Current Weather Conditions

 
Seven Day Forecast for Emporia, Virginia
 

Community Calendar Sponsored By...

 

March 2018

Panther Prep Day Returns April 3, 2018

 
Panther Prep Advising Day is coming to all locations of Southside Virginia Community College on Tuesday, April 3, 2018.  This is a great time to meet advisors, learn about SVCC programs register for Summer and Fall Classes and just have some fun and food and fellowship.  The event will be held at the Alberta and Keysville Campuses from 10 until 6 p.m.  Other locations include Southern Virginia Higher Ed. Center in South Boston, the Center in Emporia, The Estes Community Center in Chase City, and Lake Country Advanced Knowledge Center in South Hill.  Also, plan to attend this event at the Occupational/Technical Center at Pickett Park in Blackstone from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  Don't miss this chance to get the scoop on all you need to know about Southside Virginia Community College.  More information about the college can be seen at www.southside.edu

Joyce E. Whitehead

Joyce E. Whitehead, 76, of Emporia, passed away Saturday, March 31, 2018. She was preceded in death by a brother, Johnny Grizzard and a sister, Frances Dixon. Mrs. Whitehead is survived by her devoted companion, Raleigh Jones; two daughters, Tammy Jarratt and husband, Bill and Lori Poole and husband, William; son, Doug Whitehead; seven grandchildren, Casey Jarratt, Billy Jarratt, Christel Gordon, Elizabeth Justice, Angel Poole, Wayne Whitehead and Angela Whitehead; seven great-grandchildren; and two sisters, Mary Grizzard “Baby” and Sally Velvin and husband, Jimmy. She also leaves behind her cherished pets: dogs, Lacy and Tiny and cat, Bear Kitty. The funeral service will be held 3 p.m. Tuesday, April 3 at Adams Grove Baptist Church. Interment will follow in the church cemetery. The family will receive friends at church one hour prior to the service. Online condolences may be shared with the family atwww.owenfh.com.
 
 

Nell Mattox Whitlock Mitchell

Nell Mattox Whitlock Mitchell, age 93, passed away peacefully in her home on March 31, 2018. She was predeceased by her parents Percy and Lucy Mattox, 2 brothers, P.J. Mattox and Gilbert “Sprout” Mattox, 2 sisters, Leola Fisher and Margaret Duckworth, and 2 husbands, Robert K. Whitlock and William T. Mitchell.

She is survived by daughter, Carolyn Whitlock Myrick; son, Robert K. “Kenny” Whitlock (Carolyn), and daughter Ginger Mitchell Smith. She is also survived by 7 grandchildren, John Myrick (Jennifer), Robert Myrick, Wendy Whitlock Gilbert, Brian Whitlock (Kelly), Jason, Jeremy, and Amanda Smith; 16 great grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.

Mrs. Mitchell retired from the City of Emporia after serving 33 years as a City Clerk. She was a member of Calvary Baptist Church for 66 years.

Special thank you to Gloria Meyers, Gail Spence, Glenda Rawlings, Francis Drummond, and Hospice of Virginia (Joyce Lynch and Queen Washington).

Funeral Services will be held Tuesday, April 3, 2018 at 12:00 P.M. at Echols Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. Andy Cain officiating. Interment will follow at Greensville Memorial Cemetery. A visitation will be held at the chapel from 11:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Calvary Baptist Church, 310 North Main Street, Emporia, VA.

Online condolences may be left at echolsfuneralhome.com

Amelia K. Harris

Amelia K. Harris, of Emporia, VA, went to be with her Lord and Savior on March 30, 2018, at the age of 80, after a courageous battle with ALS. She was preceded in death by her parents, Marvin G. King and Betty L. King, and brother Ed King.

Amelia is survived by three sisters, Ada Newsome, Sallie Allgood, and Lucille Taylor; and several nieces and nephews. She also leaves to cherish her memory; three children, Robert Harris (Cristy), Denise Harris, and Amy Clary (Andy); four grandchildren, Cassie Modlin, Christopher Moseley, Lee Harris, and James Harris; great grandchildren, Natalie Harris, Liam Harris, Carter Modlin, Kensleigh Rae Moseley, and her namesake Caroline Amelia Modlin.

Funeral Services will be held Monday, April 2, 2018 at 1:00 P.M. at Monumental United Methodist Church with Rev. Rachel G. Plemmons officiating. Interment will follow at Oakwood Cemetery in Lawrenceville, VA. A reception and visitation will be held at the church from 11:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Amelia’s name to: Monumental United Methodist Church, 300 Southampton St. Emporia, VA 23847.

Peggy Harrison Allen

Peggy Harrison Allen, of Emporia, died Friday March 30, 2018, at the age of 85. A native of Greensville County, she was the daughter of the late Fredrick and Ethel Mae Brantley Harrison, and the widow of the late Frank Richard Allen Jr. Peggy was a longtime member of Calvary Baptist Church and a retired secretary with the Federal Government.

She is survived by her sons; Darrell Allen and his wife Monica of Richmond, and Mark Allen and his wife Darlene of Elk Park, N.C.; a sister, Polly Wray of Lebanon Virginia; grandchildren, Madison, Harrison, Winfield and his wife Ansley, Eric and his wife Kathryn, Michael, and Stephen Allen; great-grandchild, Luke Allen; Goddaughter, Cindy Caldwell and her husband Frankie; daughter she never had, Dana Snow and her husband Steve; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Funeral services will be held Tuesday, April 3, 2018 at 2:00 P.M. at Echols Funeral and Cremation Chapel with Pastor Andy Cain officiating. Interment will follow in Greensville Memorial Cemetery. The family will receive friends Monday, April 2, 2018 from 7:00 P.M. until 8:30 P.M. at Echols Funeral and Cremation Service.

Online condolences may be left at echolsfuneralhome.com.

Getting a Second Chance in Southside Virginia

Ja' Kei Woods (Left) and Jamarcus Reid (Right) with Alonzo Seward (Center) recognizing the two young men who recently completed the Diversion Program at Southside Virginia Community College.
 

Second chances are always good.  In Southside Virginia, a Diversion Program for young offenders is offering another chance at a successful life without incarceration.

Alonzo Seward, Coordinator of the Diversion Program at Southside Virginia Community College(SVCC) is pleased to announce initial successes from its first class.  Designed to provide alternative sentencing, the first class began in October 2016. SVCC worked in partnership with local Commonwealth’s Attorneys' offices to include Brunswick, Greensville, Mecklenburg and Lunenburg counties. The youthful offenders that enter the program face incarceration in either jail or prison due to a crime that they have committed and to which they have subsequently pled guilty. The program serves as an alternative to incarceration and/or a felony conviction and includes a requirement of participation in group and/or individual community service projects.  Additionally, the program requires participants to be drug free (verified through drug screenings) and of good behavior.

While serving as an advisor to SVCC’s Administration of Justice Program, Lezlie Green, the Commonwealth’s Attorney for Brunswick County, presented the idea to Seward, who heads the Administration of Justice program at the college.  Both Green and Seward throughout their years in law enforcement recognized an unmet need for alternative sentencing programs in Southside Virginia.  They joined forces with Monica McMillan, caseworker with Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act Out of School Youth Program (WIOA) and Linda Macklin, caseworker for Southside Community Corrections to develop a program that was approved by the college’s administration and has been accepted as a sentencing alternative by both the local judiciary and defense bar.

The program is designed to follow a paramilitary format during the initial semester. The semester begins with a cohort of offenders meeting three nights a week in two different courses. These courses are designed to improve life skills, academic skills and overall behavior. The concept of the program is to provide individuals who fit the criteria with opportunity to gain the necessary skills to attain employment and deal with the stressors of life, so that they can become successful citizens.

Recently Seward recognized two success stories: Jamarcus Reid andJa' Kei Woods,both members of the initial group. Although they were in the same cohort, their challenges were different due to differing educational backgrounds. Both men met the criteria of being drug free during the program

Reid completed the initial cohort semester, and transitioned into college courses where he successfully completed hiswelding certification through SVCC’s program. Reid also participated in 24 hours of community service projects while in the program. He participated in projects benefitting SVCC, Alberta Fire Department and the Town of Lawrenceville.

During the course of the program, and in addition to the welding certificate Reid completed a work experience and earned a Career Readiness Certificate. Reid recently secured a fulltime job in the welding industry.

Woods was awarded his GED on February 23, 2018. For a period of almost a year and a half he attended GED classes during the day and diversion courses at night. He successfully completed the “Dream It Do It Welding Academy” and was awarded a $100.00 gift card for his presentations.  Other accomplishments for Woods throughout the program included successfully completing two work experiences, earning a National Career Readiness Certificate, and participating in 32 hours of community service projects. He plans to remain at SVCC to earn his welding certificate.

The program operates through grant funded assistance and donations to the SVCC Foundation, Inc. For more information or to make a contribution, call 434 949 1051.

Panelists Discuss Future of Transgender and Nonbinary People

By Sophia Belletti, Capital News Service

RICHMOND — Zakia McKensey began her male-to-female transition more than 20 years ago. She said she had to travel over 500 miles to Atlanta, Georgia, to find a plastic surgeon willing to perform her sexual reassignment surgery.

“I had to go to Baltimore for hormone therapy,” McKensey said. “There were not any medical providers in Richmond doing that work.”

Now, McKensey works as a certified HIV test counselor and prevention educator and founded the Nationz Foundation, a Richmond organization that provides education and information related to HIV prevention, cancer awareness and overall health and wellness.

McKensey joined a panel of experts at Virginia Commonwealth University on Wednesday night to discuss how public policy in immigration, health care, criminal justice and emergency management impacts transgender and nonbinary individuals -- people who don’t identify as male or female.

“It’s a huge part of who I am,” said Austin Higgs, a panelist who identifies as genderqueer, meaning neither entirely male nor female.

Higgs, who works as a community engagement officer and special assistant to the president and CEO at Richmond Memorial Health Foundation, said, “It’s been a long journey for me, and I am actually proud of who I am. I want the world around me to recognize who I am.”

Higgs and McKensey were joined on the panel by Shabab Mirza, a research assistant at the LGBT Center for American Progress, and Liz Coston, an instructor in VCU’s Department of Sociology.

Nearly 200 students and other community members attended the event, which was organized by Peter Jenkins, a doctoral student at the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs. Jenkins moderated the event with Khudai Tanveer, an organizing fellow at the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance.

Jenkins said that people tend to think the transgender community is small but that 12 percent of the millennial population is openly transgender, according to a 2017 report by GLAAD, which promotes understanding and acceptance of LGBT people.

During the discussion, panelists pointed to the problems of proper documentation and refugee placement for transgender and nonbinary people entering the United States. They said that documentation is problematic in many respects.

“For many years, I have questioned why there is any gender on any documentation,” McKensey said. “Does it really matter if I’m male or female to drive a car? I would like to see no gender on any documentation. I don’t think it really matters, as long as it’s you on the ID.”

To provide better healthcare for transgender and nonbinary people, McKensey said it starts with three steps: training, education and conversation.

"Our medical providers are not informed -- not all of them,” she said. “I also think it’s important to build a network, knowing who those affirming doctors are that our community can go to.”

On the topic of incarceration, panelists said that for transgender and nonbinary people, time in the criminal justice system is often more difficult because of their gender/sex/gender expression -- and even more so for people of color.

Some of the challenges they listed include physical violence (specifically sexual assault), wrongful placement in prison based on presumed gender, and denial of access to hormone replacement therapy, appropriate counseling and proper garments.

Higgs ended the panel by saying it is not only cisgender people — individuals who identify with the gender corresponds with their birth sex — who discriminate against transgender and nonbinary individuals. Even members of the LGBTQ community sometimes need sensitivity training as well.

“We have to admit that there is a problem within the community,” Higgs said, citing discrimination on the basis of skin color. “I think a lot of people outside of our community are surprised that this happens. It’s hard to kind of admit those problems when we’re just trying to survive and get the rights we should already have.”

TERMINOLOGY

Genderqueer — A term used by individuals who identify as neither entirely male nor female, identify as a combination of both, or who present in a non-gendered way.

Nonbinary — A term used to describe people who do not identify as a male/man or female/woman.

Sex reassignment surgery — A doctor-supervised surgical intervention. Itis only one part of transitioning from one sex to another. Not all trans people choose to, or can afford to, undergo medical surgeries.

Transgender — A term for those whose gender identity or expression is different than that typically associated with their assigned sex at birth.

Transition — A complex process to alter one’s birth sex that occurs over a period of time. It can include some or all of the following personal, medical and legal steps: telling one’s family, friends and coworkers; using a different name and new pronouns; dressing differently; changing one’s name and/or sex on legal documents; hormone therapy; and possibly one or more types of surgery.

Lady Vikings defeat Amelia Academy 12-0

Emily Roberts threw her second no-hitter of the year against Amelia on Monday, March 26.  Emily allowed one baserunner when she walked a batter in the third inning.  She struck out 13 of the 16 batters she faced. 

Amelia has not had softball in several years and it showed. They just did not have pitching that could throw strikes.  The score would have been a lot worse if we had not backed off after we scored 10 runs in the first inning. 

Leading hitters

Jamie Saunders 2 for 2    RBI

Peyton Coleman  2 for 3  triple   3 RBI

Kelsey Holloway 1 for 3     RBI

Karly Blackwell  1 for 2   RBI

Skylar Capps   1 for 1     RBI

McEachin Announces Beginning of 2018 Congressional Art Competition

Richmond, Va. – Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) calls on high school students to begin submitting their best works of art for consideration in the 4th Congressional District’s 2018 Congressional Art Competition.

“I am incredibly proud of Jada Epps each time I walk past her 2017 first place drawingon display in the U.S. Capitol. I look forward to seeing the art that will represent our district next,”said Congressman Donald McEachin.

All students who live in Virginia’s 4th Congressional District attending school in grades 9 - 12 are invited to submit original artwork in concept, design and execution in the 2018 Congressional Art Competition. Artwork must be two-dimensional, weigh no more than 15 pounds, but may be in any medium (paintings, drawings, collages, prints, photography, graphic design, etc.). Students, parents and teachers can find complete rules for entry here. All submissions must be received before 4:30 p.m. on Friday, April 27, 2018.

For questions or more information about the competition, please contact Elizabeth Hardin at (804) 486-1840.

FIVE FACTS YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT SOCIAL SECURITY

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

Most people know at least something about Social Security. For decades, Social Security has been providing valuable information and tools to help you build financial security. Here’s your opportunity to find out a little more, with some lesser-known facts about Social Security.

1. Social Security pays benefits to children.

Social Security pays benefits to unmarried children whose parents are deceased, disabled, or retired. See Benefits for Children at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10085.pdf for the specific requirements. 

2. Social Security can pay benefits to parents.

Most people know that when a worker dies, we can pay benefits to surviving spouses and children. What you may not know is that under certain circumstances, we can pay benefits to a surviving parent. Read our Fact Sheet Parent’s Benefits, available at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10036.pdf, for the details.

3. Widows’ and widowers’ payments can continue if remarriage occurs after age 60.

Remarriage ends survivor’s benefits when it occurs before age 60, but benefits can continue for marriages after age 60.

4. If a spouse draws reduced retirement benefits before starting spouse’s benefits (his or her spouse is younger), the spouse will not receive 50 percent of the worker’s benefit amount.

Your full spouse’s benefit could be up to 50 percent of your spouse’s full retirement age amount if you are full retirement age when you take it. If you qualify for your own retirement benefit and a spouse’s benefit, we always pay your own benefit first. (For example, you are eligible for $400 from your own retirement and $150 as a spouse for a total of $550.) The reduction rates for retirement and spouses benefits are different. If your spouse is younger, you cannot receive benefits unless he or she is receiving benefits (except for divorced spouses). If you took your reduced retirement first while waiting for your spouse to reach retirement age, when you add spouse’s benefits later, your own retirement portion remains reduced which causes the total retirement and spouses benefit together to total less than 50 percent of the worker’s amount. You can find out more at www.socialsecurity.gov/OACT/quickcalc/spouse.html.

5. If your spouse’s retirement benefit is higher than your retirement benefit, and he or she chooses to take reduced benefits and dies first, your survivor benefit will be reduced, but may be higher than what your spouse received.

If the deceased worker started receiving reduced retirement benefits before their full retirement age, a special rule called the retirement insurance benefit limit may apply to the surviving spouse. The retirement insurance benefit limit is the maximum survivor benefit you may receive. Generally, the limit is the higher of:

  • The reduced monthly retirement benefit to which the deceased spouse would have been entitled if they had lived, or
  • 82.5 percent of the unreduced deceased spouse’s monthly benefit if they had started receiving benefits at their full retirement age (rather than choosing to receive a reduced retirement benefit early).

Social Security helps secure your financial future by providing the facts you need to make life’s important decisions.

Local Youth Organize "March for our Lives"

On Saturday Afternoon about 50 people showed solidarity with the March for our Lives in Washington, DC, by marching from the Post Office to the Courthouse on South Main Street in Emporia.

The March was arranged by the Youth Council of the NAACP.

EPD Earns Advanced Accreditation from CALEA

The Emporia Police Department earned it first advanced international accreditation certification from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) following a panel interview by CALEA commissioners at CALEA’s conference in Frisco, Texas on March 24, 2018.

On Saturday, March 24, 2018 Emporia Police Chief Ricky Pinksaw and Lieutenant David Shidell appeared before a three-member panel of CALEA commissioners to answer questions about the Emporia Police Department’s recent January On-Site Assessment.  The commissioners reviewed the assessment report prepared in January by a two-member assessment team of law enforcement professionals from outside of Virginia, who reviewed department compliance with applicable standards, conducted ride-alongs with officers, interviewed citizens and conducted a public hearing.

The panel consisted of D. Ray Johnson, who is the Chief of Police for the City of Chesterfield, Missouri.  Mr. Douglas Middleton, Deputy County Manager of Public Safety for Henrico County Virginia an Ms. Julie Righter-Dove, Communications Coordinator for the Lincoln, Nebraska Emergency Communications Center. 

The 27-page assessment report, written by retired Chief Randy Nichols from North Carolina following his team’s visit concluded that the Emporia Police Department is a very professional law enforcement agency committed to providing a high level of law enforcement services to the community.

CALEA is a voluntary international program that demonstrates a department’s commitment to excellence, while serving its citizens and showing that the agency is meeting internationally established best practices for law enforcement agencies.

In a March 2018 letter congratulating the Emporia Police Department on its initial accreditation CALEA chairman Craig Webre and CALEA Executive Director W. Craig Hartley, Jr. stated that CALEA Accreditation is the mark of professional excellence and the gold standard in public safety.

In the agency’s quest for Advanced Accreditation, the Emporia Police Department is required to comply with the 484 standards as set forth by CALEA.  The agency is required o establish written directives for those standards, as well as providing proofs of compliance that the agency is in fact in compliance with standards.

In Virginia there are 340 law enforcement agencies.  Only 31 of these agencies are accredited with CALEA.  The Emporia Police Department is the 4th smallest law enforcement agency in Virginia with CALEA Advanced Accreditation status.  The Emporia Police Department entered into contract with CALEA in October 2015 and received CALEA Advanced Accreditation within 27 months.  I am extremely proud of the men and women of the Emporia Police Department for completing this monumental task within such a short period of time,” stated Chief Ricky Pinksaw.  Achieving CALEA Advanced Accreditation was a major goal of mine once I was appointed Chief of Police in January 2015.  “We had to re-write the entire General Orders Manual for the Department, as well as create and implement a new property and evidence room,” stated Chief Pinksaw.  Chief Pinksaw further stated that, “CALEA Advanced Accreditation is truly the gold standard in public safety and the Emporia Police Department will continue to strive to provide the highest quality service to the citizens and visitors of the City of Emporia.  It is important to remember that this is not the Emporia Police Department’s Accreditation, but this is the entire City of Emporia’s Advanced Accreditation.”  “It was truly an honor to represent the City of Emporia and accepting the Police Department’s Initial Advanced Accreditation Award Saturday night at the CALEA conference,” stated Chief Pinksaw

Over 70,000 Sign Petitions Protesting Pipelines Across Virginia

By Tianna Mosby, Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Environmentalists on Tuesday dropped on Gov. Ralph Northam’s desk petitions signed by more than 70,000 people supporting stricter rules for the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines that energy companies plan to build across Virginia.

One petition, signed by 10,000 Virginian residents, demands that the Northam administration immediately halt the tree-felling along the pipeline routes and let the public comment on the companies’ plans to control erosion and stormwater before they are finalized by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.

Activists also gave Northam an online petition signed by more than 62,000 citizens from around the country calling on Northam to stop the pipelines, which they said would threaten the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Appalachian Trail and miles of national forest land. By late Tuesday, the number of signatures on the Change.org petition had topped 65,500.

The Chesapeake Climate Action Network, the Virginia chapter of the Sierra Club and other groups held a press conference on the state Capitol grounds the morning after the DEQ approved the Mountain Valley Pipeline.

Outraged by that action, the environmentalists said the DEQ must require the companies to take better precautions when constructing the pipelines. The activists said that will happen only if Northam gets involved.

“It’s time for you to be the leader that we voted for,” LeeAnne Williams, a Virginia Sierra Club volunteer, said, addressing the governor.

Some activists said they have already seen negative effects of the pipeline from the cutting of trees. “The proposed pipelines have altered people’s lives, land value and emotional well-being,” said Lara Mack, Virginia field organizer for Appalachian Voices.

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline would carry natural gas 600 miles from West Virginia to North Carolina, and the Mountain Valley Pipeline would run more than 300 miles from northwestern West Virginia to southern Virginia. If built as proposed, the pipelines would cross streams and other bodies of water more than 1,400 times, environmentalists say.

David Sligh, conservation director for Wild Virginia, said the state should review the environmental impact at each of those water crossings. He said pollution from the pipeline could cause “permanent damage to the aquatic systems.”

The companies that want to build the pipelines say the projects are crucial to meeting the energy needs of Virginia and the mid-Atlantic region.

“Demand for natural gas is growing across the region – to produce cleaner electricity and support economic development – but there is not enough infrastructure to deliver the supplies needed to meet this demand,” the consortium that has proposed the Atlantic Coast Pipeline says on its website.

The consortium, which includes Dominion Energy, says the pipeline construction would create 17,000 jobs and provide a “major boost to local businesses in every community.”

In a recent monthly newsletter, the company building the Mountain Valley Pipeline said it plans to have the pipeline in service by the end of the year.

Huge Crowd Fills D.C. in ‘March For Our Lives’

By Adam Hamza and Alexandra Sosik, Capital News Service

WASHINGTON — Hundreds of thousands of people from around the country rallied in the nation’s capital Saturday to send a single message to lawmakers: Enough is enough.

David Hogg, a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School senior and event organizer, said it’s time to remove politicians supported by the National Rifle Association because “this isn’t cutting it.”

“To those politicians supported by the NRA, that allow the continued slaughter of our children and our future, I say: get your resumes ready,” Hogg said.

The demonstration was the work of Hogg and fellow students at the Parkland, Florida, high school where a gunman killed 14 students and three staff members on Valentine’s Day. Saturday’s March for Our Lives — and more than 800 sister marches around the world — was a response to that massacre.

Georgia native Adam Marx, 27, said he was most impressed by how the students have risen up in this movement.

“These students are leaders,” Marx said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re 16, 17 or 27 … age is a number. [Having a] mission, passion or vision for what we want to have for people living here, that’s not restricted to a number. It’s that simple.”

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School sophomores Jorgie Garrido and Anna Bayuk were among many of their fellow students at the nation’s capital. They described the atmosphere in one word — unity.

“To see all the people that came out, the students, and especially the non-students, it’s really reassuring,” Garrido said. “It provides a sense of unity where you can see how many people are standing with you, how many people are supporting you, and how many other people are also demanding change in this country. “

Garrido knew Helena Ramsay, 17, and Carmen Schentrup, 16, and Bayuk knew Jaime Guttenburg, 14, who were killed in last month’s shooting.

“I know that my friends, if they had survived and other children had died, they would be here too,” Garrido said. “They would be fighting for the same things we are. To know that we’re trying to guarantee that no other child ends up like they did, shot dead in a classroom, I think that that’s the best way to pay respect to them.”

Bayuk said she and her classmates will be transitioning back into their routines after they travel home, but they will keep advocating for stricter gun laws.

“We’re going to be moving on and trying to get back to everyday life, but there’s a new normal, and we can’t just sink back into complacency and sink back into being quiet,” she said.

VCU Health CMH Team Member of the Month for February 2018

When Scott Burnette, CEO, VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital, told Mildred Waye, LPN and Care Partner, that she was the team member of the month for February, she couldn’t believe it. Her co-workers were excited for her and as a group said she deserved it.

Mildred was nominated by a co-worker and a patient, high praise indeed.  The nomination form from a patient and visiting guest stated, “Mildred did excellent work. She was friendly, courteous and knowledgeable while doing her job. She also worked well with her co-workers.”

Her co-worker said, “Mildred is always a STAR Service Performer.  Her patients notice and compliment her on her skill, professionalism and caring.  She consistently demonstrates excellence in patient care.”

Mildred’s words of wisdom are, “Work hard, put forth your best effort and stay positive.” Two minutes with Mildred will convince you she lives by those words.

Mildred has been with CMH for 38 years and works in the Acute Care area.

Mildred and husband, Larry, have one son, Dennis, and one grandson, Nikolas. They live in Lunenburg County and Mildred graduated from Brunswick High School.

In her off hours, Mildred enjoys her two dogs, reading and doing puzzles.

VSU Announces Interim Assistant Administrator for Programs for Cooperative Extension

Doris Heath has been appointed interim assistant administrator for programs with Cooperative Extension at Virginia State University (VSU).

“We are so delighted to have Doris Heath serving in this position. Her extensive leadership skills, thorough knowledge of Extension programs and her passion for VSU make her a true asset to Cooperative Extension and to the College of Agriculture,” said Dr. Jewel Bronaugh, executive director for VSU’s Center for Agriculture, Research, Engagement and Outreach.

As interim assistant administrator of programs, Heath will provide oversight to Extension specialists at VSU; help specialists develop their plan of work; serve as a liaison between Cooperative Extension at VSU and Virginia Tech (VT) and create opportunities for collaborations; assist in developing strategies and processes for Extension; and improve operational effectiveness and efficiencies.

“Mrs. Heath will draw on her vast Extension experience to enhance the collaboration between Extension specialists and agents and ensure our programs are aligned with Cooperative Extension’s mission. We welcome Mrs. Heath to VSU and look forward to her making significant contributions,” said Dr. M. Ray McKinnie, dean/1890 Extension program administrator of the College of Agriculture.

Heath brings a wealth of leadership and program-building experience to her new position, including 29 years working as an Extension agent with Cooperative Extension at VT, and serving as VCE Southeast district director. She has created needs-based programs and has many years’ experience serving on committees and boards of directors, including terms as president-elect, president and past-president of the Virginia Association of Family and Consumer Sciences. She has also worked locally with citizens and municipal governments.

In accepting the position, Heath said, “I’m excited to have the opportunity to serve the university, to engage with Extension specialists and agents to learn about their accomplishments and how we can build on the work they’re already doing.” A VSU alumna, Heath she said she has a “great appreciation” for the university where she earned her bachelor’s degree in home economics business and her master’s degree in home economics education.

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.

SBA Helps Level the Playing Field for Women Owned Small Business

BY: SBA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Michelle Christian

Each March, SBA joins the rest of the nation in celebrating National Women’s History Month by commemorating the historic contributions of women to our country and to our economy. This is also a great time to point out the Administration’s commitment to help women compete as equals in the small business world.

Women entrepreneurs have overcome historic inequities in a brief period of time, and as a woman business owner, I can tell you that we don’t want special treatment – we want equal treatment. SBA Administrator Linda McMahon has made it clear that women need better access to mentors, advisers and networking. And everybody needs capital. You can’t run a business without it. It was only thirty years ago that the Women’s Business Ownership Act eliminated laws requiring male co-signers on women’s business loans. The Women’s Business Center Program and the National Women’s Business Council were created to encourage women to overcome barriers and achieve success.

This Administration’s commitment to supporting women entrepreneurs is clear. In his first 100 days, the President signed two executive orders supporting women in business: the Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act, which encourages entrepreneurial programs that recruit and support women, and the Inspiring the Next Space Pioneers and Innovators and Explorers Act, which directs NASA to encourage women and girls to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and to pursue careers in aerospace.

We’re making progress, but we’re not there yet. Female entrepreneurs make up a growing share of U.S. small business owners; they own 9.9M companies in the US, employ more than 8M people, and provide $264 billion in wages. Yet, despite these numbers and while women make up over 50% of the US population, only 29% are business owners. 

We’re doing our part here at SBA with the funding of more than 100 Women’s Business Centers across the nation; programs such as federal contracting set-asides for women-owned businesses; initiatives such as the InnovateHER Women’s Business Challenge, and business loans for female entrepreneurs. 

SBA’s Mid-Atlantic Region, which includes Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Virginia and West Virginia, does a little better than the national average with the largest concentrations of women-owned enterprises. The work we do on a local level in our district offices for women entrepreneurs cannot be overlooked or understated.

I am proud to be part of all that SBA does to promote women entrepreneurs. With SBA’s help, women-owned firms contributed more than $1.7 trillion in sales to the U.S. economy in 2017. It is my goal to ensure women remain a vital part of our nation’s economic success. Start or grow your Woman-Owned small business with a visit to your nearest Women’s Business Center (https://www.sba.gov/tools/local-assistance/wbc )

Lady Vikings Overtake KIPP 15-0

On Friday, March 23, 2018, the Lady Vikings hosted Kipp Tech from Gaston, NC.  We had heard they had a new softball program. We did not know what to expect.  Three of our varsity players were attending the Model General Assembly (MGA) in Richmond. The decision was made to pull 2 of our best JV players to play this Varsity game rather than reschedule.  One of my varsity pitchers, Jamie Saunders was attending MGA and the other, Emily Roberts, had been sick and did not attend school on Thursday.   Starting the game was Sydney Paul, a left-handed JV pitcher, and Alyssa Rivas, JV catcher.

Sydney pitched a great game only allowing 3 hits while striking out 5.  Alyssa blocked all the balls doing a great job behind the plate.   Kipps’ pitching was not very good and I was proud of how our girls adjusted.   The highlight of the game was Senior Kelsey Holloway’s hitting a inside the park grand slam homerun.

Leading hitters

Kelsey Holloway 2 for 3    Grand slam   4 RBI

Alyssa Revis     3 for 3

Peyton Coleman 2 for 3      2 RBI

Paige Jennings   2 for 3      2 RBI

Bailey Edwards   2 for 2        RBI      SAC bunt

Sydney Paul          2 for 3     2 RBI     double

Allie Pope            2 for 2       RBI        Double

Karly Blackwell   1 for 3       2 RBI

Naomi Sadler      RBI      

KAINE-WHITEHOUSE BILL TO HELP FORGIVE STUDENT LOANS FOR PUBLIC SERVICE WORKERS PASSES CONGRESS

Senators’ provisions will assist teachers, social workers, military personnel, and other public servants cancel their student loan debt

WASHINGTON, D.C.  – Included in the omnibus federal spending bill that cleared Congress last night was a version of a bill offered by Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) to fix a glitch in a federal loan forgiveness program that is leaving teachers, soldiers, social workers, and other public servants with massive loan balances they thought would be forgiven.  The provision will help to relieve the financial burden for eligible middle-class families who sought to use the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, which allows those pursuing public service careers to discharge student loan debt. 

“Americans who honorably serve our communities have earned much-deserved relief from crushing student loan debt in return for their time and commitment.  But unfortunately because of confusion around a provision in the program, we were at risk of breaking that promise to Virginia teachers, social workers, nurses, and military servicemembers.  I’m glad the Senate heard our call and joined Senator Whitehouse and I in moving closer to righting that wrong today,” Kaine said.

“Congress created this program so bright, talented people could use their college education for public service.  But a growing number of them are finding, to their shock, that a glitch is keeping them from getting the relief they were promised.  We need to fix that,” said Whitehouse.  “There’s more to do, but I’m proud that a version of our legislation will help public servants continue their important work.”

Congress established the bipartisan loan forgiveness program in 2007 to help teachers, social workers, military personnel, and other critical public service workers pursue sometimes lower-paying careers serving their communities without facing decades of crippling loan payments.  The program allows borrowers to erase the balance of their student debt if they spend 10 years working for a nonprofit or government employer while making qualifying payments.  Due to a lack of consistent and clear guidance from loan servicers and complicated program requirements, some borrowers believe they are making qualifying payments under the program when they are not. 

Kaine and Whitehouse’s bill would allow loan forgiveness for public service borrowers who ended up in the wrong repayment plan.  If borrowers had been making payments that were as much as they would have paid on a qualifying repayment plan, they would receive full credit for those payments toward loan forgiveness.

The version of the legislation in the spending bill includes $350 million to help borrowers in this situation on a first-come, first-serve basis.  It would also require the Education Department to develop and make available a simple method for borrowers to apply for loan cancellation, and conduct outreach to help borrowers make use of the program.

Kaine and Whitehouse’s bill was endorsed by the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers.

Richmond Students, Community Rally in the Thousands for Gun Control

 

By Irena Schunn and George Copeland Jr., Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Chanting “enough is enough” and “never again,” more than 5,000 students and other demonstrators marched through Richmond on Saturday as part of a nationwide protest against mass shootings and gun violence.

Cheering against the chilly breeze, the Richmond march spanned more than a mile from the lawn of Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School to the stairs of the Virginia Capitol. The event featured several student speakers alongside prominent local and state leaders.

At the start of the rally, U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine expressed pride in seeing the action taken by students in his home state.

“Congress and the General Assembly – of not just this state but of other states, too – has a hard time finding a way to do anything because of the power of gun manufacturers and NRA leadership, but they’ve never had to come up against high schoolers before,” Kaine said.

The youth-centric nature of the march was present in the speeches and chants heard throughout the day. Once the march reached the Capitol, the younger speakers took the lead as state legislators and Richmond School Board members deferred to their voices in respect. Meanwhile, students repeatedly called on older participants to protect them by doing what they can’t – vote for gun reform.

Maxwell Nardi, a student speaker from Douglas S. Freeman High School in Henrico County, was one of many to call for changes in school safety, universal background checks for firearm purchases and the removal of politicians unwilling to support gun control.

“This isn’t a new issue,” Nardi said. “It’s been happening for 19 years in school shootings, and gun violence has been plaguing America for a much longer time.”

Speakers also emphasized the greater impact gun violence has on the African-American community, tying it to historical acts of violence against minorities.

“How many more black families will be devastated by gun violence – threatened or killed by the people whose job it is to serve and protect?” Stephanie Younger, an activist with the Richmond Youth Peace Project, asked the crowd.

“How many more times do my parents have to give me that talk explaining to me that I’m 10 times more likely to become a victim of gun violence because I am black?”

Nardi echoed her words, saying, “We have to look at this both from the perspective of schools, but also from the perspective of communities that have been disproportionately impacted by this.”

Speakers also drew attention to Virginia’s history with guns – in particular, the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007 as well as the National Rifle Association’s presence in the state, politically and geographically (its headquarters are in Fairfax).

The March for Our Lives, with its main rally in Washington, was a student-led call for action with more than 800 sibling marches worldwide. It was planned in the wake of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14, when a man with a semi-automatic rifle killed 14 students and three staff members. Since then, surviving students launched the Never Again movement and urged lawmakers to impose stricter gun laws.

Calling the message from Richmond’s youth “powerful,” Mayor Levar Stoney said, “I am more inspired walking out than ever before. I think there’s a real possibility for change and I leave here today filled with optimism.”

Paige Matthews Mento

Paige Matthews Mento of Henrico, Virginia, died on March 19, 2018 at the age of 75. She was predeceased by her father, Albert L Matthews and is survived by her mother, Eleanor "Rivers" Johnson Gill and her three children, Maria L DeShazo, Niki Loupassi and G. Manoli Loupassi, all of Richmond. Memorial Services will be Private.

Virginia Cities to Join Saturday’s March Against Gun Violence

~The March for our Lives in Emporia will form at the Post Offie on South Main Street at 2 pm on Saturday, March 24th and end at the Greensville County Courthouse.~

By Irena Schunn, Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Thousands of students and other demonstrators are expected to march in Richmond and in cities across Virginia and the U.S. on Saturday in a nationwide protest calling for stricter gun laws and an end to mass shootings.

The March for Our Lives, with its main event in Washington, is in response to the shooting that killed 17 people at a Florida high school last month.

The Richmond march has been organized by the Richmond Public Schools, the Richmond Peace Education Center, the local chapters of Moms Demand Action and the NAACP, and other groups.

“We all decided that it was best to join forces and do one big, unifying march in Richmond to help amplify the voices of those most impacted by gun violence here in our city,” said Kelly Steele, a coordinator of the local event and a leader of the Gun Violence Prevention Advocacy Group of the Liberal Women of Chesterfield County.

In Richmond, protesters will meet at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School, 1000 Mosby St., at 10 a.m. Saturday and march across the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Bridge to the Virginia Capitol.

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney and U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, along with several students, are scheduled to speak at the event. More than 2,400 people have registered to attend.

The ride-share app Lyft has pledged free rides for demonstrators in 50 cities including Richmond.

The March for Our Lives was planned in the wake of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14, when a man with a semi-automatic rifle killed 14 students and three staff members. Since then, surviving students have urged lawmakers to restrict the sale of such weapons and take other measures to prevent gun violence.

Saturday’s march in D.C. will begin at noon with a rally on Pennsylvania Avenue between Third Street and 12th Street Northwest. According to the event’s website, about 840 “sibling marches” are planned worldwide.

Marches are planned in several communities in Virginia, including Blacksburg, Charlottesville, Williamsburg, Fredericksburg, Manassas, Chesapeake and Norfolk.

Bessie Ann Wright

Mrs. Bessie Ann Wright, 67, of Emporia, Virginia, died on Thursday, March 22, 2018.

A Visitation for Mrs. Wright will be held from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm, on Friday, March 30, 2018, in the Roanoke Rapids Chapel of H.D. Pope Funeral Home.  Funeral Services will be held at 12:00 Noon, on Saturday, March 31, 2018, at Royal Baptist Church, 106 W. Atlantic Street in Emporia, VA.  The Interment will take place immediately after the Service in the Greensville Memorial Cemetery in Emporia, VA.

Condolences may be sent via:  www.hdpopefuneralhome.com

Governor Visits SVCC Power Line Worker Training Program

Governor Ralph Northam spent time at the Southside Virginia Community College Power Line Worker Training Program at the Occupational/Technical Center at Pickett Park.  Among those attending are (Left to Right) Andrew Vehorn, Director of Governmental Affairs for Virginia, Maryland, Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives(VMDAEC), Dr. Al Roberts, SVCC President, John Lee, CEO of Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative, Governor Northam, Jeffrey Edwards, CEO of Southside Electric Cooperative, and Brian Mosier, Vice President of Member and Governmental Relations for VMDAEC.

Virginia’s new Governor, Ralph Northam, spent part of a cold, snowy and blustery day touring the field where power line worker students train for jobs in the Commonwealth.  His visit to the Southside Virginia Community College Occupational Technical Center at Pickett Park wasarranged by Virginia Maryland and Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives and Andrew Vehorn, Director of Governmental Affairs for VMDAE. 

The Governor spent time watching power line students climb, saw truck driving activity on the range and met the head of the diesel tech program. He also sat down with the CEOs of Mecklenburg and Southside Electric Cooperatives, John Lee and Jeffrey Edwards respectively, and SVCC President Dr. Al Roberts and VP of Workforce Dr. Keith Harkins to learn more about the impact these programs have on the economy of Virginia. Dr. Megan Healy, Chief Workforce Development Advisor to the Governor was also in attendance.       

Governor Northam was at the Blackstone facility to see firsthand the benefits of the Workforce Credentialing Grant Programand discuss issues facing rural Virginia; including broadband deployment and workforce development. Leepresented Governor Northam with a letter, signed by CEOs from all 12 electric cooperatives headquartered in Virginia pledging unified commitment to collaboratively work on a comprehensive solution to rural Virginia’s lack of broadband availability.         

Now in its third year of operation, this 11-week line worker pre-apprentice program provides Level 1 certification from NCCER (the National Center for Construction Education & Research), as well as commercial driver’s licenses, CPR/First Aid certification and OSHA safety training. At the recommendation of its advisory committee, the PLW program recently expanded to include chainsawsafety, with training provided by Penn Line.         

“We’re proud to help launch these young people into a vital career that will enable them to stay in their rural communities,” said Harkins.

For more information about the Power Line Worker Training School, visit https://southside.edu/events/power-line-worker-training-schoolor call SVCC’s Susan Early at (434) 292-3101.  Next Class begins June 4, 2018.

‘We Value Work’: Richmond Employers Recognized for Backing Living Wage

By George Copeland Jr., Capital News Service

 RICHMOND – Richmond community and business leaders gathered Thursday at the Washington NFL team’s training center to celebrate and discuss efforts to ensure a living wage for workers.

In a room overlooking snow-covered training fields, the introduction of the Richmond Living Wage Certification Program was mostly an hour of food and celebration for those present. Ten businesses and organizations – including Altria, the University of Richmond and the Better Housing Coalition – were recognized for going beyond the $7.25 minimum required by state and federal governments.

“Yes, jobs are important,” Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney told the gathering. “But jobs that are worked full-time and still leave those workers below the poverty line may help a corporate bottom line, but it will not help someone up from the bottom.”

The living wage program, a joint project of Richmond’s Office of Community Wealth Building and the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, is the first of its kind in the state. Reggie Gordon, director of the wealth building office, stressed the importance of ensuring that workers are compensated enough to lead a full life with economic stability.

“It’s not an overstatement to say that the people employed by the companies recognized today have a better chance to succeed in this community,” Gordon said.

The Richmond initiative uses calculations from institutions including MIT and the Economic Policy Institute to create a three-tier structure. The highest tier includes businesses that pay a minimum of at least $16 an hour (or $14.50 with health-care coverage). Six of the honorees met that “Gold Star” standard. Employers who have pledged to pay a living wage but aren’t able to yet were also acknowledged.

Richmond Living Wage also encourages the public to patronize employers that pay a living wage. Moreover, the initiative challenges employers that could provide higher compensation but don’t by promoting ethical labor practices like the abolishment of wage theft.

While Stoney praised all involved, the mayor lamented Virginia’s continuing adherence to the federal minimum wage, even as 29 states and the District of Columbia have raised their starting wages.

Stoney said Virginia’s adherence to the Dillon Rule, which prohibits localities from enacting policies that haven’t been authorized by the state, prevents Richmond from raising the minimum wage for all businesses and employers.

Citing his childhood in a “working poor” family and past experience in retail work, Stoney said, “Breaking the cycle of generational poverty is the moral challenge of our time.”

Stoney also noted his proposed biennial budget comes with measures to raise the living wage for all city employees from the current $11.66. If adopted, the proposal would take effect in January. Richmond’s city government was certified at the event as a “Silver Star” employer ($12.50 per hour or $11 with health care).

“Eleven dollars an hour is a good start,” Stoney said. “But $16 an hour is an even greater difference maker.”

WOMEN’S HISTORY and SOCIAL SECURITY

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

March is Women’s History Month. This is a time to focus not just on women’s achievements, but on the challenges women continue to face. In the 21st century, more women work, pay Social Security taxes, and earn credit toward monthly retirement income than at any other time in our nation’s history. Knowing this, you can take control of your own rich and independent history, with knowledge you can get from Social Security.

Social Security has served a vital role in the lives of women for over 80 years. With longer life expectancies than men, women tend to live more years in retirement and have a greater chance of exhausting other sources of income. With the national average life expectancy for women in the United States rising, many women may have decades to enjoy retirement. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, a female born today can expect to live more than 80 years. As a result, experts generally agree that if women want to ensure that their retirement years are comfortable, they need to plan early and wisely.

A great place to start is with Social Security’s Retirement Estimator. It gives you a personalized estimate of your retirement benefits. Plug in different retirement ages and projected earnings to get an idea of how such things might change your future benefit amounts. You can use this valuable tool at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator.

You should also visit Social Security’s financial planning website at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/planners. It provides detailed information about how marriage, widowhood, divorce, self-employment, government service, and other life or career events can affect your Social Security. 

Your benefits are based on your earnings, so you should create your personal my Social Security account to verify that your earnings were reported correctly. Your account also can provide estimates of your future retirement, disability, and survivors benefits. You can access my Social Security at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

If you want more information about how Social Security supports women through life’s journey, Social Security has a booklet that you may find useful. It’s called Social Security: What Every Woman Should Know. You can find it online at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10127.html.

Census Data Shows Growth in Northern Virginia, Decline in the South

By Ryan Persaud, Capital News Service

Numbers from our region:

 



Virginia locality 2010 census 2016 estimate 2017 estimate Absolute pop. change, 2010-2017 Percent pop.
change, 2010-2017
Absolute pop. change, 2016-2017
Brunswick County 17,425 16,275 16,244 -1,181 -6.80% -31
Chesapeake City 222,306 237,621 240,397 18,091 8.10% 2,776
Chesterfield County 316,239 338,815 343,599 27,360 8.70% 4,784
Dinwiddie County 28,014 28,025 28,208 194 0.70% 183
Emporia City 5,925 5,375 5,282 -643 -10.90% -93
Franklin City 8,580 8,228 8,176 -404 -4.70% -52
Goochland County 21,694 22,475 22,685 991 4.60% 210
Greensville County 12,245 11,551 11,679 -566 -4.60% 128
Hampton City 137,384 135,332 134,669 -2,715 -2.00% -663
Hanover County 99,846 104,347 105,923 6,077 6.10% 1,576
Henrico County 306,868 326,147 327,898 21,030 6.90% 1,751
Hopewell City 22,602 22,619 22,621 19 0.10% 2
Mecklenburg County 32,721 30,786 30,686 -2,035 -6.20% -100
Newport News City 180,963 180,388 179,388 -1,575 -0.90% -1,000
Norfolk City 242,823 245,532 244,703 1,880 0.80% -829
Nottoway County 15,852 15,510 15,434 -418 -2.60% -76
Petersburg City 32,437 31,850 31,750 -687 -2.10% -100
Poquoson City 12,157 11,947 12,053 -104 -0.90% 106
Portsmouth City 95,527 94,997 94,572 -955 -1.00% -425
Powhatan County 28,062 28,398 28,601 539 1.90% 203
Prince Edward County 23,357 23,023 22,703 -654 -2.80% -320
Prince George County 35,706 37,807 37,809 2,103 5.90% 2
Richmond City 204,271 225,288 227,032 22,761 11.10% 1,744
Richmond County 9,254 8,784 8,939 -315 -3.40% 155
Southampton County 18,570 18,019 17,750 -820 -4.40% -269
Suffolk City 84,570 89,294 90,237 5,667 6.70% 943
Surry County 7,065 6,570 6,540 -525 -7.40% -30
Sussex County 12,070 11,426 11,373 -697 -5.80% -53
Virginia Beach City 437,907 451,404 450,435 12,528 2.90% -969

RICHMOND – Population is booming in Northern Virginia and shrinking in many rural localities in the southern and southwestern parts of the state, according to data released Thursday by the U.S Census Bureau.

The population of the city of Falls Church grew 5.2 percent between July 1, 2016, and July 1, 2017, the data showed. That was more than any U.S. county with at least 10,000 residents. (The Census Bureau puts Virginia’s cities in the same geographic category as counties.)

Three other Virginia localities grew more than 3 percent over the past year: Loudoun County and Manassas Park near D.C., and New Kent County east of Richmond.

Since 2010, Loudoun County’s population has increased more than 27 percent, to more than 380,000. That percentage increase ranks fourth among all U.S. counties with at least 200,000 people.

The growth in Northern Virginia is largely due to large employers located there and in Washington, said Hamilton Lombard, research specialist at the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, which worked with the U.S. Census Bureau on the population estimates.

“A lot of that is still commuters to D.C., but you have big job centers now in Northern Virginia by itself,” Lombard said. “Fairfax has more people in it than D.C. does.”

Since the census in April 2010, the population of Fairfax County has grown more than 6 percent, to almost 1.15 million, the Census Bureau’s estimates show. The District of Columbia has about 694,000 residents; however, its population has increased more than 15 percent since 2010.

Like the nation’s capital, Virginia’s state capital has shown robust growth after decades of population decline.

Since 2010, the population of the city of Richmond has increased more than 11 percent – more than the suburban counties of Chesterfield (less than 9) percent, Henrico (almost 7 percent) and Hanover (6 percent).

Lombard said Richmond’s turnaround reflects a national trend of more investment in cities.

“It had a higher vacancy rate, a lot of empty homes – it was losing population for decades,” Lombard said. “You get around to the time of the housing crisis, and a lot of people couldn’t buy; they had to rent. That also made Richmond more attractive, because they had more rentals. It’s quite remarkable how it’s turned around and started growing.”

Lombard attributed part of the growth to the redevelopment of historic properties.

“Virginia has a very generous tax credit system that encourages redeveloping historical buildings,” Lombard said. “That’s created a lot of new residential units and really pristine historic areas.”

Of Virginia’s 133 counties and cities, 78 gained population over the past year – and 71 have more residents now than in 2010. Fifteen localities have grown by more than 10 percent since 2010 – including Fredericksburg (17 percent), Prince William County (15 percent), James City County (12 percent) and Charlottesville (11 percent).

In contrast, 62 of Virginia’s localities – mostly in the south and southwestern regions of the state – have seen a decrease in residents since 2010. The population has fallen about 9 percent in Bath and Tazewell counties and almost 11 percent in Buchanan County and the City of Emporia.

August Wallmeyer, author of “The Extremes of Virginia,” which focuses on the economic development of the state’s rural areas, said there are many reasons for the population decrease, such as a lack of economic opportunity and a decline in “low tech” industries such as coal mining, tobacco farming and textile manufacturing.

“The principal reasons are lack of jobs and economic opportunity,” Wallmeyer said. “The jobs part, I think, is related primarily due to the poor public education system that has not prepared people in these areas for modern-day, information-centered, technological-type careers.”

Wallmeyer said younger people are fleeing these areas due to what he sees as poor public education systems that lag far behind the schools in the wealthier areas of the state.

“I quoted in my book the chancellor of Virginia’s community college system as saying that if you looked at the poorer areas of the state, and considered those areas as a state by themselves, in terms of educational attainment, they would be dead last in the nation,” Wallmeyer said, “while the rest of Virginia – the urban quarter, the wealthier part of Virginia – would rank No. 2 in the nation.”

Wallmeyer said efforts by federal and state governments and regional coalitions to improve the economy in these poorer, rural areas have been largely unsuccessful.

“There are some people I have talked to in my research, some public officials, who say, only half-jokingly, ‘In my little county, the last person to leave, please cut off the lights, because there’s nothing left,’” Wallmeyer said.

According to the latest data from the Census Bureau, Virginia remains the 12th most populous state with about 8.47 million residents. That is an increase of less than 6 percent since 2010 and less than 1 percent over the past year – about the same as the U.S. as a whole.

Lombard said one big takeaway from the new data is how much slower Virginia has grown this decade.

“We’re getting close to eight and a half million, but the growth rate we’re hitting annually is really the lowest it’s been since before the Great Depression,” Lombard said. “The country’s population has been gradually slowing down a little bit just because of the population aging, but Virginia has slowed down a lot more quickly than the rest of the country.”

As for predictions, Lombard expects more people will be living in Northern Virginia.

“By our projection, by 2040, half of Virginia’s population should live in Fredericksburg, or north of it,” Lombard said.

New Law Would Lower GED Age Requirement

By Scott Malone, Capital News Service

RICHMOND — It will be easier for Virginians who drop out of high school at 16 or 17 to earn their high school equivalency diploma if Gov. Ralph Northam signs a bill approved by the General Assembly.

House Bill 803, sponsored by Del. Israel O’Quinn, R-Washington, would reduce from 18 to 16 the age for taking the General Educational Development tests. Supporters say the measure could save some teenagers time and money in pursuing a GED diploma.

“There’s been young people who have dropped out of school in our region at 16 or 17, and they’ve realized, ‘Hey, shouldn’t have done that. I’d like to get my high school diploma so I can go to work,’ and they’ve had to wait until they were 18,” said Jacob Holmes, O’Quinn’s legislative director.

 “It kind of put them off for a year or two. [O’ Quinn] was trying to find an avenue to allow those kids who’ve made that mistake to get back on the right track.”

Under current law, a GED certificate is available only to:

●      Adults who did not complete high school

●      Students granted permission by their division superintendent

●      Students who are home-schooled and have completed home-school instruction

●      Students released from compulsory attendance for religious or health reasons

●      People required by court order to participate in the testing program

 According to existing law, Virginians as young as 16 can earn a GED diploma if they are housed in adult correctional facilities or have been expelled from school for certain reasons.

If granted permission by their division superintendent, students must complete an Individual Student Alternative Education Plan before they are allowed to take the GED tests.

According to Charles Pyle, director of communications for the Virginia Department of Education, to complete an alternative education plan, a student must:

●      Receive career counseling

●      Attend a high school equivalency preparation program

●      Earn a Career and Technical Education credential as approved by the Virginia Board of Education

●      Complete a course in economics and personal finance

●      Receive counseling on the potential economic impact of failing to complete high school along with procedures for re-enrollment

 HB 803 would allow an individual who is at least 16 years old to take the GED exam without having to complete an alternative education plan.

However, the legislation does not mean students can quit high school the day they turn 16. It “does not amend the commonwealth’s compulsory education statute, which requires attendance in school up until the 18th birthday and describes the circumstances under which a person under the age of 18 can be excused from attending school,” Pyle said.

Holmes added that O’Quinn “was not intending to have an incentive for people to drop out of high school.”

O’Quinn’s bill passed both the House and Senate unanimously. Northam has until April 9 to decide whether to sign it into law. Rebecca Blacksten, a 10th-grader at McLean High School in Fairfax County, said she hopes he does.

“I personally feel like it’s a wonderful idea,” Blacksten said. “I think that in a country where education is of the utmost importance, everyone should have the ability to get a GED, even if it is earlier than 18 because of needs they might have.”

Ex-Gov. Wilder Sues VCU Over Assistant’s Harassment Claims

By Fadel Allassan, Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Former Virginia Gov. Douglas Wilder is suing Virginia Commonwealth University and its government school, which bears his name, claiming his administrative assistant was the subject of verbal harassment.

The complaint was filed in Richmond’s Circuit Court on Monday. It asserts that the dean of the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, John Accordino, verbally assaulted and abused Angelica Bega, Wilder’s administrative assistant, last November.

Accordino called Bega “obscene names,” threatened to fire her, accused her of violating human resources rules and “questioned and insulted her intelligence,” according to the complaint.

The complaint says VCU President Michael Rao refused to properly address Accordino’s actions. It says the university’s vice president and provost, Gail Hackett, conducted a “farcical and corrupt investigation” after Wilder met with her and Rao to notify them about Bega’s allegations. Rao and Hackett are both named as defendants.

When Wilder met with Rao, Hackett and Kevin Allison, Rao’s senior assistant, Hackett assured everyone present that Bega did not want to report Accordino to the university, according to the court document. However, the lawsuit says, Bega later denied to Wilder she had ever told Hackett that and stated “unequivocally” that she wanted to move forward with a complaint to the university.

“Upon being confronted with Ms. Bega’s statement, it was conceded Ms. Bega had never stated that she did not wish for her complaint to move forward,” the court document says.

The lawsuit says Wilder told Rao and Hackett that the provost’s office was “compromised and unable to faithfully process” Bega’s complaint. Wilder then reported Accordino’s actions to VCU’s Office of Human Resources as sexual harassment and racial and sexual discrimination.

The suit says Wilder, who holds the rank of distinguished professor at VCU, was not present when the incident between Accordino and Bega occurred, but Kristine Artello, an assistant professor at the Wilder School, notified Wilder of the incident.

Accordino has been the dean of the Wilder School for one year. Before that, he held the position on an interim basis since July 2016.

A spokesperson for VCU refused to comment but said the university has not been served with a lawsuit.

Lady Vikings Win Opening Games

The Lady Vikings opened their 2018 Varsity Softball season at the Dinwiddie Sports Complex on Saturday, March 17, 2018.

The Lady Vikings first game was against Norfolk Academy.  Eighth grader, Emily Roberts was handed the ball to pitch not only our first game of the season, but also her first varsity game.  Emily did great pitching a 6 inning No-hitter.  She struck out 9 batters and only threw 61 pitches. 

Emily got plenty of help from her infield with their great fielding of the ground balls.  Outfielder and Senior Karly Blackwell saved Emily’s no-hitter in the 5th inning with a diving catch in left field.  That catch should have been on the ESPN highlights.  The Lady Vikings bats were full of opening day hits to win the game 10 to 0.

Hitting leaders were:

Peyton Coleman:  2 for 3, 2 triples, 2 RBI

Naomi Sadler:  2 for 2, 1 triple, 2 RBI

Kelsey Holloway:  2 for 3, 1 triple

Paige Jennings:  1 for 3

Skylar Capps:  1 for 2

Kyleigh Capps:  1 for 1, 1 RBI

Jamie Saunders:  4 RBI

Emily Roberts:  1 RBI

Lady Vikings Beat Collegiate School   15 – 4

Junior Jamie Saunders took the mound against Collegiate for our second game of the day.  Collegiate School is a stronger team than the Norfolk Academy team even though both are Division 1 schools.  Brunswick Academy is a Division 3 school.

Jamie pitched well allowing 6 hits while striking out 7. The top 4 hitters in our lineup made things a lot easier for Jamie.  Of course, Jamie is one of those hitters.

Leading hitters:

Jamie Saunders:  5 for 5, 2 doubles, triple, 3 RBI

Emily Roberts:  4 for 5, triple, Homerun, 6 RBI

Naomi Sadler:  4 for 5, double 2 Stolen bases, RBI

Peyton Coleman:  2 for 4, triple, homerun, 4 RBI

Kelsey Holloway:  1 for 5, RBI

2018 Lady Vikings Softball team:

Kelsey Holloway – Senior- Captain, Karly Blackwell – Senior, Jamie Sanders – Junior, Allie Pope – Junior, Skylar Capps – Junior, Bailey Edwards – Sophomore, Kyleigh Capps – Sophomore, Peyton Coleman – Sophomore – Captain, Paige Jennings – Sophomore, Naomi Sadler – Freshman, Emily Roberts – Eighth Grader

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - March 2018

Emporia News

Stories on Emporianews.com are be searchable, using the box above. All new stories will be tagged with the date (format YYYY-M-D or 2013-1-1) and the names of persons, places, institutions, etc. mentioned in the article. This database feature will make it easier for those people wishing to find and re-read an article.  For anyone wishing to view previous day's pages, you may click on the "Previous Day's Pages" link in the menu at the top of the page, or search by date (YYYY-M-D format) using the box above.

Comment Policy:  When an article or poll is open for comments feel free to leave one.  Please remember to be respectful when you comment (no foul or hateful language, no racial slurs, etc) and keep our comments safe for work and children. .Comments are moderated and comments that contain explicit or hateful words will be deleted.  IP addresses are tracked for comments. 

EmporiaNews.com serves Emporia and Greensville County, Virginia and the surrounding area
and is provided as a community service by the Advertisers and Sponsors.
All material on EmporiaNews.com is copyright 2005-2016
EmporiaNews.com is powered by Drupal and based on the ThemeBrain Sirate Theme.

Submit Your Story!

Emporia News welcomes your submissions!  You may submit articles, announcements, school or sports information using the submission forms found here, or via e-mail on news@emporianews.com.  Currently, photos and advertisements will still be accepted only via e-mail, but if you have photos to go along with your submission, you will receive instructions via e-mail. If you have events to be listed on the Community Calendar, submit them here.

Contact us at news@emporianews.com
 
EmporiaNews.com is hosted as a community Service by Telpage.  Visit their website at www.telpage.net or call (434)634-5100 (NOTICE: Telpage cannot help you with questions about Emporia New nor does Teplage have any input the content of Emporia News.  Please use the e-mail address above if you have any questions, comments or concerns about the content on Emporia News.)