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March 2019

Yolanda Talley, VCU Health CMH February Team Member of the Month

Vice President of Professional Services, Todd Howell; Chief Executive Officer, W. Scott Burnette; Phlebotomist, Yolanda Talley; and Director of Laboratory Services, Christina Duke (L to R).

When you walk around thinking that a smile makes a day, good things tend to follow. The February VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital team member of the month is living proof.

Yolanda Talley, a phlebotomist with the CMH Lab, has earned repeated high praise from patients and staff she interacts with, according to Christina Duke, manager of the lab.

“Employees like Yolanda are why people choose CMH.” Christina said. “Yolanda has received 12 outpatient compliments in the past two months.  They even state she sometimes helps them to their cars!”

One such compliment earned Yolanda the first-ever team member of the month award for a lab employee.

According to Christina, the patient said, “Yolanda was wonderful. She was so polite and I didn’t have to wait.”

Yolanda has been with CMH for the past four and half years and works throughout CMH collecting blood samples from patients.

“I love my job,” she said. “I get to meet new people all the time and see different faces. I get to do the hard job (drawing blood).”

Yolanda works with patients in the emergency department, ICU, PACU, Acute Care, and in the Hundley Center.

It’s her fantastic attitude that Christina loves. “I tell all my staff that we are the face of the lab when we interact with patients and giving patients a great experience makes everyone’s day better.”

Yolanda is a giver. During her off time from work, she is the jayvee girls basketball coach at Park View High School, an assistant coach to the varsity team and an assistant track coach for the Dragons in the spring.

Yolanda has two children, Nyjay, her high school age daughter, and Elijan, a fourth grade. In her spare time from work, coaching and parenting, Yolanda is a movie junkie.

Other team members nominated in February were: Adelyn Beiler and Caitlin Crowder from Acute Care; Sean DeVaughn from Environmental Services; Amy Lynch from Care Management; Megan Mull from the Emergency Department; Joyce Paynter from Lab; and John Watson from Physical Therapy.

In addition to the award certificate, Yolanda received a STAR Service lapel pin, letter of commendation from Administration, a $40 gift certificate, and a parking place of her choice for the month.

 

Five Steps to Colon Health

An easy formula to promote prevention, awareness of common cancer

By: H. “Eddie” Akbari, MD, PhD, FACS     

Emporia, VA – Cancer of the colon is the third most common cancer in the United States – and, caught early, it’s also one of the most curable. About 90 percent of individuals whose cancer is found before it has spread survive five years after diagnosis. But, if not caught at this point, the five-year survival rate is just 10 percent. For residents in and around Emporia, colon cancer rates are even more alarming. According to a study in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, eastern Virginia and North Carolina are one of 3 hot spots for increased death from colon cancer.

Dr. Akbari discussing colon cancer prevention at a YMCA Lunch & Learn.

Dr. Akbari says there are five simple steps that you can take to protect your health.

1. Get tested - In 2018, the American Cancer Society (ACS) issued new screening guidelines for all adults over age 45 to begin routine colon cancer screenings.

Prevention is the primary goal and steer providers and patients toward those tests with the highest potential to prevent cancer. The recommendations include two tests and more specifically define the differences between tests: those that find cancer, and those that can find precancerous growths (also known as polyps). ACS recommends those tests that actually examine the interior of the colon because they cannot only detect cancer, but also prevent it by finding – and removing – polyps or growths that can potentially cause cancer. These tests include a flexible signoidoscopy (every five years); a colonoscopy (every 10 years); a double contrast barium enema (every five years); or a CT colonography or virtual colonoscopy (every five years). Polyps found during these tests can be removed on the spot, simply and painlessly.

Testing options that look for evidence of actual cancer, include three types of stool tests – an annual fecal occult blood test, the annual fecal immunochemical test (FIT), and a periodic stool DNA test.

2. Develop awareness

Know the risk factors associated with colon problems:

  • Advancing age: i.e., over age 45
  • A high-fat diet
  • A family (i.e., sibling or parent) or personal history of colorectal cancer
  • A history of polyps or growths inside the colon and rectum
  • Certain conditions that elevate your risk, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
  • Diabetes: People with diabetes have a 40 percent increased risk of colon cancer
  • Ethic background: African-Americans have the highest number of colorectal cancer cases in the United States

3. Know the symptoms

Be vigilant about scheduled screenings, and if you have certain symptoms, see your doctor sooner. Symptoms may include persistent stomach discomfort, a change in bowel habits (diarrhea, constipation, or a change in stool consistency), abdominal pain accompanying a bowel movement, dark stools, weakness or fatigue, unexplained weight loss, or blood in the stool. Symptoms vary, and certain foods or medications can also mimic these symptoms. It’s best to err on the safe side and check with your doctor about changes.

4. Practice prevention

A balanced diet, regular exercise and smart lifestyle choices will keep your risk level in check. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains provides the nutrients and antioxidants that fight disease. Low-fat dairy products and limited consumption of red meat keep your saturated fat intake low. Getting your vitamins and minerals through a daily supplement helps, but food-based vitamins are more effective and more easily absorbed by the body. Regular exercise – at least 30 minutes most days of the week – helps build your body’s defenses. Finally, quitting smoking and limiting alcohol consumption help, too.

5. Know your options

Talk with your doctor about the best way to manage your risk. If you have an above-average risk for colon cancer or an initial test reveals polyps, you and your doctor can decide the course of action that works best for you. Talk with your doctor at Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center about the resources available to you and learn the best way to manage your risk.

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Assembly OKs Limited No-excuse Absentee Voting in 2020

By Kal Weinstein, Capital News Service

RICHMOND — Beginning in fall of 2020, Virginia will have more than Election Day. It will be more like Election Week.

Voters will go to the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, to cast ballots for president and other political offices. But for the first time, Virginians will be able to vote early that year — from Oct. 24 through Oct. 31 — without needing to provide an excuse.

That is the effect of legislation passed Thursday by the General Assembly and sent to Gov. Ralph Northam, who has expressed support for the measure.

Currently, Virginia is one of 16 states that require an excuse to vote absentee. To cast an early ballot in the commonwealth, voters must provide one of a dozen reasons for voting absentee, such as having a health, religious, school or business reason that prevents the person from voting on Election Day.

That would change under SB 1026, sponsored by Democratic Sen. Lionel Spruill of Chesapeake, and HB 2790, introduced by Republican Del. Nick Rush of Montgomery County. On Thursday, the Senate joined the House in passing the final versions of both bills.

The legislation “allows for any registered voter to vote by absentee ballot in person beginning on the second Saturday immediately preceding any election in which he is qualified to vote without providing a reason or making prior application for an absentee ballot,” according to a summary by the Legislative Information System. The absentee voting period ends on the Saturday immediately before the election.

In addition, Virginia still will offer absentee voting the existing way — beginning on the 45th day before an election. But until a week and a half before the election, voters must provide an excuse to get their absentee ballots.

When lawmakers convened in January, Northam urged them to approve no-excuse absentee voting. He called the existing law “arbitrary.”

Spruill said people do not feel comfortable having to provide an excuse about why they are voting absentee.

“You’d be surprised at how many folks come down and have to give an excuse as to why they’re voting early,” he said. “There should be no excuse to vote.”

Spruill said the legislation might reduce long lines to vote at polling precincts on Election Day.

Del. Kaye Kory, D-Fairfax, co-sponsored both the House and Senate bills. She said passage of the legislation is a “victory for the whole commonwealth,” even though it will not take effect until 2020.

“It’s about time. The reason this was a bipartisan success is because citizens of Virginia have been pushing for these kinds of reforms for many years,” Kory said.

Norman Eugene Kramer, 84, of Emporia, Va. passed away peacefully on Sunday, March 17, 2019, at Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center. He was the son of Lester Kramer and Gesina Norman Kramer. Norman was a retired communication specialist with the Unit

On Friday, March 1, Gastroenterologist Theopolis Gilliam, Jr., M.D., spoke to the Lawrenceville Cancer Research & Resource Center about colorectal cancer for the “Dress in Blue Day” program. He discussed the new screening guidelines, which reduced the age at which one should first have a colonoscopy from 50 to 45 years old.

Dr. Gilliam is available Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at Southside Physicians Network, located at 702 North Main Street in Emporia, where he performs scheduled procedures in the morning and sees patients in the afternoons. Call (434) 594-6603 to schedule an appointment.

Dr. Gilliam with Elias Berhanu, MPH, Education Coordinator for Lawrenceville Cancer Research & Resource Center

On Friday, March 1, Gastroenterologist Theopolis Gilliam, Jr., M.D., spoke to the Lawrenceville Cancer Research & Resource Center about colorectal cancer.

About Dr. Gilliam

Theopolis Gilliam, Jr., M.D., is a board certified in internal medicine with expertise in gastrointestinal disorders. He obtained his undergraduate education and doctorate from Howard University in Washington, D.C. He also completed his Internship, Residency and Fellowship at Howard University Hospital in Washington, D.C. His areas of practice include, but are not limited to: acid reflux disease, dysphagia, gastroesophageal reflux disease and irritable bowel syndrome. He performs the following procedures: colonoscopy, capsule endoscopy, endoscopy, endoscopic retrograde cholangiancreatography, endoscopic ultrasound and liver biopsy.

About Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center

Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center (SVRMC) is an 80-bed, acute-care facility located at 727 N. Main Street in Emporia, VA. With a medical staff of more than 70 physicians representing over 25 specialties, SVRMC serves nearly 50,000 residents in Emporia and the surrounding communities. The medical center is conveniently located near Interstate 95, Hwy 58 and Hwy 301. For more information about SVRMC and the services it provides, please visit SVRMC.com. You can also find them on Facebook.

 

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Report Shows Geographic Disparities in Health in Virginia

By Rosemarie O’Connor, Capital News Service

RICHMOND -- It's a five-hour drive from Manassas Park to Galax -- but in terms of life expectancy, the two cities are 25 years apart.

Residents of Manassas Park, a city of about 16,500 people in the Washington suburbs, live to 91 years old on average. But residents of Galax, a  city of about 6,600 people in Southwest Virginia, typically live to just 66.

That wide gap in life expectancy reflects the disparities in health outcomes in Virginia, according to the latest County Health Rankings from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, one of the nation’s largest public health philanthropic organizations.  

For years, wealthy localities in Northern Virginia like Loudoun, Arlington and Fairfax counties have had the best health outcomes in the state while poor communities such as Petersburg, south of Richmond, and Galax and Covington in Southwest Virginia have some of the worst.

Health outcomes represent how long people live and how healthy people feel. They can be affected by health behaviors like smoking, diet and drug use; access to medical care; social and economic factors such as education and income; and physical environment like air quality.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation drew its data from a variety of sources including the National Center for Health Statistics and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The rankings help localities understand how various factors affect people’s health, according to the report. It said “connected and supportive communities, good schools, stable jobs, and safe neighborhoods” are the foundation for achieving a long and healthy life.

Poverty, lack of access to grocery stores and smog or other pollution can all exacerbate negative health outcomes.

Differences in health outcomes “do not arise on their own,” the report said. “Often, they are the result of policies and practices at many levels that have created deep‐rooted barriers to good health.”

These include "unfair bank lending practices, school funding based on local property taxes, and discriminatory policing and prison sentencing,” the report states.

The report emphasizes that “stable and affordable housing as an essential element of healthy communities.”

“Our homes are inextricably tied to our health,” Dr. Richard Besser, president and CEO of the foundation, said in releasing the report.

“It’s unacceptable that so many individuals and families face barriers to health because of what they have to spend on housing.”

Greensville Schools to host Child Find

Greensville County Public Schools will sponsor Child Find on Friday, April 12, 2019 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).

Job Fair Planned for April 10, 2019

Job Fair 2019 will be held on Wednesday, April 10, 2019 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Southside Virginia Education Center at 1300 Greensville County Circle, Emporia.  This event is open to all job seekers so dress to impress, bring resumes, a photo id and copy of your WorkKeys Career Readiness Certificate that will be a pass to get in at 12:45. 

This event is sponsored by Southside Virginia Community College Workforce Development and Student Development Services.  For information, call Courtney Starke at 434-949-6614 or email Courtney.starke@southside.edu

Employers that will be on site include:

Lake Country Area Agency on Aging

Greensville Correctional Center

Emporia VEC

Armor Correctional Health Services

Envoy of Lawrenceville

Walmart- Emporia

Penmac Staffing Services

Greensville Health and Rehabilitation Center

Avon

P&S Trucking

Lincoln Heritage Insurance

The GEO Group

Virginia Department of Corrections

Greensville/Sussex 1

Meherrin River Regional Jail

Learning House/Partner Plus

Heritage Hall Blackstone

Melvin L. Davis Oil Company

Southside Regional Jail

State Board Committee Certifies Three Finalists for Southside Virginia Community College Presidency

RICHMOND – The State Board for Community Colleges has certified three finalists for the position of president at Southside Virginia Community College. The finalists were among 81 applicants from across the nation.

The three finalists, in alphabetical order, are Dr. Thomas G. Coley of Granger, IA; Dr. Jacqueline M. Gill of Lee’s Summit, MO; and Dr. Quentin R. Johnson of Mooresville, NC

“I am impressed with breadth and width of talent the presidency of Southside Virginia Community College is attracting,” said Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges. “The college’s service region is easily the geographically largest throughout the VCCS. While that poses some unique challenges it also offers some unique opportunities for a dynamic leader to step forward and help us demonstrate what a modern rural community college can be for those who depend on it.” 

Dr. Thomas G. Coley has worked in higher education for more than 39 years. He began his career as an assistant professor at the University of Maryland at College Park in 1980. Six years later he began working at California State University, Fullerton, serving as the college’s government and community liaison. Coley proceeded to hold senior executive positions with the Oregon State System of Higher Education; Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, Ohio; and Black Hawk College in Moline, IL before becoming the president of Scott Community College in Scott County, Iowa in 2005. He joined Indiana’s Ivy Tech Community College System in 2011 as the chancellor of the Northwest and North Central Region. Following a system restructuring, he became the chancellor of South Bend – Elkhart campus, where he works today. Coley earned a doctorate from the University of Wisconsin, Madison as well as a master’s degree and bachelor’s degree from Minnesota State University, Moorhead.

Dr. Jacqueline M. Gill has worked in higher education for more than 20 years. She began her career as the director of continuing education for the NE Campus of Tarrant County College in Hurst, Texas. In 2010, she became the college’s vice president of Academic Affairs & Community & Industry Education. Gill moved to Kansas City, MO in 2016 where she became the president of Metropolitan Community College. Prior to working in higher education, she worked for seven years as a social worker in the greater Dallas Fort Worth metropolitan area, including two years of recruiting candidates from underserved populations into healthcare career fields for the Dallas Fort Worth Area Health Education Center in Irving, Texas . Gill earned a doctorate, master’s degree and bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University, and a separate master’s degree from the University of Texas at Arlington.

Dr. Quentin R. Johnson has worked in higher education senior leadership roles for more than 20 years. That includes, beginning in 2004, serving as the president’s chief of staff and acting vice president for Student Life and Enrollment Management at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. In 2011 he became the senior vice president for Enrollment and Student Services at Fairmont State University and Pierpont Community and Technical College in West Virginia. Johnson moved to Guilford Technical Community College in North Carolina in 2012 to become the vice president of Student Support Services, the position he holds today. He also has some Virginia experience, previously serving as the assistant dean for Enrollment Management & Student Services at the UVa School of Nursing. Johnson earned a doctorate from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore; a master’s degree from Bowling Green State University; and a bachelor’s degree from Defiance College in Defiance, Ohio.

The three finalists seek to succeed Dr. Al Roberts, the college’s fifth president, who announced last fall that he was retiring at the end of June, having served as president for five years. The finalists will each visit the college in late March to meet with faculty, staff, students and community members.

SVCC serves one small city and spans ten rural counties across southern Virginia. The college offers 23 degrees at the associate level, a host of shorter-term academic and workforce development programs, opportunities for dually enrolled high school students, adult basic education, and other transitional services for non-traditional students.

About Virginia’s Community Colleges: Since 1966, Virginia’s Community Colleges have given everyone the opportunity to learn and develop the right skills so lives and communities are strengthened. By making higher education and workforce training available in every part of Virginia, we elevate all of Virginia. Together, Virginia’s Community Colleges serve more than 241,000 students each year. For more information, please visit www.vccs.edu.

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Laura Barnes Velvin

 

June 18, 1920 - March 23, 2019

Graveside Service

Tuesday, March 26, 2019, 11:00 AM

High Hills Cemetery
215 N. Halifax Rd, Jarratt, VA

Laura Barnes Velvin, 98, of Jarratt, passed away Saturday, March 23, 2019. She was preceded in death by her husband, James Edward Velvin and her two sons, James Venable “J.V.” Velvin and wife, Charlotte, and Lawrence Everett Velvin.

She is survived by three grandchildren, James T. Velvin (Christy), Randy Dean Velvin (Jeannie) and Andrea Velvin (Jason Williams); step-grandchildren, Scott Pritchard (Crystal) and Hope Wood; seven great-grandchildren; six great-great grandchildren; daughter-in-law, Evelyn “Scottie” Velvin and numerous nieces and nephews.

A graveside funeral service will be held 11 a.m. Tuesday, March 26 at High Hills Cemetery, Halifax Rd, Jarratt, Virginia.

Memorial contributions may be made to Jarratt Volunteer Fire Department, P.O. Box 562, Jarratt, Virginia 23867.

Marjorie Baird “Margie” King

January 19, 1943 - March 19, 2019

Visitation Services

Thursday, March 28, 2019 at 2:00 P.M.

Main St. United Methodist Church

Thursday, March 28, 2019 at 12:00 noon

Main St. United Methodist Church

 

Marjorie Baird “Margie” King, 76, died Tuesday, March 19, 2019.

Margie was a native of Lawrenceville and lived most of her adult life in Emporia. She was the daughter of the late Hobart Maryland and Blanche Edwards Baird. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by a brother; Leroy Baird and his wife Elaine and three brothers in law; John Hartley, Carter Harris, and George Roberts.

Margie was a longtime active member of Main St. United Methodist Church and the founding Member of Beta Sigma Phi Sorority in Emporia. She loved her family, friends, and her community and always had a gracious smile and hug for everyone she met.

Margie is survived by her husband of 57 years, Malcolm Lee King, Jr., daughter; Michelle King Edmonds and her husband Scott and grandson Ryan Scott Edmonds all of South Hill, brother; Joseph Edgar “J.E” Baird and his wife Cordie of Colonial Heights, sisters; Catherine Hartley of Charlotte, NC and Mary Carter Harris Roberts of Freeman, and many nieces and nephews.

A celebration of her life will be held Thursday, March 28, 2019 at 2:00 P.M. at Main St. United Methodist Church in Emporia with Rev. Tom Durrance officiating. The family will receive friends at the church from Noon until service time.

In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to Beta Sigma Phi Sorority, C/O Barbara Moore, Treasurer, 626 Madison Street, Emporia, VA  23847 or Main Street United Methodist Church, 105 Church Street, Emporia, VA  23847.

Online condolences may be left at echolsfuneralhome.com.

Environmental Groups Glad About Coal Ash Cleanup Law

By Adrian Teran-Tapia, Capital News Service

RICHMOND — Environmental and consumer groups applauded Gov. Ralph Northam after he signed legislation this week that aims to protect water quality by cleaning up more than 27 million cubic yards of coal ash from unlined ponds in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Northam signed into law SB 1355, sponsored by Sen. Frank Wagner, R-Virginia Beach, and HB 2786, sponsored by Del. Riley Ingram, R-Hopewell. The legislation seeks to clean up coal ash sites in the city of Chesapeake and in Prince William, Chesterfield and Fluvanna counties.

The ash is the byproduct of coal-fired power plants operated by Dominion Energy. The law will require Dominion to move the coal ash to lined landfills or recycling it in a safe manner. It will also require the closure and removal of any coal combustion residuals units, including coal ash ponds or landfills, within the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

“The potential risks to public health and water quality posed by unlined coal ash ponds in the commonwealth are far too great for us to continue with business as usual,” Northam said. “This historic, bipartisan effort sets a standard for what we can achieve when we work together, across party lines, in the best interest of all Virginians. I am proud to sign this legislation into law.”

Ingram echoed those sentiments.

“I was pleased to see that the General Assembly, the governor, House, Senate and Dominion were able to all come together and come up with a great solution for the coal ash ponds and in my opinion for the betterment of everyone,” Ingram said.

The bills were co-sponsored by several lawmakers, including Sen. Scott Surovell, D-Fairfax, and Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy, D-Prince William. They contributed key components, including a ban on “cap in place” closure of unlined ponds — a method critics said could lead to water pollution. Another component is a requirement that at least 25 percent of the coal ash be recycled for concrete or other beneficial uses.

“I think this represents the first time Virginia has adopted environmental regulations that are more protective of the environment than federal law,” Surovell said. “This represents an important step forward for environmental protections in Virginia.”

Carroll Foy said she was proud that “bipartisan hard work” produced the legislation.

“At town halls and meetings with my constituents, I promised that I would fight for legislation to recycle coal ash into concrete and other materials and to excavate and remove the remainder of coal ash to lined landfills because it was the most effective way to protect public health and the environment,” Carroll Foy said.

The cleanup is expected to cost several billion dollars. Under the new law, Dominion will be able to pass on the cost to its customers. As a result, state officials have estimated, the average monthly electric bill will increase by about $5.

The Potomac Riverkeeper Network thanked Northam and state legislators for working across party lines to pass the legislation.

“This legislation, which is a result of four years of persistent work by Potomac Riverkeeper Dean Naujoks and our Virginia partners, is an historic step to solve the serious and lingering pollution problem of legacy coal ash,” said Nancy Stoner, the network’s president.

She said that four years ago, Naujoks began testing water wells near some of Dominion’s coal ash ponds and discovered that lead and arsenic had contaminated nearby groundwater.

“The dangers of coal ash, leaking into groundwater, drinking wells, our rivers and streams and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay, have long been documented, and we’re proud of our role in fixing the problem,” Naujoks said.

Kendyl Crawford, director of Virginia Interfaith Power & Light, said the new law was a step in the right direction. But she said the state should have required Dominion to bear the cost of the cleanup.

“It is long overdue that decades-old toxic coal ash is finally being addressed after having poisoned Virginia’s waterways. Removing millions of cubic yards of toxic material along waterways to safe, lined landfills is a step towards a healthier and more just state. Now, we have a moral responsibility to ensure that all coal ash, including that outside of the Chesapeake Bay watershed is safely recycled and disposed,” Crawford said.

“While we applaud the signing of this legislation that cleans up coal ash, once again Dominion, one of our electric utility monopolies, has shown their influence by pushing the fiscal burden to fall on electricity consumers.”

Ruby Estell Ferguson Pearson

November 4, 1921-March 18, 2019

Visitation Services

Friday, March 22, 2019, from 1:00 – 2:00

Forest Hill Baptist Church

Friday, March 22, 2019, from 2:00

Forest Hill Baptist Church

Ruby Estell Ferguson Pearson, at the age of 97, went to be with the Lord on March 18, 2019. She was born November 4, 1921, the oldest daughter of the late Joseph Wyatt and Annie Harrell Ferguson of Emporia VA. She was preceded in death by her husband, Major B. Pearson and daughter Virginia P. King, brothers, Kennon Ferguson Sr., C. Wade Ferguson, and H. Clayton Ferguson, sisters, Mamie F. Driver, Erma F. Vincent and Avis F. Frazier.

She is survived by her Son-in-law, Charles P. King, Grandsons, Stacy L. King (Amy Walton) and Stephen E. King. Great-Grandson, Kirby Dale King, sister Betty F. Veliky and brother Melvin L. Ferguson.

She was an active member of Forest Hill Baptist Church until her health started to decline several years ago. She loved her Lord and Savior, family, friends and Church family. She worked at Emporia Garment Factory until she retired. She loved family history and researched and gathered information for picture albums of the Ferguson and Pearson families.

Ruby loved and appreciated the staff at Northampton Nursing Home Complex, Jackson NC. Pauline, the Director of Activities encouraged her to play BINGO, and she did play twice a week up until about two weeks ago. The family thanks Emily Spence for being such a special care giver.

Visitation will be held on Friday, March 22, 2019, from 1:00 – 2:00 at Forest Hill Baptist Church with Funeral Service at 2:00 with Rev. Terry Corder officiating.

In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to: Forest Hill Baptist Church Cemetery Fund 5010 Brink Road, Emporia VA 23847

 

 

Echols Funeral Home of Emporia VA will be in charge of arrangements.

 

 

Online condolence may be made to the family at: www.echolsfuneralhome.com

Trump’s Business Dealings Violate Constitution, Attorneys General Say

By Benjamin West, Capital News Service

RICHMOND — Flanked by U.S. flags, two attorneys general argued Tuesday that President Donald Trump is violating the constitutional ban against government officials accepting gifts or favors.

Attorneys General Karl Racine of the District of Columbia and Brian Frosh of Maryland — both Democrats — made that assertion at a press conference regarding the latest chapter in an ongoing legal battle between the two jurisdictions and Trump.

In mid-2017, D.C. and Maryland sued Trump, alleging that the president has violated the emolument clauses of the U.S. Constitution as a result of his domestic and foreign business dealings through the Trump Organization. The case was heard Tuesday by a panel of three judges of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

“The Department of Justice continues to take the position that President Trump is above the law and that somehow, the Constitution’s anti-corruption law should not apply to him,” Racine said.

The suit involves two clauses in the U.S. Constitution:

  • The Domestic Emoluments Clause states that the president cannot profit domestically in business dealings aside from his salary, currently $400,000 per year.
  • The Title of Nobility Clause states that the federal government cannot distribute titles of nobility and that no government official can “accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind, whatever” from any foreign country without the approval of Congress.

“He’s trying to negotiate the terms of the Constitution,” Frosh said. “We have the right to have the president put our interests first and it appears that he’s not doing that, he’s putting his financial interests first.”

Racine pointed to the “horrific killing” of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018, widely reported to have been orchestrated by the Saudi leadership.

“We now as Americans have to ask ourselves whether the administration’s reaction to that horrific murder was for valid diplomatic reasons, or whether it’s because the president of the United States has a financial interest that he is seeking to exploit and preserve,” Racine said.

Frosh said any payment to the Trump Organization from a foreign entity would be proof of a constitutional violation.

“The Domestic Emoluments Clause says that he only gets his salary from the United States and no other emolument,” Frosh said.

He cited the Trump International Hotel Washington, where foreign dignitaries and other guests have stayed, as problematic. The hotel is located less than a mile from the White House in a building called the Old Post Office.

“Trump Post Office Hotel is itself an emolument,” Frosh said. “So he’s violating both clauses, both of them, every single day.”

Frosh said the plaintiffs “expect to prevail” in the lawsuit. They plan to pursue the case to the U.S. Supreme Court if needed.

The attorneys general said Trump’s business empire make it “more difficult” to deal with the emoluments clauses, “but that’s what he signed up for.”

“When he ran for president, he knew he was going to have to live with these two constitutional requirements,” Frosh said. “And maybe it’s tougher for him than it would be for me or somebody else. But he ran for president; he’s subject to the Constitution just as every other American is.”

Trump and his attorneys have argued that the lawsuit has no legal merit and that D.C. and Maryland have no authority to sue the president over money his businesses may receive from foreign interests.

“The complaint rests on a host of novel and fundamentally flawed constitutional premises, and litigating the claims would entail intrusive discovery into the president’s personal financial affairs and the official actions of his Administration,” according to a document filed in court by the U.S. Justice Department.

Governor Signs Law Slashing Sales Tax on Personal Hygiene Products

By Emily Holter, Capital News Service

RICHMOND — The sales tax on tampons, diapers and other personal hygiene products will be reduced by more than half beginning Jan. 1, 2020.

Gov. Ralph Northam announced Wednesday that he has signed SB 1715, sponsored by Sen. Jennifer Boysko, D-Fairfax, and HB 2540, proposed by Del. Kathy Byron, R-Lynchburg. The bills will lower the retail sales and use tax rate on essential personal hygiene products to 2.5 percent.

The new law will apply to feminine hygiene products and nondurable incontinence products including diapers and other materials.

“We know that menstrual supplies and diapers are necessary to leave home for work, school, and social activities,” said Boysko, who called her bill the Dignity Act. “I am so glad we have made progress on the issue of menstrual equity and at long last will have tax relief for these products that women and families have to purchase.”

Currently, consumers pay the regular sales tax rate on these items: 7 percent in Virginia’s Historic Triangle (Williamsburg, James City County and York County), 6 percent in Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia, and 5.3 percent elsewhere in the state.

Byron said the law will benefit Virginians of all ages.

“This legislation won widespread bipartisan support because it provides tax relief on necessities used by women and men young and old,” Byron said. “For the young family buying diapers to those purchasing other essentials for their health, the savings because of this bill will add up and be appreciated.”

Northam commended the General Assembly for passing the bills.

“I am pleased to sign this common-sense legislation that makes these necessities more accessible and affordable,” he said. “The essential nature of personal health care products is not up for debate.”

The law will make these products subject to the state’s reduced sales tax of 1.5 percent, which currently applies only to food. In addition, local governments add a 1 percent sales tax on such purchases.

Boysko had wanted to remove the so-called “tampon tax” entirely. Byron pushed for a compromise on grounds that a tax exemption for personal hygiene products would have a big effect on the state budget.

Norman Eugene Kramer

 

Norman Eugene Kramer, 84, of Emporia, Va. passed away peacefully on Sunday, March 17, 2019, at Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center. He was the son of Lester Kramer and Gesina Norman Kramer. Norman was a retired communication specialist with the United States government.

Norman is survived by his loving wife, Mary Frances Derring Kramer of Emporia, Va., daughter, Laura Kramer Rose (Russell) of Vienna, Va., son, Mark Kramer (Gina) of Vienna, Va., Stepsons, Richard H. Short III (Betsy) of Emporia, Va., and John C. Short (Janet) of Bracey, Va., grandchildren, Ryan Rose, Sean Rose, Naomi Kramer, and Angela Kramer, all of Vienna, Va., step grandchildren, Ryan Short (Paula) of Littleton, NC., Alex Short and Allison Short of Emporia, Va., Parker Short of Smithfield, Va., and Nicholas Short of Blacksburg, Va., and a step great granddaughter, Mary Katherine Short of Littleton, NC.

A celebration for Norman Kramer will be held on Sunday, March 31, 2019, at 2:00PM, at Lakeside Lutheran Church, 2427 Eaton Ferry Road, Littleton, NC 27850.

Memorials may be made to: Lakeside Lutheran Church Building Fund.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at: www.echolsfuneralhome.com

Advocate Draws From Personal Experience as Example to Youth

By Georgia Geen, Capital News Service

RICHMOND — James Braxton went outside only once in the four months he spent in jail, and he ate ice chips instead of drinking water. He says he didn’t want to get used to a routine; that would have meant he was staying there.

It was in 2005 when he got a call from a friend after being fired from his job at a call center for fighting with a coworker. Braxton needed money, and accompanying a friend on a personal retaliation mission was a way to get it.

But things didn’t go according to plan. He ended up driving their car through Newport News, pursued by up to a dozen squad cars. Braxton and the three young men in the car with him were charged with possession of a firearm and larceny.

“I was almost laughing because I couldn’t believe it; I was almost in a state of shock. It didn’t really hit me until we got to jail and we’re there for hours in processing,” Braxton said. “It had already hit the news what was happening, so guys in there are treating us like, ‘Dang, y’all about to go down.’”

Braxton’s story didn’t begin with a failed robbery attempt, and it didn’t end when he left Hampton City Jail. His early years are similar to those of some of the youth he advocates for today.

He joined RISE for Youth — a statewide campaign advocating for youth justice reform — two years ago after more than a decade of working to better himself and navigate past traumas. He is now the group’s strategic engagement director.

Shortly after Braxton’s parents divorced when he was 9, his mother, Mattie Brisbane, was diagnosed with breast cancer. One of the major traumas of his childhood was thinking his mother was going to die, Braxton said.

“That was a trying time,” Braxton said. “I felt like God spared her because in the times when I needed someone the most, she’s always been there. She’s always been there, always believed in me and always supported me.”

Despite his tendency to act out in school and high levels of frustration, Brisbane said she always saw “greatness” in her son.

“Even as a toddler, he was very smart, very curious, but he was bold,” Brisbane said. “One day I went to turn on the light, and the light wouldn’t come on. A couple of things electrical didn’t work and I started looking around — he cut electrical wires because he wanted to make his own TV.”

In his early high school years, Braxton said he was “one foot in the streets and one foot out.” The area where he lived at the time — Lincoln Park, a public housing site in Hampton that was demolished in 2016 — was known for crime, drugs and violence, he said.

“By default, I just got sucked into some of the activity that was happening,” Braxton said. “I gravitated toward it. It’s where I felt welcome, it’s where I felt like I belonged.”

As a 17- and 18-year-old, Braxton acted as a stepfather to his 23-year-old girlfriend’s child. The experience was toxic, he said, and the stress interfered further with his education.

“I’m thinking about how I’m going to get out of school to get to the WIC office to get this baby some milk,” Braxton said. “I’m now taking on that responsibility as an 11th grader in high school working two jobs living a whole grown person’s life. There was nobody I could talk to about that.”

When he was a senior in high school, the stress led Braxton to attempt suicide by taking a bottle of painkillers.

“I remember waking up in the hospital and just feeling broken and the weakest I had ever felt in my life,” he said. “I vowed to never be that weak again.”

It might have improved his situation, Braxton said, if he had had a mentor — someone he could relate to.

“That would have allowed me to feel open enough to have those conversations,” Braxton said. “And then from that, [have] some real, tangible, solid answers for housing and for food and for transportation in places where I don’t have to be system-involved to access them.”

By “system,” he means the welfare system or the criminal justice system. Most young people can’t access resources for necessities like food, housing and transportation until they’re “system-involved,” Braxton said.

An alternative would be local organizations working with the local government to address those issues, he said.

Braxton experienced what he considers a similar lack of assistance after he was released from jail in 2005. He got out when his $80,000 bond was reduced to $20,000, an amount his family was able to pay.

At the time, he spent all day, every day applying for jobs — it was “application after application,” he said. The opportunity that Braxton says changed his life was when he was hired as a pediatric dental assistant.

“But it had nothing to do with the [criminal justice] system, and the system had the opportunity to do that,” Braxton said. “That has to change.”

To Braxton, that job is the reason a judge decided to give him a second chance at the end of two years of criminal proceedings in 2007. The office staff and the doctor that hired him came with him to the sentencing.

“The judge was like, ‘I don’t see this often; I don’t see young men coming in with these kinds of charges and they’re doing the positive things you’re doing and making this kind of impact,’” Braxton said.

Braxton had taken an Alford plea — in which the defendant pleads guilty without admitting to the act — to his gun charge. After three years of probation, the judge dropped the larceny charge.

Braxton worked in property management for several years before he felt he needed to make a change and connect himself to his “purpose.”

He now advocates for improvements in the criminal justice system. In January, Braxton was part of a rally at the state Capitol that urged the General Assembly to reinstate discretionary parole, which allows prisons to release certain offenders before they have completed their sentences. During the 2019 legislative session, several bills were proposed to reinstate parole; none of them passed.

Braxton said he hopes “to be an example and mentor, especially to young African-American boys that don’t have examples of fathers or leaders in their home or in their environment.”

“I think that’s where it starts,” he said, “not waiting for the state or not waiting for the government to provide answers to neighborhoods and communities.”

Virginia House of Delegates v. Bethune-Hill

Attorney General Mark R. Herring issued the following statement after oral argument in the U.S. Supreme Court in Virginia House of Delegates v. Bethune-Hill:

“This case has cost Virginians four years of litigation, multiple elections under an unconstitutional map, and probably more than $10 million, mostly spent by House Republicans to defend racial gerrymandering. The trial Court issued 100 pages of factual findings explaining the ways that the plan ‘sorted voters into districts based on the color of their skin’ and reduced the political power of African-Americans. That is wrong. We should all be concerned about this race-based violation of Virginians’ right to vote and should work to fix it as soon as possible. 

“Nothing I heard today changes my belief that it is time to put an end to this case, and to implement fair, constitutional districts.”

In June 2018, a three-judge panel found that eleven House of Delegates districts were unconstitutional. In July 2018, Attorney General Herring announced that the Commonwealth of Virginia would not appeal the decision, citing the seriousness of the constitutional violation, the likelihood of success, and the considerable time and millions in taxpayer money that had already been expended. 

The three-judge panel and Supreme Court have three times denied requests by the House of Delegates to delay implementation of a new redistricting plan that corrects the identified racial gerrymandering.

Virginia Electric Utilities Wiring Rural Areas for Broadband

By Daniel Berti, Capital News Service

RICHMOND — If you want internet service in the rural hamlet of Honaker, in far Southwest Virginia, Cable Plus is the only game in town. With internet speeds of 3 megabits per second, customers can go online to check their email, surf social media and watch low-quality videos from streaming services, but not much else.

The cheapest Cable Plus internet package available to the 700 households in Honaker: $54 a month.

An hour away in Bristol, Virginia, residents have plenty of options to choose from for broadband. They can get high-speed service — with speeds of at least 25 Mbps — for as low as $45 a month.

The difference in internet services between urban and rural communities in Virginia is stark: Only 53 percent of rural Virginians have access to broadband internet. Urban areas have far better coverage — 96 percent, according to a 2016 study by the Virginia Chamber of Commerce.

That’s because internet providers profit more when their customer base is concentrated and easy to reach. In rural areas, it’s much more expensive per customer to provide high-speed internet.

Virginia lawmakers have taken steps to address geographic disparities in broadband coverage by passing a bill that will give the state’s two largest electric utilities, Dominion Energy and Appalachian Power, the green light to provide broadband internet service to unserved areas.

HB 2691, sponsored by Del. Israel O’Quinn, R-Bristol, will create a pilot program that allows the electric utilities to expand “middle mile” broadband coverage — the infrastructure that connects the networks and core routers on the internet to local internet service providers that serve businesses and consumers directly.

The bill will allow each utility to spend up to $60 million annually on the pilot program. The companies will be able to recover that money from ratepayers.

Dominion and Appalachian Power won’t be providing high-speed internet straight to residents’ homes and businesses, however. The final connection, called the “last mile,” will be left to third-party internet providers. The last mile brings service to the end user’s premises and is typically the most expensive component of broadband infrastructure.

Nate Frost, director of new technology and energy conservation at Dominion Energy, said the program is “unconventional” for electric utilities but could help solve rural Virginia’s broadband woes.

“There’s a unique opportunity to potentially leverage some of the business that we’re going to be doing anyway,” Frost said. “But getting to that point won’t be easy.”

Under the Grid Transformation and Security Act of 2018, Dominion Energy and Appalachian Power must modernize their systems, and part of that involves bringing broadband to electrical substations to support new “smart” infrastructure initiatives.

The pilot program allows the electric utilities to add extra fiber optic cables to rural substations in addition to the fiber they’re already putting in place. That additional broadband capacity will then be leased to third-party internet providers, which will provide last-mile connections to homes and businesses nearby.

O’Quinn’s bill is awaiting Gov. Ralph Northam’s signature to become law.

Evan Feinman, Northam’s chief broadband adviser, said earnings by electric utilities from leasing middle-mile infrastructure will result in lower electric bills over time and will save ratepayers an estimated $150 million over the next three years.

Those savings are based on Dominion’s 2018 Broadband Feasibility Report, in which the company outlined the potential for adding broadband capacity to rural areas.

“It’s one of those very rare win-wins where the electric companies, ratepayers and people in need of broadband service all benefit,” Feinman said.

The bill passed the Senate unanimously but drew opposition from a few Republicans in the House of Delegates. Del. Kathy Byron, R-Bedford, voted against it.

“We’ve made great progress toward achieving this goal over the last several years,” said Byron, who chairs the state Broadband Advisory Council. “I’m concerned that the approach enacted by HB 2691 might unintentionally divert or detract from our well-established and successful efforts.”

Over the last few years, the Virginia Telecommunication Initiative has provided millions of dollars to broadband service providers to extend their service into rural areas. During its recent session, the General Assembly increased funding for the Virginia Telecommunication Initiative for the 2020 fiscal year from $4 million to $19 million.

Del. Dave LaRock, R-Loudoun, also voted against O’Quinn’s bill, citing the increased costs to ratepayers.

“This is a perversion of the system where the State Corporation Commission has the authority to set reasonable rates and to return ratepayer money that exceeds reasonable rates,” LaRock said.

It’s not unprecedented for electric utilities to provide internet services in Virginia. Central Virginia Electric Cooperative, which serves rural areas in 14 counties, announced its own broadband expansion in January 2018. The $110 million project aims to provide internet and phone service directly to consumers through a subsidiary company called Firefly Broadband.

Virginia has the fifth-highest rate of broadband adoption in the nation and ranks among the top 10 states in terms of its average peak internet connectivity speed, according to the Virginia Chamber of Commerce. Up to 70 percent of the world’s internet traffic flows through Northern Virginia.

But state officials have been concerned about the lack of broadband in rural areas, saying such connectivity is critical to economic development. Northam has made broadband expansion a priority, proposing that the state spend $250 million over the next 10 years to address the unequal distribution of internet service.

“Broadband internet is inarguably a necessity for participation in a 21st-century economy, and many Virginians have been left without quality access for far too long,” Northam said. “By ending this disconnect, we can better attract and support business and entrepreneurship, educate all Virginia students and expand access to cost-saving telehealth services.”

Occupational Health Services for Area Employers

Let’s build a healthy workforce, together.

South Hill—As you know, your team members are the single most important and valuable resource in your organization. A healthier team member is often a more productive team member. VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital Health and Wellness Services provides team member health services required and needed in today’s world of business and industry. We can help your business reach its goals for a healthier workforce.

A healthier workforce will decrease lost work time, provide more productive and motivated employees, reduce health care and worker’s compensation costs andreduce workplace injuries.

For more than 17 years, the professionals with VCU Health CMH Health & Wellness Services have been responsive to the health needs of the corporate community.  Currently they contract with numerous companies throughout the region to provide such services as:  pre-employment physicals, DOT physicals, rapid drug screens, lab based drug screens (urine, hair follicle), breath alcohol testing, immunizations, OSHA hearing conservation education and testing and much, much more. 

Learn more about how you can make your workforce healthier by visiting our website at vcu-cmh.org and downloading a brochure or calling (434) 774-2541.

Meet the professional staff of VCU Health CMH Occupational Health: (pictured from left to right)  Linda Crump, Office Service Specialist; Donna Overton, LPN, COHC, BAT, SAMI-DOT; Amy Hobbs, FNP-C; DeeAnna Forbes, LPN, COHC, BAT APS-DOT; Jessica Seamster, LPN, BAT, APS-DOT

Institute of Contemporary Art Hosts Queer Film Collective Dirty Looks

By Emily Holter, Capital News Service

RICHMOND -- It has been eight years since the first showing of “Dirty Looks,” a queer film series that traces contemporary LGBTQ aesthetics through historical works.

Beginning in New York City, “Dirty Looks” has been shown in several U.S. cities and international settings, including screenings at The Museum of Modern Art and The Kitchen in New York and The Hammer in Los Angeles.

The film series’ winter tour features cities such as San Francisco, Portland, Chicago and Richmond.

The Institute of Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University is hosting a free showing of “Dirty Looks” starting at 6 p.m. on April 3.
For David Riley, a graduate curatorial assistant at the institute, the film series offers insight into queer culture and how it has shifted throughout history.

“We’re looking forward to hosting this event and hoping to hold more events like these,” Riley said.  

Each tour has a different film lineup. This tour includes films from Angie Stardust, Zina Zurner and other queer contemporaries.  

“When I’m picking films for the program, I love going through old film guides finding titles that are interesting and not well known,” said Nordeen, who launched the Dirty Looks Inc. collective in 2011 in New York City because there was a lack of consistent space for queer film and art.  

“I prefer finding filmmakers whose works haven’t been canonized yet.”

“Dirty Looks” attracted an audience from the start.

“The first showing we did we ran out of chairs, and it was in a blizzard,” Nordeen said. The collective’s goal is to build community by looking at queer history and to create a consistent space for queer films, he explained.

Three years ago, the collective expanded to include an on-location segment in which its films are shown in city spaces that were traditionally queer spaces.

“Art is made in life,” Nordeen said. “When we’re looking at queer art, it is communal.”

Although Nordeen expanded the collective from New York to Los Angeles, he said it is important to screen these films in other cities.

“You know, why not Richmond?” Nordeen said. “Places like New York City and Los Angeles -- they need me the least.”  

Nordeen and other members of the collective will host a panel discussion following the showing, and take questions from the audience.

“Wake Up Time”

From whom do we collect taxes
When our citizens move away
Yes and what incentive do we use
To encourage them to stay.
 
There is constant talk of tourism
And the Big Role it could play
Then we closed that gate on thousands
When the Pork Festival went astray.
 
Now it would be nice if you got what you wanted
Then we all would join in for a cheer
Yet may I suggest in the mean time
To do something for those that live here.
 
We need to go out of town for good shopping
And to get a good meal as well
Yes that is where I see the most of you
Though you know that I won’t tell.
 
You’re filling up the vacant stores
With things we do not need
Yet what about the recreation
That would be good indeed.
I’m certain there are ways and means
For the problems we have to solve
Still if we don’t take action now
More trouble it will involve.
 
                    Roy E. Schepp

USDA Outlines Eligibility for 2019 Supplemental Coverage Option Regarding Elections for Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage

WASHINGTON, March 13, 2019 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) announced this week that producers who purchased or plan to purchase the 2019 Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO) policy should report Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) election intentions to their crop insurance agent by March 15, 2019, or the acreage reporting date, whichever is later.

Producers have the option to elect either ARC or PLC through the Farm Service Agency (FSA) to receive benefits. The 2018 Farm Bill allows producers to make an election in 2019, which covers the 2019 and 2020 crop years.

The Federal Crop Insurance Act prohibits producers from having SCO on farms where they elect ARC. Because of the timing of the Farm Bill, FSA’s ARC/PLC election period will not occur until after the SCO sales closing dates and acreage reporting dates.

Producers who purchased SCO policies with sales closing dates of Feb. 28, 2019, or earlier may cancel their SCO policy by March 15, 2019. This allows producers, particularly those who intend to elect ARC for all their acres, to no longer incur crop insurance costs for coverage for which they will not be eligible.

Producers with SCO coverage now have the option to file an ARC/PLC acreage intention report with their crop insurance agent by the later of the acreage reporting date or March 15, 2019. This report will adjust the acreage report by specifying the intended ARC or PLC election by FSA Farm Number. The number of eligible acres on farms with an intention of PLC will be the number of acres insured for SCO regardless of any actual elections made with FSA. If a producer does not file an ARC/PLC acreage intention report, SCO will cover all acres as though the producer elected PLC.

The existing penalties for misreporting eligible acreage on the SCO endorsement will not apply in 2019.

Additional details about SCO can be found at www.rma.usda.gov.

Michael Wayne Moore

Michael Wayne Moore

 

February 9, 1969 - March 10, 2019

 

Visitation Services

Friday, March 15, 2019. 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Owen Funeral Home
303 S. Halifax Rd
Jarratt, Virginia 23867

Saturday, March 16, 2019. 2:00 PM

Owen Funeral Home
303 S. Halifax Rd
Jarratt, Virginia 23867

Michael Wayne Moore, 50, of Emporia, passed away Sunday, March 10, 2019. He was preceded in death by his father, Louis Sanford Moore, Jr.; grandparents, Louis Sanford Moore, Sr. and Ruby Moore and Willie Fajna and Pearl Wrenn Fajna; Aunts, Patsy Moore, Barbara Moore Jones and husband, Russell; Mary Poarch; Lorraine Norwood and husband, Sonny, and uncles, Linwood “Squirrel” Moore and Charles Eugene Wrenn.

Michael is survived by his mother, Joyce Wrenn Moore; brother, Robert Earl Moore and friend, Christopher Upton; sister, Angela Moore Grizzard and husband John; nephews, Nathaniel and Nicholas Grizzard; niece, Bryanna Grizzard; five step-children, Crystal Seymour and husband, Brian, Jillian Bradshaw and husband, Joe Bradshaw, Jr., Christopher Poole, Kacie York and Cynthia Marie Moore; two step-grandchildren, Jayden York and Bentley Stephens; uncles, Franklin “Doo” Moore; John W. Moore and wife, Deanna and William S. “Billy” Poarch; aunt, Debbie Moore. He is also survived by his longtime friend, Randy Moss and a number of cousins and extended family.

The family will receive friends 6-8 p.m. Friday, March 15 at Owen Funeral Home, 303 S. Halifax Rd, Jarratt, Virginia where the funeral service will be held 2 p.m. Saturday, March 16. Interment will follow at High Hills Memorial Cemetery.

Teresa Wray Welsh

April 24, 1957 - March 12, 2019

Visitation Services

Friday, March 15, 2019, from 6:00P.M. to 8:00P.M. at

Echols Funeral Home

Saturday, March 16, 2019, at 2:00

Emporia Cemetery

Teresa Wray Welsh passed away on Tuesday, March 12, 2019, at the age of 61. She was a senior reporter for the Independent Messenger. She was preceded in death by her mother and father, Edla Mae Hobbs Wray, Robert Holmes Wray, and Daughter, Wendy Jenise Gordan. She is survived by her brother, Roger Wray (Cathy) of Emporia, Va, granddaughter, Kelly Michele Finn of Louisburg, NC, great granddaughter, Candi Jenise Finn of Louisburg, NC, two nieces, Amy Hobbs and April Clarke of Emporia, Va, nephew, Robbie Wray of Emporia, Va, five great nieces, Carly Clarke, Morgan Clarke, Emma Wray, Ella Mae Wray, and Bailey Black of Emporia, Va, great nephew, Nick Hobbs of Emporia, Va.

A visitation will be held on Friday, March 15, 2019, from 6:00P.M. to 8:00P.M. at Echols Funeral Home. A graveside service will be held at Emporia Cemetery, Saturday, March 16, 2019, at 2:00P.M. with Rev. Ken Arrington officiating.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at: www.echolsfuneralhome.com

Animal Welfare Groups Happy About 2019 Legislation

Adrian Teran-Tapia, Capital News Service

RICHMOND — Animal welfare advocates are pleased by the results of the 2019 General Assembly, which increased penalties for animal cruelty and mandated that pets receive more room to roam if tethered outside.

“Overall, this year’s General Assembly brought significant victories for Virginia’s dogs and cats,” said Matthew Gray of the Virginia Humane Society.

One of the standout bills was SB 1604, also known as “Tommie’s Bill,” which increases the penalty for animal abuse from a misdemeanor to a Class 6 felony.

The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Bill DeSteph, R-Virginia Beach, gained local and national attention and support after a pit bull was intentionally set on fire in February at a Richmond park. The dog, Tommie, eventually died from his injuries.

DeSteph’s bill and a companion measure in the House — HB 1874, introduced by Del. Margaret Ransone, R-Westmoreland — easily passed both the House and Senate and now await the governor’s signature.

Del. Robert Orrock, R-Caroline, successfully sponsored two animal-related bills:

  • HB 1625 clarifies the definition of adequate shelter to protect an animal from heat or cold. The new definition says the shelter must be “properly shaded” during hot weather and have a windbreak during cold weather.
  • HB 1626 gives animal control officers permission to confiscate any tethered cocks that are being used or suspected of being used for animal fighting.

Orrock also introduced HB 1827, which said that animals tethered outside must have a tether four times the animal’s length or 15 feet long, whichever is greater. That bill cleared the House but was killed by a Senate committee.

According to the Humane Society, Virginia remains in the top tier as it relates to state animal protection laws, but several animal rights activists say Virginia can do more. For example, state officials should address the issue of tethering, said Tabitha Treloar of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Sen. Lionell Spruill, D-Chesapeake, introduced a bill similar to Orrock’s tethering proposal in the Senate. SB 1025 passed after revisions and is on Gov. Ralph Northam’s desk.

It would require tether lengths to be at least three times the size of the animal or 10 feet long, whichever is greater. The bill would also prohibit adding weights to the end of the tether. Farm animals would be exempt from the tethering provisions.

Although the bill is not the big win animal activist hoped for, Treloar said it is a step in the right direction.

“We think this is going to provide additional clarity to the animal control officers who are responsible for enforcing code around the state, and we are glad we could come to a compromise,” Treloar said.

Also during the legislative session that ended Feb. 24, the General Assembly passed SB 1675, sponsored by Sen. Bryce Reeves, R-Fredericksburg. It would mandate a minimum six-month imprisonment sentence for anyone who maliciously kills or injures any law enforcement animal. The punishment would be separate from and run consecutively with any other sentence.

Animal testing was another issue brought up this session. Sen. Jennifer Boysko, D-Fairfax, proposed SB 1642, which sought to prohibit cosmetic manufacturers and suppliers from producing and selling any animal-tested cosmetics. This bill also would have authorized civil actions against violators, with penalties of up to $5,000.

“Animal testing for cosmetics is cruel and unnecessary and is deeply unpopular with the public,” Boysko said. “My bill aimed to ensure that animals are not harmed for cosmetics sold in Virginia, thus meeting consumer demand, saving animals and helping the U.S. match global progress on this issue.”

Boysko’s bill passed the Senate, 22-18, but was killed in the House Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources.

Kazoos and Chants Drown Out Westboro Church’s Message of Hate

By Evie King, Capital News Service

RICHMOND — Randy Blythe of Richmond’s heavy metal band Lamb of God met demonstrators from Westboro Baptist Church at the Virginia Capitol on Monday with an unlikely weapon: kazoos.

Armed with colorful plastic instruments, Blythe and more than 100 other counterprotesters drowned out the six WBC members with a cacophony of chaotic noise.

“I couldn’t bring my band, so we brought kazoos instead,” Blythe said.

Westboro Baptist Church, which the Southern Poverty Law Center calls “arguably the most obnoxious and rabid hate group in America,” came to the Capitol to protest Del. Danica Roem as the first transgender woman to be elected to the Virginia General Assembly.

In a news release, WBC, which condemns LGBTQ rights, called Roem a “slave to sin” among other inflammatory statements.

As a rebuke to WBC’s hateful remarks, Roem encouraged her Twitter followers to donate to her campaign for re-election in the 13th House District, which includes Manassas Park and part of Prince William County. With the hashtag #westborobackfire, more than 900 contributors haveraised over $34,000 since March 1.

Jill Hammer, who supports Roem, showed up to celebrate her city’s diversity.

“Richmond is fueled by creativity, fueled by musicians and artists, and we’re here to have a party and show them that Richmond is about love for everyone,” Hammer said.

The music coming from WBC member Shirley Phelps-Roper’s speaker was barely audible over the counterprotesters’ unconventional chorus of noise.

Singing along to parodies of pop songs like “Bohemian Rhapsody,” with lyrics modified to match the group’s message, Phelps-Roper said WBC intentionally chooses well-known music. “We’re trying to talk to this generation, meet them where they live,” Phelps-Roper said.

Less than 30 minutes later, the WBC protesters moved north to a sidewalk near VCU’s campus, demonstrating against the college’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. Students stopped as they walked to class, some vocally protested while others stopped and stared.

In a statement to the university community, VCU President Michael Rao said the WBC demonstrators “detest what we hold dear: the beautiful diversity of our community, the inclusive commitments we make to each other, and our values of collaboration and integrity.”

At the counterdemonstration at VCU, Meredith Carrington held a sign that read, “God’s love is greater than your hate, Westboro.” Carrington said she felt it was her duty to show up to protest WBC’s messages.

“I think that Richmond has a long history of hate that we’ve done a tremendous amount to overcome, and I think we need to continue to do that in real ways,” Carrington said.

VCU student Tiana Roomes said she knew WBC’s message was directed at VCU students. “They are directing this to us because we support gay rights and preferred pronouns for transgender [individuals], and we support our military — and they hate that,” Roomes said.

The six WBC members were again drowned out by VCU students and counterprotesters who came from the Capitol. Within a half-hour, the group dispersed peacefully as kazoos buzzed and students chanted, “We’re here, we’re queer, nobody wants you here.”

Emporia Welcomes Dunkin' Donuts

On Saturday, March 9, Dunkin' Donuts celebrated their grand opening. Guests received free medium coffees all day long.

The new store at 908 Market Drive in Emporia will be open 24 hours a day and offers mobile ordering.

Employees, owners and a Dunkin' franchise representative pause for a quick photo.

There were door prizes.

Representatives from Benchmark Bank were on hand.

Samples of the new Orange-Vanilla Coke were offered.

HERRING HIGHLIGHTS PROTECTIONS FOR VIRGINIA STUDENT LOAN BORROWERS

~ Protecting student borrowers has been a priority for Attorney General Herring’s Consumer Protection Section, which has recovered more than $10.3 million for more than 5,000 student borrowers ~

RICHMOND (March 6, 2019) – As part of National Consumer Protection Week, Attorney General Mark R. Herring is highlighting protections and resources for student borrowers, as well as the work he and his team have done to protect Virginia student loan borrowers. Attorney General Herring and his team have reached multiple settlements with for-profit colleges for using deceitful tactics against student borrowers, as well as continuously challenged Secretary Betsy DeVos and the U.S. Department of Education in court to uphold the federal protections in place to protect student borrowers from predatory, for-profit schools. The Consumer Protection Section has recovered more than $10.3 million for more than 5,000 student borrowers in Virginia.

“Over the past few years, we have seen the Trump Administration fail to protect student borrowers, instead implementing policies that have favored for-profit colleges who take advantage of them to line their own pockets,” said Attorney General Herring. “My Consumer Protection Section and I will continue to fight against policies that harm student borrowers and hold for-profit colleges accountable when they mislead and deceive their students.”

In October 2018, Attorney General Herring announced that a federal judge rejected the Trump Administration’s challenge to the Borrower Defense Rule, ordering its immediate implementation for students nationwide. This ruling followed a victory Attorney General Herring won in federal court after he and a coalition of state attorneys general challenged the U.S. Department of Education’s plan to abruptly rescind its Borrower Defense Rule which was designed to hold abusive higher education institutions accountable for cheating students and taxpayers out of billions of dollars in federal loans. The immediate implementation of the Borrower Defense rule meant that the U.S. Department of Education had to automatically discharge $381 million in loans for students whose schools closed.

Attorney General Herring has taken major actions against for-profit colleges for misleading students. In November 2015, for-profit education companyEducation Management Corporation announced it would significantly reform its recruiting and enrollment practices and forgive more than $2.29 million in loans for approximately 2,000 former students in Virginia through an agreement with the Attorney General and a group of state attorneys general. Nationwide, the agreement required the for-profit college company to forgive $102.8 million in outstanding loan debt held by more than 80,000 former students.

In December 2016, the Attorney General announced that more than 5,000 Virginia students formerly enrolled in schools operated by Corinthian Colleges, Inc. may be eligible for loan forgiveness. This came after the U.S Department of Education found that Corinthian College and its subsidiaries published misleading job placement rates for many programs between 2010 and 2014. Following this announcement, Attorney General Herring urged Secretary DeVos and the Department of Education to follow through on their commitment to cancel student debt for students in Virginia and around the country who were victimized by Corinthian Colleges' practices.

Attorney General Herring announced in January of this year that he and 48 other attorneys general reached a settlement with for-profit education company Career Education Corporation. The terms of the settlement required CED to reform its recruiting and enrollment practices and forgo collecting about $493.7 million in debts owed by 179,529 students nationally. In Virginia, 3,094 students will receive relief totaling $8,022,178.

Below are some tips for student loan borrowers to keep in mind:

(1) Financing Options

  • Check First for Grants and Scholarships – Resources include:

  • the financial aid office at a college or career school

  • a high school or TRIO counselor

  • the U.S. Department of Labor’s free scholarship search tool

  • federal agencies

  • your state

  • your library

  • foundations, religious or community organizations, local businesses, or civic groups

  • organizations related to your field of interest, like professional associations

  • ethnicity-based organizations

  • your employer or your parents’ employers

  • Evaluate Whether Private or Federal Loans Are Right for You:

  • Federal Loans Include:

  • Direct Loans, where the U.S. Department of Education is the lender;

  • Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL), where private lenders make loans backed by the federal government;

  • Federal Perkins Loans, low-interest federal student loans for undergraduate and graduate students with exceptional financial need; and

  • PLUS loans, federal loans that graduate or professional students and parents of dependent undergraduate students can use to help pay for college or career school.

  • Private loans, sometimes called “alternative loans,” are offered by private lenders, like banks and credit unions, and do not include the benefits and protections that come with federal loans.

  • Review the Federal Trade Commission’s Comparison of Federal and Private Loans at: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/1028-student-loans.

 (2) Paying Back Your Student Loans

  • Federal Loans

  • The U.S. Department of Education has repayment programs that can ease the burden of paying for your education, including:

  • income-driven repayment plans — your monthly payment is based on how much money you make

  • deferment and forbearance — you can postpone making payments, if there’s a good reason you can’t repay right away, though interest might cause what you owe to increase

  • loan forgiveness or loan discharge — in some circumstances, you don’t have to repay some or all of your loans. You might qualify if, for instance, you work for a government or not-for-profit organization, if you become disabled, or if your school closed or committed fraud. Also, under certain income-driven repayment plans, any balance that remains after 20 or 25 years of payments is forgiven. In some cases, you may owe income taxes on the forgiven or discharged amount.

  • Learn more at https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans.

  • Private Loans

  • With private student loans, you typically have fewer repayment options, especially when it comes to loan forgiveness or cancellation. To explore your options, contact your loan servicer directly. If you don’t know who your private student loan servicer is, look at a recent billing statement.

  • Free Federal Loan Consolidation

  • Consolidating federal loans with the federal government is FREE. There are companies that may offer to help you consolidate your federal loans with the federal government, for a fee, but you DON’T have to pay for this service. Consolidating with the federal government is a process you can do on your own, at no cost.

  • Review the Federal Trade Commission’s recommendations on whether loan consolidation is right for you athttps://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/1028-student-loans.

  • Avoid Student Loan Debt Relief Scams

  • Only scammers promise fast loan forgiveness.

  • NEVER pay an up-front fee for help.

  • Scammers will often fake a government seal, so be vigilant of scammers trying to appear like a government agency. If you have federal student loans, work with the Department of Education directly at https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans.

  • If you have federal student loans, do NOT share your Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID with any company offering debt relief assistance.

Virginians who have a question, concern, or complaint about a consumer matter should contact Attorney General Herring’s Consumer Protection Section:

Since 2014, Attorney General Herring’s Consumer Protection Section has recovered more than $292 million in relief for consumers and payments from violators. The Section has also transferred more than $33 million to the Commonwealth’s General Fund. Following a major reorganization and enhancement in 2016, the OAG’s Consumer Protection Section has been even more effective in fighting for the rights of Virginians.

 

Southside Physicians Network Improves Diabetes Care Options For Emporia and Greensville County

Emporia, VA – Southside Physicians Network (SPN) is proud to announce that Dr. Neha Lalani, fellowship trained endocrinology and board certified in internal medicine is now accepting new patients in Emporia. Starting Monday 4/1/19, Dr. Lalani will provide endocrinology services to help residents with diabetes, thyroid conditions and other medical issues. She joins Family Medicine providers Dr. Spencer Feldmann and Amanda Temple, MSN, FNP-C at 511 Belfield Drive, Emporia, VA 23847.

“Dr. Lalani is well-liked and respected by her peers at Southside Physicians Network,” said Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center Board of Trustees Member, Dr. Hall Squire. “There is a great need for diabetes care in our area and having a fellowship trained endocrinologist of her caliber here will help improve the health of our patients.”

Endocrinologists specialize in the treatment of our body’s glands and the hormones they produce. Dr. Lalani deals with metabolism, or all of the internal processes that make the body work.  Endocrinology services have been greatly needed in the Emporia area; previously, the closest endocrinologist was across the North Carolina border or in Petersburg, VA.

Dr. Lalani specializes in diabetes management and believes in creating a team approach to healthcare, focusing on partnering with the patient to achieve results. She understands that diabetes and metabolic diseases can cause distress to patients and their families and it requires the patient to learn a new way of living.

“We must to meet our patients where they live and not make them drive hours for the treatment they need. That means being in Emporia and keeping patients near their home and family,” said Lalani.

Dr. Lalani earned her medical degree from Deccan College of Medical Sciences in India, where she was in the top 10 of her class. She completed her internal medicine residency at the University of Buffalo, Catholic Health System in Buffalo, NY, and her fellowship in endocrinology and metabolism at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, KS.

She is a member of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinology and the Endocrine Society. Lalani joined SPN in 2019 and her primary office is in Petersburg, Virginia.

To make an appointment with Dr. Lalani, call 434-532-7194 or click here to learn more>>> http://bit.ly/2ItQHb1

John Wayne O’Berry

September 23, 1945-March 9, 2019

Visitation Services

6-8 p.m. Monday, March 11

Owen Funeral Home, 303 S. Halifax Rd.

Jarratt Virginia

2 p.m. Tuesday, March 12

Calvary Chapel Branchville

15198 Broad St.

Branchville, Virginia 23828.

Interment will follow at Greensville Memorial Cemetery.

Mr. John Wayne O’Berry, 73, of Jarratt, died Saturday, March 9, 2019. He was preceded in death by his wife, Marlene O’Berry, son, John Wayne O’Berry, II.; daughter, Amy O’Berry; grandson, John Madison Lynch; brother, William O’Berry and sister, Mildred King.

Mr. O’Berry is survived by his wife, Ruth O’Berry; son, Greg O’Berry  and wife, Sharon; daughter, Susan Harrison and husband, Richard; two step-daughters, Brenda Kitchen and husband, Owen and Ginger Ridout; twelve grandchildren; five great-grandchildren and brother, Charles Lee O’Berry and wife, Linda and a number of nieces and nephews.

The family would like to extend their heartfelt thanks for the loving care and support provided by caregivers, Shannon and Erica with the New Century Hospice.

The family will receive friends 6-8 p.m. Monday, March 11 at Owen Funeral Home, 303 S. Halifax Rd., Jarratt Virginia. The funeral service will be held 2 p.m. Tuesday, March 12 at Calvary Chapel Branchville, 15198 Broad St, Branchville, Virginia 23828. Interment will follow at Greensville Memorial Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to New Century Hospice, (www.newcentury.curohs.com).

Online condolences may be shared with the family at www.owenfh.com.

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