is not larger than my world’ Despite pain, student excels in class and in life

By Dai Já Norman, Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Pictures of family members and friends and a British flag cover the walls of her dorm room at Virginia Commonwealth University. Anatomy textbooks, note cards and a Himalayan pink salt crystal lamp occupy her desk.

On Majesta-Doré Legnini’s nightstand is an assortment of prescription and over-the-counter pill bottles. She takes six pills every evening and one in the morning, along with three vitamin supplements. “I am in pain every second of my life,” the 19-year-old sophomore says.

Legnini describes the feeling this way:

“Imagine your legs are stuck between a bed frame and a box spring. And they are under the box spring, and then there’s a mattress, and then there’s an anvil, and then there’s a 500-pound-man sitting on top of the anvil playing a grand piano. That’s what it feels like.”

Legnini was recently diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos syndrome, a rare disorder that afflicts connective tissues and joints. But she has been fighting through the pain as an honors student, a double major (health science and political science) and a community volunteer, working with homeless and mentally ill people.

Although EDS tries to slow her down, Legnini (pronounced lay-NEE-nee) lives a fast-paced life.

On campus, she is a member of the VCU Honors College and VCU Globe, a living and learning program that focuses on global education and international experiences. She helps arrange campus tours for the Undergraduate Admissions Office and leads Their Home RVA, a website and student organization dedicated to improving community relations – especially between VCU students and the homeless population.

Off campus, Legnini is an intern at the Daily Planet, which provides health care and other services to homeless individuals and other people in need. She also is a writer for The Mighty, a website for people with disabilities, diseases, mental illness and other challenges to share their stories.

Susan Sereke, advancement coordinator for the Daily Planet, said Legnini is a testimony to the power of passion.

Legnini is driven by “her passion about the issues of health care and homelessness, and a desire to improve the lives of others,” Sereke said.

About Ehlers Danlos syndrome

EDS is genetic. Symptoms can range from mildly loose joints and hyperelastic skin to debilitating musculoskeletal pain and aortic dissection, a life-threatening heart condition. At least one in 5,000 people have some form of the illness, according to the Ehlers Danlos Society, a support group.

Legnini says she has been wracked by pain from her earliest memories. As a child, she remembers crying when she went on long walks. She was always prone to injuries when playing sports.

Growing up, she sought medical attention numerous times, but doctors dismissed her complaints, attributing them to growing pains. Last May, Legnini’s condition worsened, and she decided to try her luck again by seeing another physician.

“Pain became more frequent,” Legnini recalled. “I felt weaker. I was getting exhausted by seemingly simple activities. It started to become difficult to concentrate, and most importantly PAIN, PAIN, PAIN. It got more intense, more frequent, and made my life much more difficult.”

After almost a year of doctor visits and road trips between Richmond and Manassas, a rheumatologist diagnosed Legnini as having EDS. Legnini was already familiar with the illness: Her best friend also has a form of EDS.

In fact, during high school, Legnini did a lot of research about the disease and even helped raise money for theEDS research center in Maryland. While researching the disease, Legnini thought she might have the symptoms but then rejected that notion as a projection of her friend’s situation.

Many people, even physicians, are unfamiliar with EDS. So Legnini brings a binder explaining the illness whenever she goes to see a doctor.

There is no cure for EDS; however, patients can take medication to reduce their pain and lower their blood pressure. (High blood pressure is associated with the disease.)

Living with pain: ‘I see outside of my illness’

Because of the constant pain, Legnini often must gauge whether she is well enough to leave her bedroom. When the answer is no, she stays in her dorm and tries to get as much homework done as she can.

Walking, cooking and writing are things that many people take for granted. But for EDS patients, these tasks are not effortless. However, Legnini has found ways to overcome adversity.

She is enrolled in some online classes. Also, her older brother, Luciano Legnini, lives across the hall in VCU Globe and can assist her with everyday tasks, such as lifting heavy objects, grabbing items from a high shelf, cooking and cutting up food.

“She doesn’t want to portray herself as like this dependent,” Luciano Legnini said. “But I am here to help, and I am always willing to help her.”

Majesta-Doré Legnini begins each day with an elaborate morning routine. It starts with her cracking every joint in her body – a laborious process that alleviates some of the pain.

“I crack my back first, and then I move my knees and ankles so that they crack a little bit,” Legnini said. “I crack my toes, and then my hands just crack constantly.”

Then she stretches for 10 minutes, showers and wraps her knees, ankles, and shoulders in KT tape – a tape used for muscle, ligament and tendon pain relief and support. She gets dressed and grabs breakfast that meets her diet restrictions – gluten free, sugar free and dairy free – before heading out.

Legnini says it would be easy to play the victim and wallow in self-pity. She refuses to do so.

“I am not able to do some things,” she said. “And I know those things, and I don’t do those things. But I am able to learn.”

Legnini plans to get a joint degree between VCU and the University of Richmond with a master’s in health administration and a specialty in civil rights law. After college, she intends to advocate for inclusive and accessible health care.

Her goal is to ensure that people from all walks of life have access to the health care system. She won’t let her own disease define her.

“I see outside of my illness,” Legnini said. “But my illness is inside of everything I do. And so, the world is larger than my illness, but my illness is not larger than my world.”

Heavy Hauls Resume This Week

Heavy Hauls are scheduled to resume on Sunday, April 2nd 2017 at 10:00PM, weather permitting.

  • Monday, 4/3/2017
  • Tuesday, 4/4/2017
  • Monday, 4/10/2017
  • Tuesday, 4/11/2017
  • Wednesday, 4/12/2017
  • Thursday, 4/13/2017
  • Monday,  4/17/2017 

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